And for any woman looking for muscle tone, weight loss, increased strength, a daily fitness routine, rehabilitation, or just overall general health and fitness, there is no better choice than lifting weights.
One of the biggest barriers to effective weight training is lack of knowledge. I have witnessed too many people train year in, year out without seeing any of the results they set out to achieve. To make those weights work effectively for you, you first need to understand how to use them properly, along with sorting out fact from fiction so you can enjoy one of the most satisfying and results-driven sports available.
There are possibly more myths and misconceptions surrounding weight training than any other physical activity. This is due largely to a combination of ignorance and fear. Many people have never stepped into a gym because they are intimidated by the machines and afraid of making fools of themselves. Or perhaps they’re scared of developing huge muscles, which they believe will immediately turn into fat when they stop lifting. None of these fears are justified.
Fiction: Weight training isn’t effective for weight loss.
Fact: Fitness begins in the kitchen eating whole, natural foods and lean meat free from visible fat, sugar and MSG, along with regular weight training to increase your lean muscle mass.
Going on a starvation diet and jumping on the scales may tell you you’re losing weight, but this weight loss is partly due to dwindling muscle and reduced water content in the body. Losing your muscle tissue has a direct impact on your ability to lose weight, as it causes your body’s metabolism to slow down. This means that when you come off the diet and start eating normally, your body will put on weight more easily than if you had never dieted at all.
But with weight training, you can maintain or increase lean muscle, which in turn will maintain or increase your metabolism — improving your ability to burn off fat. Your muscles are the key to burning extra calories when active and at rest.
Fiction: Weight training will make women look like the incredible hulk.
Fact: Virtually every woman faced with the prospect of weight training has said: “I don’t want to develop bulging muscles that make me look like Arnold Schwarzenegger!” But the truth is that most women aren’t capable of building huge muscles, even if they try. Women don’t have the genetic capacity to build muscular size the way men do, nor do we have the high levels of muscle-building hormone, testosterone.
Most women will have to work reasonably hard to obtain a slight increase in lean muscle, let alone developing the type of muscular development of a male bodybuilder. Weight training will result in a leaner and more toned physique. Genetics play a big part, of course, and some women will be able to tone their muscles more quickly than others. Weight training can actually enhance your femininity by creating a well-toned shapely physique.
Fiction: Weight training is dangerous for seniors.
Fact: It’s never too late to start weight training; it improves coordination and strengthens bones, since osteoporosis is a real danger — particularly for women — as you get older. Through regular physical activity, the muscles remain strong and well-toned, the body maintains its flexibility and the chances of illness and injury are greatly reduced.
Amazin is a Prana Samyama meditation Yin Yoga teacher and performance coach with over 20 years’ experience in the health and fitness industry. She is also a former natural competitive bodybuilder and the first Vietnamese internationally published health and fitness author. For more info click on amazinlethi.com