Activating Beast Mode With Weightlifting
As a woman, we are told we need to be soft, sweet and gentle which are just a few adjectives associated with being feminine. These connotations were bestowed upon us by society from the minute we received the double x chromosome which dictated our role on earth. Several does and don’ts were created to “guide” us on how to be a “proper” woman especially regarding our level of health and fitness.
Resistance training is also known as weight lifting has received a negative reputation within popular culture and it is a common belief that women who lift are described as tough or manly looking instead of being empowered and praised as the true badasses they are for going against the status quo. Flair Magazine got a chance to find out the truth about resistance training with Jae Edwards Director of Training at Sprytraining.
Check out the 6 myths we’ve debunked about resistance training and its effects on women.
1) Weight Lifting Disrupts The Hormonal System To Make You Less Feminine.
Wrong! Resistance training in fact regulates the female hormones especially anabolic hormones such as testosterone and human growth hormones. It also reduces stress hormones such cortisol if done over period of time. “It affects how you look and how you perform. For females in order to keep their body fat percentage to a reasonable number they need to have a healthy base of testosterone,” explained Edwards. Testosterone is a hormone that promotes fat burning. Most secular fitness media promote testosterone as a no-no for women and only for males. This hormone is the perfect hormone for females and assists in burning fat.
2) Muscles Are Not For Women And They Will Make You Look Tough.
Another negative connotation is that muscles are not for women and muscles only make women look like males. “Studies show that most females carry only 10% of the amount of anabolic hormones such as testosterone and IG1 (insulin growth factor) that males have. Even if women were to train ridiculously hard and regular, they cannot develop the amount of muscle mass a male can develop with the same amount of training or more,” said Edwards. Most females are guilty of living a sedentary lifestyles and have lower back pain and issues in their shoulders because of how they sit in their nine to five jobs. “This also come down to muscle weakness and muscular imbalances. This is one of the reasons many persons are now visiting the general practitioner for pain,” he continued.
3) I Only Need To Squat For A Bigger Butt.
If you want a bigger butt or a curvier figure, you would have to lift weights in and around your glutes. Squats have been shown not to be the most effective exercise for activating and developing the glutes. “This is based on research and testing using electromagnetic testing. The exercise that is proven to build gluteus maximus muscles is the hip thrust with weights,” explained Edwards.
4) I Just Need 100 Crunches A Day To Lose Belly Fat.
You cannot spot reduce body fat in one particular area. “Hormones are also a deciding factor for where females lose body fat. Higher levels of cortisol which is a stress hormone will cause women to struggle to lose body fat in the stomach region,” said Edwards. There are exercises that target building muscles in a certain area but not losing body fat. If you have a significant layer of fat over the muscles you will not see any changes.
5) You Cannot Lift Weights During Pregnancy.
Resistance training before, after and during pregnancy is excellent. However, it depends on which trimester. For some females, the first trimester of the first pregnancy is one of the most difficult when it comes to nausea and other issues surrounding pregnancy and poor performance including bad form which may risk injury. There are females all around the world who are in lesser developed economic countries who have to carry loads and work during pregnancy up until the 9th month. “There is no study to say that females who have more manually driven things to do are at a higher risk of losing the pregnancy. It also has a lot to do with conditioning and the level you are at before you start. Exercise during pregnancy helps with core strengthening and makes the pregnancy a lot easier,” explained Edwards.
6) Avoid All Carbs
Carbohydrates and protein go hand in hand on a cellular level. You need carbohydrates to fuel your workouts. Carbs are for fuel and protein is filled with amino acids which promote muscle building which occurs during the recovery stage. “Your body is entitled to carbs especially when you are doing resistance training,” said Edwards.
For Loni Jones-Walsh, her fitness journey included a lot of resistance training. She decided to get fit after giving birth to twin boys. “I just didn’t want to not be able to keep up with them. I wanted to be THAT Mom. Strong, fit and able to keep up,” explained Walsh. She describes the initial stages of resistance training as incredibly painful. However, After being consistent for a few weeks you will start to see your entire being change not just physically but mentally.
“When I just started, the barbell alone was death and that’s just 45lbs. Now, while my back squats are 135lbs, my box squats are 365lbs. I can now clean and press 100lbs easily. Overall I’m lifting heavy!” said Walsh. Before pregnancy Walsh was 105lbs and after she was 107lbs. “Today I’m 118lbs. I’m definitely a lot fitter, my endurance has improved and I think my body looks good,” she said.
For Walsh, resistance training came with a sexier physique and improvement of mental and physical well being. “For me personally, it’s the time I get to be in my own zone. Not just with resistance training but being in the gym on whole. Some women invest heavily in nails, hair etc but for me, it’s that time in the gym. To improve on myself inside and out. It’s therapy, thanks to my Spry family 4 years and counting,” said Walsh.
Edwards advises females who are interested in resistance training to consult with a physiotherapist or strength and also work on improving their core muscles first.