Written by Jamie Bantleman
Weight Lifting For Women
As a part of the recent Active Range Launch I am aiming to help girls get into the best shape of their lives by de-bunking health and fitness myths. The first one that comes to mind is the belief that women that lift weights will put on an incredible amount of weight and muscle and therefore not look the way they desire; they instead find a treadmill in the corner of the gym.
Weight Training For Women
First and foremost, we must consider what reactions in the body occurs that enables muscle mass to increase. The stimulus of weight training simply isn’t enough, neither is the fact you are consuming X amount of calories per day. It is actually a hormonal response that helps create increased muscle. The androgen, testosterone is the hormone that is most prevalent in males, and one of its main jobs is to increase muscle tissue.
“The manly man hormone, testosterone is the most well known androgen that mediates androgenic processes such as muscle building, fat loss, some aspects of cognition and hair loss in some persons; important in puberty, it is sought after for its muscle building potential in men.”
This hormone is much less prevalent in females, therefore meaning it is much harder for a woman to increase muscle mass quicker than a man. If a female is increasing muscle mass quickly, it takes years of hard work and determination, assuming they are drug-free. If you consider the females that represent MyProtein and you saw an insight to their lives it would consist of training hard, dieting all year round and making incredible sacrifices that mean they can increase quality muscle tissue.
The prevalent ‘female hormone’ is called Oestrogen. This is a hormone that has much less ability to be anabolic, in fact it does the exact opposite when levels are increased. It may have a larger catabolic effect therefore will increase muscle atrophy rather than hypertrophy. This in turn will increase body fat and therefore lose muscle mass. An increase in fat will obviously create a less athletic and lean aesthetic look to the body.
Although Oestrogen is the hormone that doesn’t help create muscle tissue as effectively as testosterone, it is still a vital hormone for reproduction, therefore instead of focusing on lowering the hormone it would be wise to actually try and increase testosterone slightly to enable for a healthy balance.
“Known as the female hormone, ‘Estrogen’ is a group of compounds that tends to work in opposition to androgens (like Testosterone) and mediate fat metabolism, cognition, blood flow, and female reproduction. Men sometimes wish to lower estrogen via aromatase inhibition.”
How To Do This?
An increased level of testosterone with a controlled level of oestrogen will aid lean muscle growth and fat loss. To do this, you should be completely 3-4 resistance training sessions per week, you should maintain a healthy diet that consists of animal protein at each meal (3-5 meals per day), sources of fats such as avocado, olives, oily fish and nuts and using a source of carbohydrates post workout as a source of replenishment and in the evenings to aid sleep, sources include, sweet potato, rice, white potato and other root vegetables.
Remember, weight training simply will not increase muscle mass to a degree that you look like you’ve turned gender, it is an incredibly clever use of working out to look and feel the best you have ever felt.