NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - When it comes to weight training, many women cringe. “I’d walk in and I was intimidated, I didn’t like that feeling of walking in and all these men with the weights, I didn’t know how to do it,” admits Mary Piper, Owner of Louisiana’s Health & Fitness Magazine. “I was much like many women myself way back when, very scared of weight lifting. When I got over my fear of weight lifting and getting bulky, I actually got my smallest,” says Samantha Prestenbach, Personal Trainer and Co-Owner of LIFT Training Studios in Mandeville.
It’s a fear perpetuated by misinformation, that women don’t need weight training and if they do lift weights, they’ll look like a male body builder. “Women still think they’re going to look like a big, muscular man if they lift weights and it’s a huge myth. Lifting weights will help them, not only lose weight but also shape their bodies,” says Piper.
“In reality we really should be running towards weight lifting for a lot of reasons. It helps reduce depression, anxiety, stress. It increases your self-confidence, it helps us sleep, it gives us energy. When you do a weight lifting session, your calorie expenditure is going to be greater long-term versus just doing cardio. Also bone density, as we get older not just wanting to keep the shape of our muscles but protecting our bones,” says Prestenbach.
Every human body is unique and responds to exercise differently so it is important to maintain realistic expectations.
“Often when women feel or are scared of bulking they do have this picture of female body builder in their head. They’re often not taking into account genetics, the role that your mother and father play. They may have larger quads so maybe your quads are just prone to building up?”
The key to a healthy body is balance: cardio, weight training and proper nutrition all play an important part, but ladies who lift will thank themselves now and later. “ Even as a young trainer I admired these women that were in their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s even 70’s these beautiful women and what I noticed was they were all avid weight lifters and I kind of feel like it’s the fountain of youth,” says Prestenbach.