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While weight training for women is growing in popularity, we still tend to hear the same old fears that “weight training makes you bulky”. We sat down with Fernwood Toowoomba’s Director of Fitness and Personal Training Manager Mel, to debunk these myths and share the many benefits of adding weights into your exercise routine.

“Rest assured that gaining large or ‘bulky’ amounts of muscle mass requires some serious dietary excess, alongside very heavy weight training over an extended period of time,” Mel says.

In other words, unless you eat and train with the intention of gaining a lot of muscle mass, this won’t just happen. Weight training will however, allow you to add shape and definition where you want it.

Why weight training?

“Sculpting and toning benefits aside, weight training also supports healthy bone density, improves your posture, kick-starts your metabolism and makes you feel strong and capable of anything,” she says.

Focusing on increasing strength can be a great motivator. As you up your weights week on week, you’ll start to notice that your body is changing.

Where do I start?

If you haven’t lifted weights before, Mel highly recommends booking in with a qualified personal trainer to show you the ropes.

“This is imperative to support correct form and achieve optimal results for your efforts,” she says.

Your trainer can then tailor a program for you to complete on your own that is suitable to your fitness level. Weights-based fitness classes like FIIT30 and BodyPump can also be beneficial for developing both strength and technique.

How do I choose the right weights?

“Appropriate weight selection is vital,” Mel says.

Select a weight that is challenging but still allows you to maintain good form.

“For most people, a weight is considered too heavy if you are unable to perform at least six repetitions with correct and controlled technique,” she says.

When a weight becomes too comfortable and easy, you should either increase the weight or the amount of reps to continue challenging your body. Adding a resistance band is also great for upping the intensity.

How often should I train?

Mel recommends including three weights-based sessions per week, along with two rest days. “Rest days support muscle repair and growth, an invaluable part of the process,” she says.

If you still feel like moving your body on off days, try a walk with a friend or a relaxing yoga class instead. Regularly review your program to make sure you are challenging yourself and getting the most out of your time in the gym.

Whether your goal is to tone up, gain muscle, or increase your overall health and fitness, weight training will help you to achieve it. Smashed your first weights session? Read our top 5 things to do post-workout to maximise your results.