Time to bust the myths and add strength training for a safer and healthier lifestyle

  • 3 Minutes Read
Jennifer Yanez, RDN, CHC, ACE-PT

Incorporating strength training into an exercise plan may feel complicated or intimidating for some women. No need to fear! Accomplishing a healthy, toned body without bulkiness is easier to accomplish than you might think, and it doesn't require extra cardio, either! Read on as we debunk the myths, show what strength training can do for your mind and body, and share how to get started.

Strength training for women

Common myths about strength training

When you hear the words strength training, you may imagine bodybuilding competitions or weight rooms where large men lift heavy barbells. But that is a common misconception. Let’s break down some common myths.

My muscles will get big and bulky

Biologically, women have lower muscle mass percentages than men due, in part, to the difference in testosterone levels of each sex. Testosterone is a key factor in muscle growth. Consequently, this makes it much more challenging for women to grow large muscles, though not impossible. Therefore, a woman who does full body strength workouts 2-3 times/week, combined with a sensible nutrition plan, will not see muscle ‘bulk’ but a slimmer, more toned physique because muscle is a more compact substance than body fat. Clothing will fit nicer!

It requires way too many hours in the gym

Strength training can fit into the time you have to give it! You can work on improving your mobility, strength, and balance in one focused, 15-30 minute workout. If you are a newbie- aim for one to two full-body strength workouts per week (on non-consecutive days). You choose what works best for you: Add it to your current schedule? Swap out two 30-minute walks? Don’t overcomplicate it!

I’ll have to work out with gym equipment that I don’t know how to use

Strength training is very accessible. Beginners can start with using their body weight for exercises, then advance to include exercise bands, dumbbells, kettlebells, and medicine balls. No gym membership required! You can explore a wealth of virtual resources to guide you in strength training, and this may be a nice option if you prefer to try it in the privacy of your home. Consider apps, YouTube channels, and online fitness memberships for expert guidance. Here are some links to fun trainers who guide you in starting your strength-training journey: Betty Rocker, HAS Fit, Heather Robertson, and Pop Sugar Fitness. Also, check out creating your own home gym here.

I’ll need to start drinking protein shakes or using supplements

Although you might see people at the gym carrying around their special beverages, protein shakes and supplements are not necessary. You will reap the most benefits from your strength training by consuming adequate protein through healthy, quality food sources in your diet.. Aim for 1.2-1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight to help preserve lean muscle mass. As you advance in your strength training, you may require 1.4-1.7 grams of protein per kilogram to actively increase muscle mass composition. Check out this great article on maximizing your protein intake.

Strength training will make me gain weight

With strength training, you metabolically change your body composition for the better. Think of strength training like your financial retirement plan–the effort you put in now will reap compounded benefits in the months and years to come.

At first, you may experience a pause in your weight-loss progress or possibly a slight increase on the scale This is possible because muscle tissue stores extra energy as glycogen, and glycogen holds extra molecules of water. When you are increasing your muscle mass, you are also increasing your body’s ability to hold onto more healthy hydration. So don’t stop strength training!

Notice your body's improvements with non-scale assessments like clothing, body measurements, or long-lasting energy.

So what exactly is strength training, and what are the benefits?

Strength training, also known as weight training or resistance training, causes muscles to contract against an outside resistance. The outside resistance can be your body weight, weight machines, medicine balls, resistance bands, dumbbells, or barbells. Strength training is intended to improve muscle strength and performance of daily activities, prevent injury, and maximize overall health and longevity.

Proven benefits of strength training:

Everyone can benefit from strength training. If you move heavy items at work, enjoy gardening, tote laundry baskets, schlep groceries, transport a large pet to the vet, shovel snow, travel with a heavy suitcase or backpack–the list goes on–then you need strength training! Your body will have more energy, strength, and endurance to do all the things you need to do and all the things you want to do in life with the support of strength training.

Getting started

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Exercise->Weight resistance
Jun 3, 2024
Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

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