Ladies, have a good look around your gym. How many overly large, muscular women do you see lifting weights? Probably not too many- unless you work out at ‘Roids R Us Gym’. Now, look around again. How many women with nice, muscular, – yet feminine- bodies do you see lifting weights? In this case, there are definitely a lot more. These women, who have a solid foundation of muscle, still look like women, and they look damn good too! So how do these women train to look this way?Hours of elliptical climbing?
Two cycles through the circuit?
Instead, these women have achieved their sexy, feminine, physiques by weight training – hard and heavy – the same way the boys do.
If you are a woman whose goals are tone and tighten up your body, you need to get off that treadmill and cross-trainer and start lifting and pushing weights so you can truly achieve these objectives. Many women are under the assumption that they should not train with weights like men because they will get bulky and become “unfeminine” – whatever that is. Well, in reality, it’s not likely that they are going to get huge. In fact, most men, men with loads more testosterone and manly muscle building potential, have real difficulty putting on muscle mass. If this is true for men, it’s convincingly true for women, the vessels of estrogen.
So girls, stop worrying about getting huge. Those women who know how to weight train effectively look a lot more attractive (in clothes and when naked) than the women who spend hours doing cardio. Of course, keep in mind that aerobic exercise is still important since it improves cardiovascular health and facilitates reductions in body fat, but it is not the only form of exercise that women need. Nope, you need the weights.
Training with weights is the only way that you can sculpt your female figure to have shapely arms and harder glutes. Wouldn’t it be nice to wave to your girlfriend and not have your triceps wave back at you? And wouldn’t it be even nicer to shake your booty on the dance floor and know that it will stop shaking when you are finished dancing? What women out there can honestly say they don’t want abs like Madonna and Janet Jackson? Even if you do step classes all day long, you will never have these physical attributes. These outstanding features come with contracting and controlling muscles in every part of your body. Cardio and aerobics will not do this, but effective weight training will.
A True Story
I myself am one of these women who have discovered that I can achieve the ideal body type by working out intensely with weights. When I first started working out, I thought, like most women do, that weight training was only for boys, and I didn’t want to look like a boy. I wanted to keep my feminine figure, but become “toned” and not have as much fat. So, I assumed that the best way to do this was to spend mindless hours on cardio equipment and every so often, lift a few weights. Over time I did lose some fat, but I remained, what most women look like today, “skinny-fat”. I was smaller, but my body was still smooth and soft, and didn’t quite have the sexy shape to it that I really wanted.
Finally one day a girlfriend of mine, whose body I always admired, took me to her gym and introduced me to real weight training. At first I felt a little intimidated to work out with weights because I didn’t know what to do. It was just so much easier to just run on the treadmill and then maybe do a few bicep curls, because they were simple. That day we did a chest and back workout. She showed me all the exercises with free weights and some things on machines. The workout was quite hard, and she pushed me to use heavier weights than I would normally have chosen.
I remember how thrilling it was to watch my muscles work in the mirror and seeing that I actually had some definition that I hadn’t noticed before. Weight training workouts cause a muscle pump that brings out definition while training. After each exercise I got this euphoric feeling, a feeling that I have never experienced before with aerobics. I felt so strong and powerful, and so in control of my body. Each muscle was full and hard, and I knew that this type of exercise was going to help me achieve my physical dreams. I was hooked.
After that workout, I decided to hire a personal-trainer to learn further techniques in weight training. As a university educated woman, I realized that there are people out there who have spent years of their lives learning about this topic and they are the ones I should consult with. The trainer I found was a woman named Carla. She was living proof that weight training created a very appealing feminine shape. She had nice shape to her arms and shoulders, her waist curved in tightly before it met her hips, and her legs were strong and sleek all at the same time. Carla’s body was firm and when she showed me how to perform each exercise I could see the way her muscles moved. I wanted the same thing. So, I gave weight training my full attention. I trained intensely four to five days a week and I cut significantly back on my cardio workouts. After a very short time, I honestly could say that I set the foundation for the figure that I always wanted. I could see lines in my abs, my shoulders had a curvy shape to them and my posture was much improved. I stood tall with a confidence that I had never had before.
