So many women rely on cardio to keep in shape. While your sweat session on the treadmill or elliptical will release feel-good endorphins, you will, at some point, stop seeing results. If you are longing for a fit and lithe body, a change is in order.

Despite the wide-range of benefits that weight training has, there is still a stigma surrounding women lifting weights and many misguided ideas about what it actually does to a woman’s body. If you’ve never ventured into the world of weights before, let us help you set the record straight:

The Truth About Women and Weights

Myth 1: Lifting heavy weights will make me look bulky and manly.

Women do not produce enough testosterone to build a large muscle mass. Building muscle will not increase the amount of testosterone you naturally produce. When you think weightlifting, do professional bodybuilders come to mind? Building muscle of that caliber takes a lot of time, intentionality, and extra caloric intake to create.

Essentially, adding weights to your workouts two to three times per week is not going to turn you into a bodybuilder. You will start to learn out though and put on muscle mass if you are eating properly.

Myth 2: Strength training will make me stiff and less flexible.

When you combine weights and dynamic movements, you are not only building your muscles but also lengthening them. When you lift with correct technique and use your full range of motion, your flexibility will actually increase.

Working and strengthening your muscles will also help support for your joints preventing injuries and increase your endurance for your cardio workouts.

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Myth 3: Weight lifting will turn my body fat to muscle.

This is physically impossible due to the fact that muscle and fat are two completely different tissues. One type of tissue cannot be turned into the other.

As you use your muscles and lose fat through both cardio and strength training, your muscles will become more visible and defined. If you stop training, you will lose muscle mass over time. 

Myth 4: Gaining muscle won’t help my body at all.

According to Livestrong, there are numerous benefits to building lean muscle mass. It helps to offset the natural muscle deterioration that occurs as our body’s age.

Weight lifting has been shown to improve bone density as well as reduce the symptoms of arthritis, diabetes and depression.  Increasing your lean muscle mass will increase your metabolism and help you to burn more calories while at rest.

Don’t be afraid to start adding resistance and strength training to your routine! It will not cause you to bulk up, decrease your yoga-built flexibility or drastically change the composition of your body.

Many people have also come to feel more confident by adding weight-training elements to their workouts. If you are nervous about starting, you can do routines at home using your own body weight (think push-ups, squats and lunges), resistance bands or dumbbells.

After you feel yourself getting comfortable, find a personal trainer to teach you how to properly use equipment in the weight room at the gym. Form matters and you can learn what you need to know after a couple of sessions. 

Now go forth and lift heavy.