Many women find the idea of strength training to be terrifying. This unfortunate attitude stops them from enjoying the benefits of a strong body and mind, and allows the aging process to progressively turn them into little old ladies. The excuses women make to avoid strength training are quite common.
- “I don’t want to get big muscles.”
The truth is that most women find it next to impossible to build the muscle size that causes this mistake. Muscles are built by a combination of working them hard, as well as a healthy dose of the muscle-building hormone testosterone. It’s a male sex hormone and in women testosterone is in such a small quantity that it makes little difference to muscle development.
- “Muscles are for men.”
It’s true that you’ll see more muscle development in men than in women, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that women shouldn’t be strong. To be physically strong, women need muscles which sit happily under the skin, disguised as shape. This shape is what we usually refer to as tone, as in “I just want to tone up.”
- “I don’t want to lift heavy weights.”
Guess what? You probably can’t. It’s a mistake of thinking that strength training is all about heavy weights. Strength training can take on many forms, from body weight exercises such as push ups where more repetitions are the goal, through to power lifting training like Olympic weight lifting where the goal is to perform one repetition of a particular weight.
Think about push ups. Most women find it very difficult to do a full push up, so they start against a wall or on their knees. Over time, their strength training produces gains that allow them to progress to a full push up, then to a series of push ups. Strength gains have occurred without lifting heavy weights.
Of course, lifting weights that are as heavy as you can manage will bring about faster and more impressive strength gains, but it’s important to gradually build your strength rather than trying to do it all at once.
- “My ________ (insert body part) stops me from doing weights.”
For a few women this might be true, but in the majority of cases there are plenty of strength training exercises that can be done that do not impact on an injured body part. If in doubt, you should discuss your needs with a Personal Trainer.
- “The gym is full of big sweaty men.”
Yes, some gyms are. Most are not. There are plenty of female-friendly or women-only gyms that would welcome a new women wanting to improve her strength.
- “It’s natural to get weaker as you age.”
True. The aging process diminishes our strength, but only if we don’t engage in strength training to stop the decline.
- “I’m too old to start now.”
Pooh. This is so far from the truth that it’s ridiculous. There are many women in their 70s and 80s who start strength training to avoid the problems associated with age-related frailty, such as balance issue and falls. If they can start at that age, what’s stopping everyone else?
- “I can’t afford to join the gym.”
Bodyweight exercises. Look on the internet and learn how to do some exercises.
- “I haven’t got time.”
If you spend your time at the gym walking on a treadmill, you may be right. Instead, complete a program of up to 5 compound exercises that work your whole body. It will be done in 10 to 15 minutes and you’ll be on your way, a little stronger every time. Ask a trainer for help to get you started.
As the common saying goes:
“Those who think they have no time for exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.”