Women & Strength Training - Q & A

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Spot Reduction a myth!

Q1.Looking for reducing belly fat and arms.

A1. Spot reduction is a tad difficult and is next to impossible. The fat in our body is spread all across the body in same way, unlike the muscles which have a specific name and place- biceps, triceps, calf muscles etc , fat is just adipose all over the body, once you start reducing the body fat % areas which are less, for instance, fingers, face etc would show much more reduced as compared to say  around the belly for the simple reason of being more in area ." data-share-imageurl="">

Spot Reduction a myth!

Q1.Looking for reducing belly fat and arms.

A1. Spot reduction is a tad difficult and is next to impossible. The fat in our body is spread all across the body in same way, unlike the muscles which have a specific name and place- biceps, triceps, calf muscles etc , fat is just adipose all over the body, once you start reducing the body fat % areas which are less, for instance, fingers, face etc would show much more reduced as compared to say  around the belly for the simple reason of being more in area .

Q2. How many times and for how long a beginner should train? What weights one should start with?

A2. Anything from 3 sessions of moderate to 5 is a good beginning, always start with the weights you are comfortable, the focus being on the correct form rather than lifting heavy as one tends to lose out on the form aiming for heavy weights in the beginning. Gradually build on your muscular strength and increase the load- which we call in technical parlance – progressive overload.

Q3.Muscle gain for women?

A3. Yes, women can gradually gain lean muscle mass, however, the rate at which they gain is comparatively less as they have less hormone – Testosterone which is a major component in muscle gain.

Q4. Whether heavy weight training is essential for women?

A4. Not essential, yet a moderate to intense weight training helps build the muscle fibers and hence better body composition. The extra challenge form heavier weights increases the number of fibres from which muscles are made, so you will tone up faster.

Q5. What is perfect combination of muscles to be worked out on a day in case we want to train only 3 days a week?

A5.If you are working out 3 days a week the best combination would be

  • Push: (Chest, Shoulders, Triceps)
  • Pull: (Back, Biceps)
  • Legs and core: (Quads, Hamstrings, Calves, Abs/core)

Q6. What is more important while trying to lose weight- training with heavier weights OR training with lower weights with more rep?

A6. Technically what makes us lose weight (fat) is the calorie deficit. Calorie deficit comes from the diet at lower calories and energy expenditure happened throughout the day. Now coming to the confusion of heavy/low weight. Our body is smart, what is heavy for us today will get light at a point of time because we get stronger. The start should definitely be with lighter weights but one should graduate to heavier weights over time because the body demands it. The advantage here is, as we get stronger and lift heavier weights, the damage to the muscles increase and the recovery requires a lot more calories.

Volume is what matters!

For eg:  somebody training with 20kgs for 10 reps per set has a total volume of 200kgs on muscle. At the same time, somebody training with 50kgs for 4 reps per set also has a total volume of 200kgs. So it’s the training volume that matters fundamentally, but progressive overload (increase in load progressively over time) increases strength and thus has a scope to increase the total training volume. More the volume- more is the energy burnt and has the drop in weight will be more.

Q7.Will the weight or fat loss and muscle gain depend on the weights lifted?

A7. Yes, it depends on the weights lifted as your muscles would grow with consistent stimuli i.e. giving them enough resistance. The load needs to be increased gradually once your muscles gain the strength to lift the weights one is currently on.

Should I got to gym?

Q8.Is weight training better when done under ideal conditions like Gym than at home?

A8. It does not matter, what matters most is the discipline and the consistency rather than a setup, a basic pair of resistance band gives ample scope of a killer workout at home which is at par with working out at the gym.  

Q9. For a 50 year old woman, who can only lift 1 kg weights will the results take pretty long time for fat loss?

