By Louise O'Connor, Naturopath + Wellness Coach
Many women worry that lifting weights will make them ‘big and bulky’. However when it comes to getting toned and lean there are a lot of misconceptions about the best exercise program.
The fact is strength training can be very beneficial for all women. This type of exercise firms the muscles to give you gorgeous toned curves, lots of energy and prevents bone density and muscle tissue loss which otherwise decline with age. For most women strength training is unlikely to make you bulk up. WHY?
Women’s bodies respond differently to strength training. Generally when women lift weights as part of their regular exercise program they find they develop a stronger, leaner physique but they don’t bulk up.
The reason why is due to major differences between men and women’s hormonal makeup. Men have a far greater concentration of testosterone, the main hormone that makes them manly. It’s termed an anabolic hormone as it is a ‘building’ hormone. This means men can naturally build muscle more rapidly.
Women on the other hand have far less testosterone making it difficult to dramatically increase muscle mass. So next time you hit the gym why not do a strength training session? To get toned and lean the best exercise program includes doing a strength training workout a minimum of 3 times per week.
Is it time to shift your thinking? A specific strength training exercise program means you can target the muscles you wish to tone up.
As you increase muscle the other pay-off is that your body gains a bigger ‘engine’ to burn calories which helps reduce body fat.
For fast, effective workouts, a combination of aerobic exercise and strength training sessions work best. And remember to stretch. Flexibility training is essential to maintain the full range of motion of your muscles and helps prevent injury.
It is really only possible to achieve the strong muscular figure of a female body builder with extreme training, specific supplements, a strict diet and maybe a helping hand with a favourable genetic body type.
Want to maximise your strength training workouts? Protein builds and repairs muscles and carbohydrates provide energy for regular exercise, so ensure you eat enough quality sources of both. It's a good idea to have a protein shake or a protein meal within 30 minutes of finishing your routine to aid all important muscle recovery.
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