Nine reasons why women should do weight training

Lyen_Wong

Lyen Wong

Strength training is an important part of improving your overall fitness, and for women, it can mean much more. In addition to numerous health benefits, adding weights to your routine can become a form of personal development that builds strength in all areas of life.

1. Boost your metabolism naturally

By adding muscle through strength training (even just a little bit), your resting metabolic rate (i.e., the amount of calories you burn daily by just existing) also increases. Athletes are calorie-burning machines even when they are not exercising.

2. Protect your knees

Women have a wider pelvis than men, which creates a larger angle at which the femur meets the tibia, also known as the “Q-angle.” This larger angle leads to an amplified chance for ACL injuries— up to 10 times greater than men. Building hip strength through movements such as squats and lunges has been shown to decrease this risk.

3. Gain more independence

Isn’t it nice to be able to put your luggage in the overhead compartment without the help of the man sitting behind you? Let’s smash the stereotype of men being the only ones who are able to help move furniture and get heavy jobs done!

4. Maintain bone density

Due to dropping levels of estrogen, postmenopausal women are prone to osteoporosis. Numerous studies show a positive relationship between resistance training and bone density. When bone feels the “pull” from the muscles, bone growth is stimulated. Not only can strength training offset bone loss, it can actually cause an increase in bone density in women who regularly lift weights.

5. Elevate mood

Women are twice as likely to develop clinical depression as men, yet two-thirds of these women do not do anything to combat these feelings. The release of norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin during resistance training chemically helps exercisers acheive a feeling of well-being. Weight training also leads to an increase in energy, better sleep patterns, and a feeling of accomplishment and control.

6. Improve posture

Combat a kyphotic (hunched over) posture by strengthening the backside of the body. Proper posture leads to injury prevention and better power transfer in athletics. Plus, you just look better when you stand up straight.

7. Shape without the bulk

Due to their lower levels of testosterone, it is very difficult for women to develop large, bulky muscles. Instead of the bulk, most women tend to build a nice hourglass figure—curves we can be proud of!

8. Move better for longer

By strengthening muscles and improving bone density, women who spend time in the weight room are typically active for longer periods of time. Increased hip and leg strength aid in mobility and balance, and upper-body strength helps combat postural issues that can lead to back and shoulder injuries.

9. Become a better athlete

Gone are the days when coaches worried that lifting weights would build bulky muscles that would weigh down athletes. Strength training can lead to better functional movement, explosive power, durability and, of course, greater overall strength.

In conclusion

As often as we talk about all of these benefits,  still 9 out of 10 women do training because they want a better butt. What is the best way to achieve a better butt? Squats. Lunges. Strength training. Period.

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Seven benefits of heavy resistance training

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Lyen Wong, training at her personal training studio in Miami

Here are seven benefits of how using heavy resistance can maximize the results from your fitness program.

  1. Training for muscle strength is different than training for muscle size. A six- to 10-week strength-focused mesocycle of heavy resistance and low reps followed by a six- to 10-week hypertrophy (bodybuilder) mesocycle of moderate weight for higher rep ranges can produce significant gains in both size and strength.
  2. Using heavy weights increases intramuscular coordination, the number of type II motor units and the amount of muscle fibers engaged within a specific muscle. Have you ever felt your muscles shaking while lifting heavy weights? This is because you are recruiting and activating the larger type II muscle fibers, which are only stimulated to work when a muscle is challenged with heavy resistance or working to fatigue.
  3. Using maximal loads for compound (multi-joint) movements like the deadlift, squat-to-shoulder press, bent-over row or chest press can improve intermuscular coordination, which is the ability of many muscles to work together to generate and control high levels of force through multiple joints.
  4. Lifting heavy weights elevates levels of anabolic hormones—specifically testosterone, growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1)—which are used to repair muscle fibers damaged during exercise. This helps the muscle fibers to become thicker and capable of generating higher levels of force.
  5. Lifting heavy weights increases production of the hormone IGF-1. This hormone is related to the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is a neurotransmitter responsible for stimulating the growth of new neural pathways in the brain along with enhancing communication between existing pathways. In short, lifting heavy could make you smarter by enhancing cognitive function.
  6. Training with heavy weights helps you to improve your self-confidence. Knowing that you can lift heavy stuff gives you the confidence that you can handle common challenges, such as a putting a bag in the overhead bin on an airplane or carrying a heavy piece of furniture while reorganizing a room or helping a friend move.
  7. Strength training with heavy weights improves muscle definition. Muscle definition occurs as the result of muscles remaining in a state of semi-contraction and heavy strength training recruits the larger type II muscle fibers responsible for a muscle’s appearance.

