7 Weight Training Myths Every Woman Should Stop Believing
Lifting weights could definitely be the ticket to achieving the sculpted body you desire: it will increase your muscle mass and fire up your metabolism, improving your body composition. Not to mention that daily tasks, such as lugging groceries, moving furniture around, carrying children, become easier when you start doing strength exercises. Besides, when you finish a tough weight-training session, you feel just like you can take anything.
But you already knew all that, right?! Or do you still believe in some of those weight-training myths floating around the gyms and the Internet…? If you said yes, even a very shy yes, then this article will change your mind for good. (And your body will thank you!)
1. All women are in the gym to lose weight
Fact: women have different fitness goals.
According to most women’s fitness magazines, blogs and youtube channels, almost every woman on earth is looking to lose weight. We see the big titles everywhere: “5 essential tips for weight-loss”, “Lose 3lbs in one week”, etc. But women have different reasons to hit the gym. And they should, since they are all different. Losing weight, gaining muscle mass, improving endurance, becoming faster, staying healthy… ant the list goes on. Nevertheless, to achieve your fitness goal, no matter which one, you need to get stronger. And at some point of your workout plan, you need to get under the weights to get stronger.
Just don’t forget that there is no bullet-proof training programme and, if you want to consistently get stronger, you need to add some variety into your training. If you perform the same exercises repeatedly, your fitness level will stagnate. Try to include cardio, strength, and balance exercises, and don’t forget stretching.
2. Women shouldn’t train like men
Fact: women should train how they want and how they like.
Bear in mind: you don’t need to be a professional athlete or army servicewoman to complete the same type of exercises as men. Aesthetically speaking, of course men and women have different goals. Men often want to get bigger and women generally want to get toned. But the thing is, you will only achieve your desired shape if you work out to build muscle. Which means you need to do strength training exercises, such as overhead presses, squats and deadlifts. And it doesn’t matter if you are a woman, a man, a superhuman or even an alien.
Nevertheless, there are some hormone and physiological changes that women have to deal with but men don’t, such as period, pregnancy, and menopause. That may require slight differences in their workout programme.
3. The weight area is not for ladies
Fact: All gym areas are ladies’ areas
The idea that only guys frequent the weight room is long outdated. After all, the biggest mistake a woman can make when it comes to staying fit and strong is avoiding the weight room. It’s taken a long time, but women are finally beginning to embrace the powerful benefits of committed and intelligent strength training.
However, everyone is at a different stage in their strength development and lifting heavy is not the only way to see results. Strength training refers to any type of movement that applies stress on your muscles, causing an adaptation: your body tears down muscle tissue and rebuilds it to be stronger than before. So, in the beginning, use your own body weight as resistance. When you do start to lift more than just your body weight, pick up the weights that are just heavy enough for you so you can learn how to perform the movement properly. Afterwards, in each new training day, try to increase the weight up to the point that you feel it’s challenging to do 10-12 reps.
4. Lifting weights makes women look bulky
Fact: Women will never build muscle like a man unless they want to.
First, let’s clear something out: every woman has her own definition of “bulky”. However, if you associate that term with a female bodybuilder, we can assure you that that is not going to happen to your body.
When you pick up heavier weights, your muscles get stronger, but not necessarily bigger. Why? Thanks to huge genetic, hormonal and dietary differences between men and women. Just to start with, women don’t have enough testosterone to build muscle like a man. So that bulky look that pops in your mind when you think of female bodybuilders is usually the result of adding some anabolic supplements to their own diet routine. Moreover, to achieve such muscular body you would have to spend hours, days, even years lifting heavy (really heavy) and eating a lot.
5. Lifting weights makes you gain weight
Fact: Leaner and lighter are not synonymous.
This is not so much a myth as a misunderstood truth. Muscle weighs more than fat because it holds more water and is denser, so, yes, the scale may not tip much and may even go up. But, what will your clothes say? Use your jeans to measure your progress and you will fall in love with the differences.
Just be more concerned about your body composition, that is, your muscle mass percentage and your body fat percentage. Follow a balanced nutrition plan, choose the right foods, such as lean protein, healthy fats, vegetables and complex carbs, and keep in mind that it is normal to feel hungrier, as strength training will speed up your metabolism.
6. Cardio burns more calories than weight training
Fact: Running or doing spin classes for hours is not as effective as it feels.
Yes, you’ll be burning calories during your sweaty cardio workout, but not so much when you finish it. Boosting your resting metabolism requires picking up the weights to increase your lean mass. When you do a strength workout, your muscles will break down and then rebuild over the following 24-48 hours. And while your body is rebuilding those muscles, it recruits more calories and energy to make the process happen – this means that your metabolism operates at a faster level, burning more calories than you would ever think.
7. Weight-training is more dangerous than others workouts and sports
Fact: Bad technique and “biting off more than you can chew” are dangerous.
As with any sport or new physical activity, whether it is weight-training, rock climbing, swimming or even yoga, there is always some level of inherent risk of injury. But there are simple and effective ways to reduce that risk. Following an appropriate workout programme for your ability level, warming up your body before starting your routine, clearing every single doubt with your gym staff and having the most needed rest time are good strategies. Just use your common sense and you’ll be safe.