Women’s Weight Training – Myth & Fact

There is abundant confusion about the risks and benefits of women’s exercise. This article will “set the story” straight on the myths of women’s weight training.

If I weight train, I will bulk up and look manly

Not true. Women and men are built differently. The quantity of testosterone in men contributes to the size and density of their muscle mass.  Weight training can actually lean a women’s musculature and improve definition. You will look even better in that strapless gown!  Weight training is also an excellent anti-aging measure.  It increases bone density to combat osteoporosis, the eminent threat of aging women.

Weight training makes it more difficult to lose weight.  I should focus on cardio training before weight training.

Untrue. Several studies have been conducted to compare the benefits of cardio versus weight training.  Results show that combining weight with cardio training burns significantly more calories than cardio training alone. With cardio training alone, calorie burning stops minutes after completing the exercise. With strength training, however, calories continue to burn hours after the exercise is complete.  These tests were conducted with sample groups held to similar conditions over the same test period.

Strength training converts fat into muscle and transforms your body into a weight management ally.  A pound of fat burns about 3 calories a day.  A pound of muscle burns about 50 calories a day.   An increased burn rate makes it easier to maintain good skeletal, skin, digestive and total body health. I must point out that this assumes you maintain a diligent and consistent exercise regiment.

We can not discuss weight management without emphasizing the importance of a good diet. Diet and exercise are symbiotic and cannot work against each other.  Together they can produce a net weight loss. Fluctuations in their consistency will produce varying results.

Higher repetitions with lighter weight is the best way to tone when strength training.

Untrue, again. Studies and practical knowledge show that there is no benefit to doing more repetitions with less resistance than the converse. Toning is converting fat to muscle. Since exercise sets are brief, usually under a minute in total, higher reps will not burn additional fat.  Additional fat reduction would come from continuous activity of 20 minutes or more in duration.  In general, it is of greater time and strength benefit to do fewer repetitions with heavier weight.

This leads to another point. You cannot localize weight loss.  Diet, weight and cardio training will have a whole body effect. As we are all unique, genetics have much to do with body shaping and training results.

Written by Terry Phillips – Ann Arbor, MI – October, 2008

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