Yep, even girly-girls like me lift weights. Unfortunately, many women are simply afraid to workout with weights. I presume they think they will get too muscular and start looking like a man. Thus, they spend the majority of their workouts chatting it up on the eliptical machine, and never make their way into the weightlifting section of the gym. Does that sound like you? If so, I have a couple questions for you.
Did you know that 1 pound of muscle is much SMALLER than 1 pound of fat?
If you gain some muscle you will likely decrease in size, becoming more compact and tight. Studies show that women typically don’t gain size from weightlifting, due to less of those male hormones that make muscles grow. It is extremely difficult for women to get muscle-man muscles, and I don’t know of any woman who accidentally got big like that!
Are you aware that if you add muscle to your body, you will be able to eat more without gaining weight?
This means that you will burn more calories just sitting around the house. Up to 50 calories daily, per pound of muscle you gain! This is because for each pound of muscle you gain, you increase your resting metabolism. Meanwhile, sweating on the treadmill (cardio) has shown to have no effect on increasing your resting metabolism.
Studies performed by Wayne Westcott, PhD found that the average woman who performs weightlifting 2 to 3 times a week for 2 months will gain nearly 2 pounds of muscle and will lose 3.5 pounds of fat. Weightlifting has more benefits, such as decreasing your risk of osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease and injuries. Without lifting weights you are not likely to build any muscle, and in fact, you lose muscle as you age.
I know it can be scary to enter the weightlifting section of the gym with all those grunting dudes. If you are not familiar with weightlifting, it is worth your time and money to hire a personal trainer for a few sessions to show you the ropes. Ask them to show you how to work your entire body using dumbbells and barbells only (rather than the weight machines). After that, if you still feel uncomfortable in the weightlifting section of the gym, you can buy yourself a few sets of cheap dumbbells and do dozens of exercises in the comfort of your own home.
Finally, in my last harrah in trying to break your fear of weightlifting: If you start to think that you are getting too big and muscular, just stop! It’s a no brainer. If you are truly one of those women who gets too big, give yourself a break from the weights and your muscles will shrink. Muscles are not easy to maintain. When you are ready to resume weightlifting again, use lighter weight with high repetitions to maintain your muscle mass.
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