Have you ever walked into the weights section at your local gym? All those muscle bound men standing in front of full length mirrors and observing their form while they lift 50 and 60 kilograms at a time. It’s very intimidating to say the least.
We wouldn’t blame you if you turned on your heel and hot footed it out of there! But here’s the thing – those gym junkies know the value of strength training. And so should you.
You may have heard it referred to as weight training, strength training, or resistance training but the underlying principles are the same. Strength training refers to exercise that requires your muscles to exert a force against some form of resistance, such as free weights, resistance bands or your own body.
Strength training is based on the principle that the muscles of the body will work to overcome a resistance force when they are required to do so. When you perform strength training it causes your muscle fibres to slightly tear in what is called a ‘microtear’. This may sound scary but in fact this is how your muscles grow. In response to the microtear your body uses satellite cells that are waiting around the muscles in order to fix the tears, building them up more thickly each time they do to prevent against future damage. Hello muscles!
Now, let’s be completely honest. Anyone who has ever done strength training can tell you that its not all sunshine and roses. At the start you can expect to feel, oh how shall we say – sore? Can’t roll over in bed kind of sore. Can’t wash your own hair kind of sore. Can’t sit down on the toilet seat kind of sore.
BUT, eyes on the prize because the long term health benefits are great. According to Better Health Victoria these include:
- improved muscle strength and tone
- improved flexibility and balance
- weight management and increased muscle-to-fat ratio (we will explain the benefits of this one below!)
- decreased risk of injury
- increased bone density
- and the list goes on!
If you aren’t convinced already, read on about the common misconceptions of strength training that every woman should know.
Misconception #1: Lifting heavy weights will make you “bulk up”
Sorry to burst your bubble but it is unlikely that you are going to end up looking like Heman (if that is the goal).
Women generally don’t produce enough of the hormone testosterone to build up bulky muscles. In fact, according to Bill Kreamer in Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, women have about 15 to 20 times less testosterone than men. We know – it’s unfair!
We’re not saying you can’t get muscles, what we are saying is that it takes a lot of exercise and discipline to look like a genuine body builder. And quite frankly – would that be the worst thing?
Misconception #2: Only cardio will help you to lose weight
This is perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions about weight training.
Remember that muscle-to-fat-ratio benefit that we mentioned above? While you may burn less calories during a single session of weight training as opposed to a cardio session, studies show that the presence of muscle tissue in the body burns more calories – even when you are at rest – than body fat. Theoretically, this means that if you keep up the weight sessions you could continue to burn more calories over the course of the day than if you just rely on cardio alone.
A recent study found that women who followed a weight-training routine 3 times a week increased the amount of calories burned in normal daily activity (in addition to those burned during exercise), helping them to maintain their current weight.
Time to start lifting we say!
Misconception #3: Lifting weights is only for younger people
Sorry – you can’t get out of it that easily.
From about the age of 30, we generally peak in terms of muscle and bone strength and from then on it slowly declines. Each decade from the age of 30 we lose 3 – 5 % of the muscle mass we naturally carry, which causes us to lose muscle function — a condition called sarcopenia.
While its true that prevention is the best method, it’s never too late to get started.
If you are just starting out its best to consult a personal trainer and your medical professional to get them to write a program that suits you and your abilities.
The benefits of Rapid Loss Shakes and weight training
What you may not know is that Rapid Loss Shakes are beneficial both for weight loss and to be used in conjunction with exercise.
As we mentioned above, muscles form through the body repairing itself. When this happens you require amino acids which the body gets from protein. This is why it’s important for the body to have enough protein in its system. As well as providing a convenient, complete, nutritionally balanced meal containing 25% of your daily RDI of vitamins and minerals, Rapid Loss Shakes are also high in fibre and protein to help sustain your body through the day.
With the right strength training routine and Rapid Loss on your side, you could be fat burning your way to a new you in no time.