In the many years working in the fitness and health industry, I have noticed that there are some misconceptions that are very specific to or most commonly adopted by women. These misconceptions can be the barrier between you and your fitness goals. I've tried to list some of the most common barriers to your female muscle:
Fear of "getting to big" (by far my favorite)
- Women don't want to be muscular, they want to be "toned" - hmmm? Sorry, but to be "toned" means to have muscle definition, which you really can't achieve without weight lifting.
- Women fear too much muscle and they think that weight lifting regularly, will turn them into Hulk
- Reality check: Muscle does not grow overnight and if you've ever talked to anyone extremely muscular they'll tell you just how much work goes into it. Trust me, you're safe from Hulkoniasm!
- More is not always better. Too many women spend countless hours doing mindless cardio.
- Too much cardio without weight-training can actually cause you to lose calorie-burning muscle mass, which will decrease your overall metabolic rate and put your weightloss efforts to screeching halt.
- Recommendation: Include weight-training to your workout routine and vary your cardio workouts by mixing days of longer low-intensity bouts (lower intensity 1 hr) with shorter high-intensity interval bouts (30-40 min)
The eternal circuit workout
- Women like to stick to what's familiar, easy, and safe so they stick to the same ol' routine forever
- Women are also often intimidated by the free-weight area because it's dominated by men
- Solution: many gyms now offer women-only areas. Use them! But first hire an experienced personal trainer, even if only for a few sessions, to teach you how to workout efficiently and safely! It'll be worth your money. Hurting yourself will cost you much more.
Not enough calories (yes, you read correctly)
- Cutting calories will make you lose weight, BUT cutting too many calories will backfire
- You're body needs a certain amount of calories to function correctly
- If you drop below your caloric need, your body will fight back and slow down your metabolism to conserve
- Here's an example: What happens when your watch starts running out of battery? It'll still works, but without the necessary energy, it will slow down and give you the wrong time (and you'll be late to work)
- Solution: Find out what your caloric need is and never drop below that number
Too little protein
- The average woman eats insufficient amounts of dietary protein.
- Protein is important in the proper functioning of your body (major structural component of our muscles, nervous system, brain, blood, skin and hair and is used by the body as a transport mechanism for vitamins, minerals, oxygen and fats)
- Recommendation from the American Dietetic Association and the American College of Sports Medicine: o General population 0.4 grams per pound of body weight
o Endurance Athlete 0.5-0.6 grams per pound of body weight
o Strength Training Athlete 0.6-0.9 grams per pound of body weight
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