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mydaywillcome 03-21-2012 02:10 AM

Why weight training is important to women, not just men.
Hi guys, Katie here! I want to make note of a topic I think is essential to add to your weight loss journey, and working to maintain weight.

Many women overlook the importance of weight lifting and core workouts during their weight loss journey, and maintaining their weight. Yes, cardiovascular workouts such as running, and using cardio machines have utmost importance. I'm not talking about power lifting here. Just core workouts, and certain exercises that involve some low weights. ie 5lbs . If you feel you can add more after lifting for awhile, do it! For women, gaining muscle, means losing weight faster. Why? Lets see.

Why its important for looks: What do you think happens to your skin after you lose weight without muscle training. Your skin becomes saggy, and the extra fat under your arms just turns into loose hanging skin. Yuck! Core training will help you shape your stomach toning, and get rid of stretchy skin. Who wouldn't love a nice stomach, and strong arms? If you hear stories of regretting weight loss because of how their skin looks afterwords, I can guarantee you it is because these people did not balance their working out and weight training properly.

Most importantly, why its important for healthy weight loss!: If you add weight training into your work outs, muscle gain helps you burn calories much faster. Even when you are at rest, you will lose calories continuously. Muscle gain will give you the ability to do more work as well.

PLEASE NOTE: It is not healthy to weight train every day. Your muscles get tired quickly, especially newly developing muscles! What I'm doing, and of course you could go a different route with it, is doing cardio on my bike for an hour three times a week, and for the remaining 3 days of my work out week, I do cardio exercise for a half hour, then weight train for a half hour. I mix up the days though, so my muscles have a day to rest and recover.
Also, don't begin weight training with weights that are to heavy to handle. Muscle building does not happen over night. When you feel stronger, bump up the weights, but don't rush it! If your muscles burn out, what was the point of trying to build them!

Good luck!

rpmcduff 03-21-2012 06:26 PM

I agree that weight training is important for women. I do have some additional points and a suggestion. First I would suggest that you change your weight training days to perform weight training first and then the cardio. Several studies have shown that doing cardio after weight training maximizes both muscle gain and weight loss. This is attributed to your body being at its peak when performing the weight training exercises (letting you lift either more weight or perform more repetitions).

I applaud any weight lifting exercises by women but so many do not maximize their results from a fear they will become bulky. Most women are seriously under muscled and attempt to 'tone' their muscles. There really is no such thing as 'toning'. You are either building muscle fiber or you are not. Most women attempt to do weight training with low weights that allow for 10 or even 20 repetitions. They believe this will 'tone' them up without any real muscle growth. In my opinion it mostly just wastes their time.

Here are some of the reasons why. Muscle is not all the same. Even in a simple muscle group like the bicep their are both slow twitch and fast twitch muscle fibers. These develop and grow differently depending on the type of exercise the bicep is asked to perform. The amount of repetitions that are performed before failure (failure is the inability to perform another repetition of the movement with good form) determines how the muscle grows. Lifting heavy (4-6 repetitions to failure) will force the fast twitch muscles to activate. These are the muscles fibers located in the center of the muscle. Repetitions in the 8-10 repetition range activate fewer fast twitch muscles and have been shown to build strength the fastest. Repetitions over 10 cause the greatest increase in endurance but activate mostly slow twitch muscle fibers.

So I believe that women should lift heavy! Meaning using weights that allow only 4-6 repetitions and perform only 3 to 4 sets per exercise. This will give the maximum results in the least amount of time. If you need proof browse through the 'Transformation of the Week' series for women on the site (free site). You can read story after story of women who couldn't acheive the body they wanted although the did hours of cardio weekly. Only when they began lifting heavy did they see their bodies change.

mydaywillcome 03-21-2012 06:55 PM

Thank you for your suggestions and additions. I might however disagree with you on one point. Yes it is a good idea to not lift so little, but when you are starting, you do not want to automatically think lifting heavy will give you results more quickly, your muscles will burn out fast and you will never want to weight lift again, at least not for awhile. I get this knowledge from my personal trainers, and military.

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