Source: ACE

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Four myths about women and weight training

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Lyen Wong

Strength training is an important part of improving your overall fitness, and for women, it can mean much more. In addition to numerous health benefits, adding weights to your routine can become a form of personal development that builds strength in all areas of life. It seems as if there’s a lot of information about exercise for women that is based on unfounded myths and even some outright lies instead of fact or scientific evidence.

Myth 1: Women should not lift any weight heavier than 3 pounds.

This myth has resulted in many women avoiding resistance training due to an irrational fear of becoming overly muscular. The reality is that women have the ability to lift a tremendous amount of weight, but do not increase lean muscle mass at the same rate as men.

Due to the physiology of the female body, compared to men women produce much less testosterone. That means that adding two days of resistance training to a weekly exercise regimen can increase lean muscle mass, but it won’t add pounds of “bulky” muscle. Strength training can cause women to produce more somatotropin (otherwise known as human growth hormone), but when you consider that growth hormone helps metabolize fat and is considered an important part of reducing the effects of the biological aging process, this is not a bad thing.

Myth 2: Women should avoid using weights because it will make them big and bulky.

In more than 15 years of working in the fitness industry, I have heard this repeated many, many times as the primary reason why women are not interested in exercising with heavy weights. There are numerous media images of female bodybuilders or actresses with highly muscular physiques. It should be noted that it can take years of training, proper nutrition and “supplementation” to achieve the muscle-bound appearance of a Xena: Warrior Princess.

It can take lifting weights five or six days a week, plus a lot of eating, for women to increase their levels of lean muscle. Simply adding an extra day of strength training or grabbing the heavier dumbbells will not automatically cause a woman to become a muscle-bound she-hulk.

Myth 3: Aerobic exercise is the most effective way to burn fat.

During low-intensity physical activity, fat is the primary macronutrient utilized to fuel muscle activity, so the idea of exercising in the “fat-burning” zone is based on science. But keep in mind that you’re in the so-called fat-burning zone right now while you’re reading this. Traditional aerobic exercise like running, cycling or using common health club machines can be effective for expending energy and the body will metabolize more fat for energy at lower intensities. However, exercising at a higher intensity or performing short, high-intensity work intervals can lead to a greater total amount of calories being expended during a workout.

The body burns 5 calories of energy for every liter of oxygen consumed. During most traditional aerobic training, the legs are the primary muscles being engaged. Performing a full-body, strength-training circuit with exercises for both the upper and lower body can involve a tremendous amount of muscle tissue, which results in more calories being burned during a workout. When more total calories are burned from strength training, a greater amount of calories are metabolized from fat when compared to only exercising in the “fat burning” zone. Aerobic training can be an efficient way to burn calories, but it often doesn’t provide enough stimulus to increase levels of lean muscle, which are metabolically more efficient because they burn calories even when the body is at rest. In addition, circuit training with heavy resistance can increase the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), which means your metabolism stays elevated for a period of time after exercise and you continue to burn calories hours after the end of your workout.

Myth 4: A combination of light weights and high repetitions is the best way to tone up.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Light weights can be useful for improving the strength-endurance of muscle tissue. However, neither light weight nor aerobic endurance training is effective for stimulating the muscle fibers responsible for growth and definition. The most effective way to create muscle growth and definition is to activate type II (fast twitch) muscle fibers using heavy weight or explosive movements.

There are different types of muscle fibers in the body: slow twitch and fast twitch. Slow-twitch fibers produce energy using oxygen and are used to sustain long periods of muscle work, such as maintaining good posture or performing endurance training. Fast-twitch fibers are capable of producing more force in a shorter period of time because they produce energy anaerobically. When it comes to muscle definition, a common goal for exercise, the fast-twitch fibers are responsible for that response. Light weights can be used to train for definition if (and only if) the muscle is worked to fatigue (meaning you can’t perform another single repetition). Lifting 5 pounds for 12 reps is not enough to stimulate the fast-twitch fibers if you are capable of doing a 13th repetition.

