By Anja Trenkwalder
Elm Staff Writer
Exercise is an important part of keeping up a healthy lifestyle and can be a very effective tool when it comes to body-weight management. Whether you are looking to get into shape, get those extra pounds off or simply want to maintain the killer shape you are already in, in the long term, this will most likely require hitting the gym a couple of times every week.
While with strength training, the exercise machines and free weight section is a big part in most men’s workout routines while many women still shy away from those dumbbells.
Women lack testosterone, a hormone that occurs abundantly in healthy males, promoting muscle growth. Therefore, unless a woman takes testosterone supplements, like many female body builders do, she simply does not have the biological prerequisites to excessively gain muscle mass.
In fact, quite the contrary is the case. Lifting weights can increase your metabolism (I am talking about the famous after-burner effect) so that you will end up burning more calories throughout the day, and training your musculature will allow you to achieve a lean and well-proportioned physique. With just three to five brief but demanding lifting sessions per week you will be able to shed any unwanted pounds significantly faster than with the sole help of cardio training (treadmill, bike, or elliptical).
In addition, as your body composition changes, and you lose fat mass, your metabolism will get even more efficient. For each pound of muscle mass you build, your body will burn an additional 50 calories per day, even if you remain completely inactive. In comparison, a pound of fatty tissue only burns two calories per day.
One thing that you should consider when undergoing any training program, is how to amend your diet so that it will ideally support your new lifestyle. When aiming to build muscle, you will need to consume a little more lean protein and make sure to get those complex carbs for consistent energy support. Great sources of protein are lean meat, eggs (especially the whites), unsweetened dairy products, tofu, and fish. Complex carbs can be found in whole grains, brown rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, vegetables, and fruit.
One myth that must be discredited once and for all is that when you stop lifting weights, the muscle mass will turn into fat. This is likely to be among the greatest nonsense I have ever heard and is biologically impossible. Muscle tissue and fatty tissue have very different cellular structures, and they cannot simply “transform” into one or the other.
What will happen when you stop lifting weights, your muscles will lose mass. Your body will become significantly less efficient at burning calories, and if you keep on eating after you stop the way you used to when being an active athlete, of course you will put on fat.
The point is, engaging in challenging but not over-the-top demanding strength training three to five times a week, will give not only men but also women a healthy, lean look, help them manage a healthy body weight, and build both strength and confidence. It is worth giving those dumbbells a try.