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Women over 50 can build muscle without becoming bulky. The health benefits are amazing and invaluable as we age. Unfortunately, many women our age just don’t believe it.
Women over 40 could benefit the most from building muscle. In fact, women over 60 and even older can build muscle and feel health benefits that are amazing. So why don’t more do it?
There are some 12.7 million women in the U.S. who belong to a commercial health club. Of that number, only about half use weight machines and even fewer lifted free weights, according to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA).
I started lifting more than 50 years ago. Back then, you would never see a woman in a weight-lifting gym. Back then, most women did not work outside the home and would view something like bodybuilding as vulgar at best.
Things have changed a bit. Women participate in all levels of everything. Today, there is no real reason that should hold any woman back from lifting weights, especially not wrongful myths about what it will do to their bodies. I think those myths are especially prevalent among us older Baby Boomers.
All you have to do is Google ‘female bodybuilders’ to see visual examples of one reason: Fear of bulking up like a man. First off: there is something everybody should realize about all those photos on the internet. While some of them are real and there are indeed some big steroid monsters out there, many of those pics are photo-shop fakes by geeky guys who get off on creating a fantasy of huge muscle women.
They aren’t real.
They call those photographs “morphs.” Weird. Comic book fantasy. If you look at pictures of real natural women who are lifting weights, you will typically see sexy, athletic shapes with firm, lean muscles. That’s because women have far less testosterone than males. Testosterone is the hormone that drives muscle bulking. And no matter how hard and heavy an average woman lifts, she is not going to balloon up and look like a man — without ten tons of chemical assistance.
Guys don’t have enough naturally occurring testosterone to bulk up into a Mr. Olympia contender, either. Virtually all the really big and ripped bodybuilders, male and female, are taking enormous amounts of hormones and other drugs to get that way. In addition to being unhealthy, it doesn’t last once they quit the juice. They will literally deflate back to almost normal without those drugs if they don’t die prematurely from a heart attack or stroke.
That scene is a health disaster and it’s not what we’re talking about here.
I asked my wife for some wisdom on this topic. She lifts, runs, swims and spins with her sights on competing in a triathlon race one day. She is the exception, and exceptional if I do say so. She gets up at 4 am on weekdays to get to the gym before work. She is an amazing woman. Personally, I can’t recall my own name at 4 am.
Other women often ask her advice on how to start working out. So I asked her, what holds them back? She said: “They view themselves negatively, as weak and incapable. They think they won’t look attractive when they are working out. Weightlifting is not mainstream for women our age the way yoga, Pilates and running are. They think weights are a guy’s sport.”
“It doesn’t make sense. There is nothing attractive about flabby arms, no matter how thin you are. Women’s purses usually weigh more than the weights they choose when they are in a class.”
Wise words as always. And remember, that was my wife talking, not me mansplaining.
What’s the solution? She thinks it’s stressing the benefits, especially for women over 40. “Women are more empowered today than ever before and don’t need to feel they can’t participate in what they think is a guys’ only activity. Feeling strong and not physically vulnerable is a great benefit. Reduced risk of osteoporosis post menopause is another great benefit for women over 40. Looking young and more beautiful is a great side effect, too.”
The list of benefits is long, for both women and men. Among them:
I believe I’ve developed a program for women and men over 40 that can build muscle while taking into account the fact that our joints are older and cannot take the sort of punishment young trainers like to put people through.
I’m not saying it’s easy, but it does take it easy on things like our aging joints. It’s designed to build muscle without insanity or pain. I’ve been my own guinea pig. After more than 4 decades of hard-core weight training, I was forced to find a new way or quit. In my case, my shoulder joints couldn’t handle heavy lifting any longer.
I believe I’ve found the right method for older people like us. I’ve been using it consistently now for more than 5 years and I’m getting better results than I’ve ever had before. It is simple and easy to understand and can work for anyone at any experience level. It fits into your lifestyle, not vice versa. You can do it at home or in the gym. It’s not about setting new Personal Records in how much weight you can lift. Instead, it’s about generating muscle growth to offset to the negative effects of aging on our bodies.
It’s all about the ‘pumped’ feeling in your muscles and enjoying the euphoric feeling that the release of endorphins brings. Fun and positive, not punishment.
Satisfying. Stimulating. Rewarding.
Simple things work the best. You don’t need an app to track every moment of a workout. All you need is a solid, proven method that will feel intuitively right for you and produce satisfying results. Ultimately, the purpose of this Blog is to share that method. I’m working on creating the visual support necessary to do that. Stay with me. It will be worth it!
Meanwhile, check out this great article from The Telegraph in London. Why lifting is the new running for the over-40s. “Lifting workouts such as circuit training may burn about 200 calories while you’re doing them but unlike cardiovascular exercise such as running, they burn some 25 percent more additional calories in the first hour following your workout.”
Thanks for stopping by!