4 Common Weight Training Myths For Women

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Unfortunately many gym newbies (particularly females), tend to neglect resistance training in favour of so called “fat burning cardio” training.

Often this is because of the misconceptions associated with weight training.

Misconceptions such as:

  • Weight training will make you big or ‘bulky’
  • Cardio is for fat loss and weights are for building muscle
  • Muscle turns to fat when you stop
  • Weight training makes you stiff and reduces flexibility

Just so you know, there isn’t a single scientific study that proves any of the above statements to be true. Want to know why?

Because they’re simply incorrect!

In fact, a good weight training programme is one of the most effective ways to sculpt and achieve the body you’re likely on the treadmill chasing.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these fitness myths individually.

Common Fitness Myths

Weight training makes women big and ‘bulky’

If this is something that you believe, your opinion is likely based on footage of Professional Female Body Builders.

These are not ‘typical’ results from weight training.

In fact, women (with the exception of a few) simply do not and can not naturally produce high enough levels of Testosterone (one of the main hormones responsible for building muscle) and other Androgens to build big muscles.

Unfortunately most of those women in the pictures you’re thinking of use Anabolic Steroids such as Synthetic Testosterone and other drugs which enable their bodies to build large amounts of muscle. This is generally coupled with their genetics and an ability to train for several hours a day and the fact that gaining that much muscle is their goal.

What really happens is women develop lean and defined physiques more similar to those of Fitness Models (fit, lean and toned) rather than Female Body Builders (big muscles and sometimes even manly looking) when they incorporate resistance training into their programme – especially when they weight train in addition to improving their nutritional intake.

Cardio is for fat loss and weights are for building muscle

There is a little truth in this statement to be honest but the big picture isn’t quite that simple I’m afraid.

Firstly, Cardiovascular training can help when trying to lose weight but too much of the ‘wrong kind’ can actually slow or even stop you burning fat. Especially belly fat!

Not Good!

The type of Cardio I’m referring to is LSD (Long Slow Duration) – you know what I mean… The type of cardio where you pick a activity and just go at it at a low to moderate pace for anywhere between 40-120 minutes.

In the early stages (first 4-6 weeks) this type or cardio training can be useful but the problem is that the body is a master of adaptation and soon this type of cardio training starts to become less and less effective – especially at burning fat.

Let’s be honest, we’ve all seen the people that do the same cardio exercise week after week and sometimes even year after year and they don’t get any slimmer.

This is because their body has adapted to the demands that they’re placing upon it and there now isn’t any further need to adapt.

As an example let’s say you’ve recently joined the gym and you begin by doing an hour on the Static Exercise Bike at a moderate pace. Initially, your body will likely burn around 400-500kcal.

Now if you’re still doing this same workout a couple of months later, you’re body will have adapted to it and it would now be much easier for you to complete so therefore would now be costing you less calories to complete if the same speed and distance were used throughout the hour.

You also have the fact that your metabolic rate (rate at which you body burns calories) will return to normal quickly after the workout because the stimulus to the system was relatively low.

That’s why High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) type cardio is the way to go if you want to burn fat faster.

Using HIIT, your metabolic rate can stay elevated for up to 48 hours after the workout meaning the workout will cost you WAY more total calories and it’s also been shown to be more effective at reducing belly fat than steady state cardio training.

The same is true for weight training with regards to calorie expenditure and it’s also the best type of training for ‘toning’ up and staying lean and strong.

Muscle turns to fat when you stop training

This is a physiological impossibility!

Muscle and Fat are two completely different tissues within the body so one cannot literally turn into the other. What actually happens is a loss of muscle mass and an increase in fat mass.

The 2 main reasons why you may experience increases in fat storage and loss of muscle if you do stop exercising are:

1. Muscle is one of the most metabolically active tissues in the body so your body will only maintain it if there is a need to (a stimulus – your training) and adequate calorie and nutritional intake to do so. When you stop exercising, your muscle will lose size, strength and tone resulting in your metabolic rate dropping. This means less calories will be burned whilst at rest and if you continue to eat as much as you were when training you may begin to gain some body fat due to that also.

2. In my experience as a health and performance coach I have noticed that when most people stop exercising, their food habits also change. By this I mean they eat less quality whole foods and more poor quality, calorie dense, processed foods. This of course also contributes to their fat loss.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you’re tied to the gym and training forever (although you could and maybe should! 😉 ), it just means that if or when you decide to stop training you’ll have to adjust your food intake accordingly as time goes on if you begin experiencing increases in fat storage.

Weight Training Makes You Stiff And Musclebound

If you train with your ego like many of the young guys in the gym then this may be more fact than myth but the truth is, if you train each exercise with good form and through full range of motion there’s no reason at all as to why you’d become stiff.

In fact, training through a full range of motion can (and often does) actually increase flexibility.

All you have to do is use full range of motion and you’ll have no issues with getting stiff or musclebound.

The easiest way to do this is to ensure that the load (weight) isn’t too heavy for you to maintain form.

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So, if these 4 common beliefs are actually just fitness myths, what are some of the benefits of weight training on a regular basis?

  • Improved strength and endurance – Muscles adapt and get stronger and their capacity for greater workloads improves
  • Improved joint health and stability – Joints become more mobile whilst ligaments and cartilage strength improves.
  • Improved fat loss – As you strengthen and build muscle you burn more fat at rest
  • Improvement of chronic pain syndromes – Resistance training achieves phenomenal results when applied correctly in rehabilitation
  • Improved bone density – It’s one of the most effective ways to combat Osteoporosis
  • Improved posture – When resistance training is done correctly, posture improves as a by-product
  • Improved balance and co-ordination – Easier for you to maintain your center of gravity over your base of support through improved body awareness
  • Improved flexibility – Resistance training can be used to increase joint range of motion and muscle flexibility
  • It has been shown to aid in the prevention or control of chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, back pain, depression and obesity
  • Decreased risk of injury – Stronger muscles, joints and bones as well as improvements in balance, co-ordination and flexibility reduce your risk of injury
  • Improved sense of wellbeing – Shown to boost self confidence, improve your body image and reduce the risk of depression
  • Helps improve sleep – Things such as better muscle balance, pain control, hormone function and improved blood flow all aid in a good nights rest
  • Enhanced performance of everyday tasks – Because your training intensity should outweigh the intensity of the tasks you carry out on a daily basis these things become far less challenging
  • You can even use resistance training to improve your cardiovascular function and endurance!

As you can see, you get all the same benefits you do from cardiovascular training, plus a tonne more.

By now you’re hopefully thinking that it would be a good idea to add weight training to your weekly programme, but where exactly should you start as a gym newbie?

Well right now you have two choices.

Carry on believing these fitness myths.


You could simply click here and we’ll send you a full 4 week resistance training programme straight to your inbox so that you can print it off and start training as early as today if you wanted.

Sounds like a simple enough decision to me. 🙂

Until next time,


Download Your FREE Beginners Resistance Training Programme Here