Ladies, does the mere idea of weightlifting scare you?
“I don’t want to lift weights because they’ll make me too big and bulky.“
Does this sound familiar to you?
There are many women who attend a gym only to use the cardio equipment there. They never touch the weights. Most of them never get noticeable results either. If asked why they don't train with weights the usual answer they give is "I don't want to get bulky". In this article I want to explain why women should not avoid weight training and why training with weights is actually appropriate for them. Women athletes should not be intimidated by weight training. They think that training with weights will make them look less feminine. This is a very common misconception.
Let me explain why this is not true. It's very simple - women don't produce the quantities of anabolic hormones, necessary for excessive muscle growth. As a matter of fact even most men don't. In order for a female athlete to develop noticeable muscle mass, she would have to resort to pharmaceuticals that will dramatically increase her anabolic hormone levels. Without them a female athlete, using weights, would mostly tone up her body by eventually gaining some muscle mass and losing body fat.
Here are the facts. Even men, who train naturally, will most likely never develop muscle mass in excess, although they produce the anabolic hormone testosterone in their bodies. Women produce only one tenth of the testosterone men do. So, the chances a female athlete would have results, similar to what a natural male athlete could have, are really small. Enough said about women and the possibility for excessive muscle mass development.
But why training with weights is appropriate for women?
The biggest reason why women should train with weights is weight training increases lean muscle mass. And lean muscle mass elevates the metabolic rate. This is the tissue that uses fat for fuel. The more muscle mass you have, the more fat you burn not only during workout but also throughout the day. Every pound of lean muscle mass gained means up to 30 more calories a day burned. This number might not look significant but over the course of a year it translates into more that 3 pounds of fat burned. Now you see why it's important to maintain your muscle mass while dieting. Not only maintain but even try to build more, which will help burn the unwanted fat faster. Of course, as I said above, it's not physiologically possible for women to build excessive muscle mass. So don't be afraid to gain some that will come naturally.
This is only one of the benefits that comes with weight training. As we all know there are much more. Just keep in mind the following.
First, if you are a female, don't be intimidated by weight training as this is not going to make you very muscular. It's just not possible. Mother nature will not allow it.
Second: You should actually strive to build more lean muscle. By increasing your lean muscle mass you increase the amount of calories burned during physical activity as well as throughout the day.
Third: Get supervision from an expert or a personal trainer. To increase your strength and tone your body, it is always best to have support on your side that knows. Someone who knows your body, your capabilities and most importantly: your personal goals!
Why Women are Different than Men
Not many personal trainers and female trainees as well are aware of the difference between women's and men's physiology. It's important, however, for professionals to know them. This way they will be able to design training programs that suit better the female athletes's needs and requirements. Here are the most important characteristics:
Women store body fat more readily
The nature has not created things in favour of women as it comes to body fat accumulation. Women are prone to store fat more easily than men. The main reason for that is the female sex hormone oestrogen. Both men and women produce oestrogen but in men this hormone is much less than in women. Oestrogen possess fat accumulating properties, which, due to the larger quantities in women are a lot stronger pronounced. Also due to the specific fat receptor distribution women tend to store fat mainly in the lower body.
Women produce very little testosterone
Another physiological difference of great importance is the fact that women produce very little of the male sex hormone - testosterone. Testosterone is an anabolic hormone, which means it promotes muscle mass gain. Why is this important? Its important because muscle mass is the primary tissue that uses fat for fuel. With other words more muscle mass means more calories burned during the day. Also as opposed to oestrogen testosterone is known to suppress body fat accumulation.
Women undergo physiological changes caused by their menstrual cycle
Yet another factor in the female athlete's physiology is the fact that women experience hormonal fluctuations due to their menstrual cycle. That is the reason why sometimes female athlete may not be able to train with the necessary intensity. It's because of some or all of the following: abdominal cramps, nausea, bloating, irritability, depression.
Women go through significant body-altering changes during pregnancy
Women experience major biological alterations during pregnancy. This is the period when the female body produces large amounts of the hormone progesterone. One of the main properties of this hormone is increased appetite, which is the main reason for the increased weight gain. Another characteristic of that period is the impaired thyroid function. Attenuated thyroid function means slowed metabolism. These two effects of pregnancy usually continue to exhibit their properties even postpartum, which makes it difficult for some women to get back in the shape they were beforehand. These were the major differences between women and men. As I said earlier being aware of the characteristics in the female's physiology is essential for proper training administration. So long as these important facts are taken in consideration everything else is equally valid for both genders.
The Right Weight Training for Women
The biggest mistakes are often made when it comes to strength training women. Even though the 1950's are fifty plus years ago now, it seems like there are still a lot of hang ups when it comes to women and weight training. Women are able to do intense muscle building workouts just like men are - although, contrary to popular belief, working out is unlikely to cause a lot of muscle buildup unless you are taking a muscle building supplement. In fact, the sport of weight lifting will have the largest effect on your muscle tone, over any other workout activity.
Use Larger Weights To Improve Your Muscle Tone.
First of all, when it comes to strength training for women, you should throw away those tiny dumbbells that are sold in stores. These dumbbells might be marketed toward women, but the small 1-2 pound dumbbells will have very little effect on your actual muscle tone. This does not mean that you need to lift huge weights - but you should be able to feel the resistance in your arms when you pick up the dumbbells that you're going to work out with.
Do I need a personal trainer?
In order to tone your muscles, you're also going to have to do a lot of regular exercise. Toned muscles are not all that difficult to get, as long as you are able to stick to a regular and consistent workout routine. A good routine to get into is to work on your arm muscles one day, legs the next, abdominal muscles on the third day, and then take a break on the fourth and then repeat. This will give you enough time to heal in between workouts, but it is regular enough that you should end up with well-toned muscles in no time.
