As a trainer, I hear these myths all the time. I love educating my female clients about how they don’t need to starve themselves or spend hours doing cardio to lose weight. I love even more when a light bulb switches on for clients the moment they start to see the results they’ve been trying to achieve for so long. Let’s take a look at three huge lies the fitness industry has been telling women for far too long.
Myth #1: I’ll look manly.
Truth #1: Weightlifting helps you build curves
As a female trainer, I hear it all the time: “I don’t want to lift heavy because I don’t want to get bulky.” I’m here to tell you to get that out of your head. One of the most important facts to understand about building muscle is that men develop larger muscles because of the amount of testosterone that they naturally produce. According to a study done by the National Center for Biotechnology Information “[males] produce 30 times more testosterone than before puberty with circulating testosterone exceeding 15-fold that of women at any age.” In lay-man’s terms, as women, we cannot naturally build the muscle mass that men are capable of building.
Have you ever heard of the term “skinny fat”? This happens when you lose weight but still don’t have that “toned” look that is desired by many women. In order to achieve such shape, lifting weights is important to build the muscles that will be revealed once you lose enough fat for them to show. This is done through consistent weight training for hypertrophy; for example, do exercises for 3-5 sets of 8-12 reps of moderate to heavy weights.
Myth #2: I need to do more cardio to lose weight.
Truth #2: Resistance training increases your metabolism.
Cardio does typically burn more calories during the actual training session, but research has shown that you burn more calories for up to 38 hours following a weight training session, compared to a cardio workout. There has not been any such proven evidence that you burn more calories after a cardio session; therefore, the lasting effects of weight training may be far better for weight loss than cardio. The key is to exert your muscles enough to break the muscle fibers down so that they actively rebuild themselves during the recovery period.
Client Dottie Wagner’s testimony regarding training at home with limited weights as opposed to in the gym with heavier weights: “It is definitely not the same and my metabolism is not the same. I am seeing a real contrast between lifting heavy and not. I was much leaner and able to eat more while staying lean when lifting heavy. I am convinced, more than ever, that lifting heavy weights is the best way to achieve long-lasting lean muscle mass and good health!”
Myth #3: I need to be eating very little calories to lose weight.
Truth #3: You do need to eat at a deficit, but don’t go overboard.
Well, just no. Though it is true that a caloric deficit is necessary for weight loss, it is important to also understand that an adequate number of calories is necessary to provide your body with efficient energy to keep your metabolism working. If your metabolism is working properly and you are at a safe caloric deficit through slightly lowered intake and efficient exercise your body will also be burning enough calories to burn fat. A good rule of thumb is that 3,500 calories is equal to 1lb, so if you want to lose 1lb a week, you would target a 500-calorie deficit a day.
There you have it! If you’ve been working harder not smarter for some time without the results you’ve been wanting, I hope this encourages you to rethink your methods and helps you to achieve your fitness goals.
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Learn more about Amanda and her background here.