Why Women Should Lift Weights - Get Toned Muscles
& Burn Fat
look great! You lift weights right? I would love to look like you
but I don't want to bulk up." Admit it ladies! How many of
you have if not verbalized at least have thought about this at some
point in your life? I know I have. For years I was dreading to lift
weights, especially when training legs, out of fear of bulking up.
I was under the false impression that if I concentrate on cardio
and light weight reps, I would manage to keep my legs lean as I
tend to hold most of my weight in the lower region. It wasn't until
I started competing that my perception changed. We women are not
genetically built to "grow" as men do from lifting weights.
On the contrary:
Women do not have nearly as much testosterone as men. In
fact, according to Bill Kreamer in Essentials of Strength Training
and Conditioning, women have about 15 to 20 times less testosterone
than men. Because of this, women are not equipped to grow muscle
at the level a man does.
Women looked "toned" when they develop the muscles
through weight training. Muscle tends to hold more space in
the body reducing the amount of fat someone has. This gives the
impression of a more toned, well defined body as the muscles begin
to shape, reducing the amount of fat you hold.
Heavy lifting in reality promotes strength not size for women.
Most of us have the same goal in mind, we want to look more
defined and toned. Without a significant load, the muscle will not
change therefore the goal will not be achieved. This leads to disappointment,
frustration and ultimately for some, brings about the end of their
training experience. From personal experience I can say that ever
since I started lifting heavy weights, not only do I look leaner
and more toned but my strength has drastically increased. Some women
think they will "grow" overnight from heavy lifting. If
you do, please CALL ME. I want to do what you do!
for pound, muscle takes up less space than fat (muscle is more
dense). "This means I will weigh heavier?" you might think.
What this means is that muscle accounts for one third of a woman's
weight which does affect her metabolic rate (faster) since muscle
is metabolically active. In simple English: muscle chews up calories
even when you are not in the gym, resulting in the loss of up to
50 calories per pound of muscle, without you even trying.
Bulking up is calorie dependent. I cannot stress it enough!
If you eat more than what you burn, you will gain weight and obviously
if you eat less, you will lose weight. There must be a balance between
your food intake and the caloric exertion in order to achieve a
lean, toned and above all, a healthy physique. The most obvious
question is: "What should I eat?" They key is to eat 5
to 6 balanced meals a day. It sounds like a lot of work and maybe
the first time you attempt to do this it is, but if you allow this
to become a part of your daily routine, it will soon turn into a
healthy habit. Some foods that should be included in you daily diet
are: oatmeal, whole grains, eggs, nuts (walnuts, almonds and cashews),
lean meat (chicken, turkey, tuna, tilapia), salmon, green vegetables
instead of red as the latter tend to be high in sugar and oils (olive
or macadamia nut oil).
Muscle doesn't turn into fat if you stop weight training.
Many women fear that if they build muscle and at some point need
to go off their training program, it will turn into fat. This is
equivalent to saying that gold turns into brass. Fat and muscle
are two totally different things. Any person that stops training
usually ceases to follow a diet program as well. This causes a drop
in the metabolic rate in the body. Due to the inactivity, muscle
is lost and combined with poor eating habits the impression is given
that the person's muscle has turned into fat. In reality, muscle
is lost and fat is accumulated.
Weight lifting helps decrease the risk of osteoporosis.
When combining weight training with an adequate amount of calcium,
can help minimize the risk of osteoporosis.
You can decrease back pain and arthritis pain through weight
training. With lifting, not only do you increase your strength,
you also build stronger connective tissues and have more joint stability.
Your self image will improve and your confidence levels will
increase. Self explanatory don't you think? You will love the
way you look! Your overall mood will improve as you naturally increase
serotonin levels in your body.
Weight training does not have to be complex and time consuming.
Many women feel that they need to spend hours in the gym daily in
order to achieve their goals. The truth is you can create a training
regimen to fit your lifestyle. All you need to do to see results
is stick with it.
Hire a professional. When you have decided you are ready
to begin, it would be wise to hire a certified trainer to get you
started on a program and help you ease your way into weight lifting.
Many women feel "lost" as they have no idea where to begin
and how to proceed. Hiring a certified fitness expert is the safest
way to begin a weight training routine. There are also a myriad
of books on the subject of weight lifting where you can find different
training routines, exercises, training techniques and answers to
all of your questions. Some great books include: Strength Training
for Women by Joan Pagano and Total Strength Training for
Women by AmazinLethi, which can be found online.
Ladies, the time to change your perception about weight lifting
is here. There has been extensive research on the matter that has
proven time and again that our fear, and I include myself in this
as this used to be my fear at some point, of bulking up from heavy
lifting is simply unfounded. Give it a chance since it might work
for you. It did for me!
By Vivian Hatzimanolis