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Reshaping Your Body And Burning Fat By Strength Training: Part 1

Jun 11, 2008
As a woman, I have never hesitated to walk into a free weight room, pick up a set of 25lbs dumbbell, stand there right in the middle of the badly lit floor and just start lifting. Never mind the stares I get all around me (95% are usually men). My focus is to get my muscles pumped, walk out of the room with a tight body and take pride in the discipline that I have developed over the years. It's a solitary sport and not many can take the repetitive motion of this chosen path but for those few who have, it is an extremely rewarding path to take. Extremely rewarding.

What exactly is strength training? According to Wikipedia, it is "the use of resistance to muscular contraction to build the strength, anaerobic endurance and size of skeletal muscles". Basically, it means that when you lift weight, your muscles will get stronger and grow in size. How much they grow depends on a number of factors such as: how heavy you lift, how often you lift in a week, how well you plan your diet and most importantly, how much rest you get.

How does a muscle grow bigger? When you lift a weight that the body is not accustomed to and create muscular contractions, you cause microscopic tears (microtrauma) to the muscle fibres. When this happens, the body repairs itself within a period of 1-3 days by adding more fibres in anticipation of another 'traumatic' session of weight training. The result is known as hypertrophy. During the repair phase, it is crucial that you consume sufficient nutrients like complete proteins and carbohydrates (simple and complex) to speed up the healing and growth process. Training without good nutrition will not get you the results you want.

The beauty of strength training is its ability to shape your body according you your goals and desires within your genetic limitation, of course. Why would you get into weight training?

These are some of the common reasons:

1. To build strength in general
2. To firm flabby body parts (for most women: the "batwings" and thighs)
3. To assist an athlete's perfomance in his or her chosen sport
4. To assist in fat loss
5. To build confidence
6. To add sufficient muscle tone without looking like a bodybuilder
7. To be a bodybuilder
8. For medical reasons (physiotherapy)

There are many other reasons but the 8 mentioned above are pretty much the general reasons for picking up a dumbell. It is usually easier to convince a man to start training with weights than it is a woman. Why? Because many women have been fed the notion that lifting dumbells will cause them to hypertrophy beyond recognition. The most common answer you will even hear is "Oh, I don't want to lift weights because I don't want to grow big muscles."

This is a myth that has been circulating for many years and has been passed down from generation to generation. The truth is, women do NOT have enough of the growth hormone (testosterone) that is required to build the muscle size that a man is capable of. Women's ovaries and adrenal glands produce only about one-seventh of the amount of testosterone that men do. Biologically and chemically, it is virtually impossible for women to attain even a third of the strength and muscle development that men possess. So why do women bodybuilders have large muscle development?

Many of these women have exceptional genetic ability to develop their bodies they way they have. Even then, with strict dieting and heavy training, they can never equal the level of their male counterpart. For many female bodybuilders who look like men, the have resorted to ingesting steroids, which are basically testosterone, to enhance their muscle development in an unnatural way. These women will eventually develop facial hair, enlarged voice boxes and aggression.

For the rest of us, strength training will give us the curves and sexy shape that make us look like the women we see in fitness magazines. For the men, having a set of visible six pack abs will not only protect you from the many cardiovascular diseases that are associated with excess belly fat, as a bonus, you will also look aesthetically pleasing. Ladies love sexy abs on their men!
About the Author
Nina Redza is a health professional who practices good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise More information strength training for shaping muscles can be found at http://www.strength-training.us

You can browse through Nina's homepage on fitness at http://www.ninaredza.com
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