It’s a common cultural assumption that cardio is the best workout you can do—but it turns out that type of sweat sesh is only part of the equation for achieving optimal fitness. And for women especially, there seems to be a resounding fear that lifting weights won’t result in a feminine figure but rather one that’s burly and bulky. That notion isn’t necessarily correct, either—strength training is actually a great tool for females who want to sculpt a lean (but strong) body. Here to debunk myths and get you on the fast track to an effective exercise routine are Justin Norris and Taylor Gainor of LIT Method, whose program focuses on low-impact training incorporating resistance bands, rowing and more. Trust us—these two know how to whip people into shape (we frequent their Los Angeles studio), so take note of their expert intel below.
The Workout All Women Should Be Doing But Aren’t
Why do so many women care about cardio alone?
"I think women focus so much on cardio because in their minds, it's the key to losing weight and getting in shape," says Justin. "Cardio will aid in weight loss and improve endurance and stamina, but it won’t strengthen and build muscle. Consistently doing too much cardio can actually burn off the muscle you worked so hard for!"
Why should women incorporate strength training into their routine?
According to Justin, "There are three key parts to a perfect workout regimen: strength training, cardio and a healthy diet. The best way to change your body is through strength training—cardio can only get you so far. With strength training you're able to isolate specific areas and burn more fat along the way, leaving you tight and lean."
Why is building muscle important?
"It'll increase your metabolism, decrease risk of diseases and reduce the chance of injury," Taylor says. "Just remember, strong is the new skinny!"
Is it true women bulk up if they strength train?
"Women can bulk up during strength training if they're using heavy weights with few repetitions," says Taylor. But that's not the only way to incorporate weights into one's routine. "At LIT Method, we only use resistance bands, because bands provide continuous tension throughout an exercise, so the tension never leaves the muscle. This will tone and shape your muscles, making them look long and lean instead of bulky."
Interested in strength training but not sure where to start? Follow the exclusive workout Justin and Taylor created for TZR readers, which is simple and straightforward for beginners. All you need is yourself and a resistance band.