Thanks to Title IX, female athletes should have equal access to training and athletic facilities as males(1). However, they aren’t typically encouraged to go into the weight room. Without proper instruction and guidance, women may grow up believing myths about resistance training and avoiding that part of the gym or training facility. By sidestepping the weight room, women do themselves a disservice and miss out on one of the most beneficial types of exercise. So let’s bust some of those myths and get you ladies lifting!
1. I only need to hike more to be a stronger and better hiker – WRONG!
Hiking to improve your hiking applies to the concept of training specificity, but it doesn’t hone in on specific muscle groups in a concerted way that elicits change and adaptation. You’ll probably get stronger over time, but doing so by lifting weights off the trail will improve your hiking abilities much faster.
2. Lifting weights makes you bulky – WRONG!
Testosterone contributes to the bulk you see in the guys at the gym, and women naturally don’t have enough testosterone to develop size like the men do. Plus, women have a much higher percentage of body fat than men. To bring out the definition in a woman’s physique, she has to shed a large (and unhealthy) amount of fat. Most women will never get that lean unless training for a competition. So, unless you decide to turn pro, you don’t have to worry about looking like a bodybuilder on the cover of a muscle magazine.
3. I have to lift heavy weights to do any good – WRONG!
Lifting light to moderate amounts of weight, with enough repetitions to fatigue the muscles, can trigger muscle adaptations and increase strength.
4. Lifting weights causes injuries – WRONG!
Lifting weights incorrectly or without a proper training plan can result in an injury. But, proper resistance training helps prevent the most common musculoskeletal injuries that women suffer from on the trail.
5. If I stop lifting, my muscle will turn to fat – WRONG!
Muscle doesn’t turn into fat. However, if you stop training, you will lose muscle. Without muscle to boost your metabolism (see #9), your body may hold on to more fat.
6. Weight training means spending hours in the gym – WRONG!
An effective resistance training program can be executed in the privacy of your own home with minimal props in as little as 30 minutes three to four times per week.
7. I’ll lose my femininity if I train with weights – WRONG!
Resistance training restores self-confidence in women as they discover their own inner and physical strength. And there’s nothing sexier than confidence!
8. I’m too old to lift weights – WRONG!
I’ve got three letters for you: R.B.G. Justice Ginsberg knew the value and health benefits of resistance training even for the elderly. Weight training helps counter the effects of age-related muscle loss and improves balance, strength, and function. Furthermore, lifting weights places stress on the bones, which stimulates new bone growth – something all women need as they age.
9. Weight lifting doesn’t burn fat – WRONG!
While cardio-based activities are great at burning fat in the moment, weight lifting has the added benefit of excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). This means that long after you’ve ended your resistance workout and hit the showers, your metabolism stays revved up and continues to burn more calories after you get to the office and check your email.
It’s time for female hikers to embrace weight training as part of their fitness routine. It will improve your overall hiking ability, balance, endurance, and give you confidence on the trail.
Still nervous about going into the gym?
Feeling intimidated about picking up those dumbbells?
Don't even know how to start a resistance training workout?
Contact me, and I’ll put together a strength training program that fits your resources and lifestyle so you can be a healthy hiker.