The 3 Weight Training Myths
You Need to Ditch Now!
The Gyms are opening back up!!
So if you haven't been going, I'm going to encourage you to get in there and pick up some weights!
I know, I know, the weight room is intimidating, I get it! You walk in there and there's sweaty dudes grunting, you're not sure what to do or if you're doing it right, and you just end up walking right back out.
Resistance exercise, especially compound movements, that are NOT on machines, as SO important for your health. Muscle is the fountain of youth!
So I'm going to encourage you to stop using your intimidation as an excuse.
I said what I said, it's an excuse!
There are plenty of ways you can learn to incorporate weight training more into your routine. Maybe it's an at home program? Maybe you take a class in the gym? Maybe you go to an all women's gym? Maybe get the help of a trainer?
The point is, there are a TON of ways to get help with learning how to incorporate weight training into your workouts, you just have to pick one, take the initiative and go for it!
Today, I'm going to dispel the three biggest weight training myths I hear from women:
"Cardio is better for burning fat than weight training"
"I just want to "tone" not bulk up"
"Women should stick to machines/need to workout differently than men"
I hope that by setting the record straight, I'll encourage you and give you the confidence you need to ask for help, and learn how to start adding resistance exercise into your routine. If you decide to employ these strategies, and I hope you do, I'd love to hear about it! Send me a DM on Instagram or post in your stories and tag me! Need more help with some of these concepts and want to actually KNOW how to put them in place in your life? Then make sure you're on the mailing list for the next launch of the Health Mind, Healthy Body Program!
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Gyms across the country are starting to open back up Hooray. Even here in the northwest where we've been really locked down more than most places. But as you head back to the gym, I want to really encourage you to pick up some weights. And if this is something that you've hesitated on, or I've never really done before, I want to help you today by dispelling three of the major weightlifting myths for women that I hear most often. Let's go.
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So today we're talking about weightlifting myths. And if you know me personally, you know I have a passion for lifting heavy things. I think it's so important for health, especially women's health, I think it gets a bad rap for a lot of women, although I think that's really changing. And as much as I don't enjoy Instagram. Usually one thing I appreciate about Instagram is that I see a lot more women on there lifting weights, we're making this like a normal thing now, which I love because it is something that can not only change the way your body looks, which I know is like the first thing people want to do. But it changes the way your body functions for the better and for the long term. So weightlifting is something that I am extremely passionate about. I hope that every woman gives it a try at any age. It can be good for everyone. But there are some myths and some kind of long held beliefs about lifting weights, especially beliefs held by a woman that it's something that you don't want to do. So I want to dispel three of the biggest ones that I hear today. The first big one that I hear all the time is that cardio is better for fat loss than weightlifting. And the truth is, if fat loss is your goal, you really should probably be doing both. If you're a cardio Bunny, you're on the treadmill all the time trying to burn those calories. Try to get that fat burning zone right I see you out there I see you cardio girls, then you're really missing out on the benefits to your body that weightlifting can provide that weight training can provide. And if you only are doing weight training, you can often miss out on the benefits that cardio has to offer.
So if you look at some of the most fit athletes, people that are like in the CrossFit Games, or a lot The Instagram people that you're probably following, they do both. They do cardio, and they do weight training. And they mix it up a lot, because here's the thing, your body is highly adaptable. So if you keep doing the same sort of exercise over and over and over again, your body is going to get really efficient at it, which means you're not getting as much benefit from it. So it's good to switch it up. So when I'm working with people, I always recommend doing lots of things do high intensity versus low intensity cardio, do long distance versus short distance, kind of more hit style, do weight training, versus cardio on different days, or even the same day do different types of movements. So add in some yoga and some bar, take a walk, all of these things together are what's going to make the most change. And also you have to think about recovering from lifting weights. So weight training every day for a lot of people is probably going to be too much. So you want to do some cardio mixed in without weight training so that you have time to recover. The thing about muscle is that it is truly the fountain of youth for your body. So muscle generates human growth hormones, it burns more fat and calories during the day. It improves bone density, it reduces risk of injury, and helps regulate insulin levels. It reduces joint pain and tons more. Adding muscle to your body truly is the fountain of youth. And if you're only doing cardio based activity, you're not adding enough muscle to your body. Trust me, you want it on there. And here's the thing that that hangs up most people because when they're on the treadmill, and you're looking at like calories burn, you're like, Oh, I got to get to this amount of calories burned. And during that exercise, people who do who are doing that cardio feel like they're burning more calories than if they were weight training well, and that there's some truth to that during the exercise portion, you might be burning more calories while you're doing a cardio type exercise, then while your weight training. However, the weight training was that you'll burn more calories throughout the whole day, your day long calorie burn goes up versus just when you're doing the exercise. And that's because muscle is more metabolically active than fat. So the more muscle you have, the more calories you're burning all day long every single day. In fact, a study published in 2013 in the Journal of Cardiology show that high intensity resistance training induces faster belly fat loss than cardio activity alone. Let me say that again. High Intensity resistance training induces faster belly fat loss than cardio activity alone. So what is high intensity resistance training, think like circuit training but with weights. So that's what I do at the gym that I go to, we have like an intense 30 minutes to basically high intensity weight training resistance training. So you can see the importance of having more muscle on your body just for your overall health. But also if fat loss and especially belly fat loss is something that you are after, and I know most of us are then adding that resistance training is going to be really important. Okay, and in case I'm confusing you I'm using a lot of words to describe the same thing. resistance training, weight training, weightlifting, I'm talking about the same stuff, right, it's all the same thing.
