This week’s blog is targeted towards our female clientele and any woman who may be considering starting strength training. Today, there are more women engaging in regular strength training than ever before. Whereas previously, women were rarely seen in the weight room. Instead, women tended to be isolated to the aerobics room. A lot of women fear that if they start lifting heavy weights regularly enough, their physiques will soon resemble those of bodybuilders, or they’ll wake up the following morning looking like a bulky full-forward in the AFL. Fear not, though! Testosterone is a primary hormonal driver for muscle growth and is naturally higher in men compared to women . Due to physiology, women produce far less testosterone than men. In simple terms, adding two or three days of strength training per week will help increase lean muscle mass, but it certainly won’t make women ‘bulky’ – unless you follow a very specific training plan and regimented diet.
As mentioned above, regular strength training increases lean muscle mass, which is important when women’s goals are related to fat loss. Muscle is a metabolically active tissue. The more lean muscle tissue you have, the higher your basal metabolic rate, the more calories you burn per day . ☺ To learn more about strength training versus cardio for fat loss, please read a previous blog post of ours.
Women tend to lose bone at a faster rate than men . After women go into menopause, their risk of osteoporosis increases. Women, particularly older women, may steer clear of strength training in fear of risk of injury. However, strength training can have such a positive effect on increasing bone mineral density and can be a woman’s best defence against osteoporosis later in life.
Finally, strength training will make you physically stronger, reduce risk of injury and alleviate back pain, and improve your mental wellbeing. You will feel far less dependent on others for assistance in normal daily activities. Instead, lifting and carrying groceries will become far less likely to cause injury, as strength training will not only build stronger muscles, but also stronger connective tissues and help increase joint stability. Additionally, women currently engaging in regular strength training report feeling more confident and capable in themselves.
Hope this short blog starts to dispel some of the myths that are out there regarding women lifting weights. As always, questions are welcomed if you’d like to know more.
See you in the gym!
- Sokoloff, N. C., Misra, M., & Ackerman, K. E. (2016). Exercise, training, and the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis in men and women. Sports Endocrinology, 47, 27-43.
- Melby, C., Scholl, C., Edwards, G., & Bullough, R. (1993). Effect of acute resistance exercise on postexercise energy expenditure and resting metabolic rate. Journal of Applied Physiology, 75(4), 1847-1853.
- Alswat, K. A. (2017). Gender disparities in osteoporosis. Journal of Clinical Medicine Research, 9(5), 382.