True or false...
Lifting weight makes women big and bulky?
Strength training is all too often associated with men. You only have to walk into a gym to see the free weights area crowded with male bodies. Much of this comes from the notion that lifting weights will make us lasses look bulky and big so we should stick to aerobics and dancing. But is that true?
The truth of the matter is that until you've experienced what it's like to feel strong, it's not something you really appreciate. When I was training for the London Marathon 5 years ago, I was blighted with injury and needed the skills of a sports physio to keep me going and get me to the start line. I now realise that had I been supplementing my running with resistance training at that time, I wouldn't have just been able to run faster - and very likely capable of reaching my target time of 4hr 30 (which I failed miserably to hit!) but I would also have had a much more pleasurable and pain free experience.
The truth is that for the vast majority of women achieving a 'built, muscular' appearance is actually incredibly difficult to achieve - think live, sleep repeat in the gym - We just don't produce enough testosterone for that kind of growth. What strength training will do is leave you strong, shapely and sexy! That sought-after hourglass figure, comes from the definition provided by less fat and more muscle... yep, that's right, strength training doesn't make you bulky, but it will make you fit (in more than one sense of the word!)
Plus... there's more, take a look at all of these
- increased metabolism - more muscle burns more calories!
- fat loss - your calorie burn is increased during AND after you finish training!
- greater body confidence
- increased strength
- increased bone density
- reduced risk of osteoporosis
- stronger and more efficient heart
- reduced risk of heart disease
- lower blood pressure
- reduced risk of Type II Diabetes
- increased levels of good HDL cholesterol which transports fat away from the arteries and back to the liver
- reduced levels of bad LDL cholesterol which can cause fatty deposits in the arteries and contribute to heart disease
- improved brain function
- improved concentration and memory
- short term relief from depression, anxiety and stress
- better sleep
- increased energy
- better joint movement
- eradicate joint pain
- become faster and better in running / sport
- move heavy furniture without help
- you'll become a role model and an inspiration to the young girls in your life!
True or false...
Lifting weight makes women strong, confident and healthy?
Where should I start?
Although the name weight training is suggestive of requiring a whole world of equipment or having to sign up to a gym before you can begin, that's not a requirement. Start with your own bodyweight. Squats, push-ups, planks, rows can all be done with minimal to no equipment or with things you have around the house or park.
The key to resistance training is to make sure that your form is spot on and that you progress at the right levels for your ability and goals; not too light but not too heavy too soon either, keeping within the right rep ranges and sets, giving yourself adequate rest, just for starters. For that reason, it is a good idea to book at least a few sessions with a fitness instructor or personal trainer to make sure you're doing things right and you're not going to injure yourself.
Alternatively, there are many classes out there now which involve lifting free weights, such as BodyPump or that incorporate bodyweight training such as British Military Fitness which are also great places to get started.
I absolutely love taking my clients - men and women - on the amazing physical and mental journey of weight training. If you'd like to find out more about training with me, contact me here or give me a shout over on my Facebook page.