When you think about strength training or weight lifting, as someone who hasn’t done it before, you may be inclined to immediately think of toned and bulky male lifters in gyms.
But strength training is not all about bulking up and body building. It’s a really effective way to burn fat, improve your mobility and get stronger for women too. We often hear myths perpetuated about strength training and women so we’re going to dispel a few here:
Strength Training is Going to make You Bulky
This is completely false. Women don’t get “bulky” just by strength training. Muscle bulk is largely down to testosterone, which women don’t produce enough of to “bulk” in the way men might. And even for men, “bulking” is difficult. So don’t worry that lifting a few weights will leave you looking like a body builder.
Strength Training isn’t as Good for Calorie Burn
Lots of people, when they head to the gym, make a beeline for the treadmill or the bike. And yes, cardio exercises like that are good for you and good for calorie burn. But strength training is a really effective way to improve the number of calories your body burns at rest. There are 2 core benefits that strength training has from a calorie perspective:
- Even after your workout, as your body recovers, you continue to burn extra calories down to additional oxygen consumption. The rate of this additional oxygen consumption is higher after strength training than after cardio
- Muscle burns more calories at rest than fat. Some studies estimate 2 to 3 times as many, so changing the composition of your body to less fat and more muscle can help your resting metabolic rate
You Need to be in the Gym
Absolutely not. While it can be really useful for many to be in a well equipped gym, you can get started at home with some simple bodyweight exercises and a set of dumbbells.
You can create your own home workout on a very small budget – certainly for less than you’d spend on a treadmill!
I’d love to see more women strength training and while there certainly appears to have been an uptake in recent years, you still walk into gyms today and find free weight sections dominated by men. Strength training can make you smaller, leaner, fitter, stronger and healthier. SO why not work it into your fitness regime?