TRUE OR FALSE: BODYBUILDING MYTHS FOR WOMEN
BY: RITA MYERS
So you want to get into bodybuilding and transform your physique, yet you’re being held back by a slew of information that says you shouldn’t (or you can’t) do it because you’re a woman and you’ll end up looking like a man, become super bulky, get heavier, and all sorts of things like that.
There are so many myths associated with women and working out that it’s hard to go through all of them. If transforming your body is something you want to do, don’t let the things you hear from random people and places affect you. It’s time to sort out what’s true and what’s false.
FALSE: LIFTING HEAVY WEIGHTS WILL MAKE YOU BULKY AND LOOK MASCULINE
TRUE: Lifting heavy weights will make your muscles stronger
Hands up if you’ve heard this before! This is probably the most common misconception about women and weights – that if you lift heavy, you’ll end up looking like a man.
If you look at women in bodybuilding competitions, they have a range of physiques; the lean but mean bikini competitors, the athletic figure competitors, the muscular physique competitors, and the really muscular bodybuilders.
Even with obviously different physiques, they all lift and they all lift heavy. You won’t see a bikini athlete picking up those 2-pound dumbbells. Chances are, you’ll see them lifting as much as the rest of the more muscular girls.
What actually makes you big and extremely muscular is a combination of a specific training program, a muscle building diet, and a supplementation program.
The reality is that working out makes your muscles stronger, but not necessarily bigger. Your DNA dictates how much muscle you can build, and without a combination of other factors (program, diet, supplements) you won’t get as big as a man – we don’t have enough testosterone to do so and we just don’t have the same genetic makeup as them.
FALSE: LONG CARDIO SESSIONS BURN FAT THE BEST
TRUE: HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) actually works better
Unless you’re training for a marathon, long cardio sessions aren’t necessary. In fact, numerous studies have actually shown that a few minutes of high-intensity interval training (alternating periods of moderate intensity followed by short bursts of high intensity) can burn just as much, or sometimes even more calories than long cardio sessions.
The truth is that when it comes to cardio, there is no “one size fits all”. The cardio you select should depend on what your goals are, but don’t think that long cardio sessions are your only option. Also you can combine with hiking or sport to burn calories in a sensible way.
FALSE: YOU CAN SPOT REDUCE FAT
TRUE: Your body gets rid of fat wherever it wants to.
…and you can’t control that. Chalk it out to your genetics, but your body will get rid of fat where it wants to and when it wants to. Simply doing 100 sit-ups every day won’t give you a flat tummy the same way doing 1,000 bicep curls won’t remove the fat in your arms.
The best thing you can do is focus on building muscles in that area you want to work (and all over your body) on and then combine diet and some cardio to lose weight all over. This will make you look fitter in general, pulling focus away from those trouble areas.
FALSE: YOU SHOULDN’T DO THE SAME WORKOUT AS MEN
TRUE: You should train towards your goals, whether or not it’s the same workout as a man’s.
The concept of a “man-only” workout is completely lost on me. Just because a guy does deadlifts or heavy squats doesn’t mean you can’t. The way you train should be towards your goals. If you’re training for strength or for a powerlifting competition for example, then go for your one rep max!
If your goals are fat loss or just a bit of toning, then your workout may be different. But that doesn’t mean that’s the only thing you can do because you’re a woman. Train towards your goals, nothing else – period.
FALSE: EAT LESS TO LOSE WEIGHT
TRUE: Simply eating less isn’t the whole story.
In some sense this is true, but unless you know and understand exactly what your body needs, simply eating less may not even be good for you.
While you can probably survive on a 1,200-calorie diet, you’ll be miserable and hungry all the time – and you don’t want that. It won’t be something you can sustain for a long time, therefore true transformation isn’t going to happen.
The better way to approach this is to eat less junk, processed, and fast food, and eat more of the good stuff – whole grains, lean proteins, leafy greens, fresh fruits, and vegetables.
FALSE: I CAN EAT ANYTHING SINCE I’M WORKING OUT
TRUE: Sorry, it just doesn’t work that way.
Ironically, this is almost the opposite of the previous myth.
The truth is, you can never outwork a bad diet. You can workout for hours and hours every day but when you feed your body junk and empty calories, all that work will simply go to waste.
You know that saying, it’s 20% exercise and 80% diet? It’s true. Just because you want to transform your body though, doesn’t mean you have to be 100% restrictive. Just limit those sweet treats and indulge only once in awhile.
FALSE: LIFTING WILL MAKE YOU GAIN WEIGHT
TRUE: The weight you gain is from lean muscle
The fact is that muscle is heavier than fat. This is because muscle tissue is lean, compact, and dense, while fat molecules are larger but lighter. This is why a woman who weighs 125 pounds of mostly lean muscle will look very different from a 125-pound woman that’s mostly fat.
Weight is just a number and it isn’t a very definitive measurement for health. If you’re afraid of those numbers on the scale rising up, focus on the fact that you’re most likely looking better, feeling better, and your clothes probably even fit nicer than they ever did before.
FALSE: WORKING OUT WILL MAKE YOUR CHEST BIGGER
TRUE: Workout out will develop chest muscles and make them firm
Sorry ladies, but breasts are made of fat, and the size of them depends on your genetics as well as how much fat you’re carrying. Working on your chest will develop your pectoral muscles (the muscles beneath your breasts) and make them appear firmer. But, it won’t increase in size.
GO GET IT DONE
Before listening to whispers from people, just remember to do your research. There is a lot when it comes to bodybuilding, fitness, and transforming your body than all these things you hear. Don’t let your fears or bad information stop you from reaching your goals. Get to know yourself, get to know about what you need, and go get it done.