There’s been a misconception in the world of weight lifting for YEARS that lifting weights will make females bigger or “bulky”. After all, seeing their male counterparts grow muscles fairly rapidly with a consistent training schedule must mean that they’ll see the same results, right? WRONG.
There is a fundamental difference between males and females and while that difference is rather complicated, the short version is that men produce more testosterone than women. This is why men naturally tend to have more muscle than women and are more easily able to build muscle than women. Don’t get us wrong, the work must be done for ANYONE to build muscle, but men do have an advantage.
When it comes to lifting weights, we’ve had “gurus” try to tell us that women should only lift light weights to avoid getting “bulky”. Their claims state that by using light weights, you will “elongate your muscles” and build “lean muscle”. I’m here to fill you in on a little secret: all muscle is lean muscle. Muscle is muscle is muscle. Plain and simple.
When you look at a comparison of muscle to fat, 5lbs of muscle takes up MUCH less space than 5lbs of fat. This proves that having more muscle and less fat will actually make you a smaller person, albeit much more shapely (in a good way).
This in itself should debunk the “bulky” myth, but alas there are still many women that shy away from the weights in fear of getting bulky. Here are some common myths, debunked by the Iron Team:
1. But what about those female bodybuilders? Their muscles are big!!
Trust us. There is nothing natural about most female bodybuilders. If they look like they’re taking something, they probably are.
2. I had a friend who started lifting weights and got bigger.
At the end of the day, diet does play a big role in your health, fitness, and appearance. If lifting weights is making you bigger, it means that you’re building muscle and not losing fat. The reason for this is likely that your food intake has gone up. It’s important to keep a good diet in order to build muscle and lose fat. When you start lifting weights, don’t change your eating habits. See how the weightlifting affects your physique and then you can make changes from there.
Here is what lifting weights (yes even HEAVY weights) actually does for a woman:
- –Shapes the body: Think round glutes, shapely legs, lean and toned arms, small waist.
- –Increases bone density: As you age, your bones degenerate. Lifting weights forces your bones to grow which will help protect you from breaks and fractures as you get older.
- –Increases metabolism: Your body has to work harder to keep all the muscle on there. Adding muscle to your body increases the rate of your metabolism and over time you’ll be able to eat more food just to maintain your body weight.
- –Increases strength: This is probably a given, but getting stronger is a really satisfying feeling. You’ll not only notice it in the weight room, but you’ll notice it as you go to pick up your kids or carry your groceries.
- –Improves posture: By building muscle to support your skeleton, your posture will naturally start to improve. This will ward off pain by putting your body in a better resting position.
- –Decreases resting heart rate: Anyone who ever told you that lifting weights doesn’t help your cardiac response hasn’t lifted weights very intensely. When you push yourself with weights, your heart rate increases and then comes back down as you rest and recover. It’s similar to interval training and over time, your resting heart rate will likely decrease, which yields a healthier heart.
- -Our favorite one…Makes you look sexy: Muscles look good on a woman. See below.
To prove this point further, I’m going to show you a series of before and after photos. The before photos are of these women in their “cardio bunny” phase. Lots of cardio, minimal weights. The after photos are after these women started incorporating strength training into their routines using heavier weights. The results are astonishing.
So there you have it! Looking for a good weight lifting routine to get you started? Check out this Full Body Workout or schedule a strategy session with one of our elite trainers today!