As more and more women have begun to experience the same feelings that I’ve described here, they are beginning to recognize that weight training is no longer just for men. It is the ultimate strategy for women to safely and effectively reshape their bodies into the goddesses they are meant to look and feel like. Keep in mind though that the creation of muscle with resistance exercise will also do more than just make you look and feel sexier. It will enable you to perform activities that are functional and useful. You will never feel weak and insignificant compared the opposite sex. You can become a strong woman, a woman that doesn’t need help to open something usually found difficult, or lift something normally considered heavy. Weight training will also help to improve your health, and increase your quality of life. Medically, it has been proven to increase your bone density and help prevent the onset of osteoporosis, which is a common disease for many women.
Question: So why don’t women want to weight train?
When I was asked to write this article, I decided to poll the women I knew and see why some of them were opposed to weight training. Some of the reasons given were understandable, while some were a little humorous. Here is what they had to say:
Answer #1: “I don’t know how to use the weights.”
Most women who didn’t want to weight train decide that ignorance is the final answer. My question to them is this: “When you were a child and you didn’t know how to read, did you stop your elementary school teacher from showing you how to do it? Most likely not.” So, tell me why would you oppose a personal trainer showing you how to weight train? Or why would you not ask one of your friends (female or male) who knows how to properly weight train to help you?
First and foremost it is lack of knowledge about the benefits and results that come with this type of exercise that hinders women from taking the initiative to learn. I am convinced that if every woman is shown how to train effectively with weights, they will never turn back to only doing cardio. Like I said already, the rush and the euphoria that comes with a hard weight workout is the best feeling you can ever have. Weight training needs to be learned, as it is not an activity that we are born knowing how to do. Therefore you need to seek the assistance of a personal trainer or an educated friend, so you can reap the results that only weight training can bring.
Answer #2: ” There’s no calorie counter on the weight machines like there is on the cardio equipment. So I don’t know how many calories I am burning.”
This answer made me laugh harder than I have ever laughed before. Many women think that if they know precisely (or maybe not so precisely…) how many calories they burn while doing cardio they will automatically lose weight in conjunction with eating less food. As this mindset may be close to semi-truth, seeing those body weight numbers on the scale decrease every few weeks does not mean that you are building a beautiful body. Weight loss may mean that your body is decreasing in size but a decrease in size does not mean firming up that flabby tummy or tightening those jiggly thighs.
If there was a calorie counter on the free weights and weight machines, women – who weight train effectively – would see that they there were burning more calories than constantly doing aerobics both during and after the workout. And the best thing about weight training is that you are increasing the amount of muscle tissue that you have in your body, which requires you to burn more calories all day long!
Overall, muscle is a calorie-consuming machine. Aerobic exercise mostly uses calories during the time period that you are performing it, and for a few hours after. Weight training however, helps you to create muscle in all parts of your body, which will significantly increase your energy expenditure for a longer period of time.
The take home message is that weight training is a more effective form of exercise than cardio; so don’t use this excuse to avoid it. Be assured that you are burning just as many, if not more, calories while creating a firm sensual body that you will be proud of.
Answer #3: “Weight training does not feel as intense as aerobics.”
This answer comes from women who always choose light weights to use for their weight training exercises. Mainly, these women think that if they push their muscles to work too hard with weights, they will automatically become the next Incredible Hulk. They are afraid to push their muscles too hard, because they believe that only men should workout this way.
But, the key to success with weight training for any person (men included), is to pick a weight that causes you reach a point of fatigue (a.k.a. failure). You want the last few repetitions of your exercise to be demanding on the muscle you are working. There is absolutely no point in doing multiple repetitions of any exercise when you do not feel any resistance. The whole objective of weight training is to challenge your muscles and provide the stimulus for growth. As women do not have that much muscle to begin with, the creation of new muscle will not result in a masculine physique. Instead, the muscle will take the place of existing body fat. And since muscle is a much smaller, denser tissue than fat, it will make a woman’s body look smaller, more shapely, and tighter.
Overall, when performed correctly, efficient weight training can feel just as intense and satisfying as any cardio workout. Your heart will pump just as hard, and you will glisten with a sweat that no cardio workout can create. All women simply have to put in the effort to learn correct weight lifting techniques, and they will ultimately experience the incredible sensation that comes with resistance exercise.
Answer #4: “I feel uncomfortable to weight train around men.”
