Three women lift colorful kettlebells in a gym.
Centr Team

Busted: The worst myths about strength training

Centr Team

Gone are the days when the weight-training corner was the realm of men alone. Dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, pull-up bars – more and more women are realizing the benefits of pumping iron and using bodyweight exercise for strength, health and muscle tone.

While more women are reaching for weights nowadays, there are still some serious misconceptions about strength training holding others back. So we’re bearing the load and debunking three myths that might be stopping you from lifting yourself up to your fitness potential.

1. “If you lift weights too often, you WILL get bulky.”

The idea that strength training will inevitably lead to dramatic muscle gain seems to be the biggest turn-off – especially for those wanting to lose weight quickly. The truth is, bulking up requires a specific meal plan and training. To gain muscle mass, a protein rich-diet and a large excess of calories are essential. In fact, if you’re following a healthy diet plan for weight loss or general fitness, you’d probably have to go out of your way to fit all those extra calories in. Like eating seven meals a day.

So even if bulking up is not your goal, don’t avoid strength training. Just focus on strength training the right way. If you’re just starting out, incorporating reps into HIIT training could be an easy way to start. Free-weights and bodyweight moves get you fit without leading to burn out or over-stressing your muscles.

2. “Heavy weights will make you look like a bodybuilder.”

Look, getting that competitive muscular bod isn’t easy. While we’re sure female bodybuilders would love to achieve their physiques overnight, that’s just not the case.

Tiffiny Hall holding a dumbbell in each hand.

Many women assume light weights are for spot-toning, whereas heavy weights are just for those who want to bulk up. This isn’t strictly the case. Because women generally have lower levels of testosterone, the hormone that assists in building muscle mass, they have to work much harder to build muscle tissue in the first place. This means if you tackle Torre Washington’s weightlifting moves for glutes with heavy weights, what you’ll most likely get is lean muscle in your legs and some curvy butt definition. The only way to create noticeable muscle definition throughout your body is through strength-based training and incorporating heavier weights into your workouts.

3. “If you want to burn calories, cardio is the only way to go.”

Typically, people think the only way to lose weight is through cardio. If this is holding you back from weight training, then you’re missing out on some serious calorie-burning action.

The more lean muscle we develop through strength training, the harder our metabolism needs to work to keep it, resulting in a higher calorie burn during and after your workout. The heavier the weight lifted, the more calories burned afterward.

The problem with sticking to only cardio while dodging weight training? You can end up burning muscle, not fat. If you want lean muscle, strength-based training with weights is key. By combining cardio and strength training, you can fast-track your fitness goals.

Think you’re ready to try strength training? Centr’s team of world-class trainers offer a training style to suit everybody, with great workouts like Da Rulk’s Raw Functional Training and Luke Zocchi’s strength-based HIIT/HIRT sessions.

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