A9. Fat loss is a sum total of – diet and workout. The progress depends on a lot of factors, to mention the very basic fundamental, it’s the calorie deficit that get the fat % lower, one way of doing it is through diet, yet it has its limitations. Talking about the 1 kg weight- it depends on how much your body has adapted to it. If you are not able to increase the weight and perform the sets, the alternative is to increase the volume by increasing the number of sets/reps you can do and maybe another day of training to your routine to increase the energy expenditure.

Q10. I have tennis elbow which sometimes flares up, and I had a shoulder injury. I cannot increase the weights as it hurts. What should be the balancing point which I should maintain?

A10. Tennis elbow usually starts with an acute (short term) pain on the outside of your elbows and graduates into a chronic (long term ) one. This happens due to a number of factors like -
improper form on pulling/pushing exercises, too much load, jerks on the joint resulting due to the locking of joints too often at the top of any exercise. The corrective measures include- lowering the weight to as low as 50-60% of what you are already lifting, keeping a strict check on the form, avoiding the locking of elbow joint on exercises like tricep extensions, bench press, military press, bicep curls etc. As a priority to ensure faster recovery, the case must be reported to a trained sports physiotherapist and the rehab exercises should be started.

Q11. Can I sit and lift? Will it be effective in fat and inch loss?

A11. Yes, you can definitely sit and workout, however with some exercises the impact is much better when you stand and do it. Yet, if you have limitations with standing you can very well manage inch loss or fat loss with exercises sitting.

Avoid Injuries!

Q12. How to avoid injuries?

A12. Managing the correct form and technique while exercising would avoid any injuries.

Q13. Often confused with the best weight to start with and how fast can we progress? Machine exercises vs free weights, which is better?

A13.Always start with lower weights and focus on getting the form of exercises correct rather than getting on with heavier weights and losing out on the form ,which would mean not working on the targeted muscle. The initial focus should be on building the strength.

Machine exercises gives you ample help in keeping the form in place and is a good way for beginners to start with, while free weights too have its own share of benefits.

Q14. Does lifting weight affect the uterus as in some say that it pushes the uterus down?

A14. No, it does not however, if you have weak uterus muscles or any other gynaecological conditions which makes you predisposed for the uterus to descend, you need to be a tad cautious while doing the leg press exercises with very heavy weights.

Q15.Any extra precautions to be taken by those who have undergone C- section?
A15.  One needs to start the workouts after getting a go-ahead from their gynac, however after completely recovering there is no need to be scared of any kind or exercises.

Q16. How can heavyweights help an overweight person?

A16. Weight training helps boost the metabolism which in turn burns more calories resulting in fat loss, it also helps build the lean muscle mass in the body which ensures that the metabolic rate remains high in the body.

Q17. How does weight training impact men and women differently in muscle build up?

A17.yes, they impact men and women differently, men have the edge here as they have higher testosterones levels, which is very helpful in muscle gain.

Q18. How to lose weight when one has sciatic pain?

A18. Sciatica pain results as a result of nerve impingement. In most cases, the best way to go about it would be following a balanced diet at a calorie deficit (not too much) with the physio/rehab exercises and a little bit of walking to burn some calories. This will definitely help drop some weight. Special recommendations would be to keep the protein intake and water intake high, supplement with Vitamin C and D3 to assist recovery and not be on a bed rest for prolonged period of time. Your body needs mobility to reduce spasm (if any). Weight training should only be started once all the discomfort has been knocked out to ensure safety and proper strengthening.

What about cardio?

Q19. Why is it important to do weight training for reducing weight or gaining strength why can’t that be obtained through cardio?

  1. Cardio burns calories. Overall calorie deficit is what burns fat.
  2. Cardio improves blood circulation throughout the body, can be used as a good tool to supply nutrient rich blood to muscles for recovery.
  3. Weight training activates the strength fibres (type 2 muscle fibres). These fibres are responsible for generating the maximum force and velocity- hence calorie burnt is more.  When you strength train, your muscles are broken down, and then rebuilt over the next 24-48 hours. While your body is rebuilding those muscles, muscles being metabolically active recruit more calories and energy to make the process happen (generally referred to as the ‘after burn’ effect).  What this means is that your metabolism operates at a faster level even while you’re sitting on the couch after a workout.
  4. Body composition is improved only if there is an intervention of resistance training.
  5. Cardio is a good addition if someone cannot cut down a lot of calories beyond a certain limit.

