Reasons Why Women Need Bodybuilding
No. You will not magically wake up one day and look like one of those juiced out bodybuilders on the front of muscle magazines. Luckily, the “I just don’t want to get too bulky” argument from women in regards to lifting weights and bodybuilding is slowly going to the wayside.
Maybe it is the droves of scientific information that proves the difference between a woman and a man’s hormonal milieu makes it nearly impossible for the vast majority of females to elicit the same gains as males from a weight lifting protocol.
Maybe it is the surge in CrossFit popularity that is exposing many women, which would not have otherwise even tried it, to the positive benefits of bodybuilding. I am not sure what it is, but I am glad the paradigm is shifting. Hopefully this list will help those women still on the fence about whether or not to make the jump into a muscle building program.
Long Term Bone Health
It’s a pretty well established fact that women have much higher odds of bone deterioration later in life. The medicines that exist now to treat it are effective in slowing the progress of such conditions, but there may be a way to prevent or lessen such issues altogether. There is a principle of biomechanics called Wolff’s Law.
Wolff’s Law states that applying a bending force (i.e. muscle contraction of physical load) on a bone stimulates the bone remodeling process causing bone to grow thicker and stronger over time to adapt to the stress… think about that. It is literally the polar opposite of a bone wasting condition. So, if you have a family history of osteoporosis or are at risk yourself, you really should begin bodybuilding through weight training to take advantage of this phenomena.
There are some issues that go along with the typical long duration slow steady state cardio most women default to when they chose to start exercising. Mainly, the only way to improve on the calorie burning benefits of long cardio sessions is to either make them longer or do them more frequently. This is because of deep inlayed survival mechanisms that have evolved that actually causes or resting metabolic rate to slow down (i.e. we burn less calories at rest to store more energy for longer cardio sessions) once exercise has ceased.
High intensity activity and bodybuilding elicit a response called EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). EPOC happens because of the high anaerobic state of intense exercise. Basically, oxygen gets squeezed out of the muscle and it takes 24-36 hours to replenish that lost 02. During that time period, resting metabolic rate is drastically increased.
*This EPOC principle is not the end all be all of efficient calorie burning. Of course, everyone needs a base of aerobic fitness that should constantly be maintained throughout life. The increase in Resting Metabolic Rate after intense exercise is just too significant to be ignored.
Although the research is still a little spotty, it is worth mentioning that using cardio as a primary form of exercise may have some negative affect on the thyroid in women. Most likely, due to the energy conservation phenomena I mentioned above, the metabolic regulatory properties of the thyroid appear to chronically slow down. Again, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ever do cardio, it just shouldn’t be the primary form of body improving exercise.
There are very few things in life that mimic the feeling of absolutely crushing a new personal record on a free weight lift. Being able to quantify and see increases in your body strength will definitely transfer over into your confidence and overall positive psychological state. Think of it this way, once you’ve reached some incredible milestone like a 300lb deadlift, how on earth could anything in real life “weigh you down?”
Cardio is boring. There is barely any variation outside of just using a different machine or changing up your time/intervals. With bodybuilding, you are basically only limited by your imagination with the variations you can utilize to continue your progress. Also, staleness is the death of consistency. Anything you can do to keep your training fresh will ensure a much higher level of adherence for the long term.
It’s Just Plain Cool!
If the above is not enough to convince you, this might. Bodybuilding and weight lifting is just plain cool and you will look totally hot sweating over iron next to the muscle dudes at the gym, all day, and every day!
How Busy Working Moms Can Find Time for Exercise
When you are working fulltime, taking care of a baby or chasing after a toddler, managing the household and still trying to squeeze in social gatherings every now and then, chances are, like many other moms, you have a hard time finding five minutes to shower, let alone do bodybuilding exercise.
Many working moms share a health dilemma:
How can I get fit and healthy when my hands are full with so many chores, responsibilities and things to do? Unfortunately, many times the question flies out the window and moms feel resigned to the thought that they don’t have time for keeping fit and healthy, especially, when just the thought of spending some “free time” away from their kids instantly turns to guilty feelings.
Re-frame Your Mind to Make Exercise a Priority Too!
It is precisely because working moms are tasked with a lot of work and responsibilities that need to get done that they should stay on top of their health and remain in tip-top shape.
Think of it this way:
What will happen if you are suddenly sick or physically weak and not up to the daunting tasks of your everyday life with balancing work, childcare and household management? Who will get the work done? So, instead of thinking that you don’t have time for getting fit, accept that you must fit exercise into your day. That’s a call to re-frame your mindset that you must make bodybuilding exercise a priority too.
And how are you going to actualize that?
Make time for bodybuilding and fitness activities that are convenient to you and incorporates well into your daily work and household routine. Working moms like you are finding it hard to exercise not because they don’t want to, but, because they feel they don’t have the time to do it, right?
So, the key then is not to pick the type of exercise or sport that you like, but, what could be done and easily weaved into your daily routine. Keeping this mindset will help you achieve your health and fitness goals without the guilt and without reneging on the joys (and pains) of motherhood and work.
