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Building muscle is beneficial for every body

Facts & Myths of Weightlifting

Myth: If a man doesn't have big muscles it's because he's lazy.

TRUTH: Every human has a different genetic and hormonal makeup. The higher the level of testosterone, the easier it is to grow muscle tissue ("easy gainer"), and inversely, the lower the level of testosterone, the harder one must work to gain the same amount of muscle ("hard gainer"). The naturally skinny guy in the gym might be working the hardest to build muscle, while the naturally muscular guy may go once a week to maintain his natural figure. Everyone must work with the DNA they are given! Never judge a book by its cover!

Myth: Lifting Makes Women Look Masculine

TRUTH: Lifting builds muscle and burns fat. Countless studies have shown that women who do resistance training are stronger, leaner, and healthier than women who do not. Also, increasing load demands on the skeleton (using proper form/alignment) increases bone mineral density, thus preventing/reversing the effects of osteopenia and osteoporosis! Other than the myriads of benefits, what resistance training does to your physique is completely up to you and your DNA. Like men, women are also born with varying levels of testosterone, making them either "easy gainers" or "hard gainers." Unlike men, however, females have a naturally SIGNIFICANTLY lower level of testosterone, making it very difficult to build excessive visible muscle. Desired female physiques range from the brawny, to athletic, to slender. Each of these physiques are achieved using resistance training to sculpt one's desired body.

Myth: Women Belong on the Treadmill

TRUTH: This was my impression growing up with a treadmill-warrior of a mother. While I respected her discipline for cardio, I hated running, and felt like a failure since the treadmill was my only example of what "exercise" could be. I discovered in college that ladies can and SHOULD be lifting weights, too!

Even if you want to be a competitive runner, studies have shown that resistance training helps increase your aerobic performance. Cardiovascular training absolutely has its place, but it's not the only path toward fitness (thank goodness for me).

In fact, constant running doesn't help build strength or help you find that balanced physique. Moreover, multiple studies have found that consistent endurance training may not be the best method for fat loss. By adding some resistance training and HIIT (high intensity interval training) to your regimen, you will build more lean muscle, and thus burn more calories and get leaner faster! In other words: Confuse it to lose it!

References:

  1. Smith, Cassie. Bodybuilding.com. 2016. Women And Weights: 8 Myths Debunked!

  2. Osteras H, Helgerud J, HoffJ: Maximal strength-training effects on force-velocity and force-power relationships explains increases in aerobic performance in humans. European Journal Of Applied Physiology 2002, 88(3):255-63.

  3. Hickner RC, Racette SB, Binder EF, Fisher JS, Kohrt WM. Effects of 10 days of endurance exercise training on the suppression of whole body and regional lipolysis by insulin. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2000, 85 (4):1408-504.

  4. Cosgrove, Rachel. Why you can't lose weight. Women's Running. 2013. http://womensrunning.competitor.com/2013/03/health-wellness/why-you-cant-lose-weight_11491.

  5. Clark, Micheal., Lucett, Scott.Sutton, Brian G., eds. NASM Essentials Of Personal Fitness Training. Baltimore, MD : Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2012. "Chronic Health Conditions and Physical or Functional Limitations." Print.