The myths about women’s weight training never seem to go away. One of the first things my female clients tell me when they start training with me is “I don’t want to become bulky so no weight lifting” and they never seem to believe me when I tell them it is impossible to do so for all the following reasons:
- I’ll become bulky if I lift weights. No, you won’t! The female body does not produce enough testosterone to add significant amounts of muscle mass quickly or easily. Bulky takes years of hard work and many female body builders choose to enhance themselves chemically because it is so hard to gain muscle mass.
- I should do more cardio training and perform light resistance exercises. Well, you will sweat a lot and burn a great amount of fat but this will not contribute to the increase of muscle mass. On the contrary, muscle would also be burned for fuel. Muscle responds to resistance and if the resistance is too light, then there will be no reason for the body to change.
- If I start weight lifting and then stop, my muscles will turn into fat. No, they won’t! Muscle tissue and fat tissue are two completely different things. It’s impossible to convert one into the other. What will happen is you will lose muscle mass from non-use and add fat from eating more calories than you’re burning.
- A fit and toned body. Think rounded shoulders instead of slouchy- sloping ones. A firm and lifted derriere instead of a droopy one. Cardio and Barbie weights will not give you that.
- Confidence booster. Lifting something you once couldn’t can be very liberating and empowering. It will make you say “Bring it on” to whatever challenge comes your way.
- Reduction of body fat = Increase of muscle mass. Adding muscle to your body will increase your resting metabolism rate, which means you will be burning additional calories even when sitting or sleeping.
- Correct posture and balance of the body throughout everyday activities. Stronger muscles and tendons promote protection and stability in the joints, which can help prevent injury when exercising, but also during every day activities.
- Increase of bone density. As we age we lose bone mass. Weight lifting exercises help to prevent bone loss and conditions like osteoporosis.
As women have a low basal metabolic rate in comparison to men, weight training is essential. It will tone up the muscular system and increase the rate of calorie burn. This also means that the result will not necessarily show on the scales but it will be visible to the eye in terms of clothing size.
Start lifting ladies!
BSc Physical Education & Sports Science