More recently, there has been a shift in the type of physique women are aspiring to achieve; a more toned, athletic look is becoming more favourable over the once sought after waif-like appearance. Lean muscle mass creates a sculpted and well-defined, yet shapely physique for women. Aside from being more aesthetically pleasing, it is also a far healthier condition to aim for, as there are many physiological benefits to having increased muscle mass. This aside, there are a number of popular beliefs surrounding females and weight training, nearly all of which are fabrications – or largely exaggerated – at the very least.

Below, we’re debunking the top myths on this topic. We hope this will serve useful reference!

"Women who lift heavy weights will take on a ‘bulky’, masculine appearance."

This is false. Whilst variations will occur between individuals (regardless of gender), i.e., certain individuals are capable of achieving a more muscular physique than others, this is largely due to genetic factors. It is important to remember that women produce far less testosterone than men (twenty times less on average). Testosterone is known as an anabolic hormone, and is largely involved in the process of muscle building. This means that naturally, a woman is capable of achieving an athletic appearance, but not to the extent that she would look manly.

"If you’re looking to reduce body fat, cardiovascular exercise should be chosen over weights, as this will help you to slim down."

Largely false. Cardiovascular exercise is recommendable for several reasons – it helps to improve condition of the heart and lungs, increase energy levels and stimulate the release of endorphins. It also works to optimise the body’s ability to burn energy efficiently; when glycogen levels deplete, carbohydrates eaten will replenish these levels, as opposed to being stored as fat. However, for longer term weight reduction benefits, a fitness regime that is based on regular weight training with some cardio work incorporated will support effective weight reduction. Muscle tissue is metabolically active; the more lean muscle tissue you have, the more adept your body will be at burning calories! Not only this, but you will take on a more streamlined appearance.