Fitness/Diet » Reasons Women Shouldn't Fear the Weight Room by: Kenny11973 .:. Wed, 26 Nov, 2014 - 05:39:46:am GMT
You don't know what you're doing : Unlike with the guys, weight training is not something many of us grew up with. "When I started going to the gym, I avoided the weight room like the plague," says Leah Belisle, 31, of Seattle. "I didn't know which weights to grab, how to use them or which muscle groups to work together." It's actually wise not to just wing it. Simple things like not knowing how to adjust the seat height or positioning on machines can hamper your progress, preventing you from engaging the correct muscles and potentially leading to injury. So how do you learn the ropes? "Meet with a reputable, certified trainer a few times and have her walk you through the basics," Lovitt says. Many gyms offer a complimentary training session with new memberships. One good beginner tip: Start by using your body weight as resistance. "Hold off until you can execute the moves properly, then begin adding weight in 5-pound increments," says Curtis Williams. "When the weight feels easy, it's time to increase. Keep in mind that your last two or three reps should be fairly challenging." You'll bulk up : Repeat after us: Lifting weights will not turn me into Arnold Schwarzenegger. "One concern I still hear from women is that they're going to gain too much muscle," says Harley Pasternak, the trainer behind Megan Fox, Katy Perry and Rihanna. "But you need three things to add bulk: testosterone (which is why men get bigger muscles), extra calories (if you want to build a bigger house, you need extra wood and concrete) and high-volume training (meaning you target one large muscle group, working it to exhaustion with 20 to 30 sets of exercises a day)." It's a simple biological fact that women don't naturally have the testosterone necessary to build gigantic muscles. In fact, Olson notes that many female bodybuilders look hulklike partly because they take illegal hormones. So don't use only superlight weights. "To force your muscles to rebuild and repair, which is when growth and toning occur, you need a resistance that fatigues the muscle within about 90 seconds per set," says Wayne Westcott, PhD, fitness research director and professor at Quincy College in Quincy, Mass. Pumping iron like this just twice a week can reduce your overall body fat by 3 percent in 10 weeks. Translation: You'll look leaner, not huge. Everyone is staring You picture yourself walking into the weight room: All the lights go down, a spotlight clicks on and suddenly a roomful of muscle heads are looking critically at you. "This is called social physique anxiety," says Katie A. Rickel, PhD, clinical psychologist at Structure House in Durham, N.C. "The reality, however, is that most people are focused on their own formâ€" not on you." To ease insecurity, it helps to be prepared. "Write your workout down and go to the gym with a plan in place," Williams advises. Still a Nervous Nelly? Limit the number of eyes on you by avoiding the gym at peak times (usually early morning, late afternoon and evenings), or fine-tune your lifting in a less busy space, like an empty fitness studio. Or just embrace the crowd. "By going to the gym at a similar time each day, you'll begin to see familiar faces and make friends," Rickel says. "This, in time, will help you feel less self- conscious." You won't burn enough calories Few things are more satisfying than hopping on a treadmill, running for a half hour and then seeing, right on the console, that you blasted off 300 calories. Sadly, there's no such read-out when you lift weights. But there is a sneaky perk to strength sessions: It takes a lot of energy (aka calories) to repair those muscles post-workout, which boosts your resting metabolism for a few days afterward. One study found that women who did as little as 15 minutes of strength training torched about 100 calories more over the day following their workout than they did when they didn't lift. Another plus: As you get stronger, you use your muscles more effectively, which enables you to burn more calories during cardio, Olson says. The final benefit? The more might you have, the better you'll feel. "Everything we do takes a certain amount of strength," Westcott explains. "So as we increase ours, everything else in our livesâ€"lifting the baby, putting groceries in the carâ€"becomes easier."
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