Walk into any fitness centre around the world and you’ll see a bunch of women on treadmills, bikes and stair-masters, but few to none in the weight room. Why is this? When I ask new clients what types of activities they’ve been doing prior to starting a program with me is all cardio related – that’s the response from both men and women. Why?
It seems that somewhere along the way, just like our parents were conditioned to three square meals a day, that we’ve been conditioned to only do cardio if we want to lose weight and stay in shape. The problem is that this approach is fundamentally flawed and is a significant contributing factor as to why people have no idea as to how to get in the shape of their lives and maintain it. Before I go on, please keep in mind my view on nutrition. You can NEVER out train poor nutrition and I’ve written numerous articles in previous editions about the key components in ensuring your eating is balanced, healthy and sustainable. However, this edition I’m mainly focused on clearing up the myths of weight training for women.
Let’s talk about the key components for success in transforming your body. There are three main components:
Eating smaller meals more frequently, six times per day or more, will make a permanent change to your metabolism. Why is that important? Because the faster your metabolism, the faster you burn fat.
2. Resistance Training
This is lifting weights or making your muscles “resist” against a force. It could be a pushup or a body-weighted squat, or it could be lifting weights in the gym.
This activity stimulates the muscle fibres and produces stimulus for growth. This stimulus, accompanied with the right amount of protein in your nutrition plan, results in muscle growth. This is important because the more muscle you have in your body, the faster your metabolism. That means burning more fat when you’re sitting, sleeping or working!
Cardio is essential for improving our heart health and burning extra calories to burn fat. However, the problem in people’s thinking is that this is the only thing that they need to do. Understand this. Yes, you burn calories during the cardio session that you do. Research shows that there is a little “after-burn” after the session. BUT, critically, cardio DOES NOT make a permanent change to your metabolism.
So let’s recap those last three points. Two out of the three make a permanent change to your metabolism and will work to burn more fat when you’re inactive. The third, cardio, does not. So if everyone knew this, why would cardio make up the majority of their exercise regime?
The problem is most people just don’t know this. The worst offenders are women. I hear this all the time from women – “I don’t want to build muscle, I just want to tone” or “I can’t life weights because I bulk up really quickly.” So let’s clear this up right now. It’s rubbish! EVERYONE on the planet should lift weights from their teens onwards. Our bodies were designed to move and were designed to be strong. In order to be strong we need to build and maintain our muscles. Just look at the elderly. Their muscles are wasting away and they lose their functional strength to do simple daily tasks or even hold themselves up.
Toning, sorry ladies, IS building muscle! Growing muscle takes a lot of consistent stimulus and healthy eating to achieve it. Lifting weights does not mean that you’ll look and feel like a man. For most women who are overweight, it means your body will actually shrink as the fat melts away and the muscles emerge. The images that you may have seen of female body builders can be misleading. Often they’re training for 2 to 4 hours per day, consuming enormous amounts of protein and some may take artificial stimulants to enhance the muscular development even further. This won’t happen to you if you follow our structured programs. So ladies, get sexy by lifting weights. Do your cardio too, but make sure your program is balanced more towards weight training and less to cardio. If you need help structuring a program, just contact us.