Monday, January 24, 2011
Visions of Helga Schwarzenegger Dance in Their Head
“I don’t lift weights because I don’t want to get too bulky.” That is the (lame) excuse too many women use anytime the issue of the weight room comes up. For some reason far too many associate dumbbells with Arnold Schwarzenegger and they take that image and morph it into a she-beast. They then are under the misguided notion that if they were to lift weights they’d morph into this quasi-woman who eats men for breakfast.
That may be a little extreme, but the idea that women should avoid the weight room is a MYTH! In fact, women need the weight room more than ever, especially as they age. As we age we naturally tend to lose muscle mass and the metabolism drops; by regularly engaging in resistance training you can negate muscle loss, in fact build it, and in turn elevate your metabolism. Relying on cardio alone will not do the trick; so ladies, make friends with the weight room!
Now you may be thinking, “But I see some of those women bodybuilders and they are really bulky.” Yes, if that does happen to be your end-goal, with specific training and diet some women can achieve a highly defined and bulging image; but to get that big you have to really pound the weights and even then very few women can achieve that look. (In fact they are working against Mother Nature as the extra estrogen makes it very difficult to get that appearance.) The majority of women though, don’t want to vie for a Strongwoman medal and to reap the rewards of a slimmer, leaned out look you will want to rely on the lower weight and higher reps method.
Doing a weight routine that hits every muscle group in sets of 12-15 reps is the name of the game; the weights may only be 5-10 pounds but because the volume is higher the muscles tire in a more aerobic capacity. So instead of trying to see what your max is, you gradually weaken the muscles, granting you shape without the bulk.
Avoiding weights and relying solely on cardio can get you to lose weight, can improve your aerobic endurance, but it can also leave you muscularly weaker and even lead to the dreaded skinny-fat syndrome. Doing resistance training three days a week in addition to your regular cardio routine should be a top priority (You can also combine the two for a quick, effective workout); not only will you see the results but you’ll feel them too. Think how much quicker you’ll be able to run when you build up the strength in those legs; in fact by strengthening your entire body you’ll be more efficient and be able to go both faster and for longer. So make a date with that dumbbell!