Myths Around Lifting Weights for Women
We understand that there are myths out there around weights and strength training, that exist for whatever reason.
Despite these, we know that many of them are not true and we have seen firsthand how incredible this approach to exercise is for people or all walks of life for any kind of goal!
So lets explore one of the main ones we hear particularly for women…
Lifting Weights Makes You Bulky: – Most people aren’t consuming the amount of healthy food it takes to build a large amount of muscle especially protein, unless this is their sole focus such as for a body builder or powerlifter or other specific sport, but not for the everyday person.
It is possible for the everyday person to put on muscle mass, just perhaps not the amount that social media portrays at times.
Above 30 years of age bone density and muscle begin to decline naturally, as women near menopausal age and their hormones change, the metabolism slows from the muscle loss etc and it then becomes even more important to lift weights. We are sure most people have felt this within their bodies as they age.
Women do not naturally hold the high levels of testosterone to get bulky, males can too struggle on put on size.
What can happen sometimes is that women will put on some fat mass and if they are not looking after their nutrition then there will be an increase in muscle mass and fat mass, if they are doing strength training and looking after their nutrition then this will lead to the desired outcome of muscle gain with fat loss, the ‘toned’ look. This is a balance to find with training and nutrition to achieve the desired outcome.
Body Types Can Play a Part In What Sort of Exercise is Most Beneficial, for all types, weights training is still the foundational method we recommend and see work well.
These are generalisations, the differences between males and females, cultural backgrounds and genetics etc will come into play also.
“What challenges you changes you”
- If you are tall with long limbs and naturally leaner You need strength training in your life without a doubt, although you are naturally great at long distance / any form of cardio. You will need to prioritise protein and carbohydrate intake with more weights training with lower reps, heavier weights and less cardio as you naturally have a fast metabolism which will struggle to put on muscle. Lifestyle factors and neglect of health can lead to a ‘skinny fat’ body.
- If you have a V shape, are naturally broad with a small waist and muscular You get the best of both worlds yet lifestyle factors will impact your ability to fully embrace what is naturally available to you. As a combination type, with structured programming and healthy nutrition choices the world is yours. Lifestyle factors can lead you either way, yet most of the time you will bounce back more easily.
- If you are broad and have a naturally solid proportionate build You will benefit from higher reps/volume with moderate weight and the inclusion of cardio/conditioning methods, this type would naturally be great at powerlifting and builds muscle easily. Cleaner protein and fats sources with moderate less refined carbohydrates will work wonders for you. Lifestyle factors can lead you to experience sluggish energy levels with excess body fat gain.
Benefits of Strength Training for ‘Any Body’!:
- Increased bone density, less chance of broken bones
- Increased muscle mass which: > Helps increase Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) aka bed rest intake, natural metabolic rate with the after burn effect > Helps burn fat > Helps us to maintain our muscle ‘tone’ and fat loss balance leading to less fluctuation in overall body weight and composition
- Longevity, as we mentioned earlier about 30 and above years of age
- Increased strength in everyday life and injury prevention
- Better immunity and health
- Program structure for a solid foundation with muscular balance which is great for posture when we are doing so much sitting in our day to day lives
- Healthy mentality around exercise and personal goals:
> Eat to nourish and to perform which moves people away from the old fad of under eating NOTE on undereating: This is an approach that leads to muscle wastage and eventually fat gain from the stress it puts on the body, a sluggish metabolism as it down regulates with nowhere to move to continue to produce results
> Instead focusing on fuelling workouts with an array of healthy foods and food groups for increased energy levels and performance during sessions, which will only increase the ability to achieve any kind of results. Get out of constant dieting and a constant calorie deficit
- Healthy goals to work towards to increase strength, movement and technicality
- Less focus on the number on the scales
- Builds confidence
- Look better naked
- Better sleep
- Stress release from endorphins
- When we exercise we naturally want to become more active and eat better
- The benefits go on especially the ones from training with others in this type of environment
Where Does Cardio Come Into The Picture, Why Don’t We Lead With Cardio?
- The body’s ability to adapt to cardio is fast, it leaves us less room to continue to improve if we are slogging it in our workouts constantly, especially through steady state cardio such as biking and running long distances which could potentially decrease muscle mass
- When High Intensity Interval Training aka HIIT training is our sole focus, there are too many variables therefore how do we measure the progress of our training, over doing certain movement patterns can make it challenging for our bodies to recover which can lead to injury
- We continue to incorporate ‘conditioning’ into our program at the end of some sessions or on specific days of the week, as we believe having a good base of fitness is still important for our cardiovascular health and especially if we have more body fat to loose, it is great to mix up the approach to training also with a different stimulus
There are many different things we can consider when it comes to how to apply strength training to the individual to help them produce the best results possible, however we keep this as simple as possible. Less thinking for the clients, more thinking for the Coaches, then we tell you what to do… and you learn from us along the way!
We know for sure that strength training is beneficial for anyone and everyone, no matter what their goals are, from increased strength, to fat loss, to muscle gain ‘toning’, longevity, health benefits, improvements in everyday life ability, mental health, energy levels etc.
Programs are meant to be made to suit each individual and their needs in terms of the types of training that will suit their body type and goals as well as any injuries or factors.
From our experience we have seen strength and hypertrophy training aka weights training, trialled, tested and work amazingly.
If you haven’t fully embraced the benefits of this training method and you have struggled to achieve long lasting results, now is the best time to give it a go!
Trust the process and give it time for it’s magic to work.
Coach and Director – The Tribe Strength Through Movement Gym, Bibra Lake, Perth, WA