Women and Weight Training - Part 1

Whenever I suggest weight training to a girl, I seem to get this bewildered and shocked look.  Most girls go to the gym just to ‘keep fit’ and end up doing a few minutes on every piece of cardio equipment that there is in the gym!  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not taking anything away from cardio, and I do believe in doing cardio, but it does have its time, place and purpose.

Most girls give the impression that they are scared of the weights section of the gym and say it is only for the guys.  Girls, you really shouldn’t be scared of it at all, as everyone’s there for one reason (well at least they should be), to train.  Another reason, and one of the most common ones I keep hearing of,

is the misconception that if a female trains with weights they will ‘bulk’ up and gain a lot of muscle creating a more manly look, and an unfeminine appearance.  What you need to understand is that these very big and incredibly muscular women, whom you see in some of these bodybuilding competitions, have been taking testosterone and other anabolic steroids (in addition to working hard, eating right and training intensely).

These anabolic agents enable them to build such large amounts of muscle compared to an average woman and even the average man.  You see women do not have sufficient amounts of testosterone within them to allow for such extreme muscle growth, no matter how much weight training you do.  Granted some women will grow quicker than others, while some may lose weight easier than others, but the reasons for this can be quite vast.  It could be due to such things like different genetics, different diets etc.  In the end we are all unique and may respond differently to different things.  That catch is to experiment and find what exactly works for us individually.

So what’s the point and the reasons for all this hype on weight training.  The reason is that there are so many benefits associated with weight training:

1. Increase your overall muscle mass on your body

This in turn raises your metabolism and allows you to burn more calories at rest.

Muscle burns more calories at rest than fat.  Muscle needs more attention than fat.

In simpler terms while you’re just sitting, the muscles on your body need a supply of nutrients and blood constantly to repair, build and maintain the muscle as opposed to fat which needs far less nutrients.

2. Increase in appetite

Your appetite should increase and thus you can eat more without gaining a lot of fat, and with the training you are most likely going to need those extra nutrients.

3. Deeper sleep

You will sleep like a baby!  Weight training will definitely help you get better sleep.  Ok pretty much doing any physical activity will help with sleep, but weight training also stimulates the release of growth hormone.

When you have a good deep sleep, your body releases small amounts of growth hormone.  This helps with a number of bodily functions from creating hair growth, fat burning and how the body stores fat, all the way to aiding in the reduction of wrinkles, as it stimulates growth and cell reproduction and regeneration.  It also aids in repairing your muscles.

Growth hormone production in our bodies declines as we get older, thus the reason why we should maximise its effects while we can.  This is why we see so many of the older celebrities getting growth hormone ‘treatments’ to make them look so much younger.

4. Tone and tighten up

Weight training helps you achieve that toned and tight look.  It tones your muscles far faster and better than any other form of training and also assists in keeping your skin tight.  Another big thing which girls hate is cellulite, which it helps getting rid of.

5. Release endorphins

When you train, and get your heart rate up your body releases these ‘feel good hormones’ and endorphins which help to calm and relax yourself, even after the training.

And to some it’s a form of release, which is really a big plus with all the stress of our everyday lives.

6. Increase your self confidence

It will make you look and feel even better about yourself!  I don’t think we even need any other reasons to do it besides this 😉

Something I really love about it as well, is that it forces you to become disciplined and enables you to attain a lot more focus both in an out of the gym.

Women and Weight Training - Part 1 - Looking Good

If you don’t have that motivation to hit the weights alone, try get a gym partner to join you, and by doing so you two can push each other and ensure you both do everything correctly.  Or better yet take your better half with you and have fun together.  But if neither of these cases works out for you, don’t be sad, you can always start with one of the classes that they give at the gym.  Just find out what the class entails, as there are many different ones for all different goals and types of training.  Try to find one with a lot of resistance type exercises with bands and even some with weights or kettle bells.  If in doubt speak to one of the personal trainers or one of the aerobics instructors, they should be more than willing to help you.

Here’s a great article on how to bench press for the ladies, A Girl’s Gotta Bench It’s all good to train hard and intensely, but if you do not eat right, you may never achieve the results which you want.

Check out Part 2 of this article, more focused on the right nutrition for women:  Women and Weight Training – Part 2 – Getting Clued Up on the Right Nutrition

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