This answer is so common that it resulted in the creation of ladies-only gyms. The consensus of many women is that men are judgmental of any woman who tries to learn how to weight train. Since weight training is traditionally a male-dominated activity, women do not feel like they belong on the same floor space. However, men are actually very impressed when they see a women weight training intensely right beside them. And oftentimes, men can offer motivation and assistance when you need it the most.
I personally have had many positive experiences where a man has provided me with knowledgeable suggestions regarding my workout. They have shown me new ways to do an exercise and they have helped correct my improper form. Also, throughout the years, I started weight training with men because they challenge me to work harder than I ever have before. The challenge has made significant improvements in my figure, and in my muscle definition.
Women and men are not really all that different when it comes to weight training. Men and women can learn from each other and provide the desire to train harder each day. You, as a women, want the body that every man will drool over, while every man wants to look just as appealing to women. The sexual stimulus that is created when women and men work out together can provide the perfect environment for self-improvement.
The Bottom Line: What is effective weight training for women?
So, now that women understand that effective weight training is the key to shaping their bodies into extremely feminine, foxy, figures, it’s time to learn what’s effective. Basically, effectiveness translates into training with weights – just like men. Yes, that is correct. When you set foot into that gym, you will devote the majority of your workout to training heavy and hard with weights. You will start your workout with a moderate cardiovascular warm-up to loosen up your muscles and set the stage for an intense resistance exercise session. Weights are now going to be your new ally for ultimate physical improvement. You should spend half, if not more, of your gym visits working out with weights. Make every weight-training day worthwhile by choosing weights that will challenge your muscles and stimulate them to grow. Occasionally, and this is okay, you may make the odd grunting noises like you often hear men make when they are truly struggling with a weight. Show the world that you are creating the body that you have always dreamed of and don’t let anyone step in your way.
If you are new to the weight training revolution, get someone to create a workout plan for you. The ultimate plan should focus on training one to three body groups each day, so that over the course of one week, you will have trained the muscles in your entire body at least once. Here is an example of a four-day weight-training plan:
Monday: Shoulders, and Biceps
Tuesday: Legs (Quads, Hamstrings)
Wednesday: Rest day
Thursday: Chest and Triceps
Friday: Back, Calves and Abs
Saturday: Cardio for 45 min
Each week you can change the amount of sets and reps you do for each exercise, as well as the type of exercise you do. But the bottom line is that you must always train hard no matter what you do. You should feel like you stimulated each muscle fiber after you are finished. Also, the sign of a really good workout is when you feel the burn in your muscles one and sometimes two days later. This sensation is known as DOMS: Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness, and it means that your muscles were effectively challenged, and they will now begin to grow. Rest assured though, that you will NOT grow into He-Man. You simply don’t have the hormonal profile to do so. Instead, you will shed more body fat than you ever have before and your body will look so much more feminine and sexy.
Your New Secret
Smile to yourself now when you hear the girl next to you in the change room complaining that they have to go sit on the bike for the next hour, because you have discovered the thrill of dumbbells and the rush of Nautilus machines. You have awakened a lioness in your soul who is strong and capable. This lioness will never need to ask her male coworker to open that pesky jar for her again (unless he is really cute and she wants to have an excuse to talk to him.) You can now do more for yourself than you ever have before. You will be healthier and happier, and will look better with every step you take.
About the Author:
Cassandra Forsythe, Ph.D., R.D., received her doctorate in kinesiology from the University of Connecticut, and completed her dietetic internship at UMass Amherst, both in 2009. Originating from northern British Columbia, Canada, she received her M.S. in Human Nutrition and Metabolism and her Bachelors in Nutrition and Food Science from the University of Alberta in Edmonton. She is a Registered Dietitian (RD), certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), and is a Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN) through the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN).Cassandra’s research experiences are the effects of low-carbohydrate diets, dietary fat manipulation, and resistance exercise on risk factors for heart disease, diabetes and body composition. She is also passionate about women’s health topics, including the Female Athlete Triad and pregnancy.She works as a nutrition educator and weight loss coach and is the author of two popular books for women: “The New Rules of Lifting for Women”, co-authored with Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove, and “Women’s Health Perfect Body Diet”.Visit her website: Cassandraforsythe.com