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Weight loss or fitness: Lean and fit, not thin and lanky

Nowadays, people are more aware about health and fitness than ever before. But we are constantly bombarded with information and this can lead to misconceptions. Most of us desire to be thin and may end up taking the “easy” way, which may have severe repercussions on our bodies and our health.

What is fitness?

The first step to developing an effective fitness program and to achieving optimum health, is to understand that fitness and nutrition are two sides of the same coin. A fit body is one that has cardiovascular fitness, muscle endurance, strength, flexibility and optimal body composition. Most of the time, we fail to consider this and only concentrate on losing weight. But it is important to remember that losing weight and having a good body composition is not the same thing.

What is body composition?

Body composition is the right proportion of fat and muscle in your body. But the number we see on our scale can cause confusion. One must understand that body weight is made up of skeletal mass, muscles, organs, water, body fluids and fat.

In today’s world, with significant improvements in technology, body weight is an archaic concept. If you weigh a lot, do not be alarmed, but if you have a high percentage of fat in your body you may need to worry. You need to consider that muscle mass is heavier/denser than fat. A seemingly thin body frame with a low body weight should be considered a sign of poor health ONLY if the muscle mass is low. Understand that irrespective of shape and size what is important is to have less fat and more muscle in your body – this is what defines health in very simple terms.

Therefore achieving the right body composition should be the first goal for everyone. The only way to accomplish this goal is by incorporating a good workout and eating healthy food into your everyday lifestyle.

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Girls: Toned and Sexy through Weight Training

Lyen_Wong

Lyen Wong – owner of PEAK PHYSIQUE & PERFORMANCE

A skinny body is not always equivalent to a sexy body. Having the right curves means round buttocks, shapely legs and toned arms. If you have a skinny frame, you can gain weight through natural and safe methods. Exercise is the essential key to a healthy weight gain while still maintaining your curves like Jennifer Lopez and toned arms like Demi Moore.

Most women are afraid of too much exercise and weight lifting because they don’t want to have bulging arms and thighs. The truth of the matter is, women can’t have the same muscles like male bodybuilders simply because Mother Nature does not allow it. Women lack the testosterone needed to build those muscles. Don’t believe in stories about women getting manly arms and legs after exercising. There is nothing to fear. A leaner body is your key to a sexier body with curves in the right places. Celebrities like Miranda Kerr and Jessica Biel know the value of toning your legs, arms and buttocks to maintain their sexy shape.

Why exercise at all?

1. To build muscles

For effective weight gain, engaging in regular exercise will help build muscles, increase your metabolism and burn calories. Not only is exercise important in weight loss, it is also necessary in weight gain. Whether you prefer to work out at home or in a gym, you have to choose an exercise routine or sport to keep your body in shape.

Strength training exercises for weight gain involves resistance training to tone those scrawny arms. Regular exercise and physical activity helps in weight management and promotes a healthier lifestyle.

After an intense workout, you burn calories and use energy in your body. You will feel hungry and ready to eat food as much as you can. Use this time to gain weight by eating foods rich in protein as a muscle building block. The hungrier you get after strenuous physical activity, the more you can eat to gain more weight.

2. To improve sleep

Exercise also helps you sleep better. A good night’s sleep is a requirement to maintain a healthy body. When your body gets used to the strength training exercises for weight gain, you will experience high energy levels to make you want to do more. Boosting your energy will give you the fuel to perform your weight gain exercises. The more sets you do, the faster you can build your muscles and tone your body the way you’ve always wanted.

3. To prevent /reverse fat storage

Gaining more weight doesn’t mean being overweight. There is always a difference between a healthy and obese body. Not many people know that muscle is actually heavier than fat. Eating just about anything in excessive amounts will cause you to gain excessive fat. This is harmful to your health due to a number of diseases associated with excess fat intake. You can eat foods rich in fat but in moderation. Your body will need to use fats and turn them to energy as you exercise.

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Watch Leticia training legs, cardio and plyometrics

Leticia Laurenti is a finalist at Nuestra Belleza Latina 2013 and a client at PEAK PHYSIQUE & PERFORMANCE. Lyen has been planning and supervising her workouts and also created the fitness routine that Leticia showed to the judges to be selected into the finalist round.

Watch Leticia train hard in this video! A great body and success in general come from focus, dedication and the best team!

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