Strength Training Myths Women Need To Know
Jul 20, 2022
Afraid of picking up the heavy weights as a part of your workout? You’re not alone. Many women fear that going heavy in their workouts will create a bulky, masculine look–the opposite of what they want.
If you’re after the “toned” look–long, sinewy muscles, curves, and a healthy amount of body fat–strength training can help get you there. While the term “tone” actually refers to the amount of tension in muscles, it’s more commonly used to describe a lean, healthy look. A toned appearance comes from a combination of two factors: strong muscles and a healthy amount of body fat.
Fear not: lifting weights (even heavy weights) has a myriad of health benefits, and won’t make you look like a bodybuilder (unless that’s the goal you and your trainer are working toward). Here, we’ll debunk some common myths about women and strength training, and check out a handful of the ways that strength training can benefit your body and mind.
Myth 1: Strength training makes women bulky.
The vast majority of women simply do not have the testosterone necessary to create a bulky, muscular shape. When you work with a trainer on a strength training plan, you’ll also discuss your nutrition. For women, strength training torches calories. This means that while you’re increasing your strength, you’ll also be lighting fat on fire. Your trainer will work with you to ensure that you’re getting the nutrition that you need to support muscle development while also lowering body fat (if that’s your goal). This means that you’ll get the toned look you want.
If you begin to feel that some muscle groups are larger than you’d like, your trainer can work with you to adjust your plan to better suit your needs. Most women notice an overall slim-down with the addition of lowered joint pain and a boost in energy. Be sure to talk with your trainer regularly about the progress that you’re making so you can ensure that your plan is carrying you toward your goals.
Myth 2: Strength training causes weight gain.
We’ve all heard the old adage that muscle weighs more than fat, but this actually isn’t true. A pound of muscle and a pound of fat are both one pound, but a pound of muscle takes up less space than a pound of fat. When you’re strength training, you’re not turning fat into muscle–that’s impossible. Instead, your body is likely to use energy that has been stored as fat during workouts that support muscle growth.
If your muscles become especially sore after a workout, it’s possible that your body will retain some water as it repairs the small tears created during strength training that allow you to get stronger. Don’t fear–the puffy feeling will subside in a day or two, and drinking extra water can help you to flush out any bloating or puffiness that you feel following a strength training workout.
Myth 3: Strength training creates a masculine shape.
When your trainer develops a strength training program for you, you’ll first work closely together to talk about your goals. Whether you’re looking for toned arms, a lifted booty, or an all-over slim down, your trainer will create a plan that makes sense for your goals. Strength training does not create a masculine shape in people who do not have the necessary hormones to develop a masculine shape. You’ll likely find that strength training accentuates the curves you already have.
Myth 4: Strength training causes injury.
It’s true: some people who lift weights sustain injuries due to using improper form, aggravating old issues, or using weights that are too heavy too soon. Working with a trainer when strength training is the best way to avoid injuries due to lifting weights. Your trainer will be able to assess your beginning strength level and will use this information to create workouts that challenge you while also meeting you where you’re at.
It’s important that you communicate with your trainer if you feel any pain or discomfort during a strength training workout. With knowledge of what feels uncomfortable, your trainer will be able to prescribe prehab exercises that can help you avoid injury as you keep working to build your strength.
Benefit 1: Weight and fat loss benefits of strength training
There’s no need to slave away on the treadmill to lose fat (unless you’re into that sort of thing). Lifting weights helps spark your metabolism for hours following your workout, helping you to reap the benefits of strength training long after the end of your workout.
Many people also find that the hard work of strength training inspires them to make better food choices, including cutting down on processed sugars and boosting their protein intake to support muscle growth. When you’re working hard at a strength training program, don’t be surprised if you feel inspired to tweak your diet so that you’re able to keep improving.
Benefit 2: Improved sleep and increased energy
All exercise helps improve sleep quality, but new research shows that strength training may have an edge over cardio when it comes to helping you catch the best zzzs. That sleepy feeling that you get after a tough strength training workout isn’t all in your head – post-workout fatigue is a real thing and it can help you get the shut-eye you need for maximum health benefits.
Benefit 3: Reduced stress and increased self-confidence
Lifting heavy objects helps you get out the frustration that builds up over time. You may come to find that strength training does more for your mental health than steady-state cardio, as you’re able to use explosive movements that require your full focus.
Getting stronger can also help to increase your self-confidence. Women are often taught to focus on the way their bodies look over what they can do. There’s nothing quite like realizing lifting a weight that seemed impossible a few months ago is now your warm-up weight. Strength training gains happen slowly, and are proof that good things take time.
Ready to Get Strong and Lean? We’ve Got You.
If you’re ready to get the health benefits that come with strength training, a Fitness Together Studio is ready to help. Reach out to your local Fitness Together studio today to set up an appointment with a personal trainer who will listen to your aesthetic and wellness goals, and work with you to develop a plan to help you get there.