"Weight training" - A couple of words that often instils a little fear into women- or triggers a nervous laugh!
The fear that weight or resistance training will make women 'bulky' or masculine I feel is one of the biggest misconceptions in the health and fitness industry that needs to be squashed. I am seeking to prove to any fearful women out there that this is but a misconception in two ways:
1. The physiological science behind and benefits of weight training for women:
Metabolism - what really does this funny word mean? Your metabolic rate is the rate at which your body burns energy (ie. Food) What if I said that you could eat more and still keep the weight off? Muscle is an active tissue, which means it requires constant energy, whereas fat requires nil. If you can build even a small amount of muscle, your body becomes more efficient! Doing a cardio session might burn a couple of hundred calories in an hour of exercise, but what if building a small amount of muscle helped you burn an extra 100 calories a day for the rest of your life!?
Muscles: Men Vs. Women - Muscle hardly exists without the presence of testosterone, let alone actually trying to build muscle without it. Why is this important to know? Men naturally have far more testosterone than women. So sweating over even the chance of becoming masculine-looking is wasted energy! We're talking a lot of weight training in order to accomplish that look. So instead, burn that sweat with your trainer, creating a leaner, stronger and more efficient you!
Why else should women weight train? -The more muscle a person has, the greater their bodies natural immunity to disease is; Weight training builds bone density which is critically important for women during and post menopause; Stronger core, leading to less back pain; Muscle is denser than fat, so takes up less room in your body and the result when combined with an appropriate diet: beach body curves!
2. How does building a leaner, fitter, more efficient you make you feel?
I could quite happily tell you all the benefits of weight training for women till I'm blue in the face- you might be able to tell by now that this is something I'm passionate about! However, we do certain things because of how they make us feel, not always just because 'it's good for me'. So, I asked a few ladies in our studio why they enjoy weight training and how it makes them feel:
Annabel Bruckner: "I love how empowered the weight training has made me feel and how much it has changed my body shape. I can even do chin ups now!"
Kim Ward: "I like seeing the progress of the weights going up each week, testing what I can achieve and like the way my toned body looks in clothes now. It also makes me feel like I am in more control of my body- especially when my trainer helps me with my technique."
Ann D. : "It has completely changed my posture, the way I walk, the way I feel and my focus. I can lift heavier shopping bags, my core is so much stronger and people now think I am in fact younger than I am."
Nadine Foley (Pictured):
"My muscles are more toned without being bulky making my body more feminine. I can wear the clothes I loved wearing when I was younger and feel that I look good which has given me more confidence in everything I do. I would encourage all women to do some form of weight training. You won't end up looking like a bodybuilder, but you will be stronger, fitter and able to cope with whatever life throws at you. -and it's fun too!"
Christian de Stoop