Why Women Fear Weights
by Lindsay Seamans
A lot of women are afraid to lift weights for several reasons, be it the fear of becoming “manly” with huge bulky muscles or not wanting to become “stiff” or inflexible. I’ve even heard it from a few of you that train at our facility! I’m going to help debunk a few fitness myths and fears when it comes to the female body!
Fear #1: Gaining Bulky Man-Muscles!
Women cannot gain huge bulky muscles like men simply because we lack the right amounts of testosterone. When we see “women” who ARE huge and bulky (female bodybuilders), they look like this because they are most likely taking men’s hormones, steriods, and/or HGH. Regular everyday women, much like ourselves, will never look like these “women” unless we do the same to ourselves! If you’ve trained previously somewhere else and somehow had one muscle group get much larger than any others, you were probably on the wrong exercise plan! Women can become cut and lean through the right combination of diet and exercise; think about fitness models, but they workout for a living and are paid for how they look. I know I don’t have the time nor energy to even begin to look like these ladies!
Also, I can speak from experience on the whole not gaining mass amounts of muscle. I’ve been working out and lifting for over 3 years now. It has taken me 3 years to get down from around 25% body to 14.7%. I also lift HEAVY. Everytime. I can squat over 155lbs. and deadlift 135 lbs., and I am by no means manly! I know that while I would like to be even more cut and more lean though, and it will take a lot of work and sacrificing on my end (cookies, cake…).
Plus, training with weights is good at staving off osteoporosis!
Fear #2: Becoming Stiff and Rigid
Some women fear that working out with weights and getting man-muscles (impossible, see above), will make you stiff and inflexible. Not true. If you’re stiff and sore the next day, you probably had an amazing workout but you have a lot of lactic acid buildup and you didn’t stretch. We don’t practice stretching before working out because studies have shown that stretching cold muscles isn’t beneficial to your workout performance. (It doesn’t hurt, but it’s not shown to do anything.) We encourage everyone to stretch after class, get a foam roller (if you don’t know what one is, ask me or Doug, and we’ll gladly show you!), and do Dru’s Power Yoga class to get the really sore muscles stretched out. And if you don’t know how to stretch a muscle, ask us! Another great way to push out lactic acid ANYWHERE in your body is by running, so the day after a big workout where you used some big weight and you’re really sore just go for a 15-20 minute slow jog.
Strength training also helps strengthen ligaments and tendons, which can help you be even more flexible. Doing the exercises we come up and including the full range of motion of that exercise will actually help in this regard too in helping your muscles move in all directions.
Fear #3: Afraid of BIG Weight
Fear not the big weight! It really really won’t make you bulky! I lift more weight than some of the men in the building and I’m TINY! Lifting weights will help you get toned! As you get stronger and stronger, the weight needs to be increased in relation to your strength. Otherwise it can become too easy and then you get bored, and once you get bored you stop coming. Sound familiar? Using a variety of weights will help keep the workouts interesting!
Now that the fears are done, let’s start on the myths!
Myth #1: I Can Eat Whatever I want!
Technically speaking, yes. As long as you burn more calories than you take in, you should be able to lose weight. However, is that cheeseburger helping your arteries get the right amounts of oxygen to your muscles, brain and heart? Probably not! That’s why we suggest lean proteins, lots of FRESH fruits and veggies, and whole grains. Got it? Good. (We also have some awesome recipes on our Facebook.) While you can technically eat whatever you want as long as you burn off more than you take in, you still need the proper types of food; just because you burn 3,000 calories a day doesn’t mean you can eat 2,500 calories worth of crap! You need high octane fuel in your engine to burn through our tough workouts!
Myth #2: Women Should Only Do Cardio
Really? Says who? Here’s how working out works: cardio burns fat but doesn’t build muscle, ie.: getting toned up and helping us get rid of all of those trouble spots (granny arms, love handles,cottage cheese ass, etc.). Cardio works by getting your heart rate up. Weight training builds muscle (tight abs, firmer arms, toned legs, etc.) but doesn’t burn fat like cardio work. If you don’t lift, you won’t build muscle, and if you don’t do cardio, you won’t burn the fat needed to see said muscles. Therefore, it’s essential to do both and what we like to do is combine them into one workout, sometimes in the same exercise, this is what makes our workouts so unique and what gets results.
That being said, our workouts at PRIDE Conditioning are designed to get you in great shape and one of the biggest ways our workouts accomplish that is by combining weight training, heavy weight training, with multi-joint and multi-muscle group exercises and cardio work.
So stop being scared of the weights ladies! Now let’s go lift!