Strength training is essential to any exercise programme, especially for women. Lifting weights will increase your lean muscle mass, boost your metabolism and, very importantly, help prevent osteoporosis. But there are a lot of myths that surround women’s strength training and these untruths often make women avoid weights altogether. Here are a few of those myths and some truths as well!
“Lifting weights will cause me to bulk up”
This is the most common misconception women have when it comes to strength training. Women simply do not possess the proper amounts of testosterone and other hormones in order to ‘bulk up’ so lifting weights will not result in Arnold Schwartzenegger like biceps!
The reality is that muscle takes up less space than fat, so you may not notice a huge weight loss, but you will lose inches when following a good strength training routine.
“To tone up I should use light weights and do more reps”
Don’t be misled by the manufacturers who produce light weights in pretty pastel colours to appeal to women! If you want to improve your strength and create a lean, defined look you need to lift heavy. If you finish a set of 12 repetitions and feel you could still perform a few more, you need to increase the weight.
“If I stop weight training, my muscle will turn into fat”
This is like saying you can turn a lump of coal into a diamond. Muscle and fat are two totally different types of tissue. What happens is that when people decide to stop weight training their muscle mass decreases (use it or lose it). Combine this reduced activity and lowered metabolism with a poor diet and you’ll get the impression that your muscle is turning into fat when in reality muscle is being lost and fat is being accumulated.
Weight Training Turns Fat Into Muscle
See Myth #3 above! You can’t turn fat into anything; but you can burn it off with good nutrition and an exercise programme. When you eat correctly and train with weights you are reducing the amount of fat in your body and increasing your lean muscle mass. Are you replacing fat with muscle? Yes. But you are not transforming the fat already in your body.
So if you want a lean, toned body don’t be afraid to pick up some heavy weights and train hard!