Here are some of the things I hear everyday come out of women's mouths, that are....well, they are dumb. Now I don't blame you, I blame the lies you have been fed, and I want to educate you a little bit, so you don't say the same dumb things.
" I just want to tone up, I don't want to bulk up."
" I am going to do pilates, because I want to be long and lean."
" I am going to lift these little sissy weights because I am a girl."
Ok, I don't hear that last one, but it's true.
Strength training is SO super important, especially for women! It can make your bones denser, and stronger, it can make your heart stronger, and work better, it can help control blood sugar, it can help regulate blood pressure, it can make you run faster, and jump higher, and deliver O2 to muscles better, it fights oxidative stress, .....are you getting the picture? It's REAL good for ya. Not to mention it makes you look like Megan Fox, and Jessica Biel, and there is the added bonus that if you need to move around your furniture, or lift something heavy at home, you can just do it yourself.
Here are some things to keep in mind when strength training:
1.You are NOT going to bulk up. I repeat, you are NOT going to bulk up. One more time, you are NOT going to bulk up.
- Most women do not have the amount of testosterone in their body to gain muscle mass like men do. We just aren't made to do it. God wanted us to be soft and pretty. The women that you have seen pics of that look like dudes spend about 6 hours a day in the gym, and supplement TONS of protein, and generally are on massive amounts of steroids. So don't be scared because it's NOT going to happen. Now, don't tell me this little comment I have often heard, " Well, i have lifted before, and I started to gain alot of muscle mass". No you didn't. Look back at pics. You didn't.
2. It's not the pilates that makes you long and lean. Pilates is strength training. You do it, you build muscle. If you have long legs, it is not due to pilates, it is due to genetics. If you have short legs, they are not going to grow no matter how many "hundreds" you do. Pilates is a good form of core strength training, but it is not enough!
3. You must, I repeat, you must pick up a weight that is heavier than your purse. I do not let my clients touch a weight below 8 lb dumbells unless we are working rotator cuff. You are capable of lifting heavy objects, so do it. Don't be scared! Remember- you are not going to bulk up. ( But US weekly says lift light weights and do pilates and I will look like Gisiele...) Nope. Sorry. Waste of time. You have to stress your body to make it adapt and get stronger. If you are using 5 lb dumbells ( unless coming off an injury) you really aren't stressing anything.
4. The appropriate way to pick what weight to use, is trial and error. Start conservative if you are just starting a strength training regimen to avoid injury, you can always add more. I recommend doing 3 sets of 12-15 reps of an exercise. If you have used an appropriate weight, the last rep of the last set will be impossible. To gain the most benefit from your resistance training, always go to failure. Failure means just that, you fail to complete the last rep.
5. There is no such thing as "toning". You can build muscle, and make it stronger, but it does not just get a little nicer. What you think of as "toning" is actually called hypertrophy. Building muscle.
6. But I read that lifting weights will make me gain weight. You know what? At first, it might, but it will not make you gain fat. It will actually burn calories and help you get rid of some fat. A few things happen when you start lifting. Your blood volume increases. Your bone mineral depositing improves making bones heavier. You gain a little muscle. Your muscles learn to work better, therefore they hold more water, water is heavy. The pay off is WAY bigger in the long run than the 3 lbs you might put on a month in!!!!
So now you aren't scared of strength training anymore. Good thing we cleared up all that false information out there. Any time you want to get started with a strength training program ( now is a good time) I recommend meeting with a qualified trainer to make sure you have proper form, so as to prevent injury and get the most out of your workout. And of course if you have had any surgeries or recent injuries, get a doctors clearance before starting any new exercise, and disclose this to your trainer.
If you need any scientific sources for this info I can get it for you, but all this came from my big ole brain because I am super duper smart. Like WWAAAAYYYYY smarter than your average bear. ;) Don't hesitate to post any questions you may have in the comments section, I PROMISE somebody else was wondering the same thing.