Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Mythbusters: Mom 4ce Style

There's a lot of myths out there about women and weights.  You've probably heard a lot of them.  And a few of them have probably kept you out of the weight room.  But you know what?  Most of them are untrue.  And I'm here to bust a few of them.

The biggest myth is "If I lift heavy, I'm going to get all big and bulky."

This is the biggest lie.  The truth is, unless you have abnormal amounts of testosterone, take steroids and work out for ungodly amounts of time, this will not happen to you.  Even for guys, it can be difficult to put on this much muscle mass.

Why is this a myth?  Because women do not have as much of the correct type of muscle to build strength and size.  There are two types of muscle tissue.  Type I which is responsible for endurance type movements and Type II which is responsible for strength and power.

In your average woman, she will have about 45% Type I muscle fibers and men will have about 35%.  What that means is that the man will have two thirds type II fibers and the woman will have just over half.  The man will have more potential to build size and strength as compared to the woman.

Which leads me to the second myth.  "Women should lift light weights with high reps."

This myth originated because women have more type I muscle fibers...  You know, the ones responsible for endurance type movements.  Most trainers figured if women have more type I, then they should use programs that *develop* those muscles.

But the problem with this is that you're not building muscle by lifting *Barbie* weights for lots and lots of reps.  All you're doing is building your endurance.

Let's think about it this way.  As a runner, I can run for miles and miles because I work on my endurance- by running miles and miles.  But, if I want to run those miles faster, I have to work on my speed- which means doing work outs that develop those type II muscle fibers.  The benefit is then I can run those miles and miles faster.

Same goes for lifting weights.  If you want to get stronger, you have to lift heavier weights.  Which means decreasing the number of reps you're doing.

All this talk about endurance leads me to needing to clear up a few definitions.  These words are used to sell thousands of fluff fitness magazines.  The words that need to be redefined (or at least have the right definition used) are tone, shape and sculpt.

Tone is what your muscles are like when you're not doing anything.  Sweet Pea has really low muscle tone.  When you hold her, she feels soft and floppy.  A baby with normal muscle tone seems solid.  The purpose of muscle tone is to keep you primed and ready for action.  Muscle tone also creates heat and keeps your muscles healthy.

The myth that women's fitness magazines are selling you is that you can change your muscle tone by using light (*Barbie*) weights and high reps.  But the truth is, you can't change your muscle tone.

Shaping  your muscles seems to imply that you can target specific muscles and give them a different shape.  But, the truth is, your muscle shape is determined by your genetics.  The only thing you can do by working your muscles is make them bigger or smaller.

And that leaves the term sculpting.  How many of you want to sculpt the perfect body?  Many of us have been lured into thinking that by doing certain workouts we can sculpt a lean, long dancer's body.

Really?  You can make yourself taller, longer?  The truth is that unless you already have that dancer's build (or runner, or swimmer or whatever type build you can think of) you cannot sculpt your body into it.  You can only work with the build you've been given.

Instead of falling for the routines that the fluff fitness magazines are selling, focus on what your goals are and find a program that works for you.  My favorite weight lifting program can be found in The New Rules of Lifting for Women.  The workouts are challenging, but the results are amazing (or so I've been told ;) )

So, there you have it.  Some of the most popular women and weights myths busted.  Now, get out there and start lifting heavy to look like a goddess!

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