Muscle Building: A Good Idea For Women, Too

Putting on muscle mass may have seem like a topic for guys who want to bulk up. However, building muscle is important for women, too. Keep your active imagination in check, resisting images of bikini-clad, muscle-bound women bodybuilders. While that level of muscle mass on a woman is an impressive demonstration of self-control and the ability to train muscles, it’s a result that requires a lot of hard work and more attention to your diet than you ever want to give. For the average woman, female muscle growth will provide vital support for the bones and can positively affect the aging process. Plus, it’s easier for women who put on muscle mass to lose fat.

You Can’t Bulk Up (Easily)

It takes a lot of testosterone–more than you have–to build big, bulky muscles.
Image by Eduardo García Cruz/Flickr

The fact that women bodybuilders exist proves that women are capable of putting on muscle mass in serious amounts. However, as fitness and nutrition expert Catherine Piot points out in her book “The Fit Body Plan,” women don’t produce as much testosterone as men do, so they don’t have the genetics to gain muscle as easily as guys can. To accomplish significant female muscle growth, a gal has to adjust her entire lifestyle, centering it around workouts and diet.

If I Could Turn Back Time

Resistance training can do more for anti-aging than a ton of expensive cosmetic treatments.

Growing older is a fact of life for everyone. Right around the age of 40, people start to notice little differences in how their bodies function and those little differences soon become major limitations. According to a study reported by the IDEA Health and Fitness Association, however, not only can muscle building workouts slow the aging process, but they can actually reverse it. In fact, the study showed that resistance training reversed the aging process right down at the genetic level.

Support Those Bones

Bones supported by strong muscles don’t break easily.

The International Osteoporosis Foundation reports that osteoporosis affects an estimated 200 million women worldwide and that 1 in 3 women over 50 will suffer from osteoporosis-related fractures. Considering that major loss of muscle mass is one of the leading causes of osteoporosis, it’s a shame that more women don’t engage in strength training for building muscle. Everyone from the National Institute of Health to the CDC recommends muscle building for avoiding osteoporosis. That’s because muscles not only provide support for your bones, but the stress of strong muscles working against your bones improves bone strength and will even stimulate bone growth, according to a study published in Medicine and Science in Sports Exercise. In light of these facts, muscle fitness for women should be a top priority.

Tip the Scales: Build Muscle Mass, Lose Fat

Maintaining muscle mass keeps the fat off your middle–and everywhere else.

If anti-aging and avoiding osteoporosis aren’t enough reasons for you to embark on a muscle-building regimen, then do it to stay trim. Not only do women who strength train have a pleasing, toned look to their physiques, but they also have an easier time keeping fat weight off. That’s because muscle is metabolically active. It literally burns calories all the time, even when you’re not working out. This is one of those times when something that sounds too good to be true isn’t; it’s a scientifically proven fact.

If you’re in a panic, thinking that you should have started putting on muscle mass long ago, you’re right. That doesn’t mean, however, that it’s too late for you, regardless of your age. That’s where resistance training comes in, and you don’t have to pump iron if you don’t want to. Training with resistance bands is an excellent, safe alternative. It speeds up strength and muscle gains by allowing you to lift at your maximum potential. Go ahead, give it a try. You have nothing to lose and only muscle mass to gain.

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