Many women are afraid to begin lifting heavy weights. Their first thought and subsequent question is, as a woman will lifting weights make me bulky? In fact, that is just simply not true. Lifting has numerous benefits for every woman.
The women that you see get bulky are actual body builders. They are not your average woman who lifts as a part of their fitness program. These women go to great lengths to look the way they do, and unless you train 3 hours a day and eating massive amounts of lean protein, and perhaps even some not so recommended “supplements” you aren’t going to look like them.
I recently began lifting as a component of my fitness routine. Here are some things I am discovering as well as some of my personal thoughts.
The Impact of Testosterone
One of the most important things to remember when you are worrying about “bulking up” is that woman produce significantly less testosterone than men. According to Crossfit Threshold Training, woman produce 15 to 20 times less testosterone than men. This is what distinguishes women from men, our hormonal makeup, and this is how our body shapes are determined (or predetermined). This is not saying that women who want to bulk up don’t take supplements containing certain hormones to make them get bigger, but that is a choice one can make for themselves, and to each their own.
Ignore the Number on the Scale
The average woman can truly benefit from heavy lifting and weight training. Most woman have high body fat content and don’t even realize it. Heavy lifting will tone your muscles and burn fat so that you look better, even though you might not feel that much smaller. In fact, ignore the number on the scale. You should really pay attention to how you look in the mirror and how your clothes are fitting. That is where the real answers are.
Remember that muscle is denser than fat, way denser. Though you might not lose weight initially, you will lose inches as toned muscle replaced fat cells.
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After a few months of heavy lifting, you will notice your clothes are fitting better. Although the number on the scale will not depict this, you will definitely see a difference. Don’t believe me? Try it out!
Heavy lifting, and I’m referring to lifting weight heavy enough that the load puts you under a strain, produces a neuro-endocrine response in the brain that speeds your metabolism. Compare it to entering a haunted house and your senses become very awake. With lifting, your mind in essence says, “Wow! I don’t know what that was, but I’m going to stay ready in case is happens again!”
The result: a metabolism boost that can last up to 24 hours, burning calories while you rest that normally would not be burned. You don’t get this response from a treadmill, exercise bike, or even the elliptical. Your body recognizes the end of the workout and within 15 minutes returns to your normal resting metabolism.
Keep in Mind How you are Fueling Your Body
Another misconception that many women have is that, because they are heavy lifting, they are beginning to gain weight and their clothes are becoming tighter. This is not due to that fact that you have changed up your exercise routine, instead you need to look at what you are putting into your body. Your appetite is likely to increase due to the difference in the intensity of your exercise routine. However you need to be careful to not eat poorly because you are hungry. What you choose to eat is important.
You need to keep track of your calories and speak with a nutritionist about how many calories you should eat in a day based on your activity level, daily exercise, age, and other factors. No two women will have the same allotted calorie count for the day, and that’s okay, because we are all different in our own way. That’s what makes women so great!
Every Women is Different-and that’s the Beautiful Part!
As for being considered “bulky” this is a subjective term. Everyone sees women’s beauty in a different light! However, I think I can speak for most woman, when I say that we want to rock that bikini on the beach. You don’t put in the hard work to not have people notice that you take care of yourself.
Every woman that lifts weights will be unique in how their body responds. This is due to factors such as genetics, body type, height, type of heavy lifting, etc. However, in reality, there really isn’t a woman who looks worse because she does lift weights. The results really speak for themselves. With regular exercise that includes some lifting, women tone muscles, not build them.
Check out this article that shows the difference (and the beauty of it) between woman who lift by the founder of Girls Gone Strong.
Have you ever seen a very fit and toned woman out and about, looking strong, beautiful and confident? There is a high probability that she lifts weights to look tone and defined, WITHOUT looking bulky. Gone are the days where “skinny fat” is the main goal, because who can actually say they were born that way besides supermodel Chrissy Teigen?
As America gets more active, women are getting stronger and stronger by the day, so why don’t you be the next one to show everyone how awesome you can be?
The benefits of lifting and lifting heavy are truly remarkable. Do it for yourself, your mother, your daughter, or anyone in between and show those people that women can be strong and sexy simultaneously! Girl power is back and better than ever.
Author: Megan Rothermich- a newbie to the world of lifting, but really has seen improvements and is truly enjoying a new exercise routine.