The human body is an incredible machine made up of two main components: fat mass and lean body tissue. The lean tissue aspect of the body includes all of our muscles, bones, organs, ligaments, tendons, and water. At the end of the day, it helps us look amazing and feel even better. Who’s not dying for those cut arms and sculpted legs?
Along with many other tasks, our muscle mass is responsible for protecting our organs, keeping us stable, giving us structure, injury prevention, and overall movement of our body.
The Importance of Muscle Building
- Enhanced bone density increases bone strength and reduces risk of osteoporosis
- Stronger connective tissues to increase joint stability and help prevent injury
- Increased functional strength for sports and daily activity
- Activities which build lean body mass are known to decrease nonfunctional body fat
- Increased muscle mass results in a higher metabolic rate, meaning more calories are burned while at rest
- Improved self-esteem and confidence
There are many common misconceptions when it comes to women and strength training, and we want to debunk three of those myths.
MYTH: Lifting weights and building muscle mass will make women look bulky and masculine
The simplest way of debunking this myth is by explaining the role of testosterone in muscle building and the limited role that it plays in women. Testosterone is the main hormone responsible for building muscle in the body and is present in great amounts in the male physiology. Although women do produce testosterone, they are not capable of naturally producing anywhere near the amount of this hormone as men can. Most women depicted in magazines looking overly masculine and bulky are most likely using some form of supplementation in order to gain the muscle they have.
MYTH: Building muscle prevents women from losing weight
It is very common for women to begin strength-training programs and not see a change in scale weight. Although this does indicate that the muscle building has, in fact, prevented weight loss, you must understand that fat has been lost but has now been replaced with muscle. The best way to measure success when starting a muscle-building program is to take before and after pictures. After six weeks of training, the scale may not have changed but the picture of the body certainly will. Two women, identical in height and weight, can look very different from each other. The woman who hasn’t built any muscle will be soft, and rounder-looking than a woman at the same weight who strength trains, while the other will look like a much more solid, toned, and trim.
MYTH: Women should lift only very small amounts of weight
For some reason, women have been told that they should not be lifting more than 5-10 lbs. It is important to understand that in order to break down a muscle in the hopes of inducing growth, a certain amount of tension needs to be put on that muscle. Lifting 5 lbs. during a bench press is not even close to enough weight to create this amount of tension. If the goal is to build muscle tissue, more weight needs to be lifted in order to reach that tension.