Women and weightlifting
"I don't want to get bulky" debunked.
As a trainer one of the most common rebuttal’s to lifting weights is, "But I don't want to get bulky!" I certainly don’t blame women for being concerned about getting bulky due to the extreme amount of imagery that is put out there these days of women with larger muscles than most men. But there is something that most women do not realize, to look as muscular and built as these women do you would have to follow a very strict and deliberate program. For women it is incredibly to look to attain "bulk." It just isn’t in our genetic “make-up”.
First, women do not naturally produce as much testosterone (a main hormone responsible for increase in muscle size) as men. So, without taking added supplements or steroids, the chances of getting big are very slim.
Second, bulking up requires a heavy amount of calories and the changes you would have to make to your diet would be pretty drastic. To put it in perspective, you would need to eat 125 extra calories from protein each day for a week just to gain a quarter pound of muscle. In other words, 30 ounces of chicken breast or 5 total pieces of chicken breast for ¼ pound of muscle. So if getting big and bulky is ever on your to do list ... Get ready to eat!
On top of that, you would have to train very specifically and intentionally to put on mass. I know when most people hear the word weightlifting they think of the women in fitness competitions. You know, the ones you have looked at and thought “Oh my gosh, she looks so masculine!” But the truth is, these women train specifically to look that way. Not to mention, most of them take additional hormones to create that look. Adding weightlifting to your daily workouts will not make you look like one of these women.
So, now that you know weightlifting won’t make you big, let’s talk about some of the things weightlifting will do!
1.) You’ll build muscle!
And no, just because you build muscle doesn’t mean you’re bulky. Lifting weights will help firm your body and increase your muscle mass. And who wouldn't like a more firm body?
2.) Burn fat!
You may think you need to run a 5k to burn that extra fat but weightlifting is a great way to burn fat too! Not only will you burn fat while you are weightlifting, you'll burn it after too! More muscle, burns more fat. You're metabolism is also estimated to stay elevated up to 39 hours after weightlifting exercises.
3.) Increase bone mass!
Weight bearing exercises will put stress on your bones which will cause your body to release osteoblasts (bone forming cells) to the area of stress to make those bones stronger! And as we age, that's important!
4.) Lastly, weightlifting will help boost your self confidence!
Let's be honest, feeling strong just feels good! Being able to lift something easily today that you could barely do a few weeks ago makes you feel great about your progress and all the hard work you've put in. It gives you confidence in yourself and motivation to keep pushing hard to get to the next step in your fitness.
Whether your goal this year is to lose a little bit of weight/body fat, gain some muscle mass, or just feel better about yourself. Maybe adding weightlifting to your exercise regime is right for you.