The perception we have about Weight Training is hours and hours of lifting weights and having beefy muscles and the 1st thing that comes to your mind is, this is not for me.
If you do a survey, 6 out of 10 women will say that her New Year resolution is to “lose weight”.
Many of them might join a gym and will spend hours on the treadmill, elliptical, or other cardio machine. They may even lose a bit of weight. But they still may be “skinny fat”.” There’s a much better approach than this, and there’s a lot of science to support it.
If you’re a woman who wants to achieve a toned, healthy look, resistance training to increase your Lean Body Mass is the best way reach this goal.
I will try to summarize everything you need to know about resistance training, separating facts from fiction. We’ll look at the benefits and safety implications of strength training. We’ll give you some examples of famous women who strength train (and show you their amazing results).
Hopefully this article might encourage you to get on board for strength training and start experiencing its many benefits.
Why do I need to do Strength Training?
We have articulated some of the benefits about strength training in our previous blog. Let’s talk now about why you need strength training.
It improves the overall body composition by increasing Lean Body Mass, there are several other benefits of strength training in addition to being stronger and looking fitter.
#1. Healthier Bones and Joints
Women who don’t exercise can lose anywhere from 3 to 8% of their muscle mass each decade as a result of inactivity. Studies show that doing strength training can promote bone development, reduce lower back pain, and reverse several skeletal muscle aging factors.
In simple words: Strength training is not only good for your muscles, it can help ease pain in your joints and prevent bone loss.
#2. Reduced anxiety
There’s a strong correlation between resistance training and stress reduction/anxiety. According to research, resistance training at a low-to-moderate intensity (<70% 1 repetition maximum) is best for reducing anxiety.
If you’re looking for a way to chill out and relieve some stress and anxiety, try lifting weights!
#3. Improved body image
Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of resistance training is that it can also help you feel better about yourself. According to one study, strength training is associated with “significant improvements in several dimensions of body image, health-related quality of life, and physical activity behaviors, satisfaction, and comfort.”
Now since we have talked about some benefits, let’s now talk about some of the Myths women have about Strength Training
a) It will me look bulky
It is a generally believed notion that lifting weight will make me look bulky and it is not for women, mainly this is for men.
Here’s the truth about strength training: yes, it may cause you to gain weight. In fact, you can probably count on it. But that’s perfectly okay, and here’s why: if the gains you experience are gains in Lean Body Mass, this means your weight can stay the same, or even increase, but you will look leaner and toned.
Muscle is denser than fat, meaning it takes up less space on your body. By losing fat and gaining muscle, you can stay the same weight – or even gain some – but actually be slimmer than you were before. The more muscle you have, the more calories (and fat) your body can burn over time.
With Lean Body Mass, you’ll be noticing positive changes in how you look and feel, that arbitrary number on the weighing scale doesn’t make a bit of difference.
b) I can get toned with Cardio
If you are obese or over-weight, cardio or aerobic exercise is important to help reduce heart disease risk as well as body fat.
Most of us don’t exercise just because it’s good for your heart—they do it because it makes their bodies look better. While cardio has benefits for your heart, research shows resistance training is a proven method for increasing Lean Body Mass and reducing body fat for women.
With Cardio, you not only lose fats but also the muscle mass. If you want a tight, toned, athletic look you need to gain Leas Body Mass, strength / resistance training will help you in achieving that goal.
c) To gain muscle lifting huge is required
It is quite intimidating to see people lifting weights in gym. If you are not thriving to become a body builder, you don’t have to lift huge and heavy.
Good news: first of all, lifting heavy with low reps is just one style of strength training, and secondly, if you’re just trying to tone up and have no desire to look like a bodybuilder, it’s not necessary.
A study on women found that regardless of what the training style was – heavy lifting with low reps or low weights with high reps – strength and muscle gains occurred.
Strength training at whatever level you’re comfortable with yields positive results, and if an attractive, toned look motivates you, you will be able to work towards that goal with low/moderate resistance exercise.
d) I am old enough to start Strength Training
In our previous article , we mentioned about “Sarcopenia”, it is losing gradual loss of muscle mass that begins for most women after age 35. Our inactiveness also adds up to the “Sarcopenia”.
Studies have shown Resistance/Strength training and HIIT are the best counter measure for Sarcopenia. Resistance training is an effective long-term strategy to preserve muscle and positive changes in body composition.
If you’re an older adult, you don’t need to fall for the “adults shouldn’t lift” myth. The science is clear: improving your muscle mass is something anyone can (and should) do.
Celebrity – what is lean look like?
Priyanka Chopra for Mary Kom training
Her looks for the movie was lean and athletic without losing any feminine looks. She took on resistance training beside her normal aerobics exercise. She had a great lean body mass for the movie and completely transformed as a boxer.
Serena is a perfect example of someone who strength trains and is very clearly in amazing shape. Williams weighs 165 pounds and stands 5’ 9”, which puts her just on the border of the “overweight” range of the BMI scale.
On paper, she would seem overweight. However, as is clearly obvious, far from being overweight, Serena is an elite athlete who has done a great job of building Lean Body Mass. Much of her weight is due to muscle, not fat.
Strength training is essential for building a strong body as well as a toned look. It may cause weight gain muscle weight, but you will look leaner and toned. The arbitrary number of your bathroom scale doesn’t matter much. What matters real-world results like looking and feeling good.
How Much Strength Training Do You Need?
Most of the health promotion boards recommend 2 or more days per week of muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms) for all adults.
If you have a chronic condition (heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes), check with your doctor what types and amounts of activity are safe.
For postmenopausal women, researchers recommend doing resistance and weight bearing exercise three days a week (on alternate days).
If you’re new, start with a couple days a week and work your way up from there. Hire a trainer if needed.
It’s your turn now..
“Tight and toned” look many women want is achieved by a mix of cardio and strength training, not just steady-state treadmill-style cardio.
In addition, how you frame your exercise goals is important. So stop thinking in terms of what you want to lose and focus more on what you want to gain (both physically and emotionally).
You can set better goals too: If you set a goal of gaining Lean Body Mass instead of losing weight, you’ll be able to measure the results of your resistance training efforts in terms of lean mass gained instead of pounds lost, which can be quite empowering because it relieves you from caring about what the scale says about your body weight.
So where do you start … or how do you improve your current resistance training efforts? Setting your fitness goals is a good place to start. Once you’ve done that, work with an experienced friend or personal trainer to show you how to perform resistance training exercises with proper form.
Make strength training a part of your lifestyle, and you will experience noticeable results to how you look and feel.
If you’re a woman who hasn’t tried strength training or aren’t getting the results you wanted when you started, now’s the perfect time to jump, or rather, pick up that stupid DUMBBELL.