Many women shy away from lifting “heavy” weights because they don’t want to bulk up. As a result, most women never tap into their true strength potentials, and never experience the pure adrenaline rush of reaching new highs from a strength training workout.
Some common myths about women and weights:
It is extremely difficult for women to “bulk up” unless they are being assisted by certain ergogenic aids. It is true that some women produce more testosterone than others, but it is nearly impossible for a natural female to put on that much muscle.
For the average woman, increasing muscle mass, in the presence of proper diet, should actually have the effect of making you smaller. This happens because adding muscle to the human frame makes you more thermogenic, or able to burn body fat.
In fact, for every pound of lean mass you add to your frame, you can expect to burn 50 extra calories per day. Compound that with the fact that muscle is approximately three times more dense than fat, and adding lean mass to shed body fat becomes a very attractive option. When women “bulk up” from weight training, it is almost always because they gained muscle without losing fat.
Women come in many shapes and sizes. So do muscles. You can decrease body fat and become more “toned”. However, no amount of stretching or light weight training will change the length of your bones, or change the place where your muscles originate or insert on those bones. Creating the popular, highly sought after “ long, lean” look is a function of losing body fat. End of story.
Learn to work with your body and create the best possible physique for your height and structure. In order to make progress, it is highly recommended to change your workout program and intensity every four to six weeks.
Cardio-vegging (leaning on a step mill and reading the paper) does very little to improve fat loss. In fact, if you do it regularly enough, the body responds by creating more fat cells at the sight of the work area (that means the legs) to keep the fuel source closer to the area of need.
If you want to go for a long run for the pure thrill of it, I’m all for it. But make sure you incorporate interval training into your workout routine to lend variety to the intensity of your energy system work. Running hills, sprinting, and even just cranking up the level on the cardio machine will force you to work harder.
This is unfortunately not true. You make the most gains in strength and fitness as a beginner because of neurological adaptations. The more training years you have under your belt, the harder it is to make continual gains. The best way to keep your gains and to move forward is to change your workout routine every few weeks. Change your exercise, reps, sets, and intensity levels.
Weight loss is only one way to quantify a successful training program. Attaining an optimal body composition is much more important than reaching a goal weight.
The quality of your weight matters, so the more lean mass you carry, the better your overall body composition will be.
In order to achieve the best results, it’s necessary to vary the intensity of your strength training workouts.
NYC Personal Trainer / Strength Coach
Bindu Nambiar is a strength coach and personal trainer at Physiqology Inc., a New York City based personal training company. Bindu specializes in injury rehab, strength training for sport, flexibility, and mobility training.