“I don’t want to look like a man.” You won’t. You will look like a woman with muscles, or “toned”.
“I don’t want to get bulky.” Fat is bulky. If you’re taking steroids, you might get bulky. Lean muscle is not bulky.
These are the things I hear most often from women. They want to get in shape, they want to get “toned”, they’re interested in possibly lifting weights, but their fear of looking like a man holds them back.
I’m really not sure where this fear or misconception originated. Until the industrial revolution and even after, women worked on farms and did physical labor. They carried heavy stuff. They lifted heavy stuff. They were not manly or bulky. They were also not as obese as women today. So why this idea that if women lifts weights, they’ll look manly? A woman who lifts weights does not look like a man. She looks like a woman who lifts weights.
Women aren’t the only ones who express concern we’re going to look manly if we lift weights. Men instill that fear time and time again. This certainly does not encourage us to move on over into the weight room.
The women you fear you might look like if you lift weights are likely taking performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). I’ll admit, there is that genetically predisposed woman that puts on massive muscle naturally. That is RARE. That most likely is not you. Let’s also not forget, in order to obtain any decent muscle mass, you must do LOTS of heavy lifting. I don’t mean light lifting a couple days a week. I mean heavy lifting 5 or 6 days a week, while cutting out most of your cardio. Plus, you have to eat a lot, and I mean A LOT, of food to put on significant muscle. My 25 year old son can’t eat as much as I do. And I am a very small competitor.
What will happen if you start lifting weights? Your body will change. You will have curves, you will have a waist and a booty, you’ll have an hourglass figure, you’ll be “toned” (which, by the way, is muscle – sorry to burst your bubble). You’ll be sexy as hell. Your bones will be stronger. You’ll stave off osteoporosis. You will be stronger. You will gain functional strength. You will look and feel younger. Your heart and lungs will function better. Your metabolism will improve (combined with proper eating).
Muscle burns calories. I didn’t make that up. Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue. Your body continues to burn calories after you have finished working out. Does cardio burn calories? Yes. While you’re doing the exercise. Both cardio and strength training are beneficial.
These women lift weights – almost daily. Heavy weights.
Theresa: A prime example of what will happen if you start lifting. People want to know how she transformed her body. Weight lifting and eating clean. And I do mean eating – not starving herself – feeding her body what it needs to shed fat and gain muscle. Her transformation began when she hired a trainer and started strength training and clean eating.
Kristen gained a lot of weight in high school. Her freshman year of college, she decided to make a change. She knew virtually nothing about getting fit healthfully, so she ate very little and ran A LOT. Her restrictive diet caused her to binge eat. She met a friend who had a personal trainer. Her friend asked her trainer to instruct Kristen on fitness, lifting and diet. At that point, she began lifting weights and bodybuilding. She is now an NPC Nationally Qualified bikini competitor and is headed to Junior Nationals. She lifts a lot. Heavy.
Kayla: “People who think lifting makes you manly are crazy! Lifting built my curves and shaped my body. So happy I fell in love with the weights and gave up cardio and binge drinking 😅💪🏻🙌🏻”
Lynette: Started weight lifting last February. This is one year's progress. She started lifting to lose weight and get in a certain clothing size. "I'm smaller than my goal size and well, weight on scale doesn't matter anymore. I was actually discouraged when I had gained 5 pounds after one month of training. However, you can tell that even though I had gained weight I got smaller and toned." She had mainly done cardio with no real weight routine. "When I started seeing results I became addicted to the weights. I love getting stronger and the feeling I get in the gym." Lynette will be doing her first figure competition in April.
And then there's me was me with nothing but lots of cardio and minimal food. And then with weightlifting. That's when the change happened. Oh....and I got a butt!
These ladies are weightlifters. If this is bulky, I’ll take it any day.
You do NOT have to want to be a competitor to lift weights. However, if you want your body to change (for the better), strength training and clean eating are what are going to get you there. No, you don’t have to give up your cardio – but add some weight training in there.
Now, I’m off to lift.
Just Me Rambling
Middle-aged woman who can't twerk: mother, step-mom, wife, grandmother - who happens to like to lift.