Myths surrounding women’s weight training

strengthtrainingAs a rule, most women are unhappy with what they get to see on the weighing scale. Irrespective of their body type (skinny, boxy, heavy, curvy etc), finding a woman who is completely satisfied with her weight is about as common as finding a hatching dinosaur egg.

When it comes to losing the flab, the extra inches and the extra pounds, women have long been associating themselves with strict diets and cardio/aerobics exercise regimes. Most women categorically give strength training a miss because there are many myths surrounding it. They stay away from lifting weights and pumping iron fearing the ‘muscular look’ that they see on female bodybuilders. Women definitely are doing themselves a huge disservice by falling for these baseless theories.

The most common myths about women and weight training are:

  • Weights make you bulky and muscular: What makes men put on muscles quickly and increase their size is the ability to produce the hormone testosterone in large quantities. As women are biologically incapable of producing as much testosterone, it isn’t possible for them to gain such muscles by indulging in weight training. If it is those bicep-flexing wrestlers and bodybuilders scaring you, it might assure you to know that such women usually resort to synthetic testosterone and other drugs for that manly, sculpted look.
  • Weight training makes you stiff: Weight training has long been unfairly accused of making one stiff. The myth is that as you gain muscle mass, you lose your flexibility. Quite the contrary, actually. If anything, performing exercises such as flyes, stiff-legged deadlifts, dumbbell presses correctly enhance one’s stretching abilities.
  • Stopping weight training abruptly turns muscle into fat: As muscles and fat are two completely different types of tissues, there is no chance of this happening. Just like the diamond sitting in your locker will not turn into coal owing to disuse. However, inactivity can make people lose the muscle they had gained. Most women (and men) who give up weight training also become lax with their diets and this makes them gain fat. This is not equivalent to muscle transforming into fat.
  • Women who lift weights should stick to very light weights: If you are going to do weights, you might as well do them properly. The science behind weight training is that muscles respond to resistance. If the weight is too little, there will be hardly any resistance and thus, hardly any scope for the muscles to be toned.

If it’s a perfectly toned, cellulite-free body that you are after (despite the number that your weighing machine coughs up every morning), include weight training to your exercise schedule. Maintain a high-protein diet, continue to do cardio and add 2 to 3 days of hour-long strength training workouts that target different muscle groups like shoulders, biceps, triceps, abs, obliques, legs and chest for your best body ever.

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