by Saverio Sculli (Personal Trainer)*
How many times at the gym do you hear a woman say: “No, I do not use weights. Do you want me to have muscles like those of a man? I’m not crazy..”
There are many, too many, prejudices against isotonic training among women. Let’s try to understand and dissipate the most popular “myths ” about it.
Women and weights: dissipating myths
Let’s start by saying that strength training programs produce only a minimum increase in muscle mass because muscle hypertrophy is largely influenced by testosterone, the primary male hormone (present in very low amounts in women). For a woman, therefore, it’s physiologically impossible to develop muscles “like a man”, unless we trigger hormonal changes through the submission to “doping practices”.
The positive effects that can, instead, be achieved by the combination of cardiovascular training and isotonic activity will amaze you. In fact, by building up your lean muscle mass you will help burn fats and accelerate your basal metabolic rate, which means that you will consume more calories even when you sleep or watch TV on the couch.
Choreographed dancing to intense music won’t get you “in the body you want”. Our proposal is not to demonize aerobic activity or bodyweight courses, but only to explain the importance of a proper integration of these practices by exercising with weights.
In practice, comparing 60 minutes of aerobics with the same amount of time spent with weights exercising, we can observe that even if with the first we’ll burn more calories, the second will achieve more significant and long-lasting results. Of course the increase in lean body mass requires a greater investment of time and effort, but it is widely repaid because your metabolism speeds up and allows you to burn more calories every day. In fact, if we hypothetically replace 5kg (11lbs) of fat mass with 5kg (11lbs) of lean body mass, you would be able to consume between 500 and 900 kcal more each day, without any special training. That means consuming up to 15% more calories every day, even while you are sleeping. You should find huge motivations to deal with what you’ll need to succeed and follow your training program, not only for a week but month after month, in order to go beyond the point where others stop. Every day, motivated by your goal, you have to find the inspiration to continue in your program, no matter what happens.
The perfect workout
Many women fear that the increase in muscle mass means a more swollen and massive body. Reality is quite different: the muscle, having a higher density, at equal weight occupies a space five times lower than fat. Therefore, with a greater amount of lean mass you will have a more athletic and better defined body. Then, the perfect workout for women is represented by a synthesis that includes both aerobic and isotonic workout, all combined with a proper diet and integration.
It’s the case of actresses, singers and television stars who, understanding that training with weights is the best way to lose body fat, firm up, increase muscle tone and improve body proportions (with consequent beneficial aesthetic effects), include this method in their training program.
There is no more room for “false fears”: if you want to get the “best” out of your body, you must be ready to give the best, because getting into the body you want is possible!
*Mr. Saverio Sculli is a certified Personal Trainer since 2006 (CSEN-CONI), but his experience in fitness training started in 1998. He is also an expert in the fields of Athletic and Agonist Training (2004) and Nutritional Fitness Education (2003). He works as director at the New Fitness Sport Center in Bovalino (Italy) where he continues his “training mission” with passion and professional care, promotes informative seminaries and organizes courses to form the next generation of fitness trainers. You can follow Saverio on his web site and on Facebook. Contact him for questions or/and customized training programs: make wellness your life style!