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August 6, 2012

Myth Busters! Busting the Top 5 Female Strength Training Myths

Suuuper-excited to have a special guest on the JillFit blog today! The following is a guest post from one of my favorite female fitness professionals, Nia Shanks. She is…well, a Beautiful BadAss :) Besides, she designed the Beautiful Badass System! And is also a highly sought-after female strength & conditioning expert. And she had some amazing things to share with you guys about how to take your fitness & physique to the next level. Love her tips, check them out and leave a comment below! Enjoy! –Jill

There are numerous myths when it comes to women lifting weights – particularly women lifting heavy weights on big, compound exercises such as squats and deadlifts.

Jill was kind enough to extend me the invitation of busting some prominent female strength training myths, and as a result, you’re now reading my article that will do just that. I’m going to show you that Lifting Like a Girl in the weight room will help you achieve your goals by crushing some prominent misconceptions.

Let’s bust some female strength training myths. 

Myth #1 – Strength Training Makes Women Big ‘n Bulky

Sadly, this is still one of the most common myths about what will happen to women when they start strength training.

Building muscle isn’t what makes a woman appear “big ‘n bulky” – excess body fat does. So, the solution would be to lose some body fat. And, if you want to look absolutely awesome, build some muscle!

Healthy levels of body fat and muscle is what allows women to achieve that lean, athletic look most of them crave. What percentage of body fat? I don’t believe women should aim for a specific number, but rather, they should train and eat to achieve the look they’re after.

For one woman that “look” may mean having very visible abs; for another woman that may mean feeling confident in a swimsuit.

Use strength training to achieve your physique goals. If you by some chance you get all big ‘n bulky, feel free to give me a call and say I’m a horrible liar. I’ve extended this offer many times before, and so far, no one has complained about the results strength training provides.

Myth #2 – Strength Training is Not the Best Way to Lose Fat

“I just want to lose fat and look better in my swimsuit this summer, so I’m going to start doing an hour of cardio every day.”

Most women falsely assume that cardio is the panacea for fat loss, and so they embark on a cardio regimen while neglecting resistance training.
Huge mistake.

When women do cardio, their sole focus is on burning as many calories as possible. Usually this doesn’t produce the results they’re after – “toning up” and looking better in and out of their clothes. If you’re a woman reading this, chances are you know what I’m talking about.

If what you’ve done in the past hasn’t produced the results you’re after, why would you do it again? Take a challenge and give proper resistance training a shot. It’s a great way to achieve the body you’re after, and it’ll give your self-confidence a huge boost, too.

Myth #3 – Strength Training Takes too Much Time

Pfffft. Nice try but this is completely and totally not true. In fact, you can get in a super effective muscle building, fat burning, strength training session in just 20 minutes.

A 20 minute strength training session consisting of trap bar deadlifts, weighted push-ups, and inverted rows will do much more for your physique goals then spinning your wheels on the elliptical machine.

You don’t need to dedicate an entire hour to training. You can realistically spend 30 minutes strength training three days per week and get awesome results.

Myth #4 – Strength Training is too Intimidating

I’ll acknowledge that a lot of women are timid to enter the weight area. After all, it’s filled with guys who are sweating, grunting, and pumping up their guns.

Look, if you’re a lady who’s nervous about getting into the weight room, I just have one thing to tell you, and it ain’t exactly nice – suck it up, get over it, and just get in there!

Stop caring about what other people think; chances are, no one is paying attention to you anyway. Most people are too busy talking on the phone or checking out their abs in the mirror.

Get in the weight room and own your spot. You have just as much right to be in there as anyone else, even if you’re a strength trainee beginner and doing squats with 35 pounds. The weight you use doesn’t mean anything – what matters is that you’re working hard to better yourself.

Focus on why you’re there and what you’re there to accomplish.

Myth #5 – Strength Training is Difficult to Learn and too Risky

Like anything else in life, there’s a learning curve for strength training. Yes, you’re going to have to dedicate a little bit of time and patience on learning how to perform exercises properly.

The simplest way to get on the quickest path to success is to focus on only a few strength training exercises in the beginning. This will allow you to learn these movements quickly and help you build a good base level of strength. This is crucial for short- and long-term success.

The exercises you choose depend on your training goals, injury history, and equipment availability. But I recommend using squats, deadlifts, lunges, push-ups, inverted rows, overhead presses (if shoulder health allows), and chin-ups, or some variation of these exercises.

Now get in the weight room and be proud to Lift Like a Girl!

Find Nia at her website

Related: 4 Cardio Myths

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