Women Better Off As Cavedwellers?

If I were to take a poll from women regarding their hesitation to strength training, I guarantee that the number one reason they don’t engage in moving weights is because they don’t want to get bulky.  It’s a valid concern but should be the least of their worries.

Genetically, women lack the testosterone to get bulky; it’s highly unlikely. If you have nightmares of musclebound women floating in your heads when you contemplate entering the gym, let me tell you that building that much muscle ain’t easy, even for guys.  Muscle mass is very high maintenance, much more so than any girl you’ll ever meet in Hollywood. But as human beings, our bodies are evolutionarily programmed to be as lazy as possible (and that’s why building muscle and maintaining it is very hard to do).

Impossible w/o Steroids

Impossible without steroids... and a really good tan. (Martin Schoeller Photogaphy)

What does this mean? It means that we have a built in survival mechanism that tells our bodies to save energy! Our ancestors, as hunters and gatherers, never knew when their next meal would come hopping along so they had to eat everything they got their hands on. Calories that are not used for energy will be stored as fat and needless to say, they got fat. Since meal times were unpredictable, our ancestors were able to survive off the fat they stored; much like bears who eat all spring and summer to hibernate through the fall and winters. Having too much muscle would not be conducive to survival because you’d have to eat a lot of food to maintain those musculos!

I can already hear a lot of you saying, “Not true! When I started lifting weights, my clothes got tighter! I will never strength train again.  I’ll just go do yoga and run on a treadmill and hop on a bike and pedal in place or jump on an elliptical and backwards pedal in place… and I will look forever sexy!”

My response?  Give strength training a chance!  When you first start out, you will undoubtedly get bigger and your clothes will fit a little more snug.  Why?  It’s because strength training is a new stimulus to your body and with any new stimulus, the response will be drastic at first.  Your body is in a state of building muscle faster than you are burning fat.  The increase in muscle size is pushing up against your existing fat, causing your clothes to fit tighter and making you think you’ve gotten bulky.

Who determines what the ideal body is?

Who determines what the ideal body is? Women need to stop obsessing over their appearance. If you train hard and you train smart, the aesthetics will come.

Now, if only you had given strength training a chance, would you see the fat start to diminish.  You will get to a point where it’s much more difficult to build any more muscle.  Since your muscles have reached a genetic plateau, it will take a lot more work to get them bigger and since they’re not getting any bigger, they’re also not continually pushing up against your fat. As I said earlier, muscle is very high maintenance, it requires a lot of calories to maintain itself. These calories will come from the foods you eat but your muscles will also pull from fat calories for energy when needed. Now do you see the benefits?

Impossible without blood, sweat, and tears:

[youtube 7dRlyPvphqk]

As you can see in the video above, it is very much possible to be strong and fit without looking manly.  The woman in the video, Nicole Carroll, is maybe 5’5″ at the most and weighs 123 pounds.

I want to end this piece with two things… one is for you to ponder, the other is for me to rant:

When you do cardio, you’re only burning calories while you do cardio. When you strength train, you’re burning calories while you strength train and will continue to burn calories days after you’ve completed your strength training (this phenomena is called “an increase in metabolism” kiddies). With that said, why would you spend all your time running and backwards pedaling in place?

Finally, increasing your muscle mass and eating more frequently are the only ways to increase your metabolism. Don’t fall for that drink cold water crap that Jillian Michaels spews on TV… cause it ain’t true!

If you have topics that you’d like for me to write about, please say so in the comments.

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Angela C. - Hey, there!
Just read the women/cavedwellers article. The pictures from Martin Schoeller Photography were somewhat frightening, especially the older women. Makes me wonder how their livers are doing.

I loved the video you posted of Nicole Carroll. That rocked!

Thanks for the information and inspiration. I’ll keep this in mind as my clothes get tighter!

Angela

yeahmanh - Thanks Angela! I got some good articles coming up. The next one is on how to turn yourself into a fat burning machine! It’s definitely possible to train yourself to burn fat instead of carbs. Hopefully it’ll be up by week’s end.

Train hard and train smart!

» Blog Archive » How to Become a Fat Burning Machine – Part I - [...] foods you eat will be stored as fat instead of being used for energy.  Again, this goes back to my previous post that touches on evolutionary biology as a reason our bodies store fat.  Body builders actually [...]

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