Jonathan Hoskins is helping us to bust the most common fitness myths that just might be holding us back from being our ‘best fit selves’.
Myth #1 – Women Will Bulk Up if They Weight Train
I can’t tell you how many women come to me and tell me they want to “get fit” promptly followed by, “I don’t want to get bulky and muscular like a man.” It is surprising to me how many women still believe that if they weight train consistently they will start to look masculine. I am here to tell you this is not true. Women simply do not have the capacity to grow muscle like a man.
Let’s debunk the myth right here:
- Women have lower androgen levels (hormones including testosterone typically associated with males) than men, 15 to 20 times lower. This means their hypertrophic response, or capacity to grow muscle, is lower. Of course, there are rare exceptions to this—but they are very, very rare.
- Women have only two-thirds the number is nuclei in their muscle cells. This means that their natural ability to send signals to circulate androgens is less than that of men. Androgens are what initiate muscle growth—women do not have enough to ‘talk the muscle’ into bulking up.
- Women have higher relative strength endurance than men. Simply put, women can train at a higher rep count than men to maintain a specific zone of training.
A common misconception is that resistance training increases muscle mass, making your muscles large and heavy. While it is true you increase muscle and strength through weight training, the increase is offset by the body fat you lose through proper diet and exercise.
If you diet alone, you lose both muscle and fat, resulting in a reduced metabolic resting rate. As you exercise and address your diet, you increase your metabolism and subsequently drop unwanted body fat and replace it with lean muscle. Unfortunately, many women believe that exercise alone will make them lose unwanted weight. Sorry, but this, too, is a Myth. If you fail to address your diet along with increasing your exercise you will maintain the body fat on top of your newly stronger body. This often leads women to feel like they are bulking up, when in fact that are simply building a stronger body under the unwanted body fat.
Here is what weight training will do for women:
- Burn Fat. Muscle burns more calories than fat. As you activate your muscles, you will begin to lose unwanted body fat more quickly and even burn more fat in your resting state.
- Increase your Bone Health. As women age, they are at a greater risk of a decrease in bone density. Strength training has consistently been found to successfully combat this loss.
- Give You a Healthier Heart. Countless medical studies have found that those who strength train have fewer heart related issues, such as high blood pressure and increased glycogen levels.
- Improve Your Sleep. Strength training, along with other forms of physical activity, has been found to not only help you in falling asleep but in improving your overall quality of sleep in general.
- Stress Relief. Research has consistently found that people who strength train tend to manage their stress better.
- Makes you happy. Seriously! Ever wonder why even on days when you drag yourself into the gym you almost always leave with more pep in your step and a smile on your face? You naturally increase endorphins both during and after strength training.
So, let’s ditch this myth once and for all! Take a deep breath, grab some weights and get pumping. The overall benefits for your mind, body and soul are incredible!