Many women fear that they will “bulk up” from doing strength training, and end up avoiding it at all costs. However, the idea that weight lifting produces big and bulky humans is simply not true. In fact, you should add weight lifting to your routine instead of avoiding it if you want to lose weight. Women simply do not “bulk up” from weight lifting in the same way men do. One of the main reasons that this misconception has become so widespread, is the lack of knowledge about the benefits of strength training. While you may seem skeptical at first, there is a lot of evidence to disprove this myth.
Building a substantial amount of muscle mass is difficult and takes a lot of work to sustain. Unless you are a young male with a crazy amount of testosterone, it will take time for you to “bulk up”. Women simply do not have enough testosterone to become big and bulky from weight lifting alone, plain and simple. Testosterone helps aid muscle growth, and men generally have a lot more of his hormone than women do. Women generally have 15-20 times less testosterone than men, which is why it is much easier for men to “bulk up” than it is for women.
Female body builders do not simply wake up one morning after lifting some heavy weights with big and bulky muscles. They spend months preparing and use special techniques and supplements to achieve that look. Many of these women take some sort of steroid and strategically calculate every aspect of their lives in order to gain an extraordinary amount of muscle mass. Unless it is your job to bulk up and weight lift, it is practically impossible for a woman to gain that much muscle mass from weight lifting alone.
Strength, Not Size
It seems that many people do not really understand the purpose and benefits of weight lifting. Weight training is not the same as body building. Weight training helps improve muscle strength and tone, not increase size. While men with high testosterone levels may experience a gain in muscle size, the same does not apply to women. Since testosterone is not as present in women, muscles will develop with weight training without increasing much in size. That desired “toned” look comes from the removal of fat, which is a major benefit of weight lifting. However, this is far from the only benefit of weight training. Some other advantages of weight lifting include:
- Improved Posture: Having stronger muscles can greatly improve your posture and help keep your body balanced.
- Injury Prevention: Stronger muscles can help greatly reduce your risk of injury, and help to increase your overall athletic performance
- Increased Metabolism: Weight training increases the amount of muscle mass you have, which in turn increases your metabolism and helps you burn more fat.
- Prevent Osteoporosis: Many studies have shown that weight training can help prevent bone loss, and may even help build new bone. Having strong muscles helps improve your balance and coordination, which can help prevent falls that can lead to osteoporosis related fractures.
Body Fat vs. Muscle
When you are afraid to do strength training for fear of “bulking up”, you often gain more body fat. That so called “bulky” look you may feel like you have is often the result of too much fat, not too much muscle. Nutrition is a huge part of exercising, and poor nutrition can have a negative impact on your results. Many people will increase their calorie intake when beginning to weight train because it increases their appetite. When this occurs, you will gain muscle but you will also gain fat.
This creates the misconception that you are becoming “bulky” due to the weight training, when in reality it is just from fat gain. Balance is key when it comes to any exercise, and this applies to weight training as well. In order to see optimal results, you should make sure you have a balanced diet and proper nutrition. The more muscle you gain, the more fat you burn. So don’t be afraid to strength train, or else you could miss out on all the benefits.
While the process of strength training may seem a bit intimidating at first, there is nothing to be afraid of. There are so many benefits to strengthening your muscles, and you could really miss out on them if you are too timid. Hopefully these facts have helped ease the fear of “bulking up” and have encouraged you to start strength training yourself.