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To Weight Train or Not to Weight Train?

Laticia Jackson

by Laticia “Action” Jackson IFBB Fitness Pro/ 2008 Fitness Olympian [email protected] On a regular basis I hear women say they don’t weight train because they will end up looking bulky like a man. Based on this fear, they indulge themselves into endless cardiovascular activities and are often unhappy with their overall fitness results. You may be asking, “Doesn’t cardio help me lose weight?” Yes, cardiovascular activities do help you lose weight. However, cardio does not build lean muscle tissue. Lean and toned muscles are built by lifting weights and adjusting the amount of weight being lifted once the body adapts. This is called progressive resistance.  If you are you a Cardio Queen and dread the mere thought about entering the Iron Palace (the weight room) it’s time to go into unchartered territory. I want to encourage you that there are more benefits than risks when it comes to weight training, and, no, you won’t look like a man. You will build stronger bones, build lean, toned muscle that burn calories at the state of rest and don’t forget about feeling great in your swimsuit and jeans. Still have doubts? Let’s address three of the most common myths women have about weight training, protein and muscles.

Myth 1: A women who weight trains (lifts weights) will look like a man and get too muscular.

Truth:  Men have a male hormone called testosterone, which gives them the ability to gain muscle mass and have more strength than women. Although women have small amounts of this male hormone, the average woman doesn’t have enough within her body to cause her to naturally grow large muscles like a man. Large muscles are also a result of lifting heavy amounts of weight over a period of time. The amount of muscle in which your body creates is based on genetic factors.

Myth 2: If I start weight training and stop, my muscles will turn into fat.

Truth: Muscle and fat are two separate tissues. If you began a resistance training program and stop, your muscles will become smaller or atrophy. Muscle tissue cannot turn into fat and vice versa.  The body will maintain the size of your muscles as long as you continue to lift weights and consume the appropriate amount of calories to nourish and repair your muscle tissue.

Myth 3: Consuming a lot of protein will help me gain more muscle.

Truth: The body will absorb only enough protein to complete the tasks it needs to perform. Excess protein is converted by the body and stored in the form of fat for the body to use at a later time. Excess protein is also excreted in the urine. It is recommended that if you desire muscle growth, you should consume 1-1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight.

Consuming the appropriate amount of protein will help build and repair your muscle tissue, but it’s imperative to consume the appropriate amount and weight train. Muscles grow by placing them under consistent stress.

To find the amount of protein you should consume:

  1. Take your body weight and divide it by 2.2 to get your weight in kilograms
  2. Take this number and multiply it by 1 percent or by 1.5 percent
  3. This will give you the amount of grams of protein you can consume.
If you have kidney or renal problems consult your physician before consuming any extra dietary protein.

Before you discount weight training, remember all of the benefits associated with visiting the Iron Palace. Therefore, next time you’re in the gym make your way over to the free weight and dumbbell section. Your body will thank you.

There are many benefits of weight training, including:

More Calories Burned Muscle tissue is a dense tissue that burns calories even at the state of rest. More muscles equal more calories burned.

Stronger Bones Weight-bearing exercises stimulate new bone growth, which helps ward off osteoporosis.

Joint Stability Weight training helps build the muscles around the joints. This allows for more stability of the joint.

Aesthetics A firm, toned body can be very pleasing to the eye when you look good you feel good!