6 Exercise Myths for Women

A woman exercising.

Just because you saw something on TV, read about it online, or heard it from a friend, doesn't always mean it's true. Information is everywhere—from various publications to word of mouth—and it can be confusing to determine what's true and what's a myth.

Women and strength training have not always been a popular combination, though the pair has received a boost with the growth of CrossFit. Some women are still holding back, however, often because of the myths they've heard surrounding this form of exercise.

1. I'll get bulky from lifting weights

Women often look at pictures of other women with big muscles and assume this will happen to them when they lift weights. But the muscle they're looking at is a result of years of intense training in the gym while following a rigorous schedule, strict diet and extreme dedication.

Women tend to avoid the weight room because they think cardio is the only way to lose weight. They're unaware of the benefits of strength training, notably the ability to build a healthy, fit physique.

On average, women have 30 percent less muscle fiber to develop than men, which means it would be much more difficult for a woman to get bulky than it would be for a man. Additionally, any training effect can be reversed and "detrained" if desired. No training effect (such as big muscles) is permanent.

Next time you see an extremely muscular woman, understand it's very likely 10 or more years of vigorous training and dieting produced that body. Unless you practice the same kind of commitment, it's very unlikely you'll develop a bodybuilder-like physique.

More: 6 Strength-Training Tips for Women

2. I just have to do cardio to lose weight

Cardio is great, and we all need it to live a healthy lifestyle. The heart is a muscle and needs to be worked like all the others. However, when it comes to weight loss, cardio alone doesn't always help you lose weight and keep it off.

Muscle burns more calories than any other bodily tissues, meaning the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism will be. When you lift weights, you're actually breaking down muscles, and the body uses energy to repair them. Strength training helps you lose weight and can transform your body composition, leading to a firmer, tighter appearance.

Additionally, strength training can make you less prone to injury, as it helps protect your joints and improves balance. It also builds stronger bones so you can reduce your risk of osteoporosis, and it increases stamina and endurance.

More: 7 Strength-Training Exercises Every Woman Should Do

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About the Author

Naomi Rotstein

Naomi Rotstein is a certified personal trainer (ACSM) and creator of 1FitFoodie.com. She has a passion for health, fitness and nutrition, has competed in several bikini competitions, and has a wide range of fitness certifications. Follow Naomi on Twitter @1FitFoodie, "Like" her Facebook Page or visit her personal website at 1FitFoodie.com.

Naomi Rotstein is a certified personal trainer (ACSM) and creator of 1FitFoodie.com. She has a passion for health, fitness and nutrition, has competed in several bikini competitions, and has a wide range of fitness certifications. Follow Naomi on Twitter @1FitFoodie, "Like" her Facebook Page or visit her personal website at 1FitFoodie.com.

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