The most common reason women aren’t resistance training is because they think they’ll get too bulky. When I worked membership sales at a chain gym that was the biggest fear all the female clients had when I was selling them training. When I spoke to all the friends in my circle who were women, they had the same fear.
I used Miss New York as an example. At that time, I had come across a video of the woman who won Miss New York and it showed her lifting routine to get her ready for the upcoming Miss Universe. Let’s think about this for a second. If there is one competition where being TOO bulky for a female is not ideal, I’d imagine Miss Universe falls into that category.
But what did she say her workout consisted of? HEAVY squats AND deadlifts. She said she trained 3 times a week doing heavy compound lifts. She was taught and learned through her programming that lifting weights and getting stronger doesn’t make a woman bulky. It “tones” them. Toning by the way, is a made up marketing word. You can’t tone or shape a muscle. What that actually means is you built up an appreciable amount of muscle and then dieted down till the removal of body fat made the muscle underneath show the way you wanted.
This is why women should incorporate resistance training into their workout. It gives you EXACTLY what you were looking for.
It INCREASES Fat Loss At Rest
You could get on a treadmill everyday and try to burn 400-500 calories. And it’ll totally work at first. The problem with cardio, (especially if you are dieting) is your body adapts to it. It burns less and less calories the more often you do it, so that your body doesn’t waste all that excess energy to complete the task. It wants your body to be efficient.
Building muscle on the other hand, sends the signal to burn more fat at rest. Muscle is calorically expensive to have. It takes energy expended to keep more and more muscle. This is the total opposite end result compared to cardio.
Let It Fit Your Lifestyle
When you do start to incorporate resistance training into your daily life, the biggest thing to keep in mind is YOUR lifestyle. I don’t care if the perfect program says to train 5 days a week. If you only have time for 2-3 days then you will never stick with it. Choose the regimen that you can see yourself still doing a year from now. This is a journey not a quick fix. If you can’t see yourself doing it a year from now, then the change is too drastic.
Try 2 Days a Week
If you want some guidance, start with just two days a week. If you feel like you can do more, then go for it. But for the sake of gaining momentum and accountability, my rule is you need to hit minimum 2 workouts a week. That way, if you did four workouts one week, three the next, and two the following, instead of seeing that as a loss for not staying consistent, you’ll have still hit the goal of two workouts. Psychological wins mean a lot.
What you should notice this first month is that your arms feel tighter. You may see yourself looking “leaner” in the gym. Your weight might not have changed but you’ll just swear something looks different about you. That’s your body having a perfect exchange of gaining some muscle and burning some fat. Don’t worry about the scale! If your numbers are going up, and you are fueling your body correctly, your weight actually shouldn’t change that much. That’s why you’ll notice change but not be able to quite figure out what it is. You ARE in fact losing weight, it’s just being replaced by muscle.
Tight On Time
If you are a busy mom, or have a busy schedule, it can be hard to get in the gym for an hour. If this is the case, try doing a more circuit based approach (like MAPS HIIT) where you are still resistance training, but following shorter rests in between. I don’t recommend doing this all the time, as you eventually want to be taking longer breaks between bigger lifts to allow you to push heavier weights, and thus a bigger response to weight lifting. But for short periods where your schedule doesn’t allow much time, doing a more circuit based approach while still using resistance training exercises (not box jumps and cardio movements), you can still get a great workout in and get the muscle building signal you are seeking.
If this all still seems a little overwhelming, be sure to check out our MAPS Anabolic program for a great starting workout program to help get you to the gym 2 days a week. It has everything laid out so you don’t have to guess how or what to do.