Fitness marketing that is geared specifically towards women is often just a hodgepodge of tips for slimming down, 5-minute miracle workouts and a list of superfoods that promise to banish belly fat without any extra work. While a combination of these tips along with a killer workout routine may work well for some, one thing is glaringly missing from women’s fitness advertising, real weight training tips for women who want to build muscle. But the fear of bulking up and other crazy weight training myths are enough to keep some women —side-eyeing Gwyneth Paltrow right now— from lifting anything more than 3 pounds during their workouts!
3 Weight Training Myths That Shouldn’t Keep Women From Lifting
1. “Heavy” Lifting Will Make You “Bulky”
The fear that you’ll suddenly balloon up to the size of The Rock or pre-1980 Arnold is completely unfounded. In fact, your testosterone level is about 15 to 20 times less than the average dude lifting next to you at the gym. This means that when it comes down to your hormones, you are way less likely to get super jacked up from lifting. Additionally, the “bulky” look that everyone is referring to is generally achieved by trying hard to add an insane amount of muscle and a combination of strict dieting.
2. Cardio Burns More Fat
If you’re hitting the gym with the sole purpose of slimming down, cardio isn’t the end all be all workout option for you. In all honesty, if you want to drop weight fast, gain muscle and burn more fat, you’re better off heading straight into the weight room and saving your cardio for later. When you lift regularly, you’re increasing the baseline number of calories you can burn each day.
Plus, when you start weight training, your muscles get broken down and begin to rebuild or repair over the next 24 to 48 hours. During this downtime, your body uses more calories and energy to make these repairs. This small boost is enough to help your body burn more calories, even when you’re at rest.
3. Lifting Will Make You Gain Weight
This is one of the more misunderstood weight training myths than a direct myth that should be completely disregarded. Once you understand that “leaner” and “lighter” are not interchangeable terms, your fitness journey will become a lot clearer, and you can stop worrying about what the scale says. Most of the time as your body gains muscle, the smaller and more compact it will appear. While you may see the scale fluctuate (or even go up) as you begin to get stronger and build more muscle, you’ll notice much more dramatic physical results. Pay attention to these physical reminders of a job well done and you’ll start to notice that your jeans are fitting looser, your top size is going down, and you may even be lucky enough to start worrying about that JLo booty too.