Women and Weights - Facts and Fallacies

in Muscle

Fact: Lifting weights will replace lost muscle and avoid further muscle loss

After age 20, if you do not strength train you will lose (or have already lost!) between 2.2kg and 3.2kg of muscle every decade. Fortunately, research shows that a standard strength training program can increase muscle mass by about 1.4kg over an eight week training period. This is the typical training response for men and women who do at least 25 minutes of strength training one day each week. (Although endurance exercise will improve your cardiovascular fitness, it will not prevent the loss of muscle tissue.)

Fallacy: Women who lift weights get big bulky muscles

Most women do not have the high levels of testosterone and HGH (human growth hormone) required to increase lean muscle mass dramatically. By strength training you will be able to replace the muscle you have lost naturally since you turned 20 and (depending on your genetics) a further increase of a couple of kilograms of lean muscle mass may occur if you are lucky. Lucky because more muscle means a faster metabolism, faster fat burning and a major slowdown of the ageing process. Note: the use of anabolic steroids will result in enhanced muscle growth because of the missing testosterone being injected - this is why some female body builders look HUGE!

Fact: Strength training increases your metabolism and reduces body fat!

Research studies have shown that if you increase your lean muscle mass by 1.4kg you will also increase your resting metabolism by 7% and your daily calorie requirements by 15%. At rest, a kilo of muscle requires 77 calories per day for tissue maintenance, and during exercise this figure increases dramatically. If you replace lost muscle through a sensible strength training program you will use more calories all day long and therefore reduce the likelihood of fat accumulation. (In a 1994 study, strength training produced 1.8kg of fat loss after three months of training, even though the subjects were eating 15% more calories each day. That is, a basic strength program resulted in 1.4kg more muscle, 1.8kg less fat, and 370 more calories per day food intake!)

Fallacy: Your beautiful, lean, hard muscle will turn to floppy, flabby fat...if you stop lifting weights

Muscle will not turn into fat; it is as impossible as turning wood into steel! However, if you stop strength training and you are still eating the same amount of food that you were eating while you were training, you will naturally put on fat. This is because if you stop strength training you will naturally 'lose' muscle (use it or lose it!) and so your metabolic rate will decline causing a natural decrease in your daily energy requirements and instead promoting fat storage.

Fact: You are capable of amazing strength - don't be told otherwise!

You have the same 'functional' anatomy and physiology in terms of muscles and response to exercise as men do; meaning....Both men and women require progressive overload to stimulate physiological adaptations in muscle strength, endurance and power.

Your body was built to perform; therefore your strength training program should be based on your strength and not on your gender. There are no special exercises that women should do instead of men and vice versa. We all have the same muscle structure and they need to get stronger. The only difference is men have a higher capacity for muscle hypertrophy (bigger muscles) due to differing hormonal levels.

Fallacy: Women should lift weights at high repetitions and low weight....for 'toning'

The true meaning of 'muscle tone' comes from having adequate amounts of muscle that can be seen under low levels of body-fat. Obviously to do this you need to lift weights so that you have enough muscle visible, however, lifting weights at high repetitions and low weight actually uses your aerobic system and trains your muscles for endurance instead of strength and hypertrophy (muscle gain).

So to make your muscles tight and 'toned' you need to 'build muscle' and this can only happen if the muscle is placed under significant overload (lifting heavy weights); overload can only come from a regular increase in the weights you are lifting. As your body adapts (gets stronger) to lifting a certain weight, that weight will now be easy for you to lift and you will need to lift more weight to create an overload. By using a lighter weight and doing the exercise more times you will be forcing your body to 'endure' more weight but there will no longer be an overload. Put simply; get stronger to maintain/build more muscle and to burn fat faster.

Should YOU strength train?

Strength training replaces lost muscle tissue and means you will have a faster metabolism, faster fat burning and less chance of getting fat!

Strength training does not make women 'bigger'.

Muscle is smooth, lean, hard and small. Fat is lumpy, flabby, soft and big - the choice is YOURS; which would you prefer??

Lift Weights For Your Bones, Your Muscles AND YOUR WAISTLINE!

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Sonja Falvo has 1 articles online

Sonja Falvo is the Body Transformation Specialist at Real Body Enterprises and has helped thousands of people to get the body they have always dreamed of. Author of two books; The Real Body Plan and The Real Body Real Food Plan (available from http://www.realbodyclub.com/shop) and highly regarded public speaker, Sonja can show you how easy it is to lose weight without dieting, giving up your favourite foods or spending endless hours in the gym. Sonja has developed a realistic, easy to follow healthy lifestyle and weight-loss program for real people; find out more by subscribing to http://www.realbodyclub.com/members/newslettersignup.asp

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Women and Weights - Facts and Fallacies

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This article was published on 2010/03/30