Resistance training (weight training) can play an important role in the development of self-confidence and body satisfaction by increasing strength, building and toning muscles, and increasing muscular endurance. It can also help gain weight, maintain lean body mass, decrease the risk of osteoporosis, develop coordination and balance and prevent injuries resulting from weak muscles.
Improving or maintaining health should be a primary goal of an exercise program. Health not only refers to the absence of disease or illness but may include the way a person feels about their body, their confidence about participating in a variety of activities, and their overall attitude towards life. For many people feeling physically fit and strong is part of being a well-rounded, confident person.
The degree of muscularity considered physically attractive can vary greatly from person to person and between sexes. Men many times desire more muscular "bulk" whereas women may be more concerned with "toning" muscles. Even though weight training has many health benefits, the way it will effect a person's body shape is usually very important. Understanding how your body will respond to a training program can eliminate many of the myths associated with lifting weights and will enable you to design a program specific to your needs. A common fear among women is that weight training will cause them to look excessively muscular or masculine.
A woman's body will respond differently to weight training than a man's because of hormonal differences. The hormone testosterone plays a major role in muscular development. Because women have very little of this hormone, they tend not to "bulk-up" with weight training.
Working with weights three times per week may be the most productive way to gain weight. Weight training provides the greatest amount of muscle growth for the energy expended without the risk of burning up all those extra calories you are consuming. Aerobic type exercises will just burn off those extra calories without much weight gain. Without any exercise, gained weight will tend to be fat – not muscle.
You should lift hard and then recover until the next workout. Focus on the big exercises such as squats, deadlifts, bent-over rows, chin-ups, bench press and military press. These are the exercises that will turn those extra calories into muscle. You need the multiple-joint lifts that will shock your system and stimulate your body into growth. Focus on getting strong by adding a small amount of weight each workout. If you focus on strength, size will follow. If uncertain what to do, get help from a professional trainer, friend or someone at the gym with experience.