When I first started Crossfit, some of my friends asked me why I wanted to do that because I will get bulky. It isn’t easy to build muscle, you have to eat a surplus of calories and be very consistent and be intense with weight training. It takes years, unless you are a professional bodybuilder or Games Athlete, to get to the muscles they have. For everyone, building muscle builds strength, and your body is able to withstand the repetitive demands of activities of daily living, with much less effort. It also contributes to your overall metabolic rate, energy, and health.
Today I am specifically talking to all the women out there. I want to debunk the rumors that if you lift weights you are going to look like the hulk. As women get older, it is harder to keep muscle mass and that can lead to the decline in your health. Lifting weights fortifies your bone density, gives you a better mood and confidence, lowers body fat, raises your metabolism, you’ll experience less back pain, injuries and arthritis, it helps with balance and stability, as well as lowers risk of certain diseases. So why are there not more women adding in weight training?
Here are 5 myths about women and lifting weight;
Myth #1; Women shouldn’t lift weights because it is dangerous. Weight lifting is stereotyped as a man’s sport, but there are many elite women weight lifters. Lifting weight can be done by any athlete, from beginner to elite. Anything is dangerous if it’s done incorrectly. With proper form, and correct weight, there is nothing dangerous about women lifting weight.
Myth #2; Women will get bulky if they lift weight. It is true, that if you lift enough weights over a long enough time, consistently, you will gain muscle mass. But you also have to eat an excess amount of calories, and train a ton. It is a slow process, if you are lifting weights three times a week, the increase in muscle isn’t going to be noticeable to most people. So don’t worry about casual lifting turning you into a bodybuilder.
Myth #3; Women can’t lose weight if they are lifting weights. It’s a common misconception that cardio is the only way to burn fat or lose weight. Weight lifting is good if not better for burning calories. Research has shown lifting weight can increase your basal metabolic rate, or the number of calories you burn at rest, for up to 48 hours after you finish your workout. With cardio, you stop burning calories as soon as you stop working out.
Myth #4; Women should use light weight and lots of reps. This is an old wive’s tale that lighter weight will help “tone” your muscles without making them big. Toning is usually referred to for spot reducing a targeted area of your body that you want leaner. Sorry ladies, but this is not real. You can’t tell your body where to lose weight and it magically happens in that area.
Myth #5; It’s scary to learn how to lift weight. As a beginner, walking into a gym can cause a lot of anxiety, worrying about fitting in, or being judged. Particularly this happens for women at gyms in a room full of men. While it can feel overwhelming to know where to start, learning to lift weights doesn’t have to be scary. One way to feeling comfortable is finding a good coach. Coaching is crucial for beginners, but it’s also valuable for even the most experienced athletes to improve their technique and make progress.
Women are bad asses, and excel at weight lifting and experience major physical and mental benefits from strength training. This includes a leaner, more muscular body, better self-esteem and lower stress. There are so many benefits for women to lift weights! If you would like help getting started, learn more or improve what you are doing now, let’s talk and get you into the gym lifting some weight!