Strength training will NOT make you “bulky”.
Let’s dig deeper.
Okay, so it just does not happen.
Female bodybuilders and those involved in body sculpting competitions did not get their bodies by resistance training 3x per week and eating a well-rounded, maintainable diet. They work in the gym extremely hard and push their muscles to the limit and need to eat specific quantities of protein, fats, and eat carbohydrates strategically.
Think about testosterone, the predominant hormone in building muscle mass. Female testosterone levels are typically between 1.12 – 1.79 nmol/L, the adult male range is 7.7 – 29.4 nmol/L.
Unless you have a specific disorder that varies your testosterone levels, there is zero concern, and even if you do, you can still weight train. As always, it is advised you talk to a professional and get personalized advice before commencing a new diet of physical activity regime.
Benefits of resistance training FOR females
Several factors benefit both genders when we consider resistance training. blood sugars, blood pressure, body fat, reduce falls risk in the older population, prevention of stroke
Osteoporosis (OP) or osteopenia, which is weakening of the bones but not to the extent of OP. Here is the ultimate basics breakdown of how it works:
Oestrogen promotes Osteoblasts (cells that form new bones) but with menopause, Oestrogen levels decline, leaving our bones vulnerable to weakening.
We can prevent osteoporosis through resistance training and even reverse effects and increase our bone mass back to healthy levels with some professional advice and implementation of a well-rounded, individualized resistance-based exercise program.
“Resistance exercise isn’t safe for females”
I have seen this promotion going around about ‘booty bands’ or resistance bands and how they’re “safer to use for females” to prevent muscle soreness (or Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness – DOMS). Reading this hurt my head. Immediately, because some will believe that resistance bands are somehow going to prevent muscle soreness. There needs to be an acknowledgment that resistance bands are still a form of resistance and therefore the predominant focus of them is muscle hypertrophy. Exactly what bodyweight resistance and gym-based resistance exercise such as machines offer. The booty bands suggest less muscle soreness after use compared to alternative methods, this may happen if the bands are light as the intensity of the exercise isn’t high enough to stress the muscles. So, less muscle soreness but also, less bang for your buck.
Resistance or exercise bands have their benefits, but this shouldn’t be where your resistance training finishes.
“I want to lose weight, so I only do cardio”
Let’s start by defining the difference between ‘weight loss’ and ‘fat loss’. Weight loss is typically measured by scale weight, it’s your total body mass. Fat loss is not so simply calculated, we can lose a dress size but stay the same weight on the scales.
If fat loss if your goal, we can achieve this best by increasing the amount of muscle mass in our body, it is more metabolically active and denser. Metabolically active meaning the more muscle mass we have, the more energy we are going to expend at rest. Density is related to the amount of space the same weight takes up.
Then we of course have the additional benefits of increased muscle mass including glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure management, improved self-esteem with opening jars and ability to do a push up which you haven’t been able to do in 10 years and as we get older a reduced falls risk, or if a fall were to occur reduced risk of injury secondary to increase bone density! There are of course other ways to exercise