Thursday, April 23, 2009

Are You Scared to Lift Weights?

Do you fear lifting weights because you think that you might “bulk” up?

I have heard so many women say that they only do cardio because they don’t want to look “manly”. Well I have new for ya… lifting weights will NOT make you “bulk” up or look “manly”.

First of all, the reason that men can build muscle so much faster while lifting weights is because they have about 10 times the amount of testosterone than women do. For that very reason we will NOT look like a women bodybuilder by simply weight lifting 2-3 times a week.

Being that this is such a “touchy” subject for a lot of women I wanted to share some of the myths about weight training (also called strength training).

1. Lifting Weights Makes You Muscle-Bound While strength training will help you build muscle, women simply don't have enough testosterone, a key hormone for building muscle, to become muscle-bound and appear masculine. The muscle you are able to build lifting weights will only improve your appearance and femininity.

2. If You Lift Weights, Do High Reps to "Tone" Your Muscles Most strength training workouts for women prescribe 2-3 sets of 12 or more repetitions. While higher repetitions have their place in your workout, they do little to improve your appearance. If looking and feeling your best is your goal, most of your workouts should utilize sets of low to moderate repetitions (5-8) for multiple sets. Performing 3-5 sets of 5-8 reps is especially beneficial when dieting, as it is the best rep range to use to ensure you hold onto your muscle. The more muscle you can hold onto when dieting helps you burn fat faster and keep it off once you achieve your weight loss goals. Sets of 12-15 reps will only make you look and feel worse during your diet.

* If you would like to read the rest of the myths click on the link below

Now I don’t even know where to begin with the benefits that you can get from doing weight training, and I’m sure I won’t be covering them all. But here we go…

1. Increased strength

2. Improved balance & coordination

3. Better bone density (lowering your risk for osteoporosis)

4. Fat loss by boosting your metabolism

5. Improves your posture by overall toning your body

6. You naturally burn more calories (Lean muscle tissue is about 20-25% more
active than fat, which means you will burn more at rest.)

7. Lowers your risk for breast cancer & colon cancer

8. Lowers the risk of having Diabetes

9. Improves the heart function (lowers blood pressure & Cholesterol)

10. Lowers the risk of depression (Causes the body for release endorphins which help
to elevate your mood).

It’s always better to start off easy. If you lift too much weight too early, it’s detrimental in so many ways – you might hurt yourself, you’ll be come discouraged, your muscles will take 2-4 days to fully heal, etc. Once you have the techniques down and you’ve prepared your muscles by lifting light weights, then you can decide to progress onto heavier lifting and a more serious strength training program.

When first starting out you may see the scale fluctuate up, but very minimally. I know that the days after I lift pretty hard I weigh 1-2 lbs more, but once my muscles have recovered (and my new improved muscle has burned more fat) the scale goes back down.

For those of you who aren’t real sure as to what to do when it comes to lifting weights there are many sites and books out there than can help you out. Below is a link to a site that shows 40 weight lifting exercises that are designed to tone your arms, legs, waist, back, chest, and shoulders.

Sandy at God Speak’s Today has posted about this very same thing previously. Here is the direct link to that post:
And don’t forget to take a look at her post today on making healthy family meals.



Michele Williams said...

Great tips! I will need to return to read more of your posts.

I have lost 55lbs... I have 175 more lbs to go! A long way, but I know I can do it!

Sandy at God Speaks Today said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sandy at God Speaks Today said...

That is great info, Sarah! I know so many women who are afraid to start lifting weights for fear of bulking up. I know other women who swear that "cannot" lift weights because they have "bulked up" in the past. It's very frustrating...

I love what you said about the higher weights and lower reps. When I first joined the gym (20 years ago!) low weight and high reps were all the rage. But I have found my best results by far occur when I do higher weights and lower reps.

Another great post, friend!

LisaShaw said...

Great post Sarah! Love ya!

Debbie said...

Lifting weights has so many good benefits. I do this about 3-4 times a week. You've got some great info here Sarah. Great Post!