When it comes to exercise, everyone has an opinion.
Unfortunately, most of these “everyones” may not have the education and background to justify their opinion with scientific fact. With all the conflicting messages you may hear about the latest and greatest fitness techniques it is hard to break through the clutter to find the truth. In this article we will dispel the top myths of strength training for women and provide an educated perspective on the most-asked fitness questions.
MYTH 1: STRENGTH TRAINING WILL MAKE ME LOOK BULKY
FACT: Strength training does help you tone and strengthen your overall body, but it does not build muscle bulk. In fact, women don’t have an adequate amount of hormones in their system (mainly testosterone) needed for true muscle bulk. Everyone needs to be involved in some type of strength training to help increase lean muscle mass and improve overall strength. For every pound of muscle mass you add to your body, you increase your metabolism by an additional 50 calories per day. One pound of muscle takes up only 1/3 of the space of one pound of fat, so as you increase your lean muscle mass and decrease your fat mass, you body will become more toned, sculpted, and defined.
MYTH 2: I WON’T BURN AS MANY CALORIES STRENGTH TRAINING AS I WOULD DOING CARDIOVASCULAR EXERCISE
FACT: It is true that 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise (such as walking, running, swimming) will burn more calories than 30 minutes of strength training; however, strength training does build lean body mass, which will increase your resting metabolic rate (BMR) and help you burn more calories during the entire day.
MYTH 3: I CAN REDUCE FAT IN SPECIFIC AREAS (SUCH AS MY ABDOMINALS, HIPS, OR ARMS) BY DOING SPECIFIC EXERCISES.
FACT: This myth has made fitness companies rich and exercisers disappointed. Although infomercials promising to help you sculpt your abs, tone your arms, and whittle away your belly are plentiful, there is no data showing you can spot reduce and train just one specific area. Where your body holds fat is based on a number of factors including hormones, genetics, and age. If you want to lose weight in a specific area (for example: the thighs) you will need a combination of cardiovascular exercise, strength training for the entire body, and your Medi-Weightloss Clinics® nutrition plan. This combination will help you lose overall body fat which will tone the entire body.
MYTH 4: I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR STRENGTH TRAINING.
FACT: You don’t need to spend hours lifting weight to see results. Spending 30 minutes as little as 2-3 days a week can build lean muscle mass and give you all the great benefits strength training has to offer. (improved posture, decreased back pain, improved energy, boost in resting metabolic rate) If 30 minutes seems unattainable, you can even break it down into 10 minute increments throughout the day. For example, when brushing your teeth, perform squats, and lunges. While watching television, do crunches and push-ups during the commercial breaks; and when standing in line at the grocery do calf raises.
MYTH 5: STRENGTH TRAINING HURTS. I’VE ALWAYS HEARD: NO PAIN, NO GAIN
FACT: If you are new to exercise or if you have an especially challenging strength training workout, you will most likely be sore a few days later. There is a difference between pain and soreness. You should never be pushing yourself to the point of pain during strength training. You should feel challenged and perhaps even reach a point of mild discomfort, but should stay away from anything that causes pain. One way to decipher pain and discomfort is in the length and quality. Pain is sharp and easily pin-pointed, “I have a sharp pain in the right side of my back when I do this exercise” and discomfort is dull and general, “I feel an overall sensation in my entire back when I do this exercise.” You may work to a point of mild discomfort, but should never work to the point of pain. It is better to start slowly and gradually build intensity as you become more comfortable and familiar with the exercises.