Why Women Should Use Weight Training: De-Bunking The Myths
“But I don’t want to get too big, will weight training make me bulky?” and “Will I look like a bodybuilder if I use weights?”
Two questions I and every other Personal Trainer will have heard an innumerable amount of times. The female form has an indoctrinated view that lifting weights will make you big and bulky, at least, that used to be the case.
Thanks to a lot of positive media recently, things are changing within the industry. Nowadays women are realising that there are numerous benefits to Squatting, Lunging and Deadlifting on a regular basis. I have trained hundreds of women over the last 10 years or so, all learnt how to lift weights properly, all lost body fat, all increased their metabolism and all grew in confidence from learning how to train effectively.
If you are yet to give weight training a go and are still unsure then allow me to debunk a few myths and give you the low down on the one thing that could give your training and body a bigger boost than anything else.
The Key Is Testosterone
Testosterone is the key hormone when building muscle. Women naturally produce far less testosterone naturally than men, in fact men produce approximately 20 times more testosterone than their female counterparts, hard to believe I know when you see some of the skinny jean wearing Joey Essex types these days but I digress. The key point is that it is inherently harder for females to produce muscle than men, based on the fact we have very different hormonal profiles.
Another reason it will be a lot harder to put on appreciable amounts of muscle mass than your male counterparts lies in your training history. Classically females will err towards more aerobic based training such as Spin classes, Running and Aerobic based classes such as Zumba. When you train this way over a number of years your body will be primed towards this type of exercise rather than anaerobic training such as weight training. This means that it would take a very long time to alter your body’s muscle make up to produce vast amounts of muscle tissue. The higher number of slow twitch muscle fibres you have from years of aerobic training, simply do not have the same potential for growth that fast twitch fibres have.
Hopefully by now you will see that it is fairly difficult to put on enough muscle mass to take yourself into bodybuilder realms, at least without 10 hard years of dedication and some chemical enhancement that is.
So why is it that I am telling you about the benefits of weight training? Why has weight training and its benefits started to gain so much attention in the mainstream media?
To start with I’m going to back track a little, but bear with me as I explain on this. Weight training will allow you to add a little bit of muscle, as long as you train hard and do everything correctly that is. But didn’t you just say it was hard to gain muscle? Yes I did, and it is. But I am talking about lots of muscle.
When I talk about adding a little, I’m not talking about tens of kilos so that your biceps pop out every time you go to add a little eyeliner. I’m talking about 2-3 kilos that will help increase your metabolism and shape the areas you want to fill out a little.
Over the last ten years ago I have spoken to countless women who want to “tone up”. In other words, from my understanding of these conversations, you want a firmer body. Firmer arms aka no bingo wings, a firmer stomach, firmer legs and a firmer bum. Losing body fat is key to this obviously, but what lies beneath the fat once it has been stripped away? Muscle. If you increase the firmness of your muscles and simultaneously drop the fat, you’ll have the lean athletic “toned” look you desire.
As well as the obvious aesthetic benefits of weight training, there are some other great health and wellbeing benefits too.
Weight training has been proven in numerous studies to add density to your bone structure. Not the sexiest of ways to promote weight training I know, but consider the fact that females who train are far less likely to get osteoporosis when they are older and it suddenly becomes more attractive.
What else? Well it has also been proven in numerous studies that those who weight train tend to live longer than those that do not. I like living, so to me this seems like another great reason!
Any more reasons? Women who weight train are just cooler. This has been proven in a scientific study I myself undertook, the study had one participant and was conducted in a double blind manner. In all seriousness I love hearing stories from my female clients out lifting the men in their gym. Rather than be a bruise to the ego of the guys in the gym, I guarantee they will all be thinking “fair play” as you bust out a few Pull Ups or Squat your own bodyweight.
So there you have it, hopefully this article will give you a bit of confidence to go to the gym and start lifting some weights around. Building lots of muscle is difficult for women, put quite simply it is hard enough for most men to put on a lot of muscle even though we tend to have more of the necessary attributes to do so. There are however many benefits to trying to gain a little muscle, plus the whole journey that weight training takes you on can be pretty fun. If you feel that you could benefit from some extra support, then consider my personal training in Shoreditch.