Positive Power for Weight-training Women.
By Sarah Parr
Photography: Digitalpix Hawkes Bay

If you’re a woman, no doubt you would remember traversing through teenage hood.-For many young people it’s an awkward time at best, as awareness of the impending adult form intensifies. 
At that time I, like most girls, had become very conscious of how closely (or not) our bodies mirrored the perceived ‘ideal body shape,’ which was of course tall and skinny like the models we saw in every magazine.


Having always been a bit of a sporty kid, I was reminded that i didn’t quite “fit the bill” when I had to inform a boy at school that the “weird lump over my knee” was actually a muscle. I can have a good giggle now, but at the time my dream of emulating a catwalk body was killed by cold reality.

Thankfully, that ended! A fitness magazine somehow made its way into my hands and I browsed through stopping to take in some photos of the amazing figure competitor, Lisa Masson-.I’m certain many if other ‘old school’ bodybuilders would also easily remember the 1999 NABBA Universe Figure class 2 winner.

She possessed femininity, elegance, persona and she also had muscle! Finally I saw some encouragement that there was something my body type could work towards, other than unobtainable superwaif! I recognised that having muscle made the female form appear more shapely in the right places, and at the same time it seemed logical to participate in an activity that was about building yourself into something more, not trying diet yourself down into less.

What I didn’t realise as a teen, is that bodybuilding is not just about a physical change, but a mental one also. As you can imagine, it is hugely positive for teen girls to shift their mindset from the destructive and unrealistic goal of “just being skinny” to the more positive and achievable goal of being fit & strong. And you HAVE to eat, five or six times a day- there was no more skipping breakfasts or semi-starvation diets! If you want to gain muscle you’ll first be required to learn more about nutrition and then stay committed to the process.

For women, especially teens who are setting up eating habits for an lifetime, it’s a very fast way to become schooled in healthy diet choices and for many people, it’s great not to have to fight against a naturally athletic body type.


I appreciate not all women desire to look like bodybuilders, but I hear most women stating that they wouldn’t mind increasing muscle tone and decreasing body fat. Hmmm....increasing tone and decreasing body fat...sounds a lot like bodybuilding to me!

You may be at a gym right now, working out regularly and taking care of your diet- preferring perhaps to use the term ‘body-sculpting’. , Body-sculpting seems to be a term we’ve developed to make bodybuilding sound a little softer and more widely acceptable, but a form of bodybuilding it still is.

All ladies need not fret, without a specifically designed diet and training programme (not to mention a few year’s hard work) you’ll likely just tone up and won’t grow overly large muscles. Through weight-training you are encouraging your body to be what it was already pre-programmed and ready to evolve into.


We all know that increasing muscle has many positive physical effects. According to The Mayo Clinic, gaining muscle mass “ generates benefits beyond the exercise period itself: weight stabilizes, since muscle burns calories more efficiently at rest. Additionally, your body grows firmer as you lose fat, causing clothing to fit better. Of course, the more efficient your metabolism, then the more energy you have. Arthritis, diabetes and osteoporosis are also more easily managed if your muscles are stronger; recovery from strenuous exertion increases, and gardening and recreational sports can be enjoyed later in life. Finally, greater muscle mass protects you from injuries that can lead to hospitalisation or require nursing home care”.


And one pound of muscle burns about 6.5 calories per hour, according to McArdle. Muscles burn 5.5 times more calories than fat tissues, which burn about 1.2 calories per pound per hour. For the more muscular muliebrous that equates to extra meals to be eaten per day!
So there’s plenty of incentive to begin or continue weight-training, and they best thing about it is that you can participate at any age with muscle looking great on any body type. To this day I don’t know what became of Lisa Masson after her days of bodybuilding glory, but I’d like to thank her for many years of inspiration.


What Are the Benefits of Gaining Muscle Mass? | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/about_5079709_benefits-gaining-muscle-mass.html#ixzz2AxKP3amf


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