We don't have to tell you that old wives' tales are as prevalent in Singapore as they are elsewhere on the planet. Your mum may have shared these crazy OWTs with you:
You'll get a cut behind your ear if you point at the moon.
Your future spouse will have terrible skin if you leave rice in your bowl.
Perfume yourself or your home with Frangipani and you'll invite a visit from Pontianaks.
Sadly, there are just as many old wives tales (we call them young wives tales since most of our mums never took up strength training) about women and weightlifting floating around fitness communities these days, and we're out to bust them!
Myth #1: It's Not Safe for Women to Lift Weights
Seriously? This myth is just as unbelievable as superstitious people who insist that only Dragon babies are destined to be super strong. Every woman who undertakes strength training is responsible for her own safety, but it's understandable that some of us could become alarmed when drama queen friends insist upon sending us links to videos of catastrophic strength training accidents that result in female lifters being carted off by ambulance.
It's incumbent upon every woman who undertakes strength training to learn from the best because technique is everything when it comes to injury prevention. Further, those who believe they can just show up at the gym and start working out with weights are asking for shoulder, back or knee injuries (if not all of these).
In summary, not only is it safe for women to undertake strength training, but some win international competitions for their skills, so next time you get an e-mail with a video attached from that drama queen, don't open it!
Myth #2: Strength Training Gear Is So Expensive, One Needs A Second Job to Afford It
Further, extra room is necessary to store all of that athletic stuff. This is all a bunch of bunk. You can solve the expense dilemma by finding a nearby gym with reasonable membership rates and use their equipment for your workouts.
Not only will you rescue your budget, but staff can spot you when you train – a big injury prevention measure when one begins to learn the art of strength training. If your current gym has insufficient equipment, don't sweat it. Get great results with a barbell set and power rack, both of which can be neatly stored against a wall so it's not obtrusive even if your digs are small.
You might even be able to sleuth out gently – used equipment on the Internet or at resale shops – but are you aware of the fact that you don't need any equipment at all to tone your body? It's true. There are workout programmes that show how one can strength train without equipment. This one can get you started.
Myth #3: Strength Training Will Suck Up All of Your Time
Fact is, there's nothing more effective and targeted than strength training because you can achieve and see results even if you've only time to exercise a couple of days during the week.
In fact, an optimal schedule for a woman who has no desire to oil up and make the cover of a weightlifting magazine can occupy just 30 to 40 minutes of your time to train three days a week and you'll notice the cumulative effects of this dedicated schedule fairly quickly.
Be consistent about your effort to wind up with a silhouette that will earn the applause of your friends and the guy auditioning to be your number one fan.
We feel the need to mention this a second time to stress its importance: If you're going to treat yourself to four days of rest time in-between three weekly workouts, you must show up faithfully, even if you insist on whining and complaining when you work out!
Myth #4: If I Don't Lose Weight First, I Can't Strength Train
Silly girl. How do you think some women have managed to drop Herculean amounts of weight simply by weight lifting without having undertaken a radically reduced eating plan? Read this newsletter article for reassurance, and then take action.
If you have so many body image problems you can't bring yourself to show up at a gym – but you're willing to buy a little equipment – read books on how to start a strength-training programme at home and use videos. Build your stamina slowly in the privacy of your home.
Ideally, pairing your initial strength training regimen with swimming, running or cardio will speed your weight loss if you make good on your promise to stay the course.
Dare we add a familiar OWT here if you need extra blessings from the weight loss gods? Wear red underwear for good luck when you strength train. It can't hurt!
Myth #5: If You're Not Exhausted When You Strength Train, You're Doing Something Wrong
If we could figure out what drives rumors associated with "no pain, no gain", we would be millionaires. In fact, there's no correlation between suffering and achievement, though many women have been convinced of it.
Do you see anyone in need of resuscitation? That's because they have left the huffing, puffing, near-fainting and gagging to other women who can't be swayed by the truth.
Instead, take it at a moderate pace and when you feel you can do more, increase the amount of weight you lift, add more reps, expand the amount of time you devote to your sessions by a few extra minutes at a time and you'll become a spokeswoman for the "You don't have to suffer to be fit" movement.
Not only will you become a living example of less is more, but you're going to become a heroine to those who desperately need to know that this myth is the most ridiculous one of all!
Do you have a strength training myth you'd like us to add to our short list? We're all ears!