A friend of mine recently got a gym membership. She asked me for some advice, so I told her what I’ve always told every one of my female clients – incorporate resistance training into your regular workout regimen.
“Don’t worry,” I told her, “You’re not going to get big.”
There are quite a few misconceptions about women and weightlifting. The biggest concern: a lot of women, like my friend, worry that lifting weights will somehow cause them to turn into She-Hulk over here:
First and foremost, women simply don’t produce enough testosterone to develop the sort of masculine, overly muscular physique that the average woman is concerned about. So don’t worry about “getting big;” it’s not going to happen.
Here’s one way to look at it. Testosterone is a hormone that is essential for muscle growth and maintenance, and on average, men have about 8 times as much testosterone in their bodies as women. Now consider the amount of time guys spend in the gym working out, trying to “get big.” Trust me when I say that you will not get huge simply by incorporating resistance training into your workout regimen; it’s just not going to happen.
If you’re a female and are still unconvinced, how about this:
Give it a whirl. Try it out. What have you got to lose? You won’t transform into a hideous man-beast overnight (or ever, for that matter). Stick with it for a month or two, and if you start to look even remotely like this:
Stop. Take a break.
(Unless, of course, that’s the look you’re going for.)
The benefits of resistance training are numerous. Here are just a few:
The more lean muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn at rest (“at rest” meaning any time you’re not actively working out). That’s a good thing right? It’ll help you to lose weight faster, and you’ll be able to enjoy more of the foods you love.
You’ll look and feel better. Lifting weights regularly will improve your body’s overall tone. Not only will you be able to fit that dress you bought awhile back, you’ll look that much better in it with a nicely toned back, firm rear, and flatter stomach.
Osteoporosis is a major health concern for women. Regular resistance training helps to prevent osteoporosis by improving bone density and strength.
Not too shabby, right?
One word of warning as you begin your resistance training program:
(Actually, this bit applies to the fellas as well.)
If you hop on the bathroom scale and notice an increase in your body weight after the first few days, don’t worry about it, and don’t quit either. It may seem like your new workout regimen is having the opposite effect of what you intended, but stick with it.
Muscle has a higher density than fat. As you begin to build muscle, your weight may actually increase even though your body’s overall fat percentage is decreasing. This is perfectly normal and happens quite often. The scale isn’t lying - you may be heavier, but if you look at yourself in the mirror, you’ll notice you look a little slimmer than before.
Stick with it, and in no time at all, you’ll begin to shed those excess pounds for a fitter, better-looking you.
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