The regular sight in a gym: men are huffing and puffing over deadlifts and squats and women are content with cardiovascular exercises. While cardiovascular exercises accelerate heart rate and work to shed calories and improve metabolism, resistance training or strength training exercises are still mandatory for anyone (read men and women) keen to build muscle and lose weight. For each pound of muscle built the body has to spend 50-70 calories extra to maintain it. Just calculate the number of calories spent, if you’ve 10 pounds of extra muscle mass! Clearly, you’ll be spending approximately 500 extra calories every day, which increases your calorie expenditure by 3500 calories. Ankita Singh, our MuscleBlaze athlete dispels the widely believed myths about women lifting weights and details the benefits of strength training for women. Ankita insists that weight training is for women and helps them defy age and remain toned. Keep reading.
Whether you want to lose or gain weight, you’ve to increase or decrease your calorie, spend by 3500 calories. Still, many women resist lifting weights as they fear that they might begin to look like the feminine version of Hulk with all these strength training sessions!
LIFTING HEAVY WEIGHTS MAKES YOU BULKY
This is just not possible because women have 15 to 20 times less testosterone than men. Hormone wise, women have just not enough hormones to fuel beefier and bulkier muscles.
Therefore, shun the aversion to resistance exercises and work up a sweat with those dumb bells. Initially, you can use water/sand-filled bottles, rubber-exercise tubing, bricks and even your body weight, like in pushups. Gradually, as your stamina and strength increases, you should go for heavier weights.
In response to resistance posed during these exercises, the body gets injured and suffers minor tears in muscle cells. Post-workout, that protein shake delivers optimum nutrients to the muscles to fuel new muscle synthesis. As a result, your body now builds stronger and bigger muscles in anticipation of a greater onslaught of resistance training. Rather than growing bulky women who lift weight look fit and toned.
Myth # 2
MORE MUSCLES RESULT IN FAT
Weight training is for women because it helps them attain the toned look that they have been aspiring to attain. Weight training builds denser muscles. However, the increased muscle mass doesn’t result in fat rather makes it possible to lose fat while training with weights. For most women, losing weight and attaining toned look drives them to hit the gym. A toned definition is a result of more muscle mass and less fat.
Nothing less, nothing more! Here resistance training comes handy. When you do more reps with weights, you build more muscles. Muscles are denser tissues and more muscle mass will make you smaller and compact, not fat. Building more muscles translate in a toned definition, a trimmer waist, leaner biceps and firmer quadriceps. Moreover, strength training sessions are good for your bones and ward off osteoporosis, a health condition that makes bones hollow and porous.
Losing fat while weight training is possible because as you build muscles, your body is able to burn more calories during rest, a happy situation to be in because your Resting Metabolic Rate goes up. However, a point to remember is that flatter abs may still elude you as abs are built in the kitchen not in the gym.
Myth # 3
MORE THAN 3 MEALS IN A DAY WILL RESULT IN FAT GAIN
DIET, the four-letter-word is extremely critical for building your body. Along with strength training focus on pristine nutrition that is kind of incomplete without proteins, the raw material and the building block of muscle. When you work out hard, you need to ensure that you don’t shortchange on your protein supply. The moment you’re short on your protein supply, your body will begin to tear muscle fibers, the storage depot of proteins to fuel metabolic processes (all the acts that include in existing, like breathing, digesting foods, a beating heart, eliminating waste). To avoid this unpleasant scenario, where your body doesn’t attack the hard-earned muscles, you’ve to ensure that your body remains in a positive nitrogen balance to build muscles. Breaking your meal plan in six small-meals, rather three large meals will ensure that you don’t stay hungry enough and are able to get enough proteins.
An average male needs 56 grams of protein and a woman needs 10 grams less, but for women lifting weights, protein requirement will vary.
The “Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition” recommends getting a slightly higher protein intake, as this can improve adaptations to intense training. At this amount, a 120-pound (54.5 kilos) female would require 77 to 109 grams per day, while a 150-pound (68.18 kilos) female would need 96 to 137 grams.
Be sensible about your protein intake and split it in-between meals. Good protein combos are a banana milkshake, cottage cheese, tofu, grilled chicken, egg whites, sprouted grains, lentils. Whey is also an exceptional source of protein post workout as it digests quickly and transports amino acids faster to the working muscles.
Begin the lasting affair with resistance training exercises to look like a diva. Then, the world is your stage.