Q20. What happens if you stop going to the gym.

A. A lot of people start gaining weight once they stop working out and they blame weight training to be the culprit. The myth that muscles developed with weights start sagging if you quit working out has been prevalent. Muscles only have the property to grow in size or shrink in size. They never sag. The reason people put on weight is because when they start weight training- the metabolism goes up and hence they eat more calories. When they stop weight training, with time metabolism drops but the calorie intake remains high which in turn leads to fat gain. If by any chance you decide to stop working out, you should lower your calorie intake to make sure you don’t put on weight.

Q21. Body postures for women with back pain, while lifting weights.

A- Keep a neutral spine. Neck, upper back, middle and lower back in one straight line. There shouldn’t be an arch whatsoever.

Protein Shake - Compulsory?

Q22. Is protein shake compulsory for females during weight loss and weight training?

A- Protein shake is one of the sources to complete your protein intake, whole foods are recommended but the cases when you are travelling, visiting a relative or making a recipe sometimes fulfilling protein requirements is not possible. Hence it’s always a good option to keep whey protein handy.

Q23. Is it fine for women to work out during their period cycle.

A- It is absolutely fine to exercise with weights during the Menstruation period. If you do feel uncomfortable avoid lower body exercises and focus on upper body strength training, exercising will surely help you feel better and also bring down water retention. 

Q24. How to keep the form?

A- Its always recommended if you are a beginner join a gym and take a qualified trainer to assist you with forms, once you are comfortable you can do it by self or continue taking assistance. Another way is to see YouTube videos with instructions.

Q25. Have shoulder and back issues, so is weight training possible? Or How should we go for strength training if having joints pain?

A- Depending on the severity of the injury, one needs to visit a good orthopaedic and then do few sessions with a sports physiotherapist later to start with own.

Q26. Specific exercises for 40 plus.

A- Exercises remain the same for a beginner unless you have some physical issues.

Q27. Time& duration of the exercise?

A- A good weight training session lasts from 1hr-1.5hr depending on resting time between each set.

Will lifting weight make me look like a man?

Q28. Does weight training lead to a masculine body?

YOU WILL NOT GET BULKY FROM PICKING UP HEAVY THINGS.

Why are you scared because of all those women bodybuilders who look really bulky?  Well, they eat, train, and take supplements specifically so they can look like that! They’ve probably been working towards that goal for years and years.

Here’s the truth: 

The reason why is that Women have only 1/10th of the most important hormone- testosterone compared to men. Testosterone is what is primarily responsible for muscle growth. Women have it just enough for their body to do the repair work of muscles. Well, the result will actually amaze you as it will not only Improve strength but also body composition, bone health, save off age-related degeneration, and eliminate stress and inflammation from the body.

Your muscles will get stronger and denser; you will burn the fat on top of your muscle if you strength train. So “aesthetics “that “toned” look that you’re after training is the key.

Q28. Only weight lifting can make us reduce weight?

A-  No, there are other ways to just diet keep in a caloric deficit and lose weight, but to improve metabolism and tone your body and look aesthetically best strength train.

Q29.Should we reduce some weight before starting strength training?

A-  There is no such thing, you can start even if you are very obese.

Share it now!
Spot Reduction a myth!

Q1.Looking for reducing belly fat and arms.

A1. Spot reduction is a tad difficult and is next to impossible. The fat in our body is spread all across the body in same way, unlike the muscles which have a specific name and place- biceps, triceps, calf muscles etc , fat is just adipose all over the body, once you start reducing the body fat % areas which are less, for instance, fingers, face etc would show much more reduced as compared to say  around the belly for the simple reason of being more in area ." data-share-imageurl="">