Do you even lift? Is lifting for women? Does strength training benefit weight loss?
If you answered “no” to any of these questions, you need to read this.
The era of “strength training is only for men and will make women look like really buff” is in the past. The fact is everyone, women included, need to incorporate strength training into their workout routines. As a Personal Trainer / Wellness Coach, I hear a lot of things. So I have complied a short list of the most common myths I hear about adding strength training to workouts, and the best advice I can give you.
“But the weight room is… intimidating!”
I would have to agree, the weight room can be very intimidating, especially the first few times. There can be a lot of people and a lot of intimidating looking equipment. You may even feel like you’re the only one who doesn’t know what they’re doing (which I promise you isn’t true).
My first tip would be to find a good outlet for an introductory session. Going into the weight room with a knowledgeable individual such as a certified personal trainer, or close friend who is familiar with lifting weights, might make you feel more comfortable. A personal trainer can also teach you the basics DO’s and DO NOT of Strength Training, types of exercises you should consider, and making sure you have proper form to avoid injury. Another big tip I give my clients is to start your workout with something you are comfortable with + a set of headphones with your favorite music. Starting out where you feel more comfortable will give you the confidence boost to push you out of your comfort zone, and pumping yourself up with your best tunes will get you in the zone to workout and ignore everything else happening around you! If you’re worried about people looking at you, DON’T. People in the weight room tend to learn from others and they are probably just seeing what new things they can learn from YOU!
“But I don’t want to look like a man and bulk up…”
Women generally do not want to lift weights because they don’t want to “look like a man.” The reason why men generally “bulk up” is because they have higher levels of testosterone, and women do not. Women that you see with super-crazy muscles are 10 times out of 10 professional body builders/models and take specific supplements and diets to look that way. A normal 2-3 day a week strength routine will not make you look like that! Strength training for women helps control weight, and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
“Cardio is the only thing that will make me lose weight…”
Wrong. While, cardiovascular exercise is important for everyone’s general health, it will help with weight loss, but it is not the only thing you should focus on. A lot of people think cardio, cardio, cardio, cardio for their recipe to weight loss, and they leave out an important component of fitness, which in fact can HELP your weight-loss goals. Strength training is just as important as cardio, but is rarely treated that way. No, that doesn’t mean you can just do strength training and leave out cardio. With every workout plan, there must be a balance of the two. Strength training creates muscle, and MUSCLE tissue burns more than fat cell does while at rest. More muscle more calories burned while sitting around. (Sounds good to me!)
“I have no idea where to start…”
Everyone has to start somewhere! There are a ton of resources out there to learn all sorts of strength training exercises. Remember, strength training doesn’t have to mean heavy weights and barbells. It can also be using your own bodyweight, doing all exercises where you are your own piece of equipment. Ask personal trainer, gym staff member, pick up an exercise book, and even search online resources that break down muscle groups and different exercises for you to try. Start doing. The more you try, the more you will learn.
Strength training has many benefits for everyone. I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and try something new today!