Most Indians associate the word ‘Gym’ with big muscles and this is the unfortunate truth about gyms in India. Gymming and weight training automatically gets you to picture a bulky man with veins popping out of his arm. I personally blame the media for this. But, it isn’t the 1980s anymore. The world has moved beyond this idea that gyms and weights are meant only for men.
As a fitness coach, and online influencer, the one thing I honestly believe is that woman all over the world should experiment with weight training or resistance training at some point. I am of the opinion that women benefit MUCH more from lifting weights than men ever will? Unfortunately, most women believe that weight training WILL make them bulky. But, it’s not as simple as that. Yes, I get that most women don’t want to look like female bodybuilders but, here’s what you need to know. Female bodybuilders (Insert picture) look the way they look because of injecting testosterone and steroids in their bloodstream.
The one scientific truth that women must be aware of is that weight training has different effect on male bodies and a different effect on female bodies.
Testosterone is the hormone that makes men manly. A part of being “manly” is having the ability to pack on muscle. And packing on muscle is enhanced with higher testosterone levels. That is also why the bulky bodybuilders you see on stage ‘look unnatural’ to some. They’ve injected themselves with heavy amounts of testosterone. But, if you’re a normal, everyday woman, you need to know this one thing – You DO NOT have as much testosterone as men do. This factor alone will prevent you from becoming bulky through weight training.
Most women have one common fitness goal – to lose weight. What most women don’t know is that there are slow ways to lose weight, and fast ways to lose weight. Conventional weight loss techniques like swimming, running or even something like zumba are just cardio exercises. They are primarily working your heart. So, while you’re doing the activity, you’re burning calories. This can be called an active burn of calories.
The biggest difference between weight training and these conventional methods of losing weight is that weight training is the most intense activity you can put your body through. It damages your muscles like no other activity. When you lift weights, you burn calories. But, the real charm of weight training for women, lies in the “after-burn effect”. Because of all the damage you’ve inflicted on to yourself through weights, your body continues burning calories 2-3 days after you’ve done the weight training. So you’re getting both the benefit of an active burn as well as a passive burn. And this form of damage and repair, if combined with a bit of cardio (running, swimming, zumba) will benefit you the most in terms of weight loss.
But, weight loss is a very short term goal. As a woman, you need to take a step back and understand what you’re becoming in the long term. The bitter truth is that women’s bodies disintegrate faster than male bodies. After the age of 25, women’s bones tend to become slightly more porous. They lose a bit of their density and strength. In this process, women also get more injury prone as they grow old. And strength training with dumbbells and weights can be the savior in this case as well. A good training programme, executed in your 20s, will pay off for the rest of your life. Long term strength training has been proven to benefit everything from women’s bone density to aging processes to strength and of course rapid weight loss.
This is what Indian women need to learn. Science is pointing in one direction. And as a 21st century woman, it’s time to open up to new concepts. Forget what you’ve grown up seeing in the media and forget what you’ve been told by the society you live in. The only person you should be listening to is science. And science urges you to step into the weight room. You grow as an individual ONLY outside your comfort zone.