Are you cardio crazed, but refuse to go anywhere near a set of dumbbells? When you feel like you need to “drop those last few pounds,” do you automatically grab one of your exercise DVD’s that’s pure “fat burning” cardio? If you’re gun shy of getting big guns, from bicep curls of course, you’re not alone. For women, there’s still a lot of misconceptions about weight training and a general fear of getting bulky. To help shed some light, I've answered some common questions and misconceptions women have about weight training.
Isn’t cardio better than weight lifting when it comes to burning fat?
Many women feel that cardio workouts are the only answer to their fat burning dreams, but cardio isn't the only way to burn fat. Weight training can increase the amount of muscle in your body, which in turn will decrease your body fat percentage and improve your overall body composition. Furthermore, because muscle tissue is metabolically active even at rest, weight training will help you efficiently burn fat continuously throughout the day. Weight training also increases your lean body mass and has a positive effect on your resting metabolic rate. Bottom line, cardio isn't the only way to burn fat.
Cardio shreds calories, why should women spend time lifting weights?
A study in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that women who do an hour-long weight-training workout burn an average of 100 more calories in the 24 hours afterward compared to if they hadn’t lifted weights. If you strength train three times a week, that’s an extra 300 calories a week and 15,600 calories per year! And don’t be afraid to lift heavier weights. Studies show that women who lift heavier weight with less repetition can burn more energy and experience a greater metabolic boost after exercise.
Will lifting weights give me bulky muscles?
Weight training, while it shapes your body, defines your muscles, and gives you a lean physique, does not turn you into a woman of herculean proportions. If you’re afraid of getting bulky simply by participating in a regular weight training program you can put your fears to rest. Women do not produce as much testosterone as men, and testosterone is one of main hormones responsible for causing muscle hypertrophy/ larger muscles. That being said, because we’re all genetically predisposed to respond to exercise differently, the key is to understand your body and its unique response to weight training. You can then set realistic goals to achieve your desired results.
The bottom line on weight training:
Complementing cardio workouts with weight training will help us achieve healthier, more satisfying results. We become leaner, stronger, and more confident. Remember that a well-rounded workout routine, like a well-rounded lifestyle, is the key to long-term health.