4 Strength Training Myths for Women
Written by Joshua Bové, Founder, AboveFit Training
As a personal trainer and fitness professional of more than 10 years, I've seen many fitness trends come and go. I've seen everything from step aerobics to standing on one foot holding a bosu overhead while doing lateral jumps (whatever that is). Throughout all of this ridiculousness, one thing that has remained consistent -- dating back to ancient times -- is strength training. This training methodology has timelessly proven itself to be the most efficient and effective way to build the physique we are all chasing after. Even though research has confirmed over and over again the effectiveness of strength training, one group is still not convinced -- women. Unfortunately many women still believe in strength training myths that are simply not true and have been debunked by science. Some of the most popularly held myths are explained and orrected below.
Strength Training Myth #1: "Women shouldn't lift heavy because they'll get bulky"
This is by far the number one strength training myth and is still perceived by many women to be true. Here's the truth: when you pick up heavy weights your muscles get stronger, not bigger. If you pump yourself full of testosterone and eat more calories than you are burning everyday, then you will get bigger. Due to the androgenic hormonal differences between males and females, women are generally unable to develop large muscles - regardless of the training program.
Strength Training Myth #2: "You can spot reduce fat"
Your body cannot spot reduce fat in specific locations. If you have flabby arms or a big stomach, doing thousands of bicep curls and thousands of crunches won’t help. Your body is genetically predisposed to storing fat in certain locations and in a certain order. Likewise your body will lose weight in a certain order as well – it might come off your arms first, then your legs, then your belly, then your chest, and THEN your butt. Or in a different order, depending on your personal genetic makeup.
Strength Training Myth #3: "You need to do cardio to lose weight"
When you strength train, your muscles are broken down, and then rebuilt over the next 24-48 hours. While your body is rebuilding those muscles, it’s recruiting more calories and energy to make the process happen (generally referred to as the ‘afterburn’ effect). What this means is that your metabolism operates at a faster level even while you’re sitting on the couch after a workout.
Strength Training Myth #4: "If you want to lose weight, just eat less"
A calorie is a calorie, right? If you want to lose weight, just eat less and will get you there! And if you eat even LESS than that you'll get there even faster! This prevailing attitude just leads to feeling weak, irritable, and frustrated. Yes, eating less will help you lose weight. However, that is not the whole story. Our bodies need real food, and they need enough of it in order to operate efficiently. Bottom line: eat real, high quality (emphasis on high quality) foods combined with strength training, and you will experience long lasting results and success.
In summary, there are many benefits women can experience through strength training, and you shouldn't be afraid to give it a try. I mean, what could be so bad about:
- losing body fat
- gaining strength without bulk
- decreased risk of osteoporosis
- improved athletic performance
- reduced risk of disease
- improved attitude, self image and reduced depression
- reduced risk of injury, back pain, and arthritis
Everyone wants to feel strong, determined, and confident in everything we do. Whether it's fitting into your skinny jeans, moving heavy furniture, or playing with your kids - strength training will benefit you in all aspects of life. Add it to your fitness plan and feel stronger, healthier, and more confident than ever before.
Joshua Bové is a fitness expert and owner of AboveFit Training. For questions on how to begin a strength training program, get in touch through our Contact page.