3 Strength Training Myths Every Woman Should Know

MYTH 1: Women shouldn’t lift heavy or they’ll get bulky.

renee_belling

The term bulky is so subjective.  However, one thing is true, bulk is not a number on a weight scale.  Body fat takes up more space per pound than lean muscle mass, so if you lose 5 pounds of fat and gain 5 pounds of muscle, you’ll weigh the same, but you’ll be smaller.

Lifting heavy is a great way to shape your body.  Muscles are what give your body definition and shape.  Endlessly churning out hours trying to burn fat on an elliptical, treadmill, or even on the trail might eliminate jiggle, but the secret to a tighter body isn’t just burning off fat, it’s creating a solid, muscular base.

To get bulky like a professional body-builder you would have to train and diet in an extreme fashion and to it for YEARS!  You would have to bulk up your diet, gaining muscle comes from a combination of heavy weight training and excess in calories.

Strength training makes your muscles break down and rebuild over the next 24-48 hours.  This requires calories (energy), which means your metabolism is in hyper drive even while you are sitting at your desk the next day at work.  Afterburn, baby! 

Want to hear something else?  If weight loss is your only goal then you only need to do ONE thing.  Fixing your diet will get you 80-90% of the way there.   

Your goals should determine what you do in the gym, and above all else it should make you insanely happy doing it!

MYTH 2: You need specific cardio workouts to lose weight.

If the thought of getting on the elliptical and running for four hours sounds miserable to you, don’t do it!  Despite what you might think, if you never run another mile in your entire life, you can still be incredibly healthy and look amazing.

The heart is a muscle that needs exercise.  Without exercise it will get weaker, just like any other muscle. The term “do cardo” gets thrown around all the time.  For most people the brain instantly goes to toiling on a stationary bike, or running until you are a puddle.  What it really means is to make the heart beat faster and pump more blood through your system. cardio

Renegades are big believers in doing what makes you happy.  If you love your zumba, spin class,  or running.  Go for it!

It is so important to find the things that make you happy when you move.  Moving is winning no matter what it looks like.  Your body was made to move!

Believe it or not, strength training will produce a more efficient weight loss effect than an equal amount of cardio.

Don’t worry about the terminology right now, but take a look at the chart below and really think about what it is showing you.

Exercise_zones_Fox_and_Haskell
(Chart: By Morgoth666, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35605547)

The question you need to ask, is there something that gets my heart rate going, that I enjoy doing?

Finding that answer is the grail to your exercise plan.  It does not need to look like what your neighbor is doing, or the people in magazines.  This is a plan that is all about you and getting your heart rate elevated for long enough to exercise your heart muscle.

MYTH 3: Men and women should train differently.

By now, you should know that training is a personal thing.  You should train for the results that you want.  Some women want to have huge muscle mass, some want a tone physique.  One is not better than the other, what body do you want to have?

nikki_bellingMuscle builds shape!  No matter what your end goal is the path to sexy and shapely starts and ends with building muscle.

Not to get too technical, but women have more type I fibers, which allows women to handle more volume than men.  The hormone estrogen is an anti-catabolic hormone that aids in muscle repair, reduces protein break-down during exercise, and protects against muscle damage.

However, women need to know how to train to their strengths.  Men have a slight edge on explosive power; which translates to fast reps being effective.  Women train better when not using a fast, fixed tempo.  Rather using their higher endurance with less requirement for rest.

Train to your strengths!  Man, woman, martian, we are all built in a unique and magnificent way.

Renegades move to win, and believe that all women were made to lift heavy things: kids, groceries, suitcases, cars that trap their little ones…

The myth is simply busted because you can train the way you need to train! 

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