In this week’s blog, I would like to dispel some of the weight lifting myths that women believe and try to encourage more of you into the weights room to lift heavier.
Have the words “I want to get toned but I don’t want to get big muscles” ever passed your lips? As a female trainer with almost 15 years industry experience I have heard this phrase literally 100’s of times.
I am here to reassure you that women can’t build muscle like men naturally just by lifting heavy weights. There are several reasons for this involving hormones and the amount of lean mass that men have compared to women, but for now lets look at testosterone – the hormone that enables muscles to grow and repair post training.
With women carrying 15 times less testosterone than men, it makes it virtually impossible for us to grow big bulky muscles. Of course with a supplemented programme for female bodybuilding, it is then possible for women to achieve this, but not naturally just by increasing your weights in your workout 2-3 times per week.
The secret to changing your body shape...
Have you ever looked in the mirror and wanted a flatter stomach or a more pert bottom, or waved your arms and wanted to rid of the fat holding on to these areas?
Incorporating lifting, squatting, pulling and pressing exercises into your training programme will train your body as a whole unit. By recruiting as many muscle fibres per exercise you will get not only a bigger calorie burn, but the post exercise effect on your metabolism is where the calories continue to get burned.
Research has shown that for every kilo of muscle you build, your body can burn at rest up to an additional 70-100 calories per day just by doing nothing!
he benefits of lifting!
In addition to all of the reasons more and more women should be lifting weights regularly, here are some other proven benefits of weight training for women:
· Reduces the risk of injury, back pain & arthritis
· Enhances your mood and reduces stress
· Decreases the risk of Osteoporosis
· Reduces the risk of diabetes
· Builds confidence, and makes you feel and look better in your clothes
Stop weighing yourself…
Muscle is more dense than fat, and it holds more water. This is where the scales become redundant. Once you start to build muscle there is a good chance the scales may show a heavier number. But the good news is you will look smaller and probably be a dress size smaller too.
For many years I have encouraged women to stop weighing themselves constantly. This causes a negative effect on mood and can start your day off badly, leading to poor food choices and self-sabotaging behaviour! In addition to muscle gain there are a lot of other factors that affect the scales including hydration, water retention, menstrual cycle and bowel movements.
Strength training should be structured and progressive and learnt with good movement patterns. Consistency over time is what gives great results.
If you have found this article interesting and would like more information on strength training for women please contact Kelly at CrossFit Chiltern or any member of the team.