So the second myth I want to talk about is this idea I hear a lot, that's probably the one I hear the most. And it's that I don't want to bulk up, I just want to tone. And the language here is a little confusing to me. Because toning your muscles, your muscles already have tone. If your muscles aren't, didn't have tone, you wouldn't be able to stand up and walk around. So the fact that your muscles are operating means they already have tone they work. So the word that we're using is not the right word, I think what people are talking about is that they want to reduce fat on top of their muscles so they can see them more. And then also increase the mass of their muscles so they can see them more but not too much. Both of those things are accomplished by resistance training. And of course, diet plays a role and lifestyle plays a role but resistance training is the way that you're going to burn fat more efficiently and also increase your muscle mass so that you see the muscles that you have toning. I think sometimes people are also talking about the idea of spot reducing like they'll say things like, I want to tone my arms I want I want to have toned shoulders, so you can spot build muscle. That's a thing right? You can work on those specific muscle groups to enlarge those muscles but you can't spot reduce fat so you have to work on things you have to do things that are going to overall drop body fat, and increase muscle tone. Well, what is that it's resistance training. Again, cardio is not going to do that for you cardio is not going to increase that muscle mass.
Now I know I use that word like increased muscle mass, and you guys are cringing, like, Oh, I'm gonna look like roid rage, and I'm gonna be so huge. No, no, you're not I bro this, the amount of muscle and how easily you build that muscle is largely genetic. And it's really dependent on the amount of testosterone in your body. So that's why men can grow larger muscles faster, because they have more testosterone in their body, women have less, that's just how we're made. So because of that we just cannot walk up like a man can't, we just can't. Now there's a huge range amongst women, about what we look like when we put on muscle mass, we all look very different. Genetically, I tend to build larger, bulkier muscles faster. That's just how genetically it's my Northern European Scandinavian stuff, probably, that's just how I made other women don't build muscle as fast, it takes them a lot of work to build muscle. And so I don't know which one you are, but the only way to find out is to actually go in and start doing it. So part of this is the idea of accepting and loving the way you were made, the way your body was made, the way your body puts on muscle, the way your body stores fat and where it stores it, the way your body is shaped, you have to come to some appreciation for how you personally were made how your genetics work with your environment and your choices to create the way you personally look. So some of this really is about just not doing the comparison game or like picking the girl on Instagram and being like I want to look like her, you genetically might not be prone to look like her. And so there's going to have to be a level of acceptance for you that it's okay to look like you Does that make sense? So again, some women are going to build bulkier muscles and some women aren't that's just has a lot to do with genetics, and it has a lot to do with testosterone. amongst women, we have different levels of testosterone in our bodies. Also just consider this you can't work out for a week and get bulky.
To gain enough muscle mass where you could remotely feel bulky muscles would take probably years, for most of us to get to that point, those CrossFit women with their big glorious muscles, they have been working on that muscle mass for years to get to the point that they're at. So if that's not the aesthetic that you're looking for, then don't work out like them. With for as long and as hard and doing the things that they do. There is a lot of in between there is a lot of gray area there between the average woman and the CrossFit woman, right. There's a lot of aesthetics, there's a lot of body types, there's a lot of ways that you could look in between those two things, where you are and where they are. So that that's not like everyone's trying to get to that end point. They're athletes, that's what they want to do. That's the aesthetic that they want. But mostly for them. It's not about aesthetic, it's about function. And that's the other really important thing is that most of us think of resistance training in terms of an aesthetic that we want a way that we want to look, I really want to challenge you to change your perspective to thinking of weight training, because of health, thinking of weight training, because you want your body to function at its most optimal way, not because of some aesthetic that you're going for. But because you want to be strong and healthy. And when you're 75 you don't want to fall down and break a hip. And because you don't want to be frail, when you're older, because you don't want to break bones when you're older, because you want to maintain your balance and your body functions, right? Those are the reasons I want you to think about weight training, not because you're looking for some specific aesthetic, you're trying to look like the girl on Instagram, you're trying to get a six pack, whatever. I really want to challenge you here to change your perspective, that weight training is not so much about an aesthetic, it's about function. It's about functioning in your body in your life long term. Okay. I really, really want you to consider it in that way that you would be doing resistance training, because you're thinking about you when you're 80 you're thinking about you when you're 70 and how healthy you want to be then how much you want to play with your grandkids then when you have them, does that make sense? Really, really want to challenge you to change that perspective.
