Weight training or resistance training is compatible with both men and women. However for most women its something you’d never think of. But, would you ladies like to ‘Tone up’? “Yes”, is the most common answer! Well ‘Toning’ was a word made up by the fitness industry to make ‘Weight training’ more appealing to women, there is essentially no difference.
Weight training is the most safe and effective method of losing weight and improving body composition. Body composition is the ratio of body fat vs. lean muscle mass. Essentially a good body composition would be less fat and leaner muscle. Isn’t this what everyone wants?
Women don’t have anywhere near as much testosterone as men and testosterone is what builds muscle – so girls, if think that lifting weights will make you look like Arnold Schwarzenegger then you are very much mistaken. With any training, you will start to see changes and if you don’t like the way your body is changing then you simply stop and try something new.
Weight training amongst women has seen a huge incline in recent years and in my opinion, a toned look is very appealing! But its more than just looks, its about empowerment, self confidence and equality, not to mention all the health benefits and the ability to perform daily tasks with greater ease.
So how do you put on muscle?
You need to put your muscles under increased load and volume until the specific muscle group fails to do the task that your brain set for it. It’s quite fascinating actually, the brain issues a command to the muscles which is triggered by your thought/intention, so for instance a bicep curl. So let’s say the thought/intention was to curl the weight 10 times, the command is then sent to your muscles by the brain and you pick the weight up and start curling toward your goal of 10 reps. If the weight is too heavy to reach 10 reps, the brain quickly realises that the body failed to complete the task and senses danger. Knowing now that theres a possibility it may happen again the brain has to command an increase in muscle fibres to that specific area to ensure it doesn’t fail next time. Keep repeating this process of working to failure and the muscle will keep growing, cool huh?
So if i eat loads of protein, will I get all muscly?
No is the short answer, although the protein powder companies use all the tricks to make you believe otherwise. They are responsible for ‘protein fear’ amongst women. If you don’t believe me look at a protein powder advert and you’ll see some massive dude flexing his muscles.
Protein has a very important role to play in muscle building, it’s called ‘Repair’. The real reason to chuck a protein shake down your neck after a workout is to repair the muscle fibres you’ve just broken down to failure. Its a very effective way of getting in some immediate energy and repair to the muscle fibres (just make sure you mix it with water after a workout for maximum effectiveness).
So how do I gain muscle size?
Eat tons and tons and lift heavy weights for a year or two is the answer! Now I’m not saying to go to the gym for the first time and go home to eat 3 pizzas. But similarly to losing weight by dropping 500 calories per day, to gain muscle you can start with the opposite and add an extra 500 calories per day to your diet. That said, if your’e overweight, you cant go to the gym, add 500 calories per day and expect to see muscles. you do need to use some common sense too.
Then of course comes the weight training. To start with I’d use a ‘3 day split’ training program. This would usually consist of day 1:Push exercises, day 2:Pull exercises and day 3:Leg exercises. you can then work up to a ‘5 day split’ training program to really focus on the different muscle groups.
So in short, to gain muscle or tone up you need to:
That should be enough to get you going!
Weight training is good for everyone. It is a great way to tone up and burn calories while also building muscle and strength. You would be well advised to get a personal trainer for a couple of sessions to teach you the proper form and technique to avoid injury and training yourself in to bad posture and also get them to write you a nutrition plan based on your goals.
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Happy training my friends