By Karen Sessions NSCA-CPT
I’m going to trash some nagging myths regarding weight training for women. You may or may not have heard these, but if you have, I want to smash them again because if you hear wrong information too much, it can implant itself into your brain without consent.
Nagging Myth Number One:
Women who weight train will get bulky
This horrid rumor that weight training for women results in overly bulky muscles prevents a lot of women from even entering the weight room. To satisfy rumor starters, these ladies participate in aerobics classes and become cardio queens and don’t even come close to their true athletic ability or desired body shape. Those who dare to become bold and venture into the dungeon of iron find the lightest pair of dumbbells to work with and rely on cables and machines for the majority of their workout.Sure, light dumbbells, cables, and machines can help in adding some lean muscle tissue and increase your metabolism, but why limit yourself? I don’t care how much you can lift; you will never get huge and bulky by weight training as long as you produce more estrogen than testosterone. Those women you see who do sport the She-Ra-type body have specifically trained and eaten for it, and let me tell you, it’s not easy.
As a female, you can only build so much muscle, and that’s it. From there, you can increase muscle density, but you will never pack on the type of mass you see on true female bodybuilders. Rather than think of the weight room as an iron clanking sweat box for men only, look past that and think of the benefits weight training provides.
Regular weight training:
- Improves circulation
- Improves sleep
- Increases your metabolism
- Improves bone density
- Reduces depression
- Increases metabolism
- Improves self-esteem
- Lowers body fat
- Lowers appetite
- Burns calories
- Strengthens your mind
- Slows the aging process
Nagging Myth Number Two:
I don’t want to look like those female bodybuilders, they look masculine
Sorry, but masculinity is a personal choice in women. Weight training can’t form who you are no more than it can choose your spouse. This is just another form of labeling developed through ignorance and fear. Bodybuilding is an application of training and nutritional sciences, not a gender change. Weight training develops lean muscle tissue and proper nutrition burns body fat. Madonna, Janet Jackson, and Sharon Stone obviously weight train intensely and eat properly, as it shows through their bodies. This is not to say they are bodybuilders, but they certainly apply a form of it into their lifestyle. Anyone who disputes these ladies femininity is gravely mistaken and really must reevaluate their selves before judging others.
Nagging Myth Number Three:
Bodybuilders are unhealthy
Negative. Bodybuilding is about building the body inside and out, including the mind. Bodybuilders are some of the healthiest people in the world.
The idea that bodybuilding is unhealthy comes from detailed contest preparation we must go through for show. The last few days before a bodybuilding contest are unhealthy, but that’s just a few days a year. What makes the final few days before a contest different from the rest of the year is we severely cut our calories, macro nutrients, and water to make weight or look a certain way. This is really no different than any other sport (jockeys, wrestlers, etc) or models that live on lettuce and water.
Bodybuilding competitions is actually a sport of illusion. You would be amazed at how a bodybuilder looks once they dye their skin, apply oil, and stand under bright stage lights creating shadows. It’s 100% different than what that person look like backstage or in their living room. A 110 pound girl on stage can appear to weigh 130 pounds or more. It’s all an illusion and bodybuilders are the master of the art.
Nagging Myth Number Four:
Light repetitions with more reps get you cut and defined
Oh how I wish that was true. That means I wouldn’t have to diet intensely for contests. If light weights and increased repetitions defined your physique, there would be a lot more women in the gym with detailed cuts. Light weight and numerous repetitions build muscle endurance. Diet and cardio help you to lose body fat which helps get you that “cut” look in the end.
Nagging Myth Number Five:
If I stop weight training, my muscle will turn into fat
The myths just keep getting worse and worse. Muscle and fat are two completely different tissues in the body and one can’t change into the other. If muscle could turn into fat, wouldn’t you think that fat could turn into muscle? I am deeply saddened that there’s no scientific proof in finding that fat can turn into muscle. If any one could make it a possibility, they would be richer than Bill Gates.
The fact is, you can either reduce or increase your lean muscle mass and you can either reduce or increase your fat mass, but you cannot turn one into the other. Your goal in fat loss and an increased metabolism should be to lose fat and increase lean muscle tissue.
Conclusion to Feminine Iron
Even though we assassinate these myths daily on my forum, one fact will remain the same. There will always be someone who believes at least one of them. That is why I think it is important to hit these myth busters time and time again, to keep the information fresh in your head and for you to understand that weight training and bodybuilding are healthy and they do reshape your body without all the negative side-effect that people simply make up.
Karen Sessions NSCA-CPT
P.S. For more ground breaking bodybuilding information check out Iron Dolls – Female Bodybuilding Secrets!