Incorporate Exercise in Your and Your Kid’s Routine
Forget about enrolling in a gym to huff and puff for hours—your schedule just won’t allow it and your hard-earned money will just go to waste unspent on the exercise machines. With your daily routine worked around the daily schedule of your kids, give and take hours you allot for work, you also have to implement a bodybuilding plan that can be easily accommodated in short installments.
Getting up a few minutes earlier in the morning will afford you some time to do a quiet morning workout before your kids wake up and be the center of your attention. If you are the kind of person who is immediately on her toes upon waking up, go for a morning run or a bit of weight lifting.
Not feeling very active in the morning?
Make weight training your morning exercise buddy. During the day, do a few minutes of bodybuilding exercise during your meal breaks at work, before or after preparing dinner or even during your kids’ nap time. One great option is to do the short, but, very effective HIIT workouts that can be done in as little as ten or fifteen minutes and provide better results than an hour of cardio.
If you have older children, a good time to hop on the treadmill is during homework time. Work lunch breaks are perfect times to go for a brisk walk or do some yoga in the office. Bodybuilding exercise in short, but, frequent installments will add up as a one-off regular workout when done daily.
Make Errand Time Exercise Time
There is no shortage of errands when you are managing a household, so, with the right frame of mind, you will see that you have plenty of opportunities for exercise when you are doing errands. Walk or bike with your child to where you need to go. Keep yourself from always parking at the nearest spot to the mall or to your office, but, park further away and run or skip to the door. Remember that walking is an exercise, and if you do it briskly you also up its cardio level.
Keep Active During Family Weekends
No matter how much time you spend on work and household chores, there’s always time for quality time with family, especially during the weekends. Redefine “quality” by making your family get active and on the path to fitness. Having a picnic at the park or visiting friends and family are great bonding activities, but, fitness can be as well, and be something that you can enjoy together like swimming, hiking, biking, skiing, or even walking outdoors.
Even walking round the hallways of a children’s museum can be both fun and physically rewarding. By doing physical activities, you are also able to teach your children the value of getting fit while providing your family some quality bonding time.
These are just few of the things you can do to maintain a rewarding bodybuilding exercise routine to keep you on the path to health and fitness. As you re-frame your priorities to incorporate your health and getting fit, you will discover other ways by which you can seamlessly incorporate exercise in your busy working mom schedule. When you set your mind to make fitness a priority it becomes easier to incorporate it into your daily life.
So get on your feet and rise to the challenge of getting fit!
Ways that Women Make Mistakes When it Comes to Fat Loss
When it comes to fitness, there are more pieces of misleading information available than almost any other field. For women, it can be especially difficult because of the bias in bodybuilding literature and articles. Most of the standards that women look at tend to be written for men, which can lead to mistakes that females make when it comes to fat loss.
Fat Loss and Weight Loss Are Not the Same
Not realizing that fat loss and weight loss are not the same is the number one mistake that women make. Too often, women obsess about the number on the scale rather than on body composition. When a woman tries to lose weight they are often losing not just fat but lean body mass. There is only one real way to tell whether or not you are losing fat and that is to calculate your total percentage of lean body mass over time.
Military.com shows a great way to calculate how you’re losing fat at home. There are many home devices that measure body fat ratio using bioelectric feedback, measurements, and skinfolds. Bioelectric feedback devices can calculate at a higher, or lower, presence of fat than is actually there; but bioelectric feedback devices will usually be incorrect in their measurement consistently (if they are off by 5% they usually remain inaccurate by the same percentage the whole time). This will provide a trend over time that helps you track your body fat percentage.
No Resistance Training
For some reason, women think that bodybuilding will equal big and bulky muscles. This is not true, for most women. The way a woman’s body builds muscle is entirely dependent on her body type. The American Council on exercise describes three body types. Each of these body types builds muscle in a different pattern.
Most of the women who have extremely low body fat percentages and very large muscles do not achieve these looks without chemical enhancement. The fear of achieving an undesired luck keeps women from building lean body mass. Don’t be afraid of your muscles.
Not Understanding How Muscle Helps Burn Fat
Lean body mass is the only element of body composition that burns fat. Muscle requires more energy per minute to maintain than any other element of lean body mass. To put it simply, the more muscle you have the more calories you burn. The more calories you burn the easier it is to maintain a lower body fat percentage. Without lean body mass and muscle, there is no way to achieve an ideal body fat ratio.
Not Knowing an Ideal Body Fat Percentage
Most fitness models that are shown in advertisements and on television have extremely low body fat percentages. Striving to maintain or achieve a low body fat ratio is unrealistic for most women. The American Council on Exercise has a handy chart (located below) that shows the ideal body fat percentages for women. As you can see ACE notes ideal body fat proportions for women are higher than the body fat ratios for men.
Trying to achieve a body fat percentage that is at or below the essential fat line can lead to serious health risks. The key to maintaining a healthy body composition is to avoid these common pitfalls. Make sure you understand that fat loss is not the same as weight loss, incorporate plenty of resistance training, build lean body mass, and have realistic expectations. If you know what to expect it can be easier to achieve amazing results.