Why is it that so many ladies that want to get fit or lose weight run a mile when you suggest that they incorporate some weight training into their routine? You hear all sorts of excuses but the main one seems to be “i don’t do weights cos i don’t want to get too big or look manly”. At this point I haver to stifle a laugh. I lift weights at least three times a week and am continuously disappointed at my lack of progress in terms of building muscle so believe me girlies you just aint gonna get big and bulky just by throwing a few dumbbells around a couple of times a week.
It’s most likely that the few pictures you have seen of very muscular or bulky women are training their arses off 6 days a week, shifting poundages that a small elephant would be proud of and eating mountains of protein heavy food that would make the Man V Food guy turn white. Not only that but the really biggest ones are almost certainly on steroids or Human Growth Hormone.
I can’t say this with enough stress. Lifting some weights WILL NOT make you big and bulky.
So why I am I advocating that you SHOULD add some weights and resistance training into your programme. Well a few reasons really. Firstly Cardio does have its place and will help you a)get fitter and b) lose some weight. Cardio does burn calories and as part of an overall programme is great for your heart and overall fitness. However your body quickly adjusts to it and when it does adjust it starts to become less effective very quickly. Not only that but after a while it can start to burn not only calories but also muscle tissue (How many long distance runners have you seen with great figures?).
By contrast doing some resistance based weight training (It doesn’t have to be too heavy, don’t panic) will have a number of very positive effects. It will also burn calories just like cardio but if done in the right way and with some intensity and speed it will also light a fire under your bodies metabolism. What does that mean? Well with normal cardio you burn calories whilst you exercise but once you stop you almost immediately stop burning calories. With weight or resistance based intensity training you burn just as many calories but because of the muscular effort involved your metabolism lights up and your body actually continues to burn calories at a much higher rate for many hours afterwards. So when you are back on the sofa watching TV later that evening your body is still working hard shedding weight as a result of your earlier efforts, how cool is that. Metabolic training can be done in loads of ways and the variety is also fun and makes your training very enjoyable.
Another great effect of using weights is that it tones and shapes while you train. You won’t get hugely muscular arms but you WILL tone up your bat wings, get a more shapely butt, tone up your thighs, iron our some cellulite etc etc. ALL things that cardio alone just can’t do.
Finally shifting some weights now and then improves your over all strength. It makes your muscles, bones and joints stronger and more resilient. As we all get older that is key in preserving your mobility and physical health.
So ladies. Please don’t be afraid of or turn your nose up at picking up some heavy stuff now and then. It will do you the world of good, make your butt tighten up AND be far more effective at helping you lose weight than a boring hour on a cross trainer will.
If you have any questions please email and future posts will include more info on Matabolic training and weights for women.