Annie Get Your Guns! Why Women Should Strength Train

Why is it that the weights section of gyms has hardly any women in them?

Fear is usually the reason and gyms can be intimidating places. But it’s not just because the weights room is usually filled with overpumped, sweaty, grunting men posing around – rather, women don’t do weights because they often think that they will end up looking like them. This is a sorry myth. Women do not produce anywhere near as much testosterone as men (which is the main hormone responsible for muscle growth) and therefore cannot put on as much muscle bulk.

The mental picture that usually comes to mind when thinking about women and weights is of over-bronzed and greased up bodybuilders – most female bodybuilders usually have a genetic predisposition for muscle, work ridiculously hard and take anabolic steroids to make it happen. Women who weight train without the use of steroids get the firm and fit cellulite-free looking body that you see in most fitness/figure shows these days.

Another myth is that if you stop, your muscles turn into fat? Muscle and fat are very different types of tissue, they cannot be turned into one another. You may lose fat when you gain muscle due to an increase in metabolism and you may put on fat if you start to lose muscle because your metabolism has diminished – that’s it!

Here are several reasons for weight training that may change your mind;

Gaining lean muscle mass increases your metabolism – it’s a fact, the more muscle you have, the more calories your burn, even when at rest. You’ll be burning fat even when you aren’t doing anything!

You will look firmer and have better muscle tone and definition

You will have improved functional strength and less prone to injury – our bodies respond to forces placed upon them. Not only will you gain leaner muscles, you will increase the strength of connective tissue (ligaments and tendons) and therefore strengthen joints and help prevent low back pain.

Harvard research found that 10 weeks of weight training reduced clinical depression symptoms more successfully than counselling.

This is my favourite reason – You can offset the ageing effect! – As we get older we lose certain muscle fibres and therefore strength, even elite athletes don’t get away with this. We can strength train the remaining muscles cells to make them bigger, therefore offsetting some of this loss. Furthermore, and especially for women, due to the reduction in oestrogen production, we lose bone density – your body will respond by gaining in bone tissue.

Remember, it’s never too late – your body will still respond at ANY age!

If you have not used weights before it’s best to speak to a professional or even better, get them to work with you. Give us a call if you would like any further advice.

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