While weight training is often associated with bulky muscles and protein shakes, this is not always the case. There is a magnitude of health benefits associated with resistance training.
In reality, increasing muscle mass is actually very difficulty. On average men are able to gain between 2-6 kg of muscle over a 6-7 month period and women are only about to achieve about half of what men can. This is because of testosterone, a hormone in a male’s body, which females have very minimal of. Testosterone is responsible for increasing muscle mass, bone density and fat metabolism, making it easier for men to gain muscle mass, and lose weight (increases fat metabolism) at the same time.
The Health benefits of resistance training include:
- Improve muscle strength and tone.
- Protect joints from injury: Joints are provided with more stability and movement in the joints can become smoother
- Maintain flexibility and balance: which can prevent injuries and falls.
- Weight management: There is an increases your muscle to fat ratio, plus as you gain muscle your body burns more kilojoules at rest.
- Good for stamina
- Prevention or control of chronic conditions: diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, back pain, depression and obesity.
- Pain management
- Increase bone density and strength.
- Improve sense of wellbeing.
- Improve sleep
- Enhance daily performance, such as improved concentration and improved productivity.
Myths of strength training:
- Strength training makes women bulky– bulk is very hard to achieve for women to achieve due to the low testerone levels.
- When strength training, women should lift a high number of reps– using weights is not always required for resistance/strength training, using your own body weight can be very effective in training (e.g. squats and pushups).
- Strength training particular areas will burn the fat from those areas of the body– unfortunately, our body is not that specific when it comes to burning fat. Persistence in training and eating right will help with overall weight loss.
- Weight lifting is dangerous– only if done with the wrong technique or with weights that are too heavy. Having someone train with you helps with monitoring technique and also helps keep you motivated.
- When you work out your fat will turn to muscle– You can burn fat, but you cannot morph it into muscle. Muscle requires protein, and fat does not contain any protein.
Incorporating strength training into your program can not only keep you motivated and your workouts interesting, but it will also help accelerate weight loss and toning of muscles. It is very difficult for women to bulk from strength training, so don’t be afraid to start lifting weights as part of your regular exercise routine.