So this is something I hear a lot when talking to new clients at the gym. The fitness regimen for many women consists of a long cardio session, with perhaps some very light exercises with high repetitions. When I ask “why are you training like you are”? Most of the time the client will tell me that they are trying to lose some body fat and tone their physique.
Some go into more detail about how they want to tone their arms, have smaller, more well-defined legs, or have a flatter stomach with some muscle tone underneath. Now unfortunately there is no such thing as spot reduction, it is physically impossible for a human being to lose body fat in a specific area of the body, but that is a whole new topic for another day.
I always ask them if they include any weight training in their program, and most women say no, or yes, but with light weights and lots of reps. But why is this the case? Most women avoid the weights area because they fear that lifting heavy weights will lead to significant muscle gain, and they just want to tone up after all. It’s hard to figure out where the idea to “tone up” came from, since there’s really no such thing, you’re either building muscle or not.
The toned look many women strive for is established through weight training to build muscle underneath and then lose body fat overhead through a well-structured nutrition program. Hours of cardio and high repetition, low weight training will only leave you frustrated with few results. Most of my clients say they have avoided weight in the past for fear of becoming “bulky” or having muscles like men. While I’m sure we’ve all seen images of female bodybuilders, and I have great respect for the hard work and dedication they put into their passion, it’s impossible for women to look like this after a short period of weight training. If it was that easy, why doesn’t everyone who lifts weights look like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Phil Heath?
While it is possible for a man to build muscle quickly and easily, this is not the case for women. But why is that? It all comes down to hormones. Testosterone is the main hormone responsible for building muscle, and although women have some testosterone, it does not come close to the level of men. So it stands to reason that they can build some muscle, but not as fast or as fast as men.
So what happens when women lift weights? They build muscle slowly, which will help improve their physique. More muscle tissue in the legs makes the thighs and butt more shaped, and further development of the arms can help fight bingo wings. Building muscle tissue in the shoulders and back will create the illusion of a smaller waist and help create the hourglass leak.
But what about body fat? While weight lifting burns calories, the only way to lose body fat is to establish a calorie deficit, through a well-structured nutrition program, as mentioned in a previous blog “the only diet that really works.” If you decide that you want to look more toned and therefore dieting too hard to lose fat, with little muscle underneath, you end up with a skeleton in the end. However, with some well defined muscle, you will create that toned, “wonder woman” physique you are looking for.
So to conclude, women should lift weights as it will give them the physique many women seek by building “toned” muscles and helping them lose fat to get in tip top shape.