Girl Power! Exposing the three biggest myths about women and strength training.

It’s a common scene in any gym or fitness club. Most of the guys spend their entire workout time in the weight room. Most of the ladies spend their entire workouts on the treadmill, elliptical machine or exercise bike. But occasionally, there is an anomaly…The fit and very toned woman who confidently “crosses over” into the world of weights. Armed only with a bottle of water, workout gloves and a towel, she is almost always focused and seems to happily ignore the common myths of women and weight training.

During this post, I will uncover three of the most common myths about women and weight training. After it’s over, you will see why you too should ignore them and be that woman!

  1.  Strength training will make me bulky and look masculine.

This is the greatest, oldest and most inaccurate myth about women and strength training. The main factor in the size and level of muscle development is the amount of certain hormones (specifically Testosterone) that each person has. I will say this again in a different way just for emphasis. TESTOSTERONE is the main factor in determining the amount of muscle mass that each person can develop. So, as a woman, YOU CAN TRAIN WITH WEIGHTS AND NOT BECOME “BULKY”. What you can become is TONED! Strength training will help everything get “tighter” and leaner and help shape those curves.

 2.  I should stick to only very light weight and do only high repetitions to tone up.

I choose this as a common myth for women but can really be applied to men too. The only way to strengthen and tone those muscles is to challenge them! By challenge, I mean performing weight training exercises that become difficult after about 8 reps. You don’t need to attempt anything that feels impossible. You should to seek a nice burn at around 8 reps. Don’t stop there, though. GO FOR 10! And try to do this for at least 3 sets. Don’t worry if you can’t make it at first. The key is that you’re placing stress on your muscles that will make them grow stronger and look better.

  3.  If I do all this working out and stop, then my muscle will turn into fat.

This is another oldie but goodie and my favorite myth to debunk. Muscle tissue will not magically transform into fatty tissue after a person stops working out. They are two different types of body tissue. This myth is probably so popular because when a relatively fit person stops working out, their diet often changes as well. They will begin to appear softer as a result of bad eating habits and lost muscle. After all, you will either “use it or lose it”. So make sure you “use it”!

Ladies (and Gents) don’t be afraid of strength training. The weights won’t hurt you. In fact, they will help you tremendously with your transformation goals. Any well designed, comprehensive program should include strength training. If you would like a plan designed for you, contact me for help!

Dream Fit. Live Fit.

Weight training will increase your strength and tone your muscles. Not make you bulky!

“Get fit in the gym. Lose weight in the kitchen.”

This wise quote by an anonymous source is probably the most important key to your health and fitness goals! Many people have been mislead into thinking that doing hours and hours of exhausting exercises is the way to lose weight. It is true the you will have to move your body in order to get it toned and into shape. But even more important than the battle in the gym, is the war in the kitchen. I often like to tell my clients that your diet is 85% of your “battle of the bulge”. Since knowing is half the battle, I’m going to give you some basic information so that you will be well armed on your quest.  First, you should have a basic understanding of the three main components that your body needs to function properly: Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats.

  • Protein is what your body needs to build muscle. It usually is “anything that had parents”. From best (leanest) to worst (fattest), the main sources of protein are:Fish, Poultry (including eggs), Beef, Pork and Dairy. Great examples of protein are: baked chicken breast, egg whites, baked fish, turkey, lean ground beef, nuts, greek yogurt, etc.
  • Carbohydrates are the main source of fuel for your body. They give you energy, keep you “regular” and includes whole grains, fiber and sugar. Great sources of carbohydrates are: brown rice, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, whole wheat bread, vegetables and fruit. Not-so-good sources are anything that has lots of sugar. In fact, and I cannot stress this enough, SUGAR IS YOUR ENEMY. Sugar is processed by your body and is often converted into fat. You would be surprised at just how much of it we all consume everyday. A little bit of sugar is fine but it is really important to minimize the amount of sugar we take in. This will be illustrated in the homework assignment that I will ask you to do at the end of this article.
  • The last component is Fat. Contrary to popular belief, not all fats are bad. Unsaturated (good) fats can be found in cold water fish like salmon, trout, tuna, cod, halibut, mussels, oysters, plant based cooking oils like vegetable oil and most nuts and seeds like almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, etc. As you can see, sometimes, especially with fish you are consuming good fats in the protein sources you eat.

How much of each component we all require depends on weight, current level of fitness and level of activity. A general rule of thumb for the average person however is the principal of “1-2-3″. In each meal (generally speaking) you should have 1 part of your calories from “good” fat, 2 parts from protein and 3 parts from “good” carbohydrates. The easiest way to measure this is by “eyeballing” what you put on your plate.

Now that you know WHAT to eat, stay tuned for the next post which explains WHEN to eat. The timing of meals is just as important as the type of meals we eat. I will also be giving you a “Homework” assignment. So get ready!

Dream Fit. Live Fit.