Over the years my female clients have asked me various questions about training issues. Well it's time to get the record straight. Here are six training myths busted for women.
1. Working out will give me big muscles.
False. Females won't get big muscles like men because males have 10 times more testosterone as females. So, unless a female decides to take supplements or other unnatural means to get more testosterone, there is only so much muscle gained.
2. Females can train harder on their menstrual cycle.
False. According to Equal, But Not the Same: Considerations for Training Females by Paul Chek, when the internal organs get inflamed, due to cramps and bloating, it shuts down the TVA and pelvic floor. This may lead to potential injury in the low back. It's best to do a lighter workout, and you may want to avoid abdominal crunches—it may cause more cramping.
3. High heels do not ruin the biomechanics of the entire body.
False. Yes, high-heeled shoes give the illusion of sleek, long legs. And a great pair can make you feel sexy. However, they also shorten the gastrocnemius and soleus (the calves) causing the knee to go into hyperextension, thereby causing an anterior pelvic tilt. In other words, it can change your posture and cause injury and pain. I am not saying to give them up completely (I still love wearing a great pair of wedges or heels when I go out) but keep it to a minimum.
More: 6 Moves for Leaner Legs
4. Females can train like men for eccentric loading.
False. Loading means loading on the weights. Eccentric means lengthening the muscle. For example, you are going to do a bicep curl. You decide to use 12-pound weights (loading), you bicep curl up and then slowly uncurl your arms to starting position. The uncurling part of the exercise is eccentric, you're causing tension in the muscles so they can work to build muscle.
When females eccentric load, they tend to fatigue sooner than males. According to Chek, eccentric training at the same level as a male may reduce movement quality and strength for up to five days after training. So, be careful when training eccentrically; take it easy. You don't need to lift extremely heavy weights or do as many reps to build muscles. Don't drain, train smart.
5. You should use a restictive calorie diet to lose weight.
False. Restrictive calorie diets will do more harm than good. For example, it increases the number of lipogenic enzymes by about 50 percent, and those suckers pack fat into the fat cells. The loss of lipolytic enzymes causes us to lose muscle mass and store fat. So, basically every diet you go on loses more lean muscle mass. Each diet becomes an endless cycle of yo-yo dieting.
6. Just doing cardio will help you lose weight.
False. It's best to combine cardio with strength training to trim your waistline. Cardio increases your metabolism instantly, but dwindles down a short time after your cardio workout. Weight lifting keeps your metabolism going longer and stronger for hours after your workout.
Stay in shape in a fitness class.