Myth 1 – I don’t like weight training because I don’t want to bulk up and look like a man.
While men tend to find it easy to build up their muscles with a few gym sessions and a decent diet, women simply don’t have the testosterone to create as much muscle.
If you’ve seen photos of female body builders or figure competitors that scared you, keep in mind that no one looks like that by accident! Those ladies work incredibly hard for years to build up their muscles, and then follow the strictest diet to lose fat to expose every rippling muscle.
However, a physique that seems fit and shapely to one woman might seem too muscly for another, so if you ever do feel that you’re putting on more muscle than you like, all you have to do is cut down on your weight training. You’ll soon see those muscles shrink without regular training to stimulate them.
Myth 2 – If I do lots of ab/butt/leg exercises I’ll create a flatter belly/smaller butt/slimmer legsDespite what those infomercials might have us believe, the truth is that the only way to get smaller anywhere on your body is lose weight from all over your body. The “simple” answer is to burn more energy and eat less food.
Don’t give up on those strengthening exercises though – increasing your tone and strength does improve the way you look, and a toned body can actually look slimmer than a “squishier” body at the same size.
Myth 3 – If my main goal is to lose weight, I should focus on achieving that before I start lifting weightsIf you’re losing weight, some of the weight you lose won’t be fat but will come from your muscles if you’re not regularly lifting weights. This means that when you reach your goal weight, you’ll have lost fat but may have also lost significant amounts of muscle tone and strength. As well as helping you preserve your muscle tone, lifting weights can help you burn calories for hours after your workout!
While body works hard to recover from your weight training session, your metabolic rate is increased for several hours afterwards, and you burn more calories in those hours than you would if you’d just done a cardio session. An ideal weekly routine for fat loss is 3 to 6 cardio sessions and 2 weight lifting sessions – just make sure you take a day’s rest so you can train hard again next week.
Myth 4 – Only young women can safely start weight trainingEvery woman needs to do weight-bearing exercise to improve and maintain our bone density, prevent osteoporosis, and reduce our risk of falls. If you want to be a healthy and independent 90-year-old granny, starting lifting weights today. Start off as easy as you need to, but make sure you challenge yourself to increase the weight you use each week as your strength improves.