FemaleF.I.R.S.T, Inc.

Personal Training for Women

Strength Training- Myth vs Fact

What if I were to give you at-home exercises that involved lifting weights? How would you feel? Would you be trembling in your sneakers, with images of 1975 Arnold Schwarzenegger floating in your head?

    Nothing scares a person who’s trying to lose weight more than the idea of strength training. The popularity of bodybuilding has ushered in a slew of myths related to this form of exercise, but it is actually a vital part of getting fit and healthy! Strength training can help you lose weight and strengthen your bones – all without you having to bulk up. Don’t believe me? Keep reading.

    Myth: Strength training will bulk me up.

    Strength training actually burns body fat more effectively than only doing cardio workouts. This is due to the afterburn – the amount of calories your body burns after you workout. Your body can burn calories up to 24-48 hours after a strength training session, which makes it ideal for torching fat. How much body fat should you ideally have? Between 21-33% is considered healthy for females, and 8-19% is considered healthy for males.

     “But Danielle!” you may protest, “Those bodybuilders lift weights, and they are HUGE! How can you tell me I won’t bulk up? They certainly did.” They also customized their weight training to achieve that affect. The results you get from strength training are completely up to you – it just depends on how you train. If you want that bulky, bodybuilder physique, you exercise in such a way that makes your muscles physically enlarge (called hypertrophy) – lift heavy weights with few reps. If you want a toned, lean body, then use moderate weights and a higher amount of reps. Hypertrophy isn’t an inevitable outcome of strength training.

    Myth: Strength training will weaken my bones.

    Au contraire, mon ami! It does just the opposite – it can help strengthen and retain existing bone density, and may possibly help form new bone! This is because resistance training increases stress on the bone – which makes it stronger, not weaker. This is HUGE, especially for women, as our bone mass begins to naturally decline after age 30, putting us at risk for osteoporosis - a disease that reduces the density and quality of bone. Strength training now will position your body to better resist this disease in the future. Take that, Sally Field!

    Myth: I’ll gain weight if I strength train.

    No, you won’t. In fact, females who consistently strength train can only expect to gain about ½ - 1 pound of muscle per month. While that’s about a 6-12 pound gain over the course of a year, you are still burning body fat, so you should see your overall weight go down. And consistent strength training will make you more resistant to weight gain over time. What’s not to love?

    The bottom line: don’t be afraid to pick up some weights (or use your own bodyweight!). The only thing you have to lose is fat, and everything to gain – strong bones, lean, toned muscles, and a healthier body. Not sure where to start? Contact me for a free assessment and we’ll come up with a strength training plan that gets you the results you want – no bulk necessary.