Training for ladies shouldn't differ that much from men's training. We have the same amount of muscles and they contact in the same fashion. The only difference between men and women are hormones. Men naturally have higher levels of testosterone, a muscle-building hormone, while women are constantly fighting the estrogen issue, a fat storing hormone. Now I'm not saying that just because you are female and have higher levels of estrogen you are doomed to gain weight. What I'm saying is that we can use what we have to our advantage. Regular weight training will build lean body mass. The more body lean body mass you acquire, the higher you raise your metabolism. An increased metabolism results in more calories burned per minute. Sounds interesting? Read on....
A statement I hear a lot is that muscle weighs more than fat. The fact of the matter is that a pound of muscle and a pound of fat weigh the same, a pound. A pound of muscle takes up less space than a pound of fat does. Muscle allows you to eat more food without getting fat because muscle is the only body material that is active. Once you put muscle on your body you will burn an additional twenty to thirty calories an hour. Bodybuilders actually burn fifty to seventy-five additional calories per hour.
A misconception that I hear many women saying is that they don't want to workout because if they stop the muscle will turn to fat. Now, let's analyze this statement. People being a resistance training program in order to rid the body of fat, not to gain it. Muscle can't turn into fat any more than fat can turn to muscle. Muscle (metabolically active) and fat (metabolically inactive) are two completely different tissues responsible for their own functions. Just as your heart and liver are two different organs performing completely different functions, the same goes for muscle and fat. Now I ask you, can your heart turn into your liver, or vise versa? If there were any truth to the above statement there would be a lot of people out there with great muscle potential, if you catch my drift.
An explanation to the above myth is that some bodybuilders do gain extra weight off-season in preparation for the up coming competitive season. Many veterans of bodybuilding gain weight when they get older or retire, how does that differ from the average American? There is a biological reason for the weight gain. The metabolism slows down as we age, meaning the body needs fewer calories per day to maintain itself. The downfall is that most people, including bodybuilders, don't reduce their caloric intake to compensate for this slowdown and the end result is fat gain.
Another explanation is that bodybuilders, in hard training, develop enormous appetites and need the extra calories for muscle growth and repair. If the intake stays the same when training volume is reduced or ceased, the unburned calories get stored as fat; again, no different than the average American.
Exercising and nutrition is a learned lifestyle, if you are not consistent with it you will decrease muscle and increase fat, but muscle definitely will never turn into fat.
© 2001 Karen Sessions. All Rights Reserved