Women & Weight Training

Weight training is very beneficial for all women. It is particularly beneficial for those with weight loss goals. There are a lot of misconceptions, however, with regard to weight training for women.

The most common misconceptions surrounding women and weight training are:

  • Women should lift weights at high repetitions and low weight for ‘toning’
  • Women who lift weights get big and bulky muscles
  • Our muscle will turn to fat if we stop lifting weights

1.      Women should lift weights at high repetitions and low weight for toning

‘Muscle tone’ comes from being able to see muscle underneath body fat. Therefore, if you have excess body fat covering the muscle you will not have a ‘toned’ look. I prefer to refer to ‘being toned’ as ‘having muscle definition’ as it more accurately describes the ‘look’ that many women are aspiring to.

In order to increase muscle definition, it is necessary to do weight training so that you have enough visible muscle, however, lifting weights at high repetitions and low weight actually trains our muscles for endurance instead of strength and hypertrophy (muscle gain).

So to make our muscles ‘toned’ we need to build muscle and this can only happen if your muscles are placed under sufficient stress, i.e. lifting heavier weights. Placing greater stress on your muscles can be accomplished by progressively overloading your muscles and placing varying stresses on your muscles (periodisation) on a regular basis.

2.      Women who lift weights get big bulky muscles

By far the majority of women do not have the high levels of testosterone and human growth hormone required to increase their lean muscle mass to a large extent.

By strength training, you can however, help maintain muscle mass as well as replace muscle lost through ageing and (depending on your genetics) perhaps add a couple of kilograms of lean muscle mass – if you are lucky!

Lucky because more muscle means a higher metabolism and therefore, faster fat burning. The net result will be that you will fit into your clothes more easily and slowdown the ageing process.

3.      Our muscle will turn to fat if we stop lifting weights

Muscle can’t turn into fat; it is simply not possible!

What will happen, however, if you stop weight training and continue to eat the same amount of food you were eating while you were training, the extra kilojoules that you used to burn will now be stored as fat. This is due to the fact that when we stop weight training, we begin to lose muscle and therefore, our metabolic rate declines, causing a decrease in our daily energy needs. Any excess calories, regardless of their source, will then be stored as fat.

Weight Training and Fat Loss

Imagine that your body is a motor vehicle. Your muscles: use energy to produce movement (like an engine); absorb impact forces that otherwise could destroy your bones, connective tissue and joint structures (like shock absorbers); and provide the framework that enables you to function physically (like the chassis). Just as mechanics know that proper maintenance keeps your car in good shape, researchers are finding that weight training plays a vital role in keeping your muscles well-tuned.

Weight training also plays a crucial part in your weight loss efforts and more importantly helping you to maintain your weight loss results. One of the biggest mistakes people make when starting a weight loss or body transformation program is not including weight training with their cardio-vascular exercise and eating regimen. This is unfortunate, because when you cut calories without weight training for an extended period, you can lose muscle as well as fat. And when you lose muscle, your body becomes a lot less efficient at burning fat. However, when you gain muscle, your body will burn more fat, 24 hours a day!

The benefits of weight training for weight loss include…

Weight Training Increases Your Metabolism

Your resting metabolic rate represents the amount of energy you need on a daily basis to sustain the function of your body. Even at rest, muscle is very active tissue. Consequently, muscle loss results in a reduction in your metabolic rate. Because less muscle means lower energy requirements, calories that were previously used for muscle maintenance are now stored as fat. Sensible weight training is the best means of avoiding decreases in muscle mass and metabolic rate, and guarding against the obesity creep, i.e. weight training will maintain or increase your metabolic rate, which in turn helps you to maintain or decrease your body fat levels.

Weight Training Improves Glucose Metabolism

Researchers have reported a 23% increase in glucose uptake after four months of weight training. Because poor glucose metabolism is associated with increasing body fat and adult onset diabetes, improved glucose metabolism is an important benefit of regular weight training.

Weight Training Helps Neutralise Age-related Muscle Loss

Most adults that do not do weight training lose between 2.3 and 3.2 kg of muscle per decade. This equates to a decrease of 2-5% in metabolic rate every decade. At rest, 1 kg of muscle requires 13 calories per day for tissue maintenance, and during exercise, muscle energy utilisation increases dramatically. An InBody Scan (or other similar test) will help you monitor changes in your lean muscle mass.

Weight Training Improves Daily Function

Increased functional strength from weight training does wonders to help you with activities of daily living such as house work, working in the yard, moving furniture, and carrying bags of groceries, without gasping for air and tiring within minutes. If you have a medical condition such as arthritis or multiple sclerosis, lifting weights can also be a great help. The greater efficiency in performing general activities due to increased strength can also lead to an increase in the use of body fat as energy thereby helping with fat loss.

Weight Training Improves Posture

When your body is stronger (including your core), you are better able to hold yourself with good posture, your back aches less, there is less stress in your neck and your legs feel strong. You simply function better! Most people who increase their strength, also report an increase in self-confidence.

How Much Is Enough?

Although a personal trainer can help determine the best program for you, as a general rule benefits can be achieved from training 2 – 3 non-consecutive days per week for a minimum of one set per exercise for each major muscle group. You should use enough resistance to fatigue the muscle group by the end of each set.

Getting Stronger

Training your muscles does take some effort, but no matter what age you are, you’ll find that strength training will fuel a healthy lifestyle and help you function better in all aspects of your life.

 

Personal Training

One-on-one personal training sessions with your personal trainer will keep you highly focused on achieving your health and fitness objectives. Personal Best personal trainers are committed to your success and will do all that they can to assist you in your endeavours.

Your individual personal training program will generally consist of a combination of:

  • Resistance training exercise to develop strength,
  • Cardio-vascular (aerobic) exercise to develop stamina, and
  • Stretching to develop flexibility.

Nutritional advice will focus on supporting the exercise program and your goals. Close monitoring of your performance will help in adjusting the program as we go and to ensure that we increase the intensity when required.

Your training program needs to be individually tailored to get maximum benefit and to meet your specific health and fitness objectives. If necessary, we can also assist with injury or accident rehabilitation. Note: Exercise prescription will be done in consultation with your Doctor and/ or physiotherapist when required. To assist in the process of developing your program, we will assess your current level of fitness by conducting a comprehensive fitness assessment. This will then be repeated every 2 months to assess your progress as well as show any areas that need additional attention. Your program will be adjusted accordingly in line with your ongoing results.

The results of each of your fitness assessments will be available for your viewing in graph form on the My Personal Best website. In addition to your fitness assessment results, you will also have access to your periodised fitness training plan together with your weekly schedule on the My Personal Best website.

If you require extra personal attention, have a special medical consideration or simply want to allow yourself to the best that we can offer, then this is the service for you. If you find you work better with a partner, you also have the option of training with a friend or family member.

Personal training is available at each of our personal training studios at a time to suit you.

Our Mission is to ‘change people’s lives through motivation, education and support’ and we will do all that we can to accomplish this mission.

 

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