On Blisstree, we’re big fans of lifting weights, but many women are still confused about exactly what to do in the gym to manage our weight and keep a lean physique. Some fitness plans discourage lifting heavy weights to prevent getting too bulky or masculine, while others say we should lift more. We talked to Lacey Stone, a New York City and Hollywood fitness expert who wants us to get clear on why lifting light weights won’t get you skinny, and getting strong is the new sexy:
What’s wrong with the messages women are getting about how to stay fit and lift weights?
There’s so much information out there that women almost feel helpless, and don’t know what’s the truth anymore: It’s gotten so out of hand with the media that you can literally google ‘lifting weights for women’ and one person will say you’ll get bulky, and another person will say it’s good for you. Inn general, I just think there’s way too much fear for women around lifting weights and looking masculine.
Where do these myths in women’s fitness come from?
There’s a lot of marketing to sell products that associates particular celebrities with certain types of workouts. We hear ‘this celebrity got this body from this workout,’ but if you look at the celebrity before the workout…they pretty much look the same! So…I’m not so sure it was the workout that did it for them.
But one of the biggest problems that I’ve pointed out on my blog is this message that being strong isn’t sexy for a woman. The idea that it doesn’t look good, or men are supposed to be stronger than women—that just needs to stop.
Women need to think of strong, lean, toned, athletic as SEXY… I want Strong to be the new SEXY. Skinny needs to go away, because first of all, it requires not a lot of eating and often overexercise for a woman who’s in their later twenties or thirties. And secondly, young girls and even older women are comparing themselves to models, and I have be honest: My wife is a model, and a lot of girls modeling women’s clothing are 14 and 16 years old. So grown women are comparing their bodies to a 16-year-old girl’s. It’s really frickin’ horrible for women! It’s so upsetting to me, and I just need it to stop. Feeling bad about yourself because you’re comparing yourself to a teenager: Are you kidding me? It’s so sad.
So many fitness “experts” out there give us mixed messages about how to get results. How can we tell the difference between marketing myths and truth?
I’ll tell you the truth: These lengthening, Tracy Anderson Method or Barre Method type of workouts are great if you’re already the size you want to be. If you don’t need to lose weight, then great: They’ll help you sculpt certain areas. But there’s not a lot of sweat happening in these workouts. Many women doing them are already so teeny tiny—they wouldn’t have the energy to do a workout that I would teach, because the fact is these workouts aren’t burning as many calories, and they’re not as hard on your bones and musculature as a workout that makes you sweat.
These workouts are also great if you have two hours a day to work out; many recommend working out seven days a week, two hours a day. Any fitness professional with a legitimate certification, who’s worked with real people will tell you that the hardest part of working out is finding the time. So two hours, seven days a week isn’t going to work for a normal human being, and if you’re looking to lose 20 pounds, it’s never going to happen with that kind of workout.
But generally, these workouts just don’t put enough stress on your musculature. I’m an athlete, so I have an inside-out approach to fitness: I think that if you feed your body it will perform for you. But these people are just thinking ‘I want to look good on the outside,’ and they don’t really think about what’s happening on the inside. If you’re not lifting weights that put stress on your bones, then you’re not building up your bone strength, which is why a lot of women have osteoporosis. Do you hear of men having osteoporosis? No. Because men eat, and they put stress on their bodies to get strong.
Photo: Stephanie Mathis