. You're Afraid to Lift Weights
Some women avoid lifting weights because they think they'll end up looking like the female version of Arnold Schwarzenegger. They're wrong. "The vast majority of women do not have the genetic capability to develop large, bulky muscles," says Cedric Bryant, PhD, chief exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise
, the organization that certifies personal trainers. To get that Arnold look, you need what Arnold has--testosterone plus many hours a day spent pumping iron. The average woman simply does not naturally produce enough testosterone to bulk up from weights, Bryant says, and most women are lucky to squeeze in half an hour a day doing any exercise.
So don't think of weight lifting as "lifting weights." Think of it as a great way to look more toned and trim without losing an ounce. In fact, once you start, you may even notice that you've put on a few pounds. Don't panic: You're gaining muscle, which weighs more than the fat you're losing. But since muscle is more dense than fat, it takes up less space, helping you fit into your clothes better. And if you lift regularly, you'll eventually start dropping pounds.
Here's another bonus: A recent study at the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that women on a strength-training program for 25 weeks lost significant amounts of belly fat--the dangerous kind that increases your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
You don't have to spend a lot of time pumping iron to get the benefits. Two or three times a week on nonconsecutive days for about 30 minutes per session should do the trick. The American Council on Exercise says that light weights and multiple reps tend to help build endurance and muscle tone, while training with heavier weights generally produces stronger muscles.
Reprint from Prevention Magazine