When going to the gym, do you just run off to the nearest treadmill, because it’s just easier for you to do that and it’s in your comfort zone or because this is what you THINK you are supposed to do? Are you tired of spending countless hours at the gym, sweating your ass off on every cardio machine you ever laid eyes on without seeing any results? If this is your case, then maybe you need to drop by the machines and weights section. By ignoring the weights and going straight to the cardio machines, you are not doing your body a favor and you are skipping the benefits of weight training for women.
Cut the Cardio
As I have mentioned before in my last post Beginner’s Guide to Getting Fit, although there are many exercise options out there, the most effective way to achieve a healthy, sculpted and fit body is by incorporating weight training in your workouts. Doing cardio to some extent is good for your cardiovascular health, meaning a strong heart. There are also other choices of cardio, such as High intensity interval training. Doing too much cardio though, such as spending countless hours on a treadmill or an elliptical trainer will indeed burn many calories and reduce fat, but it will also lead to water and muscle tissue loss, dramatically slowing down your metabolism and ultimately leading to a “skinny fat” look. If you want to know more about why being a cardio junkie will not giving you the results expected and could be doing more damage to your body then good, check out the Cut the Cardio post by golddust21.
Training with weights is the only way you can achieve a feminine, sculpted figure with strong and sleek legs, firmer glutes, a small trimmed waist, toned abs, rounded shoulders and nicely shaped arms and back. Cardio and aerobics won’t give you these features, but effective weight training will. So, in order to achieve the desired results for your body, you need to start a weight training regimen. If you have seen fitness models in female fitness magazines like Oxygen before, you have noticed their bodies are lean, nicely shaped, with some muscle definition — yet feminine. Well, guess what ? They lift weights…and heavy ones by the way, not pretty pink light dumbbells for endless reps. So if you want to achieve a similar look, you need to challenge your muscles through strength training.
Don’t worry, lifting heavy weights will not make you bulky or manly. Many women think that they shouldn’t train with weights the way men train because they’ll get bulky and become ”unfeminine”. Well, actually most men— men with loads more testosterone and muscle-building potential— have real difficulty putting on muscle mass. If this is true for men, for women it is even harder to build muscle, since, on average, women have 14 times less testosterone then men do. And before you mention you have seen professional female bodybuilders that are very bulky…well, rest assured, they have achieved their muscular and built physiques through the use of anabolic steroids and/or testosterone injections, not just from hardcore weight training. So girls, stop worrying about getting huge, you just don’t have the hormonal levels of testosterone necessary to build as much muscle mass like men do. With that being said, I DARE you to lift some heavy weights and “get bulky”… seriously, give it a try real hard and see what happens… You might just be amazed by the results you will get.
Improve your health
The benefits of weight training for women go beyond building muscle. Studies have also shown that strength training over a period of time can help prevent bone loss and may even help build new bone. The significant increases in bone density reduces the risk of osteoporosis. Postmenopausal women are especially prone to osteoporosis because their estrogen declines, resulting in calcium depletion from the bones. Knowing this, many women take calcium supplements which will help to a certain point, but it won’t be enough. Your body also needs magnesium and other nutrients to assimilate calcium into your bones. Weight training helps retain the calcium thus keep the bones strong.
Weight training will also strengthen your joints, ligaments and tendons. Your posture and your balance will improve and you will feel more energized. Your new strong body will enable you to perform activities that are functional and useful, allowing you to feel better on a daily basis.
So next time you go to the gym, don’t be afraid of the iron. If you don’t know where to start, ask your local gym trainer to make a beginner’s program for you and show you the proper form of doing the exercises. Before you know it, you will be hooked and you won’t want to put those dumbbells down.
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