Published on January 23rd, 2013 | by George Conte0
Female muscle growth myths exposed
In this article I will try to sort out a few myths about female bodybuilders, female muscle growth and female exercise.
Myth Number 1: If you lift weights you will become a beast
This myth is really beloved amongst women. They believe that if the weight they will lift is large or if you use dumbbells that have another color besides pink, then you will wake up the next day and be like women bodybuilders that use steroids, in professional competitions. If only it were that easy. Unfortunately women in the first year of serious training can only gain about 5-6 pounds of muscle mass. I can hear the screams of women at the back side of my head crying “what? I will gain five to six pounds of weight? Then I won’t lift weights!”
Is that what you went through your mind, huh? Do not worry and keep reading. First I need to point out that I am talking only about gaining muscle mass, not just weight. So with a good diet and exercise you can be sure that some of the pounds of fat you already have will become muscles. Fat is bigger in mass than muscles. This means that when you gain muscle the increased body mass is allot smaller that the mass you gain when you add fat.
Have you heard about people who start exercising, stay the same weight but their clothes apply them better? This is because they have changed the composition of their bodies.
They lost fat and fluids and maybe gained some muscles leading to stay the same weight, but they changed the composition of their bodies. This will happen when you start exercising. Let me remind you that there is a limit to how much muscle weight you can get unless you have a perfect diet, intense exercise program, many supplements, perfect genes (similar to Arnold Schwarzenegger) and access to anabolic steroids, then do not expect to become the next miss Olympia.
Some women will ask “but what are the advantages of this hard to gain female muscle growth”? Other advantages of extra muscle mass are:
- Increased metabolism, that will lead to burn more calories
- Less fatigue in your daily life, a more energetic body and personality.
- Decreased estrogen, less risk for breast cancer
- Increased confidence
- Less loose skin.
Myth Number 2: With weight lifting I will I lose my flexibility
This myth has some validity, but it is purely a matter of your own if you allow to lose your flexibility.
What do I mean? Let’s suppose that you start weight lifting. You start adding some pounds then you realize that the weight is to much. Instead of reducing it, you let your ego to prevail and continue to work out with the same weight. But when you can’t finish the reps you need to do and start cheating. Squats are above the parallel position, pull ups without descending to the bottom and generally cheating on exercises, without covering the entire range of motion. But your body gets used to these motion patterns and since you do not try to move as you are accustomed, you lose some of the flexibility you have after not using it.
If you care along with exercise to cover the entire range of motion, known as ROM, then you will not lose any of your flexibility.
Myth Number 3: If you stop exercising, your skin will become loose
Like myth number 2, this will eventually be decided by your actions. We all know some people who were very athletic when they where young, but later stopped and got loose skin problems. The main problem with these people is that while they were young they exercised, ate well and didn’t have any problem due to fast metabolism and age, but when they grew old not only ceased to exercise, but also their metabolism slowed down and unfortunately they continued to eat as they ate before. They continued to eat a lot, their body saw no reason to keep their muscles (after not exercised), they lost their muscle and fat began to take its place.
The way to prevent this situation is very simple as you can understand. Continue to exercise (not necessarily with the same intensity than when you were young), reduce some calories and your body will not fail you.
Myth Number 4: For women fitness, only do aerobic exercise, not weight lifting
It is not surprising to see a number of women running for hours on the treadmill. Many of them believe the first myth mentioned that “weight lifting will make them big”. Let’s be realistic. One hour running is not bad. But if you run 3-4 hours nonstop, that can cause problems. First of all, after a point, when you exercise for a long time (after one hour of continuous exercise), your body begins to produce extra cortisol. Cortisol is a catabolic hormone that makes you lose muscle. A look at the body of a conventional marathon runner will show you how your body will adjust with extreme amounts of running. No one would want to have such a body.
Beyond the extreme examples, with a good diet (rich in protein and carbohydrates) problems of cortisol and the many hours of training (say up to 2) will not create a problem.
Usually a lot of women want to run because they think that by running they will lose weight. The bad news is that while running is burning calories, after you finish exercising, your hunger reaches new heights. And people eat a lot when they are hungry!
Do you think 3 hours of running will justify your bad eating choices? One hour of jogging can burn 400-600 calories. A slice of pizza can have 500-600 calories, and you can eat a piece in one minute. Also don’t forget that no one can eat just a piece of pizza… so the 3 hours spend running can be reversed in just 3 minutes. Still thinking that by running, you can just eat whatever you want?
So the solution to weight loss, can be summarized as follows
- Lift weights
- Clean your diet
- Do aerobic exercise
This was a long article but I wanted to clear up many myths women have on building muscle mass. If you want to focus on the most important facts in this article keep the following in mind:
1. Weight lifting will not make you wake up as a female Hulk.
2. You will not lose flexibility if you lift weights.
3. If you exercise you will not have loose skin.
4. Aerobic is part of a program, not a program by itself.