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Yoga, Weight Training and Building Muscle, Page 2

Now for the women. First off, it's important to emphasize that over 95 percent of women never have to worry about getting huge muscles. It's just not in your hormones. Guys get big because they have a lot of testosterone, which you only have in small amounts. They also work hard at the gym, lifting extremely heavy weights that you wouldn't dream of touching in a million years. There's almost always one lady in a crowd, however, who will insist that she lifted weights and she did get big and masculine looking. It's too bad that this small minority of women speak up so loudly because it scares the rest of us away from serious weight training. Most likely, you are not that woman who got the huge muscles. There are one of two reasons she got bigger — she either has more testosterone than the average woman or, even more likely, she was eating more than she needed to and it wasn't just her muscles that were big — she just had a thick layer of fat on top of the muscle, and that's what was adding bulk. What about those women who are fitness and body building competitors? They're in the gym for hours every day, eat a clean (read very boring) diet, and some of them use steroids (a really bad idea that has serious health repercussions down the line). Unless you too spend hours in the gym and are genetically gifted you will never look like these women (and if you happen to like the way they look, now you know their secret! Check out Oxygen — an excellent fitness magazine — for more info). So there's no need for you to shy away from weight training. In fact, you should embrace it because it will enhance your Yoga practice. Here's why:

Remember when I was telling the guys how Crow and Chaturanga Dandasana do not make for a great upper body workout? You're probably aware that it's a different story for you — these moves, which most men can master fairly easily, are quite difficult for most women. Our upper bodies are generally quite weak compared to men. Does this mean those upper body Yoga moves will make a good enough workout for you? Maybe not! For a lot of women, they're too much to handle, and even the modifications are hateful. So guess what — strength training to the rescue! If you work your upper body — your chest, arms, back and shoulders — you'll suddenly find those Yoga poses that focus on that area are a lot easier, and maybe even fun to do. The same advice I gave the men applies to you — lift heavy enough weights so that your muscles tire out by the tenth rep of each set. Less than that and you generally aren't doing your muscles any more good than you would get at your Yoga class. You want quality with your lifting, not quantity. The only case in which you should do more reps and decrease your lifting weight most of the time is if you happen to be one of those rare women who do get bigger muscles easily (and before you really decide that's you, check what you're eating — maybe keep a food diary for a week or two).

What's good for the upper body is also good for the lower body — do some squats and lunges on the days that you're not practicing Yoga and those standing poses may suddenly become a lot more gratifying. Imagine holding Powerful Pose for more than 30 seconds without feeling like you're going to die! Think of how much nobler you can make Warrior II, and how strong your Yoga lunges will be. You'll also look great if you weight train — it will give your muscles definition. Think sexy shoulders and shapely legs, upper arms that don't flap in the wind and a nice midsection. Oh yeah, and a perkier bustline too — plus carrying big loads of groceries will be a whole lot easier. Practicing Yoga can make women stronger, but weight training ups the ante. You also use up more calories in the long run if you weight train because more muscle burns more fuel. Women who take up weight training after practicing Yoga for years are often surprised because they drop a few pounds.

Muscles are good and so is flexibility and inner peace. Combine Yoga with weight training and yes, you can have it all.

Previous page >> Men, Muscles and Yoga >> Page 1, 2

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