TIME and again I get asked the same question, will weight training make me too muscular?
From my 25 years of gym experience I am all too aware that the ladies love to use the cardio equipment such as the stationary bike, cross-trainer, treadmill and rowing machines, and they are all great pieces of kit, however the resistance equipment is often neglected in favour of these machines and I feel it is often because women do not have a full understanding of the importance of weight training.
Common fears for women regarding weight training would be that you would grow bulky and create huge muscles. This is amusing to me, as I can remember 15 years ago when I would be in the gym four days a week training hard to just create a nice shoulder curve or shape my triceps. It takes time and effort to create a curve of muscle and I’m not talking bulging biceps ether.
Take for example Cindy Crawford or Elle McPherson, both in their early 50’s, yet both have naturally toned beautiful bodies I assure you were not created by cardio exercise alone. The most pleasing aesthetic look on a body would surely be curves in the right places, and that is what I aim for with my clients.
Still Not Convinced?
The female body is genetically very different to that of a male. Men produce different hormones in different quantities to us, which is why they can create large muscles. It is very rare for an average female to produce a large muscular body unless she was using steroids as some female body builders do or she was an elite athlete training seven days a week to become Miss Universe.
We can however do weight training exercises similar in structure to ones that the men are doing, but when training women, we would adapt the exercises and equipment to concentrate on different areas using lighter weights.
I’ve saved the best nuggets of information until last…
I would say the most important thing about weight training for women, is that it helps to keep your bones strong and healthy, greatly reducing chances of fractures or osteoporosis which is a serious disease involving a crumbling of the bones and unfortunately more common in women. If caught in the early stages osteoporosis can be reversed, but that would require dedication to carry on with a beneficial fitness programme involving resistance exercise for life.
Another important thing about weight training exercise is… if you are aiming for weight-loss, cardiovascular exercise can help to a degree, but using weights, you are building lean tissue, this in turn speeds up your metabolism which allows you to burn more energy faster.
This is especially important for women over 30 years to know as our metabolism naturally wants to slow down leaving us with that ever so unwanted ‘middle age spread’.