Women, Fitness and Body Image Fears

This time of year, many people start thinking about exercising more and “getting into shape”.  Gym memberships soar and diets are begun.  But, for women in particular, there can be a concern about how exercise, and especially weight training — a critical part of any exercise program — may affect their appearance.  These fears are largely unfounded!

Throughout history, females have carried the bulk of the load — from the time of our ancestors living in caves to walking behind Conestoga wagons and preparing food, washing the clothes and taking care of the family.   Women are accustomed to hard work.  Hence, it is not the least bit surprising that, once given the opportunity to take part in a wide range of athletic activities, they quickly excel.

Though the two sexes are physically different, the approach to male and female fitness should be the same.  Male and female muscles, tendons, and ligaments respond to strength work in exactly the same manner. I f a certain exercise works the hips and legs of a man, it will do the same thing for a woman.  Though women do have some weaker body areas, such as her shoulder girth and triceps, than men, it is no reason to change the beginning routine.  That simply means that after the foundation has been established, more time needs to be spent on the weaker areas of the body.

Every woman I have ever met is worried about adding body weight.  They are afraid that if they are put on a weight lifting program, they will get huge.  First and foremost, lifting weights does not mean women will gain weight.  Gaining weight is a factor of diet. The only time a female athlete adds on pounds, is when she increases her caloric intake, which would also happen if she weren’t weight training.  If you eat like a football player, you will end up looking like a football player!  If the female athlete pays attention to her diet, she will lose unwanted fat while adding muscle.  Remember, a female athlete can put one or two pounds of muscle a year while still losing inches!

The thing that prevents women athletes from adding muscle like males is testosterone.  Testosterone is an androgen secreted mostly from the testicles of males.  It is best known for its affects on increasing lean muscle mass and reducing body fats. This added substance present in men gives them a huge advantage in packing on the muscle mass with training and exercise.  A female athlete will not add the size and development her male counterpart does simply because she lacks the levels of testosterone present in men.

To see more fitness tips from me, go to DrFamilyFitness.com!  Sign up to receive regular updates and more tips!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: