Unfortunately in the fitness industry one of the most common myths is that women who lift weights will get ‘bulky’, this has lead to a fear of weight training from women. Most either avoid it completely or just use very small weights in a bid to ‘tone up’, personally my least favourite phrase in the gym.
Check out the women in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMwdAG2xkXI
Do these women look bulky to you or just in great shape? These women are conducting Olympic lifting, most of them lifting some very impressive weights for their size yet none of them look like Arnold Schwarzenegger? Strange! The reason these women do not have vein busting muscles exploding from their shorts and shirts is two fold:
A) A simple matter of genetics and hormones.
Testosterone is the main muscle building hormone in our bodies, without it we wouldn’t go through puberty and develop into adults. As adults it is responsible for, along with a whole host of other things muscle building in the body. The simple fact is that women have far less in their bodies than men do and therefore far less natural muscle building capacity. Simple.
B) Building muscle requires large amounts of food to be consumed.
As the phrase goes, you have to eat big to get big. Speak to anyone who is looking to add size to their bodies and they will speak of the huge amounts they need to consume daily in order to build the muscle mass they desire. Upwards of 6000 calories per day for many. They will also probably tell you that this is not an overnight process, adding just 1kg of lean muscle can take up to 6 months for a well trained person, longer for more experienced athletes. Without this huge increase in the amount of food you eat there will not be any significant muscle gain from starting a weight training program.
The last myths I want to bust before I make my recommendations for women and weight training are on the subject of ’toning up’ and ‘spot toning’. Many people complain they want a more toned body or more toned in a specific part. The way the often approach this goal is with high repetitions of a very light weight, often for a very specific area of their body such as thighs. This type of training DOES NOT produce any kind of stimulus for their bodies to adapt and grow, this type of training will never help them reach their goals.
If you want to ‘tone up’ then you must make your muscles denser and stronger, this is done with a progressive strength training program working on the major muscle groups with heavy weights. Note; I said denser not bigger. Weight training minus massive calorie consumption will improve muscle strength and density rather than size.
If you wish to make a particular body part look better, e.g. Again you need to start a strength training program working on major muscle groups with heavy weights but also complete high intensity interval training. This interval training will help strip fat away from your whole body, including the area you want to look better and will make your newly defined muscles more visible.
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/353884483190424930/ Lifting weights makes women bulky????????
So what do I recommend to women looking to get fitter and stronger whilst also losing weight?
- Start weight training immediately!
- Stick with a 2 days per week program until you get used to weight training.
- Don’t be scared of big weights, you will not get ‘bulky’.
- Get yourself a good quality coach to teach you about strength and Conditioning training.
- Enjoy it. Weight training will get you in the shape of your life, make sure you enjoy the results!
Please feel free to contact me with any questions you have on training for women. Leave a comment or contact us through the website: www.fastlanefitness.co.uk