When it comes to women getting in shape there are some dubious ideas that still do the rounds – here a few old chestnuts to avoid!
1. Doing cardio is enough to lose fat
There’s no argument that cardio workouts are amazing – the heart is a muscle and needs to be worked like all the others – however, when it comes to dropping excess fat, cardio alone isn’t enough. Muscle burns more calories than any other bodily tissues, meaning the more muscle you have the faster your metabolism is – so when women lift weights, they’re breaking down muscles and the body uses energy to repair them. Strength training really helps women lose weight and transform body composition, leading to a firmer appearance.
2. Strength training gives women long, sinewy arms and legs
Women are indeed increasingly turning to strength training (which we love!) – but the idea that any woman, no matter what body type, can get long sinewy arms and legs is a total myth. Biologically speaking, we can’t increase the length of our muscles – our muscle length has been determined by individual genetics, and it can’t be changed.
3. Or… women will get bulky from lifting weights
An oldie and a baddie… Women often look at pictures of hardcore weightlifting females with gigantic muscles and get scared that if they lift weights they’ll become a female Hulk! But it takes years of intense training in the gym following a rigorous schedule and a strict diet to get to that competition level of physique. On average, women have 30% less muscle fibre to develop than men, which means it is way more difficult for a woman to get bulky than it is for a man.
4. Women can spot reduce fat
Sadly, no. Genetics are central to our body’s size and shape, so we’re predisposed to store fat in different places. Of course it would be amazing to simply do a few crunches and get rid of that jiggling belly! But the reality is the human body will lose weight from where it wants. A much better approach is to look big picture and work a range of muscles during the same exercise to maximise calorie burn and shift general fat.
5. You can eat anything you fancy if you exercise
Nice try, but sadly a big NO! Each woman’s individual metabolism determines how many calories she burns at rest and while working out. But if she eats more calories than she burns on a consistent basis, her body will accumulate these extra calories as fat – regardless of the amount of exercise taken.Written by Lauren Jacobsen, Nutrition Director