Strength training is important for us all to do and lifting weights is a great way to do this, but not everybody does this. Perhaps you’re afraid lifting weights will make you look bulky, or maybe you’ve heard that you only need to do “cardio” exercise to lose weight.
The benefits of strength training for both men and women are immense and go beyond just building up muscle mass.
Five key reasons why you should strength train
- Women more than men, need to meet the essential strain for bone remodelling which is required for the reduction of osteoporosis
- Strength training increases lean tissue mass and decreases fat
- Higher metabolic rate due to an increase in muscle and decrease in fat
- Stronger connective tissues to increase joint stability and help prevent injury
- Increase in self-esteem, being more confident with your body.
So, what’s stopping you? There are several long-standing myths and misconceptions that mean many people overlook strength training as a part of their regular exercise regime
Myth 1: Strength training will make me look bulky
Men and women consist of a different genetic makeup. Women possess just 5% of the testosterone men have, which means that on average man have 20 times as much testosterone than women.
Testosterone is a hormone that creates muscle hypertrophy – growth, in other words – so that means women need to try much harder than men to bulk up. Genetically and hormonally it’s just not possible. Women may experience some weight gain, but this is simply because lean muscle weighs more than fat.
Myth 2: To lose weight, you only need to do cardio
Steady-state cardio and aerobic exercise burns fewer calories than you might think. One study found that it takes an average of 86 hours’ worth of aerobic exercise to lose 1 kilogram.
Switch some of your steady-state cardio and try out interval training or high intensity interval training (HIIT). Adding this to your workout has been found to produce equal, if not better, results than steady state in a fraction of the time (i.e. 10 – 20mins), which is due to the post-exercise oxygen consumption that follows a high intensity workout.
Myth 3: light weights are all you need
Contrary to popular belief, you will not get bulky from lifting heavy weights, in fact you will get just get stronger and look slimmer. Lifting light weights for more reps will build muscular endurance, while lifting heavier weights will build strength and help you reach that goal.
Myth 4: you don’t have time for strength training
If you can already fit in your daily runs, walks, classes or cycle. Why not try and swap the 30-45 min walk or run for a 10-minute-high intensity session and use the remainder 20 minutes for strength training? It has been shown that two full body strength training sessions twice a week is just as effective as three times a week.
Myth 5: If I do sit-ups, my belly will disappear
There’s no such thing as spot reduction, which means your body cannot reduce fat in specific locations. We’re all different and our bodies are predisposed to storing fat in certain locations in a certain order. When you start to lose weight, your body will lose the fat you currently have in a preordained order, depending on your personal genetic makeup. So, for some it might come off your arms first, then your legs, then your belly. Or this could be in a different order, depending on your genetic make-up.
For more information on how to train with weights why not join a Bodypump or EA 30 Class or speak to one of our Fitness Motivators.