Now we are always told, consistency is key, but how to best keep on track with your fitness goals? Supervision. Whether it is a friend, a guide or a personal trainer. You will come to a point where you need a consistent partner to keep you on track. And we all know the struggle. Workout partners come and go.
Studies have shown that people who are just beginning a workout program gain strength the fastest when they train each muscle group three times per week. For the right results, you need the right plan. Personal trainers can be your prince in shining armour. Why? Because they are committed to your goals. If you want to be consistent with your goals, find and try the right trainer that understand you, if you are not > go on with your own plan and best of luck. For direct contact to trainers near you, get to know our Body Engineer Fitness personal trainers.
Apart from consistency , it is also important to fit some cardio workouts into your week too. We recommend fitting three 30 minute workouts into your week. Cardio will help you to burn extra calories and also helps you with muscle recovery as it helps muscles to get rid of lactic acid build up that occurs from weight training. Muscles cannot properly rebuild themselves unless all lactic acid has been removed.
The benefits of lifting weights >> also called weight training, strength training or resistance training << include stronger muscles, a stronger heart, a much leaner physique, a longer life, and a body better able to support your everyday needs and activities. Women, however, still tend to shy away from this beneficial form of exercise.
Ladies, does the mere idea of weightlifting scare you?
I don’t want to lift weights because they’ll make me too big and bulky. For how many of you is this the reason you’ve never attempted weight training?
It seems to be many a man’s dream to have big, bulky muscles. Why is it then, that men, whose bodies naturally contain much greater amounts of testosterone and growth hormone, lift weights yet DON'T get big and bulky?
It’s true! Unless they are supplementing with dangerous and unhealthful steroids or similar substances, most men do not naturally bulk up hugely by lifting weights regularly. And neither will most women.
The idea that women get big, ugly muscles from weight training is a complete misconception.
We know, we have worked with many women in many shapes, sizes forms and very personal fitness goals. You can contact our personal trainers at Body Engineers Fitness in Damansara Perdana to hop onto our clientele and set your perfect goals too.
The fact of the matter is that women must lift weights in order to achieve the lean, sculpted bodies they dream of having. If a woman does happen to have the genetic disposition to bulk up quickly, there are easy ways to alter a workout to prevent this extra muscle size, while still increasing strength and rapidly burning fat.
The idea that weightlifting causes insanely huge muscle buildup is largely a creation of the media. Its true that some women weightlifters takes steroids, and these hormones do make them look very masculine. The average woman who weight trains, however, will simply achieve a slim, healthy body without adding unwanted muscle mass.
Lets start by discussing the basics of weight training...
Weight training involves controlled lifting and working out with weights. Two basic terms related to weightlifting are reps and sets. A rep describes the complete act of raising and lowering a weight during a single act of exercise. A set describes the number of times a particular rep is performed.
For example, when a person does five reps of a squat, they squat down and stand up five times, continuously, before stopping and either moving on to another exercise or finishing their workout. Those five squats would equal one set. A balanced weight-training session will include several sets of different exercises. Your goal as either a beginner, intermediate, or advanced weight lifter should be to exhaust your muscles in the shortest time frame - that simply means that when you lift a weight, you should lift a heavy enough weight to exhaust your muscles doing only 10 - 15 reps.
And you should do this exercising pattern about 3 days each week - with at least 24 hour of rest after each workout.
A Bonus for You
Now I'm going to share a principle exercise with you that many commercial fitness "buff's" will hate me telling you because this single exercise will do more for your body than almost any other exercise around - making it completely unnecessary for you to ever buy another exercise gadget from late night television ever again. Before I share it with you I've got to give you a quick disclaimer...this exercise should be done (at least initially) under the supervision of a qualified personal trainer, so that you learn the proper form to use during the movement.
This exercise will work EVERY muscle in your body, and you can do it in the privacy of your own home, without any fancy machines or expensive video’s. In fact, this exercise a foundational core exercise and it'll set your internal furnace up to burn more calories throughout the rest of the day than any other exercise we've tested (when done properly).
It's called the dead-lift and here's how it's done for maximum fat loss and body shaping...
Stand with feet flat and placed slightly farther apart than shoulder width with toes pointed slightly outward. Squat down with hips lower than shoulders and grasp the weight lifting bar (or any small object)...in the beginning I highly suggest that you use very little added weight, so when you bend to grasp something, use a book or something else that's small and light weight - just to help you balance. Place hands on bar (or whatever you choose to lift) slightly less than shoulder width apart, inside the knees and with elbows fully extended. Place bar roughly 1 inch in front of shins and over balls of feet.
Lift bar off floor by extending hips and knees.
Maintain an erect and flat back at all times.
Keep elbows fully extended.
Keep bar as close to shins as possible without hitting or scraping.
When bar passes knees move the hips forward.
Keep body erect at point of full knee and hip extension.
Allow the hips and knees to flex to slowly lower the bar to the floor.
Repeat movement until finished with set.
Now this might sound a bit confusing the first several times you read it - however, once you practice it for a day or 2, the movement will become second nature to you and you'll begin feeling and seeing the results quickly.
Remember that with any new exercise comes a bit of soreness, so start very slowly, and gradually increase your intensity.
Ladies, I encourage you: Let go of your preconceived ideas about weight training. Do not fear it. Embrace your weightlifting potential! You will benefit so much more from it than from spending hours on that piece of cardio equipment alone.
For more, you can contact our personal trainers at Body Engineers Fitness in Damansara Perdana. If you think you are ready to transform, shape and upgrade your body find more about our personal training programs. Only if you are ready. Your goals are priority.
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