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Old 06-27-2015, 03:24 PM
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Hey women, Concerned about adding too much muscle?

Hey women, Concerned about adding too much muscle?

Hey ladies… Today we're going to talk weight training. Wait! Hear me out. I promise you wont end up looking as though you could star in the next ‘Rambo’ movie along side Sylvester Stallone just from reading my article. So, what do you have to lose? (except a few extra pounds of unwanted fat and a countless number of misconceptions about women and weight training.) Ok, it seems that somewhere in the Women’s Rulebook , it’s written that ‘Lifting Weights Builds muscle and muscle builds BULK’ (god, that word by itself makes me feel 50 pounds heavier!) and if we train with weights, we’ll get bigger! Um, hello? The idea is to get smaller, not bigger. After all, we have lots of weight to lose, so we should start with aerobic exercise and put the weight training off 'til later. We need to knock some of those fat pounds off before we begin building muscle... Yeah, we had better hold off on those weights! Right? Eh… well...

Much like the misconceived notion that a few males I know have that ‘size really doesn’t matter’, this kind of thinking contains some information that may work for the uneducated (or inexperienced) few, but not for the masses who really want SA-TIS-FAC-TION!!!! ... Uh, I mean results.

Weight training isn't the single best way to lose weight, but it is a crucial component of any fitness or fat loss plan. In the past few years, women have really begun to focus on weight training as an integral part of a successful fitness regimen.

As we get older, we lose muscle mass; this loss attributes to a slowing of our metabolism. If your metabolism slows, you burn fewer calories. In addition, and quite unfortunate for many of us who cant seem to say no to a good piece of carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, if you eat the same amount of food, the excess calories are stored as fat.

Fat is less dense than muscle (meaning it weighs less), so the loss of lean, energy-consuming muscle is masked by the fact that there may be little or no total weight gain on your bathroom or gym scale. That's one reason we need to know our body fat percentage when starting any type of fitness program where fat loss is the ultimate goal. It's also, why, when someone tells me they weigh the same amount they did in college, I tell them they had better start training with weights. (Note that I said ‘training with weights’, not ‘lifting weights’. Power lifters lift weights, you train with weights; I’ll explain later.) Of course, if someone is not exercising at all, the effects of having a slower metabolism and requiring fewer calories is worsened, and that person will get fatter even more quickly. As if we needed a quicker way!? Ugh!

When you add weight training to your exercise program, you can reverse the process of muscle loss. As you increase your overall muscle mass, your resting metabolism will speed up. Not only will you become stronger and have more energy, you'll be leaner and have better muscle tone and definition. Who cares if you don't lose any weight on the scale? You might not, since muscle weighs more than fat. Your clothes will fit better, and chances are you may even be able to buy smaller clothes. Did someone say Shopping!!! Gi-dee-up! Weight training also helps slow the loss of bone density, the leading cause of osteoporosis.

So let's do the logic. If you don't challenge your muscles, they atrophy at a rate of about a half-pound a year. Your weight may stay the same, but your body composition will change. More fat, less muscle, same weight – Come on baby! Mama needs a new pair of …saddle bags??

Sure, you can lose weight with aerobics alone. However, all too often, you'll wind up being a smaller version of a flabby person. Remember, significant muscle tone, definition, vitality and strength is rarely achievable from cardio work alone.

OK, now lets talk about that ‘bulking’ part of weight training. I’ve already mentioned that muscle takes up less space than fat, which means you’ll take up less space… but if that doesn’t convince you… let me eg’splain it to you this way. Walk into any gym, and pick out any one of the men ‘lifting’ weights. Ask them one question, “Do you want to gain more muscle.” If their response is ‘Yes,” and its highly likely that it will be, ask them this, “Has it been easy for you to gain muscle?” Again, I’ll bet you a nickel you get a big, fat ‘NO!’ as the standard response. Why would I wager such a lofty amount of money? Men have more testosterone, you know… that hormonal thing that makes them refuse to cook, allows them to remember useless sports trivia, makes them forget what day your birthday falls on, and helps them pick out the least attractive thing to wear when meeting your boss for the first time? And its this crazy lil’ hormone that allows them to gain muscle at a faster rate then women. Many of them go into the gym with the goal of lifting the entire gym in one workout, yet still cant put muscle on at the rate they would like. It takes a lot of work… some would say it’s a downright Science to gain muscle. So… unless you’re eating and training like a 250lb bodybuilder, chances of you getting BULK-tified are slim.

Do your weights. You need 'em. They're going to allow your body to burn calories during the other 23 hours a day when you're not in the gym. Remember that a person with muscle sitting in front of a computer is burning more calories at that moment than as their flabby counterpart.

Am I saying you should forgo the aerobic program until you're all set up with a weight-training program to balance it out? Uh, no. Start today, with whatever you can do. A few weeks of walking (or aerobics, or whatever) never hurt anyone and never will.

Remember this: Weight training is your greatest asset in weight management and fat loss. For every extra pound of muscle you can pack onto your frame, you'll burn an additional 150 calories a day. It may not sound like a lot, but it has a way of adding up. And who knows… you may actually like training with weights (or at least like it more than you might think!)

By Shiloh London
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