A lot of the time I hear from clients that they don’t want to train with weights as they are afraid of gaining large amounts of muscle and becoming big and bulky, as the just want to become ‘toned’. Therefore, I have decided to try and make the point with this article that women need to make sure that they identify their goals and needs, and train smart to meet such goals.
Improving body composition or ‘getting that toned look’ is a big target and goal for a lot of women, so to them I say that gaining muscle (NOT SIZE) has to be a priority. If not, then the only weapon you have against fat would be an extremely strict, clean diet and interval training, combined with restricting calories to offset the reduction in metabolism that occurs as a result of aging. This highlights the importance of muscle in battling the war against fat.
Often women have stated that they are worried that training with weights will cause them to gain muscle and look like a bulky bodybuilder. During a heavy weights training session the hormone testosterone, which causes muscle growth, is secreted. However, women do not have the physiological capacity to produce enough testosterone to build muscle in the same way that men do.
This does not occur in women. Women produce around 15-20 times less testosterone from a weights training workout than men, meaning that the gains in muscle will be far less dramatic than that of a typical man. This means that women do not have the capability to end up with a big and bulky look, unless they begin taking anabolic steroids.
On the other hand, after a hard training session women can greatly elevate the release of a hormone called Growth Hormone. Don’t be alarmed by the name, as rather than building muscle, Growth Hormone has a much greater effect on burning fat. Therefore, the capacity for burning fat is heightened significantly for women following a weight training session.
It must be said, that with this type of heavy weight training small amounts of muscle will be gained, but the effects of weight training on strength and fat burning capabilities is much greater. This burning of fat through weight training will help them to achieve that lean, toned look as well as looking strong and fit. Additionally, that added muscle is another weapon in your arsenal, along with proper nutrition, to tackle any fat gain that occurs with age.
Training with progressively heavier weights is also the only way to get stronger. Using moderate loads can help to build muscle, but this will require much more time and repetitions. By moderate, I also don’t mean 3kg dumbells! These will not help you build the strength to pick up a child or put a heavy box up on a shelf.
In fact, light load, high rep training could work against you and cause a loss in muscle tissue and an increase in fat, as the exercise becomes more aerobic. This sounds like a potential fat trap that could sabotage your efforts to lose fat. The only way to help improve strength is to use progressively heavier weights that will force your body to adapt and become stronger to deal with such heavy loads, of which we actively promote here at Fitterbody Bootcamp in Northampton.
A combination of gaining a little bit of muscle and losing fat is also a great way to highlight the natural curves of your body, helping you to look better and more comfortable in your clothes. This will help you to feel more confident and feel like you have the control over your body image. The feeling of empowerment will soar through you with this tool to help you get the body you desire, whilst showing off your strength will help you to feel and look amazing.