5 Strength Training Myths Every Woman Should Know!

Bodybuilder Woman

MYTH #1 – Women shouldn’t lift heavy weights or they will get bulky.  

This one really chaps my behind.  This myth comes from the idea that women that compete in bodybuilding lift heavy and thus that is all one needs to do in order to put on giant muscles.  This could not be further from the truth.  First of all bodybuilders consume an ENORMOUS amount of calories per day in order to pack on muscle.  To put this numerically a normal 120# female needs about 1800 calories per day to survive.  A 120# female that is body building might eat 6x 500-600 meals per day.  That is 3000-3600 calories per day.  Secondly, many bodybuilders lift 6 days per week, 2 times per day, for 2 hours each session.  That is 24 hours per week of hitting the weights.  Third, bodybuilders do very specific isolated muscle movements to cause as much muscle hypertrophy (muscle growth)  as possible.  Finally, many bodybuilders take ‘supplements’ to help them get bigger.  In fact without these testosterone boosting ‘supplements’ no amount of eating and training would allow them to get a large as the pros.

FACT – Lifting heavy while maintaining a caloric balance or deficit will cause women to get stronger and NOT bigger.  Lifting heavy will burn the layer of fat that is between the skin and the muscle and result in a lean toned look.  In fact we have trained 100# size 0 women at this gym that could deadlift 250#.

If you want to look great and be strong LIFT HEAVY!


CardioMYTH #2 –   You need to do ‘cardio’ to lose weight

Cardio is great.  You need cardiovascular endurance for a great many things in life including having a heathy heart.  You could never step on another treadmill or elliptical in your life and be perfectly healthy and get all of the cardio training you ever need by other means.  What cardio will not get you is in shape.

FACT – If you want to lose fat and get tone you must train in a way that will break down your muscles so that they are forced to repair themselves.  When you lift heavy or do explosive movements (jumps, kicks, etc.) you break down your muscles and your body spends the next 24-48 hours repairing them.  During this period your metabolism naturally goes up!  This means you burn more calories sitting behind your desk at work post workout than you normally would have.


DietMYTH #3 – You need to just eat less

If you just stopped eating you would be thin… right?  Just eat less and exercise more than you will be thin.  Works like a charm.  Never mind that it makes you irritable, weak, miserable, and frustrated.

FACT – Our bodies need fuel (food) in order to be healthy.  The real story is less about how many calories we eat but the type of calories we consume.  I like the paleo diet.  Is this the only one that works?  Absolutely not.  It works for me and many others and generally makes me a happy person.  It is consists of only meat, vegetables, fruit, and nuts and seeds.  There is no sugar, dairy, legumes, grains, etc allowed in the paleo diet.

Eating (plenty) of calories from good food and exercising regularly will give you results!



Muffin topsMYTH #4 – You can spot clean areas of your body

It seems like everyday some charlatan marketing company starts peddling some new gizmo that will reduce stubborn lower belly fat or get rid of upper arm fat.

FACT – It is IMPOSSIBLE to “target” a specific area of your body for weight loss.  When losing fat it is lost all over the body.  Some people might lose weight in their faces first and others on their tummies.  No amount of crunches will ever make the fat on your belly go away any faster.

The ONLY way to lose weight is eat right and exercise regularly.  The reality is that proper diet is probably 80% of the equation for fat loss.  Exercising will make you strong, healthy, and tone but diet will contribute more to weight loss than any other factor.



Men and WomenMYTH #5 – Men and Women have different training needs and thus should train differently

Economy trainers, like the ones found at your local big box gym, will have their male clients doing squats, dead lifts, push ups, and pull ups while having their female clients doing low weight high rep exercises, working on the selectorized machines,  and playing on stability balls.

FACT – Women and men have identical training needs.  The same workout used to get men in shape will work great for a woman.  The same workout that allows a man to pack on muscle is the same one that will help a woman lose fat, add lean muscle, and give the toned look.  The reason that men react differently to the workout is a combination of natural hormones (testosterone) and diet.  Adult men have 7-8 times the testosterone than women.  No amount of diet and exercise will change that.

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