I love hitting the gym and nowadays thanks to a specific workout regime, I look forward to my day even more. Recently I was asked by one of the ladies who trains at my gym as to why I workout so much with weights and do not spend much time on cardio.
There are so many myths about women’s weight training thanks to the countless images of buffed up women on the internet and many “expert’ opinions on this topic. Though I have seen most of the women at my gym stick to mainly cardio and probably use some of the equipment, this recent conversation got me thinking on penning down my thoughts on this subject down here.
1. WEIGHT TRAINING MAKES WOMEN LOOK BULKY AND MASCULINE
This is the biggest misconception and most common concern women have when asked to start using weights in their workout routine and I noticed this especially in my gym. This is surprising especially when most women come to the gym with concerns like fat-loss and to gain strength as their main goal.
I realised that many women do not understand that the image they see of professional female body builders comes from hours of training and heavy lifting everyday, sometimes with use of other drugs (synthetic testosterone) to achieve that kind of muscle mass. Women do not produce large amounts of the growth hormone, testosterone which is responsible for muscle growth in men hence there is no possibility of getting bulky muscles like men unless you pump yourself with such drugs.
Of course, once you start using weights in your workout, you can expect some degree of muscle growth which will give you a lean, strong and well defined body.
The bottom line is do not be scared to lift heavy weights and train hard. Keep in mind that sticking to heavy weights for fewer reps per set would help build strength and tone your muscle rather than to push for more reps which can increase muscle growth.
2. TRAINING WITH WEIGHTS DOES NOT BURN AS MANY CALORIES AS CARDIO
Everyone begins their workout routine with some form of cardio and each one has their reasons from warming up to training for a marathon, losing weight etc.
One thing I noticed in my gym and in some gyms I have visited is that the cardio section has mostly women and the weights section is dominated by men. I do not blame the women as many trainers also seem to follow society’s norm that women should look feminine and not very concerned about looking strong. A double standard which peeves me to no end that I have on many occasions asked the women in my gym why they spend so much time on each and every cardio machine. The so called “cardio culture” among women does make them lose weight in the long run but during that process there is no other benefit.
Focusing only on cardio would definitely burn calories but doing only cardio will cause your muscles also to be burned for fuel. The body utilises stored carbohydrates as fuel during a workout hence causing our body to shift to using stored fat as a fuel between sessions. Women who train with weights utilise more of the sugar stored in their muscles, create a larger amount of muscle fatigue and use the fat in their body to get more energy during rest periods to repair.
Running on the treadmill or using the other cardio machines for 20 mins a day / 4 days a week will help you lose body fat, but without adding on muscle or gaining any strength.
Add resistance training to your regular workout, thereby burning more calories and achieving that toned look.
3. MUSCLE TURNS INTO FAT ONCE YOU STOP TRAINING
Another common misconception which make women who gather up courage to hit the gym to rethink their decision!
Muscle and fat are two different types of tissue. So when women stop working out or stop their usage of weights in their workout due to the inactivity (which obviously also includes a change of diet) the muscles they have developed will begin to shrink and waste away and fat is accumulated. So it creates an impression that the muscle is turning to fat, which is obviously is not the case.
Please remember – muscles do not turn into fat or vice versa!
4. I NEED ACCESS TO A GYM TO TRAIN WITH WEIGHTS
By now, I hope I have stressed the importance of weight training as an extremely effective form of strength training.
If you are someone who has no access to a gym or do not have the time to go to a gym, rest easy as all you need is a pair of dumbbells or just use your own body weight to work out at home.
There are tons of exercises you can do at home using either a pair of dumbbells or body weight such as squats, lunges, bur pees, push ups, planks etc. which can improve strength as well as help you in your day to day activities.
While it can get boring to workout on your own, remember that consistency is the key.
I hope I have been able to smash some of the common myths about woman and using weights with this article. Gympik can help all you newbies to locate a gym near you or also assist in sending a trainer to your home.
That look you have been wanting is a combination of cardio and strength training, so do make strength training as part of your regular workout and I guarantee you will see results!
LADIES LIFT! STRONG IS THE NEW SKINNY!