I often hear from female clients and female members that they don’t like to lift weights, especially heavy weights because they don’t want to bulk up. I know I’ve written about this topic at least twice before. Maybe the third times the charm.
The illusion of bulking up is just that. If you really were bulking up from lifting weights quite a few stars would have to align to result in such things.
• One, you would have to be lifting HEAVY twice a day.
• Two, you would have to be eating nothing but boiled chicken and broccoli.
• Three, you would have to be pushing yourself to the ends of your strength during every workout.
• Four, you would have to workout hard 5-7 days a week consistently.
It’s incredibly hard to put on large amounts of muscle mass and for the average gym-goer takes a long time to add any real size in muscle. Women especially have a much harder time putting on size, we do not have the testosterone, the same fat deposits (women have much more affinity to hold fat in the arms and hips than males do), and women have smaller muscle size in general. So any noticeable size in muscle is super hard to accomplish. You can get stronger and you may see your muscles more (generally that’s just a result of losing body fat and less about having huge muscles), but lifting enough to have serious guns will probably never happen.
What will happen if you push yourself and lift heavy weights? You will get stronger. Who doesn’t want to be stronger? The stronger you are the easier lifting your grandchild is. The stronger you are the easier it is to start the lawn mower. The stronger you are the easier it is to climb that hill. Strength means you can do more for yourself, you can be confident in your physical feats (will I or won’t I throw out my back lifting the dog into the car?).
What will happen if you lift heavy weights? You will lose body fat. You will increase your muscle fibers (fibers, teeny tiny fibers), which means that your muscles will burn more calories every day to function. Adding extra fibers means that your whole body will need to utilize more calories every day to sit, to walk, and especially to exercise. How sweet is that?! Without doing any long cardio or scaling way back in calorie intake you can lose body fat just by increasing your squat weight and doing fewer reps. Sounds good to me!
What will happen if you lift weights? You will increase your bone density. You will feel a bigger sense of accomplishment (When was the last time you got off the exercise bike after your regular 45 minutes while reading the paper and said, Man I can’t believe I just did that, I’m awesome!). You will have better body composition, that strapless dress will look so much better with stronger arms, I swear! You will move better and with more confidence.
Lifting heavy weights is as much (sometimes way more) cardio as it is strength. It takes a ton of energy to perform heavy lower body exercises and thus increases your heart rate substantially. Lifting heavy is comparable to sprinting up a hill. That sounds like a great way to kill two birds with one stone!
I hope more women get in the weight room and really work hard with the weights. I am a total believer in pushing yourself and lifting “real weights”. The women that take my lifting classes all look AMAZING. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not churning out huge, beefy, bulging biceped women. Strong means fit. Strong means lean. Strong means healthy. Strong is beautiful. Let’s get strong!