Attention Women: The Wonderful Word of Weight Training

We make it a priority to sit down and learn about each person who walks through our doors before they begin training with us. We want to be sure we know what their goals are, what they have done before, any injuries they have had, what is their favorite flavor of ice cream, do they watch Game of Thrones and any other essentials before we move forward. This also gives us a great opportunity to explain who we are as a training facility and how we can help them.

When sitting down with women there is a definite commonality among many of them with regards to their training history; they have never learned how to strength training using weights correctly. Because of this, and the blatant misconception due to the mainstream media that weights make you bulky, women have missed out on some tremendous benefits from strength training.

So attention women, allow me to share some perspective as to why you need to lift with weights and how the stereotypes are wrong!

“I want to get tone and lose some weight,” sound familiar? “Okay, great!” I say with excitement because I know we can help with both. Here is where the first problem lies because we need a clear definition of what the word “tone” means. See, the word tone isn’t actually a real word. When women say they want to look tone what they mean is that they want their muscle to show, have some definition, and look fit. Tone and muscle are the same thing and the best way to develop muscle and look fit is by lifting weights. By lifting weights you are challenging your muscles to develop (not necessarily get bigger) so that they show a bit more. See what is going on here?

Than there is that weight loss so many of us covet but here is the problem, women think that the best way to burn calories is by doing cardio. Look at any of your big local gyms and you will see this displayed by women’s workout choices. By percentage, it is safe to say that most women are using the cardio equipment while the guys are using the weights. Here is why women need to step off the treadmill and start using a barbell and it is simple arithmetic really.

This is one of my favorite fitness analogies and stories : )

I was hanging out with my wife Stephanie on a weekend a few years ago and she asked me for the 1,000,000 time, “hey Gary, why is cardio bad for you again?”
“Steph, no one said cardio is bad for you. It is just that weight training is phenomenal for getting tone, burning fat, and feeling great.” Steph is now giving me that look where she is unconvinced but she knows I have had this conversation with her before and doesn’t want to ask for me to explain why. This time, I did down deep and I think to myself, how can I explain this in a way that will make perfect sense for her and that she will believe. Here is what I came up with!

Cardio is subtraction while weight training is multiplication. Let’s say that for one hour on the treadmill you burn 300 calories and in your day you consumed about 1,800 calories. Your net calories for the day would then be 1500. (Not even mentioning that you are NOT developing tone or muscle while on the treadmill…but I digress) Now, consider weight training. You consumed 1800 calories in your day, you strength trained for an hour which burnt 200 calories. However,studies show that you can then continue to burn calories for up to 38 HOURS after exercise! Let’s say that that is on the high side, doesn’t 24 hours of continuous calorie burn sound pretty awesome!?! You have then created what is known as the infamous after burn from exercise that continues well after you are finished.

The other reason weight training burns more calories in the long run is that muscle is just a more metabolically active tissue than fat. So as you continue to build muscle you burn more calories. Your body itself becomes a calorie burning machine! This isn’t just opinion either… check out these two articles (article 1, article 2) for more information if you’d like!

Not only does weight training build muscle definition, burn calories it also makes you feel really good. By becoming strong you prevent age related loss of skeletal muscle, you improve cognitive function, gain confidence, relief of depression and anxiety, and prevent degenerative diseases.

See why I love strength training so much, and why I have my family do it is that these benefits do not just improve your aesthetics they improve your quality of life! Imagine what it is like when carrying grocery bags from the car feels easy, or picking up your three year old son, or moving around furniture at the home? All of these moments of life can be directly enhanced and improved by strength training.

The problem:

Women think that lifting weights will get them bulky! It couldn’t be further from the truth if done properly. Here’s the issue. Women see other women who are by design trying to go for this particular aesthetic look and think that is going to happen to them as well. Here’s the thing; women must train VERY hard to bulk up like that. It doesn’t just happen by doing one set of squats.

How do I know this? Because women do not have as much testosterone as men do. Without testosterone it is much harder to put on muscle mass… trust me, men across this country try like crazy to look big and they still struggle.

So just on the fact that women do not have as much it is more difficult to add muscle mass. Then consider how you are training? If you know heavy squats, bench presses, over head presses 3-5 x per week and you also do it with a lot of volume that is going to create a bulking effect. It is just sooo much volume on the human body. Most women do not have the time or desire to put in that kind of effort to get that kind of training effect. Further, if you train in a structured strength program that applies scientific training principles you won’t be doing heavy sets and a lot of volume week after week.

The Solution:

  1. I hope this article challenged your perspective towards strength training. If you are a women reading this, you have so much to gain in quality of life and aesthetics and so much to lose.. body fat!
  2. Learn how to do so safely and effectively through a structured program
  3. Embrace the new challenges, stick with it, and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
  4. Don’t get discouraged when you find yourself not going up in weight forever because no one ever does. But if you find yourself caring that means you have the strength bug!