Talking to women clients is always eye opening to me. When I tell them that I specialize in strength training, I always get the same response. “I don’t want to get big and bulky, I just want to tone.” I’m not sure where women have heard this rumor that strength training will turn them into a bodybuilder the second they touch a weight. Other women clients that I work with love lifting weights. It’s a mixed bag. Let’s take a look at some of the myths out there that draw women away from lifting.
Women shouldn’t lift heavy or they’ll get bulky
If your fear is that you’ll look a body builder with muscles popping out with veins covering your body, you’re wrong. Those women that look like that have trained for years, eat for muscle gain, and take supplements (some illegal) to look like that. Lifting heavy weights and eating at a caloric deficit will make muscles stronger and denser. When this happens, fat is also burned and that “toned” look is achieved.
You can spot reduce fat
You don’t get to choose where fat goes so why would you be able to choose where to lose it. Doing a specific exercise for a specific muscle (isolation training) will make that muscle stronger but will not burn fat in that specific area. You are actually genetically predisposed to storing fat is certain parts of your body. Eating right will help to reduce fat everywhere.
You need cardio to lose weight
Some people like to run. They find enjoyment in it. Some people like to lift because they find it enjoyable. It’s up to you. Lifting weights is a great way to burn calories not only while lifting but for hours after lifting. Just like before, nutrition will make all the difference in losing weight.
One plan will work for every woman
Everyone is different. There is no cookie cutter program that is going to work for everyone. The body reacts differently to different stimuli.
Men and Women should train differently
While sometimes, women may seem like different creatures, they don’t need to train like it. Women can train the same way as men. Often times they can train even harder than men. They can do the same exercises.
Eat less to lose weight
My wife is a prime example of this thought. When she doesn’t eat she gets “hangry.” A combination of hungry and angry. Eating less will help you lose weight on paper but you might just turn into a hangry monster. The truth is we need food to operate. Not eating is a recipe for disaster. If you don’t eat you won’t have a good training session as you will run out of energy quickly. Think of your food as gas. If you don’t fill up your car you won’t move. If you fill it up with the right fuel you’ll go much further.
Older women shouldn’t strength train
Studies have shown that post-menopausal women have healthier bones and improved muscle mass, strength, and balance in comparison to those women who don’t strength train.
Sean Willitts is an ACE certified personal trainer. He graduated from Kutztown University in 2015 with a bachelor’s is sport management and a minor in fitness. Including training at Body Elite, he is also a record holding powerlifter. He uses his practical experience and knowledge to help his clients achieve their strength and fitness goals.