Is cardio not giving you the results you want? Have you considered weight training but dismissed the idea because you don’t want to get ‘too big?’ This article is here to tell you why you should be picking up the dumbbells to achieve your goals.
Firstly, I want to squash the myths about ‘toned’ muscles and that lifting weight will give you a male physique. Muscles cannot be ‘shaped’ or ‘toned’ because the shape of your muscles is genetically predetermined. The toned muscle comes from a combination of increasing their size and reducing the layer of fat that overlays the muscle. As for the nice round muscles fitness models and the women in magazine have, this is due to weight training. Genetically, women lack the testosterone to produce muscles as large as men so you won’t develop a male physique. For example, a man gaining 10 pounds of muscle in 6 months would be common, but for a woman this would be a massive achievement. It is for these reasons that as a woman you shouldn’t worry about lifting weights.
If your goal is to have nice round muscles and a ladylike silhouette, you should be adding weight training to your fitness regime. Here are five more reasons you should be picking up the dumbbells:
- More effective weight loss – Few women know that weight training actually burns a significant number of calories. After weight training your body has a metabolic spike that lasts for roughly an hour which is your body’s way of helping your muscles recover. This burns calories. Not only this, as muscle is a highly metabolic tissue, calories are burned continuously. The more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn.
- More energy – By adapting to using more weight while training, your body will start to find everyday tasks a breeze.
- Strong bones – As we get older our body produces less oestrogen and postmenopausal women can potentially not produce any. This decrease in oestrogen results in a decreases in bone mineral density causing them to become weak and brittle. Weight training places stress on the bone where the tendon attaches to the surface. This stress helps increase bone mineral density and is a good way of combating this loss and preparing yourself to be an active grandma.
- You will improve your attitude, beat stress and fight depression –Scientific studies have found that just 10 weeks of weight training reduces the symptoms of clinical depression and increases confidence. Researches have also found that weight training also reduces stress. Women who trained manage stress better and have better cognitive function.
- Improved heart health – Many studies and doctors have found that weight training improves cardiovascular health and lowers the risk of heart disease. It does this is by balancing your bad and good cholesterol and lowering your blood pressure.
Below is a short description of the experience from a female weight lifter who by her own admission is what many would call a normal gym goer…
“I’ve always found weight training to be really beneficial. I often see other women in the gym who want to lose weight and ‘tone-up’ which is great, but they perform too much cardio with no weight lifting so end up with physiques that are quite ‘skeletal’. It doesn’t look good. In the same way that a man can get obsessed with lifting weights to get as big as possible, a woman can overdo the cardio and end up losing too much weight. I was in that trap and did end up too thin. That was when I decided to try weight training. People think weight lifting or ‘body building’ as something that’s not feminine but I don’t think it is. My interpretation is that the best female athletes in the world lift weights and I would rather follow them than the fake models you see on magazine covers.
To begin with I lifted light and built up. Never be intimidated by the guys who throw the weights around. Many will lift heavy weights, however, if you look at their form it’s very poor. Not only this, the quality of their muscle is low. This is hard to explain, but if you compare how much they’re lifting to their bodyweight, their power to weight ratio ends up being quite low. This isn’t true for every one of them but for a few. If you want to annoy them, go into the weights room and pick up the dumbbell. The slightly sexist men who don’t think women should be in the weights room/area will hate it. I’ve caught some of their expressions in the mirror and it’s priceless.
I use what is called a 5-day split so I train each body part on one day with a bit of core on each day. I’ve found that to be an effective method. Stick to compound exercises as much as possible, also. This will really help you develop your strength. Funnily enough, I found that the more I lifted weights, the better I became a cardio. I enjoy rowing and cycling and noticed that I started to find both of these easier as I trained my body with weights.
I don’t take supplements personally because I prefer real food, but I have taken whey protein and this does help recovery following training so would recommend it. I also found that a multivitamin helps but isn’t essential unless your diet isn’t as good as it could be, or you’re really training hard. I hope this helps J”
These are only some of the health benefits you will gain from weight training, you will also gain other benefits such as self-confidence, self-esteem, independence and that body you have been dreaming of. However, you should bear in mind you will need to keep at it for a few months before the benefits become apparent. If you’re still daunted by how to get started, don’t worry, keep browsing this website for tips, or contact me.