The Fountain of Youth is Just a Dumbbell Away – Strength Training for Women
So many women kill time on stationary cardio equipment going no where with the idea that they will lose weight and tone their muscles.
This is a fallacy.
Long, sustained cardio is not the best way to burn fat. It is good for your cardiorespiratory system, and should be performed once or twice a week, and it’s good for releasing toxins, but it is not the best method for burning fat or shaping muscles. That is why I say, women, please, please, please get out of the 1970s and get off of that damn elliptical and lift a weight.
Seriously women, muscles are your friends. Use them and they will repay you with:
- A shapely physique
- Offset aging (stay younger)
- Increased metabolism
- More fat burning – even at rest
- Toned muscles
- Feeling stronger
- More confidence
- Increased bone density
- Improved immune system
- Stronger heart
Resistance is good for the body. Working against a challenging resistance makes the muscles and bones stronger. Don’t be afraid to sweat. Sweating is good for you. So is exertion. Sweat every day.
The elliptical is a great way to kill an hour while watching The View. This is the classic method for weight loss – steady pace at a moderate rate, in “the Fat Burning Zone” for a long (40 – 60 minutes) period of time. Everyday people line up for equipment that takes them nowhere – literally.
But, this type of exercise is not making their muscles stronger nor is it burning the fat they want off their hips. It may make them sweat which leaves them with the impression that they are losing weight – but water and salt loss is probably not the goal.
The natural response most people have to this is, “if I’m sweating, doesn’t that mean I’m losing weight?” Yes, weight is lost when a person sweats. But that weight comes from water, minerals, glucose and perhaps some fat. However, the amount of fat loss is not nearly as high as they probably think. Doing a repetitive activity causes the body to become efficient at it. Heat is the by product of muscle movement, but this alone does not mean that the muscles are burning fat or getting stronger. Muscles must be stressed for there to be a growth response. When muscles grow they require more energy to stay alive. This causes the body to use fat stores as fuel. The result here is two-fold, the subcutaneous fat shrinks and the muscle definition become visible. Strength training for women is a win win.
Muscles Require Energy to Stay Alive
Fat requires almost no energy to survive on a person’s body. It is fat and happy as it is just hanging around. But muscles, on the other hand need your love and support. They need to know you still need them and care about them. They NEED to know they are needed. How do you tell them this? With a well written, handmade card? With kind words? With wishes?
Muscles respond with effort and sweat and hard movements against a resistance. This type of exercise stimulates the muscles to become better. They like the attention. They like the challenge.
Use It or Lose It
The old saying “use it or lose it” is so very true when talking about muscles. They will atrophy (shrink) if they are not shown that they are needed. As mentioned above, this attention must be shown through effort that is more difficult than they are used to. If a person never lifts anything heavier than 5 pounds, there body has no reason to remain strong enough to lift anything heavier than 5 pounds.
Please note, you will have to push yourself beyond your comfort zone. The body has no motivation to improve it it is comfortable.
Comfort is what causes most people to fall out of shape. If you want comfort, stay on the couch. But you will have the body to show for it.
Ladies, I implore you, ditch that damn cardio routine – push, pull, press and squat your way to a sexy body. Strength training for women will make you stronger, leaner and more capable, and more confidant than anything else you do. You will also gain the ability to over indulge on the weekends as your increased muscle mass will burn it off.
“I Don’t Want to Look Like a Guy”
The most common argument against weight training I hear from women is “I don’t want to look like a guy.” I have heard this from women under the age of 50 more times than I can count. I do my best to hide my eye roll, but I can’t fight a little laugh. Listen now. Guys look like guys partly because they have more testosterone than women. Plus, the “guys” these women are talking about have been lifting weights for years and do so with a primitive zeal that few women express. Some women, I know, do look at bit masculine, but this did not happen by accident and it did not happen overnight. They worked hard. Very hard to build that physique, and some have even taken illegal performance enhancing substances. This is not going to happen to by accident. So, please don’t use that excuse to under train yourself.
No More Cardio?
Certainly you can do your long, steady rate cardio sessions while watching TV – once a week. Unless you are training for an endurance race, there is no reason to do this more often then that. The other 5 days a week should be spent doing resistance exercises and anaerobic intervals.
The Bottom Line
Strength training for women will give you a lean, healthy, sexy body. The best approach is to do several different forms of exercises regularly. Spend your time doing all of the following types of exercises every week: Aerobic, high intensity intervals, resistance training, and yoga/Pilates/stretching. If you spend at least one session per week doing each of these, you will not only look and feel good, but you will retard your aging and be more fit into your golden years.
Now you own your very own fountain of youth.
Listen to this episode here:
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- High Intensity Interval Training
- The Zone with Dr. Barry Sears
- Crossfit is not for sissies, but you can start that way
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