Training for Women
As mentioned earlier, you must train for the outcome you desire. It is also important to perform all exercises with the correct technique, range of motion and posture. If unsure, seek guidance from a fitness professional.
The majority of women who workoutwant to lose body fat and “tone up”. Toning is not possible without building muscle, given that shape essentially comes from muscle. Unless you want a skinny, flat, saggy butt, you really want to put some muscle on. Weight loss and toning usually happens fastest using a combination of cardio and weight training. Both offer distinct benefits and work well in tandem.
If you don’t do cardio, you stand to miss out on a gamut of things that will help you with your fitness, fat loss, heart health and emotional well-being
Cardio training improves V02 Max (rate of recovery), lactate threshold (how long you can go for before the burning feeling in your muscles slows you down), it reduces resting heart rate and blood pressure which reduces chances of cardiovascular disease. Cardio training also increases fat utilization, endurance and is a mood enhancer. So you’ll look better, feel great and be able to go harder for longer.
If you don’t like training with weights, it’s likely because you’re not good at it and don’t like feeling weak when you try it and/or like many women, you harbor a baseless fear of “bulking-up” or looking manly. It’s actually very hard for the average female to become muscular like a man due to significantly lower levels of testosterone. Besides, you want more testosterone because testosterone evolved to help the body build muscle and burn fat.
Those women you see photos of who do look very muscular are exceptions and not only do they train specifically for that, they almost always eat and supplement to maximize that effect.
Generally speaking, when women “bulk up” from weight training, it’s almost never the muscle that’s making them look that way, but the layers of adipose tissue (fat) that sits around the muscle from poor nutritional habits.
Muscle is 70% water and, as a result, is relatively heavier than the same amount of fat. On the flip side, fat takes up much more space than muscle, around three times as much. So when you lose a little fat and replace it with a little muscle, the scale may say you’ve gained weight because muscle weighs more than fat, but it will often mean a narrower waistline.
Given that muscle is hungrier for energy than fat, having more of it will not only increase your resting metabolic rate (i.e. you’ll be burning more fat even when sitting and sleeping simply because you have more muscle) but because muscle is smaller/denser than fat, when you drop the fat away, you’ll be leaner, firmer and more toned than ever.
The more muscle you have, the less impact your skeleton and joints take (so less wear & tear). The heavier you lift, the stronger your bones become. That’s crucial if you don’t want to succumb to brittle bones with age.
The more you train with weights the more you will likely improve other useful things like coordination, balance, stability, self-esteem and there is also a growing body of evidence to suggest that functional resistance training is also great for the brain and delays the onset and reduces the severity of age-related brain degenerative diseases.