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Women’s Weight Training 101

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Weight training for women is critical to keep your body strong and vital throughout your life. Don’t worry about your muscles getting bulky! You would have to lift very heavy weights for a long time for this to happen.

Weight training expert and researcher Wayne Westcott, PhD, from the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts has done many weight training studies involving thousands of women and has never had anyone complain about bulking up.

His research shows that the average woman who strength trains two to three times a week for eight weeks gains 1.75 pounds of lean weight or muscle and loses 3.5 pounds of fat. Unlike men, women typically don't gain size from strength training, because compared to men, women have 10 to 30 times less of the hormones that cause bulking up.

Weight training helps you look better by shaping and toning your body. You will burn fat and lose weight as you build muscle. That means you will lose inches and reduce your dress and pant sizes!

Here are some other benefits of regular weight training that you might not have thought of (weight training includes bodyweight exercises, resistance band exercises and medicine ball exercises):

1. How often should you weight train your body? You need to regularly do two to three days of full-body weight training. Circuit weight training will burn even more fat and calories during and after your workout. Each training session should last 30-40 minutes.

2. Your muscle mass and metabolism naturally declines with age. Use weight training to keep your metabolism humming even as you age. Your body must work harder to maintain muscle so this keeps your metabolic rate from slowing down.

Muscle mass naturally diminishes with age. "If you don't do anything to replace the lean muscle you lose, you'll increase the percentage of fat in your body," said Edward Laskowski, M.D., a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., and co-director of the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center. "But strength training can help you preserve and enhance your muscle mass — at any age."

3. Do you need more energy during the day?

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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