Think that weight training is only for men? Worried that it wastes time which could otherwise be spent on calorie-burning cardio, or that it will make you look bulky? If so, you’re not alone. Many women avoid weight training for these reasons. However, the reality is that weight training can be an invaluable part of any workout routine — if you use the right techniques, that is.
Here’s a closer look at four myths and misconceptions about fitness weight training, along with one way to make sure you’re getting all of the benefits of hitting the weights: hiring a personal trainer.
1. Cardio is the key to burning fat.
Sure, aerobic exercise is a terrific way to burn calories, but when it comes to blasting fat, there’s no substitute for weight training. In fact, researchers at Penn State determined that when dieters were placed into three groups — a no exercise group; an aerobic exercise group; and an aerobic exercise and weight training group — those in the weight training group lost a whopping six pounds more fat than the others even though participants in all three of the groups lost an average of 21 pounds.
The takeaway, according to Active.com, is clear. “The lifters’ loss was almost pure fat; the others lost fat and muscle.”
In other words, if you’re looking to achieve a truly lean, toned, flab-free physique, lifting weights may offer the best pathway to success.
(Swimming is another great way to tone up. Sign Up for an Aquatic Session today to start seeing results. )
2. Women should only lift light weights.
Popular “wisdom” has long held that while lifting heavy weights may get the look Arnold Schwarzenegger is going for, it may result in a less desirable muscle-bound look for women. As it turns out, however, women’s bodies don’t increase lean muscle mass as easily as men’s bodies do, so this concern is unfounded.
Explains the American Council on Exercise (ACE), “Due to the physiology of the female body, compared to men women produce much less testosterone. That means that adding two days of resistance training to a weekly exercise regimen can increase lean muscle mass, but it won’t add pounds of ‘bulky’ muscle. Strength training can cause women to produce more somatotropin (otherwise known as human growth hormone), but when you consider that growth hormone helps metabolize fat and is considered an important part of reducing the effects of the biological aging process, this is not a bad thing.”
In fact, not only is it okay for women to lift heavy weights, but heavier weights are actually preferable for supporting muscle growth and definition because they activate fast-twitch muscle fibers.
3. Achieving results from weight lifting is time-intensive.
While the light weights/frequent repetition approach is often embraced by lifters in the hopes of avoiding bulking up, the reality is that quality trumps quantity every time. Lifting heavier weights and performing compound exercises, i.e., those which work several muscles or muscle groups at once, is efficient and effective. Fitness experts enthuse over the amazing potential of strength training for maximizing results while minimizing time.
But how do you know you’re using the right approach? It doesn’t have to be guesswork. The good news is that you don’t have to go it alone. A certified personal trainer can help customize a fitness regimen aimed at helping you improve your performance without investing a lot of time.
4. You need to use complicated equipment.
Sure, most gyms are loaded with the professional weightlifter’s dream suite of equipment. While a personal trainer can teach you to use all of these machines, you can also get a leaner, stronger, healthier body without ever stepping foot in the weight room. How? Both free weights and body weights help build better bodies.
Again, focusing on what you can do and knowing the best way to do it is essential to making the most of strength training, which is why personal trainers play such valuable roles in the weight training equation.
Brick Bodies also offers classes designed to help members trim down without bulking up.
If you’ve been avoiding lifting weights because of any of these four myths, we’ve got great news for you. It’s never too late to start reaping the many proven benefits of strength training. Sign up for a personal trainer session today to learn more about what weight training can do for you.