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Afraid to lift weights for fear of turning mannish? Ladies, lets get real! Put down those five pound dumbbells and starting lifting some real weights for real results.
Lets put this terrible, counterproductive myth to rest; if a woman lifts weights, she will not grow into a bodybuilder body. Ladies, lifting weights will not lead to a man's figure nor will it enlarge your muscles to almost any degree. There is a big difference between bodybuilding and lifting weights for weight loss and toning. Unlike the common belief system would have you believe, lifting lots of repetitions of light weights will not make your muscles more “tone”, while heavy weights make them big.
This over simplistic view of how resistance training works is yet another myth which will only hold you back from getting the healthy, strong body you desire.

A Species Built to Move

The human body is designed to move, climb, pull, carry, and much more. We are naturally able to adapt to conditions, stresses and demands- including the ability for the body to get stronger when physically challenged. This amazing ability to adapt is what causes the body to gain muscle or fat, or lose muscle and fat. The body responds to what we ask of it.

Keeping this in mind, just imagine growing up without much in the way of sports, and activities, which our bodies were made to do. Modern families don't farm, plow fields, or feed animals; we no longer spend our days hunting for each meal, or walking and gathering foods. Our whole lives evolve around a computer, sitting at a desk, watching television, and collecting food means walking around a grocery store with a cart. All of the natural activities humans evolved with are nearly completely extinct. Imagine the strength of these women. Were they burly, masculine and mannish? Unlikely.

By removing these activities, we have naturally become less muscular. Maintaining muscle requires us to continuously engage in sports or physical activity. But are we really working to our potential? If we are built to move, there is no reason why women cannot engage in heavy lifting, tough agility training, and all the rest.

Light Weight and High Reps

Using light weights evolved from strange idea when women saw other women who compete in body building. It would appear that these women lifted heavy weights to get large muscles as their male counterparts did, and suddenly became masculine and muscular. Following this, the idea that using more cardio style training would get a person leaner; so why not join the two together. Lifting 3 or 5 pounds only, and doing a large number of repetitions, 15, 20, 25 or even more.

Unfortunately, there is absolutely no scientific evidence to back this up.

Women Won't Put on Muscle Mass Because...

There is a single fundamental reason why women should train without fear of getting large. Its because women cannot put on that kind of muscle mass. The hormonal balance which women have simply does not allow for extreme muscle growth as it does with men. The levels of progesterone, HGH, and testosterone are so different between the sexes, that it is impossible to grow in the same manner.

Wondering about those female bodybuilders? …

- Bodybuilding itself is a sport which is unregulated, and bodybuilders use performance enhancing supplements to elicit such levels of growth in both men and women, a common and acceptable practice within the sport.

 - To further the point above, certain bodybuilding competitions have decided to go “natural”, to create a level playing field for both men and women. Check out these images- the competitors are much smaller, and look far more natural.

 - Bodybuilding is an extreme sport. These athletes follow extreme regimens for training, and extreme diet regimens so that by the time competitions occur, they have body fat percentages well below the safe level. This is what creates the “shrink-wrapped” effect; there is no fat below the skin, making the muscles look more carved.

 - The purpose of bodybuilding is to put on a show, or a spectacle- the same idea as modeling, which means they are not working to show their athletic skills, or fantastic health, but the shape of their body.For all these reasons, it should suffice to say that female body builders are not a good example of what happens to women who lift weights.

Science Proves Resistance Training is...

Resistance training, that means training the muscles against some kind of resistance- be it dumbbells, barbells, or an exercise machine- is a necessary and essential part of any program. Regardless of your end goal, training with a resistance is important.

Resistance training has proven to have a positive effect on retaining muscle mass and bone density. As we age, muscle naturally diminishes and bone density is lost if it is not forced to stay. Taking a regular walk is not enough. Studies have shown that muscle an bone loss can only be stopped and reversed with continuous, and regular resistance training. This means at least 3 times per week, and for 30 minutes or more. This is above and beyond cardiovascular exercise for the heart.

Weight Training for Weight loss and Muscle Toning

If your goal is to lose some fat, and tone up, then resistance training is going to be key. Perhaps you've tried running, jogging or cycling for long periods of time. Most likely, this method has not worked- and it won't. Not without adding some serious lifting to your program.
Challenging the muscles with heavy weights burns far more calories in a single session than most cardio activity. This leads to a better caloric deficit and a greater chance of using up that fat for energy. If you'd like some muscle definition, this is a combination of strengthening the muscles so it becomes firm, and losing the fat encircling it, just below the skin. Again, a program which combines heavy weight training with whatever else you choose is going to get the job done.

A Sample Weight Program

We each have out own abilities, but ideally, by the end of each set, you'll feel seriously challenged. At best, you wouldn't be able to pump out any more reps.

Deep squats: with barbell: 3x10rep– 30lb-100lb

Lunges: with dumbbells: 3x8rep – 10lb-30lb

Bench Press: dumbbells: 3x10rep – 10lb-40lb

Seated shoulder Press: dumbbells: 3x10rep – 8lb-20lb

This very simple and straightforward program will take no more than 35 minutes. Don't forget to take short rests in between each set. Don't be shy to pick up some heavy weights and really challenge yourself, especially if you're a regular exerciser.
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