For women who want to get lean, slim and toned while staying attractive and feminine, wading through the mass of confusing and conflicting information about how to exercise can be frustrating. This brief guide is designed to help display some of the myths about weight training.
Expel The Myths
One of the most popular myths is that resistance exercise (i.e. exercising with weights) will automatically lead to big, bulky muscles. In fact, the word “muscle” alone is enough to scare most women, mainly because they think it means getting bigger.
In fact, many women are afraid that training with weights will turn them into the female equivalent of the Incredible Hulk, with legs like tree trunks or shoulders like bowling balls.
But don’t worry, the truth is that this will not happen. The fact is that it takes years of hard work and an almost religious obsession with exercise and diet to develop the kind of muscular female physiques you see in magazines. And most men will tell you that gaining a lot of muscle is hard to do. It takes hours of training with heavy weights, eating a lot of food, and getting plenty of rest.
Training With Weights Is The Key
When trying to get in shape, it’s easy to get hooked on numbers, and focus solely on weight loss. If the scale shows you’ve lost weight, you’re happy. But what does that weight consist of? And has it been lost from the areas you want to lose it (such as your tum, hips or thighs)?
It’s almost impossible to change your shape with aerobic exercise alone. If you’re pear shaped and only doing aerobic exercise, like cycling or running, the best you can hope for is to look like a smaller pear. Resistance exercise, on the other hand, gives you the power to sculpt your body the way you want it to look. Instead of getting bigger, the exchange of fat for muscle tone will make you look smaller and shapelier. You’ll be leaner. You’ll drop several dress sizes and feel confident wearing your favourite clothes again. Not only will you lose inches from your hips, thighs and arms, they’ll also take on a more toned and shapely appearance.
How Muscle Tone Can Leave You Looking Leaner And Slimmer
Firstly, fat is less dense than muscle, and weighs about 0.9 grams per cubic centimeter (compared to 1.07 grams for muscle). In other words, one pound of muscle will take up less space than one pound of fat.
Secondly, muscle tone responds to overload, meaning that in order to make resistance exercise work you need to use a weight that is going to cause fatigue after around 12 repetitions. If you use a weight that’s too easy, your muscles will have no reason to become stronger or more toned and you’ll make little or no progress.
It is important to understand that reduced body fat is what gives you that toned and shapely body, not very high repetitions with light weights. You might have great muscle tone, but if you’re storing too much fat, then nobody is going to be able to see it. So, you will need to get rid of the subcutaneous (“under the skin”) fat stored over the muscles. This will require an integrated program of good nutrition, cardio and resistance exercise.
The bottom line is that a more toned body is simply one with less fat and more muscle tone. Remember, the right type of weight training will not give you big and bulky muscles, instead, a targeted resistance program will give your body a lean, toned and shapely appearance.