February 19, 2021
Written by Tabitha Earwood, Personal Training Manager
As a personal trainer, I hear women say these two phrases all the time: “Lifting weights will make you bulky,” and “I don’t want to be bulky—I just want to be toned!” Nothing is more frustrating for me than these two misconceptions. Since our perceptions shape what we do, believing something that isn’t rooted in fact can lead us to avoid the very practices that could help us grow. One of my passions is helping women understand their body’s physiology so they can be empowered to make educated choices.
Female physiology just doesn’t allow us to gain a masculine physique. Because males have more testosterone than females, women aren’t able to gain muscle at the same rate or size as men. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends similar general guidelines for both men and women, including strength training 2-3 days per week.
Strength training can introduce you to a whole new world of understanding about your body’s physiology. Most people don’t realize that building muscle is one of the only effective ways to speed up your metabolism. The only two places that your body stores carbs as fuel (in the form of glycogen) is in your liver and muscles. Having more muscle increases your insulin sensitivity, which means that the cells of your body use glucose more effectively. Muscles are calorie-burning machine that we should all want more of!
What most women don’t know is this: bone mass usually peaks in a person’s mid to late 20s. Later in life you, cannot regain lost bone density; you can only slow down the rate of loss. Now is your time to build those bones to decrease the risk of developing osteoporosis. Strength training exerts healthy stress which stimulates bone growth, and it is the only way to improve your bone density.
Everyone has something they want to change about themselves. Some things can be changed, and others cannot. One of the reasons I love strength training is that it helps you channel all your energy toward something you can control. You can control your effort. You can control your form. You can choose to show up consistently. While you can’t reduce fat in specific areas, you can train specifically to gain muscle in certain areas!
Everyone in the gym started somewhere, and I can guarantee no one was born knowing exactly what to do. You must start somewhere. Your first step could be Googling exercise techniques. You could download any number of apps, including Apple Fitness, Motify, Freeletics, or Nike Training Club. Take it one thing at a time, and know that you won’t get it perfect the first time. Repetition is key.
Bringing a friend can also help to eliminate the nerves of trying something new. Just remember, you are not alone! The Women on Weights Workshop offered Saturday, March 6 is your opportunity to learn the fundamentals of strength training with other women just like you. Together, we will delve into basic movement patterns, learn the fundamentals of using free weights, and discuss how to create your own individualized plan to see steady progress. You can register for the workshop 24 hours in advance through the Membership Portal.
Your next step could be reaching out the personal trainers at LaHaye to schedule a free consultation. Getting a professional to guide you can help to eliminate all the fears of not knowing what to do. Regardless of how scared you may feel, not doing anything at all is even scarier. You will grow both mentally and physically by learning to strength train. Taking the risk to try something new will be worth it!