Q. Glen, I am a Women, I want to lift weights. But will my muscle turn to fat if I stop lifting? and will I start to look like a man if I lift to much?
A.Weight training is an enormously beneficial activity for men and women alike. It burns fat, protects against osteoporosis, improves posture, prevents age-related loss of muscle, and helps maintain healthy blood sugar control. Unfortunately, many women are scared away from this extremely beneficial activity due to a number of highly misleading myths.
Ladies, today I'm going to blow these myths out of the water so you can go ahead and start lifting your way to a leaner, firmer, healthier, and sexier body!
Myth 1: Weight Training Makes Women Look Like Men
When women think of weight training, they typically conjure up images of professional female bodybuilders strutting masculine-looking physiques on a contest stage. Understandably, a lot of women simply do not consider bulging muscles, razor sharp definition, and a network of veins reminiscent of a road map as attractive and feminine traits.
Ladies, please know that if you do not intend to become a competitive bodybuilder, your chances of looking like this are somewhere between zilch and zero. Regardless of what bodybuilding magazines would have you believe, the vast majority of professional female bodybuilders are using anabolic steroids. In their natural state, even the most athletic women simply do not produce the amount of muscle-building testosterone that healthy males do. And without male-like levels of testosterone, it's nearly impossible to build a male-like body. Testosterone plays such a critical role in muscle growth that even men with deficient levels of testosterone have a hard time building large muscles!
The other thing to remember is that the pictures of female bodybuilders you see in magazines are typically taken at contest time. Since one of the judging criteria is muscle definition, these women have dieted down to extremely low body fat levels. By shedding so much fat, their physiques take on a hard, striated appearance that few women would consider feminine, even on someone with relatively small muscles.
However, this incredibly lean condition is maintained for only a very brief period. Bodybuilders slowly diet down to very low body fat percentages, strut their stuff on contest day, then promptly return to a more normal body fat level after the contest is over by increasing their caloric intake.
Most of the women I train and consult with do not want rock hard, super lean physiques. Nor do they want flabby physiques that bulge in all the wrong places. Instead, they want a body that resides somewhere between these two extremes: a body that looks firm, toned, shapely and healthy.
Guess what? The very best method for getting such a body is weight training. No other form of exercise can tone muscles so quickly. No other form of exercise allows you to shape and sculpt your body into a symmetrical masterpiece. For example, do you have wide hips, carrot-shaped thighs, and narrow shoulders? No problem -- start doing weight training exercises that emphasize your shoulders and lower thighs, and watch as your hips begin to "appear" smaller and smaller! Do you have a flat saggy butt that seems to have given up in the fight against gravity? Don't worry -- several weeks of dedicated squatting, lunging and dead lifting will quickly turn that problem around!
The bottom line is that your body contours can be dictated by either fat or muscle. Which would you rather have?
Myth 2: Muscle Turns Into Fat When You Stop Weight Training
This is the bit where even the most serious scientists can't help but burst out laughing. You simply cannot turn muscle into fat. It is as likely as transforming a block of cheese into a bar of gold. Muscle and fat are two entirely different entities with starkly different functions and structures. You simply cannot turn one into the other.
Despite the utter absurdity of this myth, it just refuses to die.
Here's what will happen if you stop weight training. First of all, your muscles will gradually lose their attractive toned look. An intelligently implemented weight training routine is a lifelong endeavor, not a quick fix. The benefits last only as long as you keep training.
Depending on your dietary habits, you may also gain some fat due to the reduced calorie expenditure that occurs after you stop training. Again, the answer is simple. Keep training and eating right! That way, you'll keep reaping the immense benefits that weight training has to offer.
Myth 3: Women Don't Need to Do Weights. They Get All the Benefits they Need from Walking, Jogging or Aerobic Classes
Aerobic activities cannot even begin to replicate the effects of weight training. As mentioned, weight training is unrivaled in its ability to build muscle and strength. Aerobic activities simply cannot provide the same level of progressively increasing resistance that tones and strengthens muscles. In fact, an excess of aerobic activity can cause loss of precious muscle tissue; compare the stringy, emaciated physique so typical of marathon runners with the far more attractive and athletic-looking physiques of sprinters.
Furthermore, most popular aerobic activities tend to work the lower body but place no meaningful stress on the upper body. Don't settle for an attractive set of legs but a flabby set of upper arms that jiggles in a most unflattering manner whenever you wear sleeveless outfits!
One very important benefit of weight training is its ability to fight off potentially debilitating loss of bone. Similar to muscle, bone loss worsens with age, and bone fractures are a common cause of debility and death in elderly citizens. Weight training has been shown to improve bone density in a manner that aerobic activities simply cannot hope to rival. The reason is that weight-bearing activities cause the tendons of your muscles to pull against bones during lifting. The body's response is to strengthen your bones, which enables them to more easily withstand future stresses of a similar nature. Further amplifying the bone-building advantage of weight training is the fact that most aerobic activities fail to impose any significant resistance upon the upper body.
An optimal fitness regimen includes both weight training and cardiovascular activities. Both have their unique benefits so don't neglect either of them!
Most women do not even begin to appreciate the huge advantages that weight training can bestow. An intelligently implemented weight routine is a key component in achieving a strong physique that radiates a healthy, toned appearance. So ladies, start hitting the gym and become the envy of all your friends who still believe the erroneous myths about women and weight training!Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program. Please consult your physician !
Wishing You A Healthy Life Style!