Okay, so the third myth that I hear A lot is that women need to lift weights differently than men. And there's a few ways that I hear this. So since we know that women aren't going to necessarily, quote unquote, bulk up the same way that a man could, because we have different genetics and different testosterone levels, there's really no reason why a weightlifting regimen should be that different for a man than for a woman. Now, of course, you want to take into consideration your own fitness level and your own physical abilities, it should be personalized to you. But in terms of a man can all should only do this lift in a woman shouldn't do it, there's not a lot of science behind that the amount of weight might differ, obviously, because of different physical abilities, but the schedule, the reps, the routines, the strategies, those don't necessarily need to be a lot different. One of the ways that I hear this myth is that women should more use more of the machines, and men should use more freeways. Now I have a theory about this myth, because I do hear it. And I really think it's because women are more comfortable using the machines than the free weights. I think a lot of women walk into the weight room, and they feel really intimidated, because they don't know what they're doing. There's all these sweaty dudes, they're like grunting and stuff, and you don't really know what to do. So women get intimidated. And we veer off to the machines instead of the free weights. Now, I don't want to knock machines, they have their place in workouts machines are good for some isolated exercises. But in my opinion, machines cannot replace free weights for a lot of reasons. Now, if you are recovering from an injury, or we're dealing with some physical limitations, machines can be really great for that kind of stuff, recovery, and building strength in that way. But free weights, bodyweight compound movements, those are all so important, and you can't get them from machines.
Okay, so here's what I'm saying when I say those words, if you don't know what that means. So when you use things like free weights, I'm talking about like kettlebells, and dumbbells, and, and the bar with the weight plates on the end, right? When I'm talking about that stuff, it's so important because it's functional movement, it's you having to utilize your entire body head to toe to produce that movement. So let's take like a squat. For example, if I'm doing a leg press on a leg press machine, I'm utilizing way less muscle groups than if I'm doing a full squat, because if everyone doing a full squat, standing up, I have to use every muscle head to toe in order to stay balanced. For my proprioception, right, I'm using my core, I'm using my legs, I'm even using my shoulders and my back and my arms if I've got weight up there. So a squat is going to be way more beneficial to you than just doing like a leg press. So if you're only using the machines, I think you're really missing out on a lot of benefit that the free weights could be offering you. And I know it's intimidating, most women go in and just don't really know what to do. And so we go to the machines because the machine literally has directions like right on it, it tells you what mostly you're working at, it tells you how to do it. So I get it, I'm pleased if this is you, I'm not knocking it at all. But I do want to encourage you to venture away from the machines and start picking up some weights in other ways that maybe you haven't before.
I would encourage you to ask for help at whatever gym you go to, I guarantee there are trainers at that gym who are dying to help you pick up a weight, they are living for it. They're waiting for it. The trainers that these gyms that you go to have a passion for helping you get healthier, and they want to teach you how to do this. And they have worked with all sorts of people. I've never met a trainer in my life that would judge you for not knowing what to do. They love that you don't know what to do because they really so badly want to teach you. So find a trainer at your gym, I promise. They want to help you. They want to teach you. I would also encourage you to find a class. So at most gyms, there's some sort of weightlifting class that you can take. That's a great place in sort of a less intimidating way to learn proper form and proper technique and how to really format a workout for yourself. So go find the class sometimes there in the studios, there might be weightlifting classes in the studios, like a body pump or I remember haven't been a gym like that for a while but there's always some kind of weightlifting class. So go take the weightlifting class. That's an amazing place to start. When I was training before COVID shut down the world. I was doing a Women on weights class. So I literally was taking women through the weight room and teaching them all the movements, teaching them how to use equipment, teaching them how to program their own workouts. So look for a class like that, that you can take, it was really awesome of small group. And there's a really great class. So there's tons of resources for you to learn how to do these things. You don't just have to walk in there and do three bicep curls and be like, shit, I don't know what I'm doing a walkout. Hey, go find some help. You need to take it upon yourself to ask for help. Look online, ask the trainers at the gym, ask the people at the gym, take some classes, find the people who can help you, I promise they are out there and they are dying to help you. Anyone who is a trainer will tell you they are dying to get people lifting weights. It's like their passion, we live for it, we want to see you succeed. So find those people, they are there waiting for you.
So as usual, like everything we talked about here, it's about balance. Too much weight training is going to result in hormone imbalance stress too much stress to your body, right, it might impede your progress. Too much cardio is going to do the same thing. Not enough recovery is going to throw you backwards instead of keep pushing you forwards. So in everything we do, we've got to find the balance the balance between weight training and cardio the balance between working out and resting the balance between pushing ourselves and letting ourselves arrest the balance between doing things we already know how to do and trying things that we haven't done before. We've got to find the balance for ourselves. But listen, no one else can do that for you. You have to take the initiative. So what I'm telling you bottom line, weight training, resistance training, interval, hit training with weights however you want to do it, do it. You got to start adding some weights, some resistance of some sort to your routine. I hope this was really helpful for you guys. I hope I put these myths to bed for you. And I hope you'll go to the gym and ask for some help and start picking up some weights. Your body will thank you until we talk again my friends, be well.