Why are women afraid to strength-train?
Often women are told from beginning, that they are meant to be slender and lean. I remember the conversation I had with my aunt one weekend….I was explaining to her the benefits of weight-training and she blurted out “Oh! I hate muscles on women. Have you seen muscular arms on women who are body builders? It just looks gross”. I totally agree with her. Yes. It does look gross. But wait a minute! They are body BUILDERS. Their profession involves growing muscles, using steroids to enlarge their muscles, not to mention countless hours they dedicate to weight-lifting and careful diet, which is very high in protein and low on carbohydrates.
But it simply doesn’t happen on average woman. An average woman simply doesn’t grow muscles that huge even after spending hours at a gym. Yes, she may show some due to a thin layer of fat covering her muscles. But it’s usually the kind you see on women swimmers, tennis players or race runners. But that too is rare; just imagine the hours and hours those athletes spend on practicing their sport! Their lean body doesn’t hold enough fat to cover their small growth of muscles!!!
Scientific evidence states that a woman simply doesn’t have enough of testosterone hormone (unlike men, which they have plenty,) which helps to grow big muscles! So no worry! That’s why it is so hard for a woman to grow biceps or triceps or butt muscles! Look, if that were a case, that we would build big muscles by simply lifting heavy, then we would all be thin and slender! New Moms who lift young kids would be sexy and toned! As their kids grow older and stronger, moms would have no roll of fat covering their stomachs or backs, simply because of all the lifting, carrying they would do! Is that the truth? Simply not! In fact, for most women, it’s the opposite! So simply lifting heavy doesn’t grow biiiiiggg muscles!
But now a days, so many articles state that strength-training is a way to go! All the new fitness articles stress the importance of weight-training or strength-training and why every adult should have it as part of his or hers exercise regime. What is so appealing about these exercises that trainers boast about? What is so special about working out with dumbbells or bar bells or weight machines that a whole new revolution of working out came to be?
Let’s go back to a long long time ago…….think about all the activities…specially related to household work that women used to do. Waking up early in the morning, walking to a river miles away, to fill big pots of water and carrying then back home…..or pulling heavy buckets of water out of the well to wash clothes, use for cooking or washing utensils, cooking for a big family, lifting heavy loads of clothes, grinding flour by hand machine, grinding spices…..(just imagine!)….these are just some of the many jobs that happened to be done only by women!!! Where was the pity back then? Where was the choice back then? And then you would realize, that most of these women were slender, lean, had sexy waists and backs and calves, not to mention strong bodies that could take this kind of toil 365 days a year.
Now let’s come back to present generation. What’s our lifestyle? We get up in the morning and start our day usually like this….attending milk man who comes to the door, supervising servants who do most of cleaning and washing, hurrying up to work in cars, or trains or buses, taking ready made flour, spices and gravies to make our meals, have our groceries delivered to the door and on top of it, catch TV time couple of hours a day! We are busy, I admit that but physical stress that we inflict on our bodies is simply less. We do not bend, stretch, pull, push or lift like our grandmothers or great-grand mothers! We simply rely on machines or other people to do that for us! On top of this, our diets have changed more or less dramatically from simple foods to highly processed foods. So what’s the net effect? We are rounder, fatter and chubbier! We have trouble losing weight, but no trouble gaining! We have to constantly watch what we eat, how much do we exercise…even to the point of how many steps we take a day (welcome Mr. Pedometer)!
So now is a good time to think that working out in a gym with a good trainer can be so beneficial to us! Under a close supervision, every capable woman should learn how to weight-lift properly….to mimic what our ancestors did only daily basis! We know our lifestyle can be actually said as improved…we are more efficient in our ways of living, we can pursue our dreams more easily, we can chase our ideas in better way, but at the same time, giving time to our body and mind is also very important.
I want to explain so many benefits of weight-training. I love it. It’s a very important part of my exercise regime. I am just so happy that I have discovered it so early in my life. But all that will follow in my next article. So wait for it! Till then, think about what I wrote. See you all!