Are you concerned that resistance training will bulk you up and you’ll end up looking like a man? Do the stereotypes of over-sized women bodybuilders scare you out of muscle classes and lifting free-weights? I am here to tell you, the fact is that it’s not true. Resistance training and free weights will not turn you into a muscular bodybuilder overnight. If it did, I assure you, every man you know would be hitting the gym ASAP!
The truth is that the muscular women, and the huge men you are seeing in the gym are often, shall we say, “enhanced”, and are not a good representation of the typical muscle growth patterns of most of us who use resistance training. In fact, it’s important to add in some kind of weight resistance training in order to tone and shape your body for the results you desire.
Think about it. All of us Pilates and Yoga lovers out there are using resistance training every day – our own body weight. Now consider your weight, which is literally what you are working with every time you hold a pose or plank. If you’re a Pilates equipment lover like me, you’re now adding spring resistance on top of your own body weight; that’s pretty darn good! It’s all about perception. How about caring that little bundle of joy around all day? How much does he/she weigh? Look at any new mom and check out her toned arms.
Still not convinced? Well listen up. Most women who spend the majority of their time only doing cardio actually end up burning muscle rather than building it. When our bodies are overworked with cardio, they literally digest themselves and begin to break down. Resistance training, on the other hand, strengthens our muscles and gives our bodies that toned, sculpted look we are striving for.
Adding resistance training, whether using traditional gym machines, Pilates equipment, Trx, or free weights, will force a change in your lean body mass, toning and sculpting your body, while decreasing your body fat composition. By adding lean muscle mass to our bodies this actually allows us to eat more, and still maintain our ideal body weight. Now there is a win-win. Don’t get crazy though, it’s important to have a healthy diet combined with a consistent exercise regimen for true lasting results.
Resistance training is especially important as we age. Calling all premenopausal women out there: as we age, we lose bone density, and resilience in both tendons and joints. This can increase our risk for osteoporosis. The number one exercise prescribed by doctors out there for women who are looking to tone with weight resistance, safely, and effectively as we age – you guessed it – The Pilates Method.
The benefits of resistance training don’t just end with toning and sculpting; it’s a great way to change up your usual workouts. The more resistance you train with, the more your heart starts pumping, improving overall heart health. If you’re looking to lose weight, resistance training helps to rev up your metabolism, burning more calories during your workouts. Did you know that after a traditional Pilates or Barre class you will continue to burn calories for the next twenty-four hours?
It’s time to rethink our workouts, mix things up, and enjoy the added health benefits.