Ask 100 women this year what their New Year’s resolution will be and a third will likely answer “weight loss” and “to look fitter and more toned”. Many of these women will join a gym (or actually start using their membership) and center their workout around sessions on the treadmill, elliptical, or any other cardio machine. Running on the treadmill 4 days a week may help you lose body fat, but without adding on muscle, it won’t give you that tight, toned look.
Strength training by utilizing CrossFit is a much better approach than focusing only on cardio if your goal is to achieve a toned, healthy physique, and there’s a lot of science to support this. Research shows that CrossFit training as part of your workout routine is a proven method for increasing Lean Body Mass and reducing body fat for women.
Read on to learn what you need to know about strength training. I’ll separate fact from fiction, look at additional benefits of CrossFit and learn how much training you need. In the end, we hope to encourage some of you who are on the fence about CrossFit training to get on board, join us here at Next Generation CrossFit and start experiencing its many benefits and fun.
There are a lot of myths and misconceptions out there about CrossFit. They encourage many women to disregard or dismiss the training. Let’s dispel three common myths and put them to rest.
Myth #1: CrossFit causes women to “look bulky, like a man:”
Let’s get this one out of the way straight out of the gate. This will not happen.
Many women associate resistance training as bad and something only men should do because they believe it leads to weight gain and “big bulky muscles.” Here’s the truth about CrossFit for women: yes, it may cause you to gain some weight. In fact, you can probably count on it. But that’s perfectly okay, and here’s why: if the gains you experience are gains in Lean Body Mass, this means your weight can stay the same, or even increase and you will look more lean and toned.
Muscle is denser than fat, meaning it takes up less space on your body. By losing fat and gaining muscle, you can stay the same weight, or even gain, but actually be slimmer than you were before. Think of weight training as an investment that pays serious dividends down the road. The more muscle you have, the more calories (and fat) your body will burn over the course of a day.
“Healthy” is not a number on the scale, it’s how you look and feel. It’s how you move and what you can move. So don’t think in terms of what you want to lose and focus more on what you want to gain, both physically and emotionally.
Please etch this thought deep into your brain: as long as you’re noticing positive changes in how you look and feel, that arbitrary number on the scale doesn’t make a bit of difference. In fact, it’s likely to lead you astray.
Myth #2: Lifting huge and heavy all the time is required
When you take a look around the gym and at the people who are lean and muscular, you often see them squatting what looks like an unbelievable amount of weight: 2, 3, even 4 plates on each side of the barbell. I know that can seem intimidating. Good news: first of all, lifting heavy with low reps is just one style of strength training we do here at Next Generation, and secondly, it’s not mandatory.
Studies on women have found that regardless of what the training style was, heavy lifting with low reps or light weights with high reps, strength and muscle gains occurred. This means you don’t have to deadlift 2x your bodyweight or press dumbbells the size of your head over your head in order to reap benefits. Strength training at whatever level you’re comfortable with yields positive results, and if an attractive, toned look motivates you, you will be able to work towards that goal with low/moderate resistance exercise weight. Next Generation Gym programming is able to scale any planned workout to fit any needs and abilities.
Myth #3: Your too old to CrossFit
Come watch my 70+ year old member CrossFit then tell her that! She does everything and does it better, and heavier, then some twice as young.
“Sarcopenia” is the gradual loss of muscle mass that begins for most women after age 35. Contrary to popular belief, this decline in muscle mass and strength is not solely a result of the aging process; rather, it’s mostly due to inactivity. You need daily high intensity exercise to not succumb to our sedentary lifestyles.
If you’re an older adult, you don’t need to fall for the “adults shouldn’t lift” myth. Studies show that CrossFit is an awesome way to prevent, and even reverse, loss of muscle for older adults. For women, in particular, CrossFit is an effective long-term strategy to preserve muscle and positive changes in body composition. The science is clear: improving your muscle mass is something anyone can and should do.
Additional benefits of Crossfit Training for Women
Aside from improving your body composition by increasing Lean Body Mass, there are several other benefits of CrossFit training in addition to muscle growth and looking fitter. One would be Healthier Bones and Joints. Women who don’t exercise can lose anywhere from 3 to 8% of their muscle mass each decade as a result of inactivity. Studies show that doing strength training like CrossFit can promote bone development, reduce lower back pain, and reverse several skeletal muscle aging factors. CrossFit training is not only good for your muscles, it can help ease the pain in your joints and prevent bone loss.
Another would be reduced Anxiety. If you’re looking for a way to chill out and relieve some stress and anxiety, try CrossFit at Next Generation! There’s a strong correlation between CrossFit and stress reduction/anxiety. According to research, CrossFit is one of the best forms of training for reducing anxiety.
How about Improved body image. Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of CrossFit training is that it can also help you feel better about yourself. According to one study, CrossFit has been associated with “significant improvements in several dimensions of body image, health-related quality of life, and physical activity behaviors, satisfaction, and comfort.”
How Many Resistance Workouts Do You Need A Week?
Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) recommend 2 or more days per week of total body resistance workouts that work all major muscle groups alternating between the lower body (legs, hips, back, abdomen) and upper body (chest, shoulders, and arms) for all adults.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says adults over 65 should follow these exact same guidelines unless you have a chronic condition (heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes). In these cases, ask your doctor what activities are safe. For postmenopausal women, researchers recommend doing high intensity weight bearing based workouts three days a week (on alternate days).
If you’re a newbie, here at Next Generation Gym we will start you off by adding workout movements that are within your abilities and use weights that you are capable of handling, which is a lot of the time just your body, and work your way up from there.
Contrary to popular belief, the “tight and toned” look many women want is achieved by both a mix of cardio workouts and strength training. That’s awesome, because CrossFit at Next Generation Gym utilizes both within our workouts!
Remember that how you frame your exercise goals is important. So stop thinking in terms of what you want to lose and focus more on what you want to gain (both physically and emotionally). You can set better goals too: If you set a goal of gaining Lean Body Mass instead of losing weight, you’ll be able to measure the results of your resistance training efforts in terms of lean mass gained instead of pounds lost, which can be quite empowering because it relieves you from caring about what the scale says about your body weight.
So where do you start? Start by getting into the gym, then together we can set body composition goals. Once you’ve done that, you make functional strength training at Next Generation Gym a part of your lifestyle, not just some short-lived goal or challenge and you will experience noticeable results to how you look and feel.
If you’re a woman who hasn’t tried CrossFit or you aren’t getting the results you want from your workouts, now is the time to jump on our wagon, or rather, pick up our training!
Ready for your turn? Contact us now and get started. You can contact us below or text me at 918-694-4468 or contact us through our website athttp://nextgenerationcrossfit.com/ or you are welcome to come by our Box. Classes are at 6am, Noon, 4pm, 5pm and 6pm Monday-Friday and Saturday at 10am.