June 24, 2010 at 2:04 pm EDT | by Kevin M. Norris
Weight training is for women, too

When I consult with a new female client and the topic of weight training comes up as becoming a crucial component of their exercise program, concern and confusion is generally expressed. There are numerous myths and false misconceptions concerning women and weight training.

Lifting weights and muscular development is stereotypically a man’s world and the thought of lifting weights for women is often intimidating, bewildering and unnecessary. Women, by and large, simply don’t know their way around the weight room, or generally feel uncomfortable lifting weights.

Women also generally feel that the effects of weight training will be detrimental to their progress and goals. And given that weight loss is a common goal among women, many women believe that weight training is counter intuitive and will not help with weight loss.

Add to these concerns that the free weight section in most gyms is comprised of the male majority and the atmosphere becomes more daunting.

Women tend to think that lifting weights will make them bulky and masculine, provoke them to gain unnecessary weight and increase their risk of injury.

Don’t allow these myths to prevent you from reaping all the extensive benefits of weight training.

Let’s talk about the benefits of weight training and what weight training can and cannot do for women.

Weight training can help you lose weight. Fat is metabolically inactive and does not require energy to maintain it. Fat just sits there not burning calories and makes you look flabby. Muscles, on the other hand, are metabolically active, burn calories, raise metabolism and increase the rate at which your body uses energy. The more muscle you have, the more overall fat your body will burn and the less fat is stored.

Weight training increases bone density, fights arthritis and osteoporosis, a disease more commonly found in women.

Weight training makes you stronger. Women tend to be two-thirds the strength of men. Not only does weight training increase muscle strength but it also increases joint stability and builds stronger connective tissue.

Weight training improves athletic performance; it makes you stronger, faster, more agile and decreases the risk of injury. Weight training also improves balance and coordination.

Weight training increases brain power and endorphins, the feel good brain chemicals, and can decrease depression. Women tend to feel more confident and capable through weight training, which can assist in warding off depression.

Weight training decreases your risk of diabetes by increasing glucose utilization in the body.

Weight training helps fight heart disease, the number one killer among women. This is attained by improving your blood pressure and lowering sugar and bad cholesterol levels.

Weight training tightens loose ends and changes the overall shape of your body creating a firmer and more solid body. A firmer body creates less “jiggle.” Remember, muscles are underneath the subcutaneous fat and it is the fat that needs to be eliminated.

Weight training slows down the aging process. And the benefits of weight training can be attained at any age.

Conversely, weight training does not make you bulky or masculine. Women simply have too much estrogen and not enough testosterone to increase muscle mass substantially without supplementation. Weight training does not increase masculinity without additional testosterone, which would need to be consumed synthetically.

Weight training does not turn muscles into fat if you stop weight training. Muscles and fat are two separate types of tissue and one cannot transform into the other. Fat is fat and muscle is muscle.

Weight training cannot decrease your flexibility. Bigger and stronger muscles do not get in the way of flexibility. On the contrary, if you perform exercises through their full range of motion, flexibility will increase.

Weight training will not increase your chest size. Women’s breasts are comprised of mostly fatty tissue, therefore it is impossible to increase breast size through weight training. The only way to increase breast size is to gain fat or receive breast implants.

Weight training does not spot reduce any one area of the body that needs improvement. Weight training increases lean mass throughout your entire body and as a result those problem areas will be aided as well.

Weight training is a crucial component in losing fat. One cannot lose fat only through cardiovascular activity.

Realizing and debunking these fitness myths will better equip women with the tools necessary to develop a lean fit body.

The best way to transform a body is to gain muscle through weight training in conjunction with losing fat through aerobic activity and proper diet.

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