This JYM Girl entry starts a running series of blogs I’m calling “Female Training Faults.” It’s what it sounds like: Common training errors I see women make in the gym that are totally undermining their results – and how to fix them.
(Don’t get me wrong, I see men making these mistakes, too, but this is a female-focused blog, so I have to stick with our gender!)
I’ll be covering a different training fault in each of the next several blogs.
I hope this training series helps some of you get on track to better results. And for those of you not currently committing any of these exercise violations, these articles will at least be a good reminder of what NOT to do!
Female Training Fault #1: Too Much Machine Work
Yes, I’m talking about the elliptical, machine, and cardio “bunnies” here!
How many of you ladies (and I’ve seen men do this, too) hit the gym, go straight to your favorite cardio machine and stay on it for an hour while you watch your favorite “Real Housewives” season? But it’s not only that – you stick exclusively to machine exercises in your resistance training.
If this is you, it’s time to re-think why you’re going to the gym and get educated on resistance training, plain and simple.
Ladies, running or using the elliptical machines are NOT your tools for weight loss. Doing steady-state cardio as your only form of exercise will only make you “skinny fat.” Yes, these machines can help you burn extra calories through cardio, but this needs to be in addition to a resistance-training program.
Resistance training improves bone density, muscle mass, posture, and metabolic rate. No matter how you say it, everyone’s goal when it comes to fitness is to build muscle, burn body fat, and improve body composition in general. So, this means everyone needs resistance training and needs to stop doing endless hours of steady-state cardio that’s only going to hurt you in the long run.
Ladies, if you want to be lean, you must lift weights. Not only do you have to lift weights, but you have to lift heavy. I’m not saying you need to train for strength or go for 1RMs (one-rep maxes) on lifts every week, but you need to fatigue your muscles within the given rep range you have for the day for whatever exercises you’re performing.
Taxing your muscles means getting away from only using machines. Machines don’t stimulate as many muscle fibers as do free weights (barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, etc.). Machines are good to use, but free weights should take precedent over them almost every time.
I fully acknowledge that there has been a shift in recent years when it comes to women and their attitude toward weight training. There are more women than ever lifting these days, and this is great. But this doesn’t mean the elliptical bunnies aren’t there anymore. There are still some fads out there that spew crap to women as their target audience, saying they never need to lift a pound to get the body they want. So ladies, be aware of these miracle fads and learn the real science of weight training.
My JYM Girls know all of these things, but I still think it’s important to see and hear that the steady-state cardio craze is still happening. We need to take it upon ourselves and show other women that resistance training does a body good, not elliptical machines. We need to keep educating people and turn the cardio bunnies into fellow lady lifters!