Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Why are women scared of the weight room?

For a lot of women starting out on a weight loss programme or just looking to get fit, the weight room is a place they avoid like a man avoids cleaning. On their quest to slim down, the worry of becoming a female Arnold Schwarzenegger keeps them as far away from pumping iron as possible. However, by doing this, women may be missing out on huge health, fitness and weight loss benefits.

Why do most women think that touching a weight will make them look like this?
Muscle, the fat burner
It’s been highlighted in some of the previous posts, that, muscle uses energy even when you’re not doing anything. So, it would make sense that, the more muscle you have, the more energy you burn throughout the day. To put it in simple terms, if two people did exactly the same amount of work during the day but one had slightly more muscle, then that person would use more energy during the day.
The problem comes when you start to do lots of cardio and lots of dieting. When you do this, as well as water and fat, you start to lose muscle, which isn’t good. So, even if you don’t want to be bursting out of your t-shirts any time soon, it’s essential to do some resistance work to minimise your muscle loss.
Muscle, the injury preventer
If you move, at all, you are at risk of injuring yourself, you only have to see how many “accident claim” adverts there are to realise that people are always slipping, tripping and falling over. So, if your muscles and connective tissues are more tissue paper than...than...well, something tougher than tissue paper, you might end up with a serious injury.
Weight training can toughen up those muscles and connective tissues (ligaments and tendons) and so reduce that risk of injury. So, hit the weights to avoid being the next person in that annoying accident claim advert.
I hate those injury lawyers adverts. Anyway, has anyone
ever actually slipped on a banana peel?

Muscle, the stabiliser
When you had your first bike it probably came with two little wheels on the side that stopped you falling off and wobbling all over the place. Your muscles do exactly the same thing and they are doing it all the time. When you move your muscles constantly make minor adjustments to keep you up right. If you want to know this processes actual name, it’s proprioception, just in case you were curious.
Simply then, if you start to waste away this muscle, you’re removing the stabilisers. Obviously you’re not going to start falling and stumbling like Babmi on ice, not now anyway. But as you get older, it will definitely become an issue.
Still scared of the weight room
The title of this post might point at just the weight room but muscle gain can also be built from exercises that don’t use weights. Resistance training that uses body weight is great because you can do it anywhere, although firing out some press-ups at the bus stop will draw strange looks from passers-by.
It was said at the beginning, weight training or resistance training will not make you bulk up into a muscle machine, which requires lots and lots of training and nutrition. It will though help you burn more fat and rescue the chances of you getting injured.
So, ladies, forget hiding away from the weight room or some resistance training.
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1 comment:

  1. I'm not scared of the weight room because I think I'll look like Schwarzenegger- I know that is not true.

    If you actually ask women why they avoid the weight room, the majority will give essentially the same answer: "There are too many men in there!". Ripped, grunting gorilla men to be precise. Even if that is not true, simply thinking that we will be judged for not being able to lift very much at all makes us uneasy. Or for me, the fear of making some serious-weightlifter man wait for a machine while I'm struggling to bench the unweighted bar is both intimidating and embarrassing! I think if free weights were provided in both a weight room and a separate area with mats for ab work/stretches (where women are more likely to frequent), women would probably use those weights since it is in a less intimidating environment.