A lot of women, even fit and athletic women, have a fear. That fear is of weights and strength training.
Close your eyes and you can picture her. Heaving giant muscles, masculine in frame and attitude, sweat dripping down her face. She lifts weights that weigh as much as a small car. One look at her at the gym and you decide that maybe you’ll just stick to the treadmill, because lifting weights will just make you bulk up too much. Right?
Women’s bodies do not produce nearly as much testosterone as men’s. This means that it’s IMPOSSIBLE for a woman to gain muscle mass in the same way that a man does. That woman at the gym who seems so big is likely taking steroids (supplemented testosterone as well as other things) to bulk up like that. I promise that will not happen to you! No matter how many reps you do, or how heavy the weights that you lift, unless you have a unique genetic composition and spend all day at the gym you will not turn into a lumbering gorilla. A woman’s body is simply not designed to become hugely muscular. .
What weight training WILL give you is more energy, increased strength and a more toned and sculpted body. There are even benefits you may not have ever thought about. According to the Mayo Clinic, strength training can also reduce your risk of osteoporosis, reduce your chances of injury and sharpen your focus.
As you start adding weights to your exercise routine there are a few things to keep in mind:
1) Warm up! Move your muscles before you try to lift with them. Do whatever makes you feel loosened up and ready to go. Stretching and a few minutes on a treadmill or elliptical machine is what I do.
2) Start slow and build up. You don’t want to injure yourself by lifting weights that are too heavy before you are ready, yet at the same time you want to lift weights that are heavy enough that you can just complete the desired amount of reps. This link will shed some light on the best size weights for you.
3) Breathe. I know it sounds obvious, but this is extremely important! By breathing in and out properly, you will increase the benefits of your strength training while reducing strain.
Good luck lifting!