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Some of us have already begun to think about it—the get-back-in-shape regimen that will kick into place after the holidays. Hitting the gym is an alternative form of keeping healthy for many women, but there are often myths that we carry into those gym doors that may be keeping us from reaching our full weight-loss or maintenance potential.  LiveMojo.com has provided four fitness mythbusters that will help you stay on track with keeping healthy.

MYTH: Women will get bulky from lifting weights

Women can not get big and bulky for one very good reason; their bodies don’t produce enough testosterone to build the large bulky muscles you’re likely to see in bodybuilding ads. Testosterone is a key ingredient to putting on muscle mass, and the only way women can get this type of big bulky look is by taking steroids and hormone injections. So don’t be afraid to lift heavy weights if you’re a woman. Lifting heavy will make a woman strong, not manly.

MYTH: If you lift weights, do high reps to tone your muscles

Most strength training workouts for women prescribe 2-3 sets of 12 or more repetitions. Performing many sets using high reps is effective for increasing muscular endurance and increasing blood flow to your muscles, not increasing strength levels and building muscle. Performing sets of 5-8 reps is especially beneficial when dieting, as it is the best rep range to use to ensure you hold onto the muscle you have. The more muscle you can hold onto when dieting increases the amount of fat you lose and keep off after you have achieved your weight loss goals. Doing sets of 12-15 reps has the opposite effect where you lose as much muscle as body fat.

MYTH: Use machines instead of dumbbells and barbells

Women believe this myth because they feel that using machines will prevent them from bulking up, a myth we have already dispelled. A workout consisting primarily of exercises using free weights (barbells and dumbbell) is the way to go. Free weight training produces the most benefits in the shortest period of time. This type of training enables you to perform exercises that train many large muscle groups at once. This means that you burn more calories for every set you perform.

MYTH: Lose weight first before you lift weights

This myth exists because women often become discouraged when they diet and lift weights since the weight loss that occurs isn’t reflected on the scale. This is because the weight lost is body fat, not the muscle you need to stay healthy. Lifting weights while dieting will help you keep the muscle you have ensuring the weight you lose is body fat. Studies confirm this, showing that combining aerobic exercise, dieting, and strength training leads to greater losses of body fat and weight than when you only diet or diet and do aerobic exercise.

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  • Dana

    Glad to see this post! I used to believe all these myths and did cardio and machines and got NOWHERE. My boyfriend convinced me to try his routine and I followed a diet and exercise regimen that included lifting heavy weights with barbells and lower reps and it really toned up my thighs, helped me lose 25lb and go from a size 12 to a 6. Ladies what this article says is the TRUTH!!! More importantly it’s quicker to do a routine with 5 sets, you can increase your fitness through becoming stronger, and building muscle helps you maintain your body!

  • Emelyne

    I’ve been lifting for a while now and it’s the only thing that put any tone on my skinny body. My doctor also told me that it increases bone density, which is the most important factor to me.