Women sometimes avoid lifting heavy weights for lots of reasons but the most common reason is that they mistakenly think it will make them look bulky or manly. Study after study has disproven the 'bulky" myth and proven the benefits of strength training for your overall health and for fat loss. Let's debunk 5 myths, shall we?
Myth #1 - strength training will create a bulky/manly look for women.
This is completely false and a very common myth. Women do not produce enough testosterone to create the bulk that a man can. Research shows that men and women build muscle very differently even on similar training programs. As a women, unless you are taking testosterone injections or eating in a large calorie surplus, you will not get big and bulky like man can. However, you can use strength training as a tool to build muscle to make your muscles look more defined and aid in fat loss which will reveal your beautiful muscles!
myth #2 - women can't lose weight through lifting
100% false! The truth is quite the opposite. The BEST tool for aiding in fat loss is strength training. Lift more, lose more! It is a common misconception that long, steady state cardio workouts is best for fat loss and calorie burn when in fact, you burn as many if not more with strength training. When you lift weights you create an "after burn" effect. This means that our body continues to burn calories after your workout is over during the recovery process for a longer period of time. When you stop doing steady state cardio, like jogging, biking or walking, you stop burning calories. I am not saying steady state cardio doesn't have a place in your workout routine but strength training and increasing your cardio intensity in bursts of shorter intervals should be your center focus for fat loss. Plus, research shows that your body uses more energy to maintain your muscle mass so the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate!
myth #3 - training one area will target fat loss specifically to that area.
False. Sorry guys but you cannot spot reduce your body fat. You cannot burn fat in specific areas of your body with targeted exercise. You can gain strength and build muscle but your body will lose the fat wherever it wants, based mostly on your genetics, and only when you are in a consistent calorie deficit.
myth #4 - lifting light weights with high reps will give you a "toned" look.
The fitness industry created this word "toned" to sell more gym memberships and get more women into "toning" classes. Your muscles can get bigger or smaller but you cannot change the shape. You can however lose body fat and reveal your muscles but you cannot "elongate or tone" the look of them nor can you spot reduce your body fat. Lifting lighter weights with high reps will increase your muscle endurance but it's not as effective for building muscle, which is really what it means when you hear the word "toned."
Again, lifting heavy weights builds muscle and aids in fat loss so that you can reveal all the hard work you do lifting so to show off those strong muscles, feel empowered and stay functional in your life!
myth #5 - It's scary or intimidating to begin a strength training routine.
Learning anything new can be a little scary, however if you have a knowledgable coach that can walk you through proper form, teach correct strength training so to void injury and make the most out of your lifting time, you will be successful and feel strong and empowered! You should start with the basics, learn proper form first and then begin to increase the weight you lift over time as you gain proper knowledge and strength.
Strength training benefits are huge. It improves your overall health by aiding in fat loss, increasing your metabolism, building bone density and joint strength, decreases your risk for numerous diseases, it makes you feel confident and empowered, gives you more strength to go about your life functionally and without injury.
As an experienced, educated and knowledgable trainer, I am happy to help you with any questions you have about strength training and how it can improve your health and your life. Shoot me an email anytime.
Amy has spent her career helping others reach their health and fitness goals. "I hope sharing my knowledge and experience with others can help someone to live a healthier and more joyous life."