Ladies, this one’s for you! I’ve written this blog with the intention of giving you a better understanding of the effects that weightlifting has on women. I’d say this is definitely one of the biggest misconceptions in fitness. It’s safe to say that lifting weights does NOT make women look bulky! For those of you who are interested in knowing exactly why it’s not possible, continue reading down below.
Let’s start with the main reason: hormones. Men’s dominant hormone is testosterone while women’s is estrogen. Men have low estrogen levels while women have low testosterone levels which explains the difference in body composition. Testosterone is what’s in charge of muscle growth so the more testosterone your body has, the more muscle you can grow. Although everyone is different and hormone levels vary, women naturally have much lower testosterone levels than men do. This is why a woman will never be able to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger unless there’s assistance from an outside source(aka steroids).
Often when I ask my female clients what their goals are, they use the word “tone”. Over the years I’ve realized they mean they’d like to look like the woman above. Many women would look at her and think, “Wow, she must be on the treadmill two hours a day and do body weight lunges every day of the week. I’m willing to bet she has a solid weight training routine that includes lifting medium to heavy weight for the majority of her workout and a bit of cardio to burn a few extra calories.
Women that only do cardio often times end up becoming “skinny fat”. This is when you’re thin but have such little muscle mass that you still look out of shape and unhealthy. It’s possible to be thin but still have a high level of body fat. Weight training can prevent this while also providing a plethora of other benefits.
The most important benefit is that weight training builds muscle which speeds up the metabolism. Even though women gain muscle slowly, maintaining the muscle and building a little more will allows for more eating without additional weight gain! The second biggest benefit is that weight training helps your body with definition, posture, and overall body structure. Weight lifting also increases strength which is always convenient in everyday life (like when you only want to take one trip to bring your groceries in!). Added strength also reduces risk of injury.
Overall, there are definitely more benefits to lifting weights than potential risks for both men and women. Women don’t have to worry about ever getting too bulky so go out there and lift some weights. If you need some guidance on where to start, feel free to check out my Youtube videos here or contact me if you have any questions.