Attention Ladies:Dont Be Afraid To Pump Iron!
I hear it all of the time in one form or another, “I don’t want to lift weights because I don’t want big muscles” or “I just do aerobics and sit-ups because I don’t want to look like a man.” Then there is my all time favorite, the turning around while pointing to the rear end advising, “I have to lose weight in this area.” Thoroughly convinced that profuse sweating is the key to an optimal physique, these women robotically enter the gym armed with an unwavering purpose… to SWEAT off the extra pounds!
And so, you observe these women frantically peddling on the stationary bikes, furiously stepping away on the stair masters, and feverishly trying to crunch themselves into a smaller clothing size. Don’t even mention incorporating strength training into their meticulously planned workouts. These die-hards won’t even glance at resistance training equipment let alone venture over into the free weight area.
Commom Female Training Myths
The pervasive myth causing women to forever swear off weight training is the belief that lifting weights causes bulging muscles. The reality? Women simply do not have enough of the hormones that allow for increased muscle mass. In fact, women have ten to thirty times less of those essential hormones than their male counterparts. Unlike most men, women who seek to gain muscle mass certainly do not have an easy time accomplishing this goal. It takes serious dedication, a scientifically engineered diet, a technically precise training schedule, rigorous dietary supplementation, and for some, chemical enhancement.
The truth is that muscle mass does not suddenly appear because you dare to lift weights. However, women that simply accept this myth without scrutiny, miss out on all of the benefits that strength training offers.
Women who incorporate moderate strength training into their workout regime increase their muscle tissue. Yes, this means that when you step onto the scale, you will note an increase in your overall “weight.” But don’t stop reading! The bottom line is that muscle tissue weights more than fat. Thus, as you increase your muscle tissue, your “weight” will necessarily increase. Muscle by its very nature is “thermogenic.” This means that it burns fat. So, you may increase your “weight” as you gain muscle tissue, but do not become disheartened. Understand what this means and put it in perspective. The increase in relative weight, equates to an increase in muscle tissue not fat. And, an increase in muscle tissue translates into an increase in your resting metabolism. The simple truth is that muscle burns calories.
The denser your muscle tissue, the more calories you will burn even at a complete stand still. Those with dense muscles burn more calories by just engaging in their regular daily activities. In fact, research shows that for each pound of muscle earned, you will expend 35 to 50 more calories per day. So, if you gain three pounds of muscle, you will burn 40 more calories per pound, which equates to 120 additional calories per day, which translates into 3,600 additional calories per month and ultimately results in a weight loss of 10 to 12 pounds in a single year.
Another reason that women should engage in strength training is its effect on the bones. Indeed, resistance training is a powerful weapon against osteoporosis, a disease characterized by porous bone and low bone mass. Those plagued with osteoporosis have an increased susceptibility to fractures of the wrists, hips, and spine. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, 28 million Americans suffer from this disease, 80 percent of which are women! In fact, statistics show that one in two women over the age of 50 will suffer from an osteoporosis-related fracture during their lifetime. So, women, especially, should seriously consider resistance training as a type of insurance against becoming represented in these startling national statistics.
Research establishes that over a six-month period, resistance training increases spinal bone mineral density by 13 percent. This only makes logical sense. As you increase your muscle tissue, the supporting structures, your bones, must somehow adapt to accommodate this increase in muscle. Your bones respond by increasing in density. The result? A stronger osteo-foundation and a reduced risk for osteoporosis!
If you’re going to make the commitment to the fitness lifestyle, by dieting and working out regularly, why limit your possibilities and suffocate your own potential? Avail yourself of the numerous benefits that strength training has to offer both physically and mentally. So, don’t completely swear-off resistance training fearing that you will transform into Arnold Schwarzenagger overnight! Stop for a moment and realize that if you augment your regular aerobic sessions with strength training exercises three times per week, you will be well on your way to achieving a much stronger, healthier, you.