To Lift, or Not to Lift: That is the Question

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Ladies, you can lift weights, even heavy weights, without any negative consequences!  As a matter of fact, there are many benefits to doing so.  At the gym I’m seeing the number of women participating in strength training steadily increasing as word gets out that the myths we’ve all heard about women and weights are NOT true. Let’s refute some of the most common misconceptions:

If I lift weights, I will get too muscular.

Women have a much lower level of testosterone than men, so they are physically incapable of naturally achieving the same level of muscularity as a man.  Women who want to build larger muscles have to work very hard through diet, supplementation, and training and still will never naturally achieve the same level as a man.  Notice that I mentioned “naturally,” because there are products out there for women that can help them achieve muscularity that can rival some of the men. However, that isn’t going to happen without that added hormone boost.

If I lift weights instead of doing cardio, I will lose my femininity and look more masculine.

Lifting weights can actually help you look more feminine.  Cardio does help your body lose fat, but it can also cause you to lose muscle.  Lifting weights helps you build lean muscle and attain those curves that we all want.

Cardio burns more calories than lifting weights.

While it is true that cardio burns more calories when you are actually doing the activity, lifting weights will help your body to continue burning calories for hours after you are finished.  Strength training builds muscle, which helps increase your metabolism because muscle burns more calories than fat.

If I lifts weights, I should only do a lot of reps using light weights.

This type of workout is best for building endurance.  While it will help you to tone up, you would have to do so many reps that you literally could not do one more, which means a lot more work and a longer time at the gym.  By lifting heavier weights and doing less reps, you will still get the muscle definition you are looking for in a shorter amount of time.  If you can easily do 12 or more reps at the weight you’re using, it’s time to increase that weight.

If I lift weights I will gain weight.

OK, this one is kind of true but not in a bad way.  I personally don’t care what I weigh; in fact, I don’t have scales in my house and rarely step on the scale at the gym.  The fact is, the number on the scale doesn’t mean anything.  What matters is how I look and how my clothes fit, so that’s what I use in determining my success at the gym.  Lifting weights may actually cause you to gain weight.  While a pound of fat and a pound of muscle both are 16 ounces, the way each looks is very different.  A pound of muscle will appear much smaller than a pound of fat.  So, if you’re lifting weights, your clothes are fitting better and you can see a difference, who cares if the scale says you’ve gained weight?!

I hope this article has helped you to realize that while aerobic exercise certainly has benefits, you should not shy away from picking up some weights the next time you’re at the gym.  In addition to the benefits listed above, weightlifting can help slow down the aging process by combating the loss of bone mass that occurs as we get older.  As with any exercise, if you participate regularly, you will find that it helps relieve stress and depression, increases energy and sleep quality, and your self-confidence will get a boost as well.

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