For those of you who steer clear of the weights for fear of developing a masculine physique, here’s a little secret: lifting weights will not make you look like the She-Hulk. The reason is very simple and answers many questions asked of a woman: hormones. Women are simply not built to support a bulky physique. Unless she trains specifically for bulk, a woman will not naturally develop muscle that makes her big. According to WebMD, this is because women have only 5-10 percent of the testosterone levels that men do, meaning they have less of the hormone that develops bigger muscles. Because adding a lot of muscle is about testosterone production, women just don’t have the genetic make-up for it to come easy.
With that myth debunked, it is important to understand how crucial weight lifting is to achieving your fitness goals. Perhaps you spend your hour or two at the gym busting your butt on the elliptical or the treadmill because that’s how you burn the most calories, right? Wrong. In fact, weight lifting is more effective than cardiovascular exercise in competing to eliminate belly fat. Cardio burns calories during exercise while weight training continues to burn calories for hours after your workout. By building muscle, you are helping your body to burn calories more efficiently, which helps you to control your weight. Also, the stronger you are, the longer you can go in a workout without fatigue so pairing weight training with cardiovascular exercise can help you get the best results from your hard work. Cardio helps with weight loss, but weight training gets you the lean, feminine shape you desire.
Strength is also a key ingredient in overall body health. By strengthening the muscles around your joints, you can prevent injury and improve support to your body. Many injuries you might incur are associated with muscular imbalance, according to Outside Online. Lifting will strengthen your body as a unit and prevent injury due to weak or overworked muscles. Lifting also increases bone density, which decreases the risk for osteoporosis. Your bones respond to the stress by depositing more bone, just like your muscles respond by growing stronger.
Next time you walk into the gym and eye the treadmill, remember that there is more to getting the body you want than cardio. Step outside of your comfort zone and grab the iron with the confidence that you won’t leave the gym looking like a female Arnold. Instead, you will be pushing your body towards a leaner, healthier you.