Before we talk, let’s get this out of the way. No. You are not going to get too “bulky” or “big” if you start lifting weights. As a matter of fact, it is physiologically quite difficult for women to make noticeable muscle gains without trying really, really hard.
It amazes me how many women are still under the impression that, if they pick up a pair of dumbbells, their arms are instantly going to explode like Popeye’s. This is one of the biggest fitness myths out there. No, lifting weights as an average female will absolutely not make you look bulky. Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s talk about why you should be lifting weights.
1. Muscles Are Sexy
Let’s face it. Muscles are sexy! We all want those lean, toned arms and legs we see in the magazines or on TV. Well, those gorgeous limbs are thanks (in part) to strength training. For some reason, when women think of a strength training program, they tend to jump right to the image of body builders. That is not what lifting weights is all about.
Putting on a lot of muscle mass as a female is not easily achieved. You have to intentionally try to get big. A basic weight training program will help create the long, lean muscles we all desire. There is no need to fear accidentally getting too big.
2. Muscles Are Crucial For Long Term Quality of Life
A well-rounded training program is essential for long term health. We need cardio to maintain our cardiovascular fitness, stretching or yoga to keep us mobile and strength training to keep us strong. Without one of these, the others will suffer over time. It is crucial we lift weights regularly to keep our bones strong and our muscles working so we can be self-sufficient down the road.
3. You’d Have to Eat a Lot to Bulk Up
As I already mentioned, it’s not easy for women to build muscle mass. It’s not going to just happen on accident. Along with a very specific training routine, you’d also have to eat- a lot! The amount of food a woman would need to consume to fuel her workouts, recovery and everyday routine is not a quantity that would happen without intention and planning.
4. Strength Training Prevents Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a health problem that primarily impacts women. It involves low bone density and a greater susceptibility to bone fractures. Regular resistance training can not only help maintain bone density, but it can also help build new bone. This means strength training can both help prevent osteoporosis or slow the progression of it, making it an exercise program all women can benefit from.
5. You Won’t Get Big Muscles (Unless You Try Really, Really Hard)
I’m kind of beating a dead horse with this one, but it seems like women just don’t believe it. You won’t bulk up unless you really, really try to. Women’s hormone levels don’t allow for muscle gain like men’s do. Testosterone and growth hormone are the two major players when it comes to building muscle and the average woman does not have nearly the amount that men do. This is why it is so difficult for women to put on large amounts of muscle.
6. Tailor Your Workout To Avoid Bulking
Now, you may be one of those women who just seems to put on muscle much easier than most women- or maybe you gain muscle easily in certain areas. Don’t panic! By making some simple alterations to your training routine, you can ensure you gain or maintain only the amount of muscle that you want. If you know you gain muscle quickly in your legs, then opt for body weight, lighter weights or resistance bands for your lower body and use the heavier weights when training your upper body.
Also, try circuit training. This is a higher intensity style of strength training. Complete several exercises back to back, only resting between rounds, not between each exercise. This will keep your heart rate up and increase the intensity, which will cause you to lift at a lower weight to keep pace. This type of workout will make you stronger, leaner and fitter- without the bulk.
7. Gaining Muscle Will Help You Lose Fat
An increase in muscle mass creates a more efficient metabolism, burning more calories- even at rest. A strength training program helps to create muscle, which helps to burn more calories, allowing you reach your weight loss goals and show off those long, lean muscles you worked so hard for.
Ready to hit those weights yet??