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9 Weight Training Tips for Women

Learn nine weight training tips from personal trainer Erin Sharoni in this Howcast workout video.


Hey my name is Erin and I'm a former U.S. Junior Olympic-certified swim coach and personal trainer and fitness is my passion so I cannot wait to share it with you guys.

All right. Some weight training tips for you ladies. Now the first thing that I hear from many women is, "I don't want to weight train. I don't want to get big and bulky. I don't want to look muscular. I'm going to look like a man. I can't lift heavy weights." Let me tell you if you haven't heard it before, there is no way that you will look like a man unless you have a hormone imbalance. Women just don't produce enough testosterone to grow as big as men. Therefore, you should not be afraid of lifting weights because no matter how heavy the weight, you're really never going to get huge.

You always need to stretch. If you don't stretch the muscle won't appear long and lean. It can have a bulkier look. And you need to maintain a clean diet because you can build muscle underneath a layer of fat. You know the more fat that you have over that layer of muscle, the larger you're going to look naturally until you get rid of that fat. So those are a couple of things to keep in mind. But please do not worry because you will not look like a man even by lifting very heavy weights. Most women don't actually lift enough weight.

Another thing to keep in mind is that as women, we lose 5% of our muscle mass every ten years after age 30. So starting at age 30, your muscle mass is dropping off by 5% every ten years so it's really, really important that regardless of what age you are you continue a strength training routine. If you start before the age of 30 that's actually better because you're building muscle mass and your body will have that muscle memory and it will be easier for you as you get older. But even if you're 35, 40, 45, 50 it doesn't matter. Pick up a set of weights. It's never too late to learn. That said, if you're brand new to strength training and you're not quite sure how to use them, don't just follow a DVD or even our videos alone. Get the help of a trainer, even if it's just a couple of times so that they can correct your form and that you understand how to do it on your own.

Another cool fact if you didn't already know this is that muscle burns fat. Yes, it does. So the more muscle that you have on your body, the higher your metabollic rate will be, theoretically, because muscle requires energy so you are going to expend more calories the more muscle that you have on your body. So it behooves you to build some muscle mass and it's not that easy for women. You really have to work at it, eat enough protein and keep a clean diet, get enough rest.

Rest is also really important. Don't overdo it. More is not necessarily better. People tend to think, "Well, if 15 reps is good then 30 reps is even better." That's not necessarily the case. You need to rest your muscles in order for them to grow. So what happens during exercise is that you're creating tiny tears in the muscle fiber. Okay? And the way that the muscle grows and strengthens and hardens is by those torn muscle fibers healing. So you want to create those teeny little tears. They're good. But if you don't give yourself adequate time to rest, you're never going to see any improvement. So it's really, really crucial to rest. If you work legs one day, don't work them the next day. Just listen to your body. Being a little bit sore is good sometimes, but you don't want too much pain. No pain, no gain is true only to an extent. Don't force yourself to the point where you can't take it anymore.

Another important point is that the scale lies. Yes, it's true. The scale can lie to you. And what I mean by that is that the scale is not literally lying but that people often focus on the number that's on the scale and while that can be a good motivator to inspire you to work out and lose weight, it's important not to focus so much on that number, specifically if you are weight training and looking to increase your muscle mass. The reason I say that is because muscle weighs more than fat. So it's not necessarily a bad thing to see that number increase if the increase in that number on the scale is coming from muscle gain.

So I always put it this way to my female clients: I say, "Look, would you rather step on the scale and have the scale be a couple pounds heavier but your dress size having dropped a size, or would you rather see a 5-pound decrease on the scale but your dress size is the same or you increase the size?" Obviously, everyone's going to say, "Well, I'd rather that my dress size decrease." I mean, that's the whole point, right? Don't pay attention to the scale as much as you pay attention to how you feel, to what your doctor maybe tells you when you go for a checkup and what your clothes are telling you too. You should just feel good about yourself so don't put too much stock in the scale.

Another cool thing about weight training is that it helps to build bone density and that of course is something that women of all ages can benefit from because as we get older, our bone density decreases and most American women are at risk for osteoporosis at some point in their lives. So it's never too early to start bone building. Combine that with your adequate calcium intake and you should be good to go.

To wrap it up don't be afraid to pick up the weights. The weights are your friend. You're not going to get huge. You're only going to do your body good and you should absolutely incorporate resistance training into your workout routine.

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