Does Weight Lifting Make Women Bulky?4/25/19
No carbs after 6PM.
Fasted cardio is required to burn fat and lose weight.
Squats are bad for your knees.
The world of fitness is plagued by myths such as these.
We’ve tackled the fasted cardio vs fed cardio for fat loss debate before, and today we’re going to tackle another myth that needs to be put to rest once and for all -- the belief that lifting weights makes women “bulky.”
Many women are afraid to lift weights and prefer to stick to their cardio machines because they are afraid of gaining a significant amount of muscle mass.
So, Does Weight Lifting Make Women Bulky?
No, it does not.
When you lift weights (relatively heavy ones, not the little pink ones), your muscles will get stronger, but not necessarily bigger.
In order for your muscles to increase in size, you would need to eat significantly more calories than you burn on a daily basis as well as perform enough total volume (sets X reps) each week.
Simply picking up heavy stuff and putting it back down won’t transform you into some crazed She-Hulk overnight.
Besides, even if you do perform a lot of volume, there’s no guarantee you’re going to blow up in size and look like a female bodybuilder. Women have ~20% less testosterone and growth hormone (two important anabolic hormones) compared two men, making the process of mass gaining that much more challenging.
In other words, you would have to try really, really hard to get bulky from lifting weights. It’s not going to happen on its own. The women who you might consider “bulky” chased that goal with relentless drive and purpose. They didn’t get that way from squatting, deadlifting, and benching a couple times per week.
Interestingly, if you do lift weights and eat a caloric deficit, you will burn fat, and make your muscles stronger and denser -- giving you the lean, “toned” look you so badly want.
But, lean and toned just begins to scratch the surface of the many benefits that can be obtained when women starting hitting the weights.
Benefits of Weight Lifting for Women
It’s no secret that women are at a greater risk for osteoporosis than men. The good news is that resistance-training, in addition to building stronger muscles, builds stronger bones. Lifting heavy things up and down increases bone density, which reduces your risk of broken bones.
Stronger bones and muscles promote greater balance and flexibility and balance, which becomes increasingly important with age.
Lifting weights not only affects lean muscle, but also your metabolic rate. Compared to cardio, weight lifting burns fewer calories on a minute-by-minute basis, but where the real benefit comes with resistance training is the post-workout boost in metabolism you get from the workout.
Following a strength training workout, your body continues to consume extra oxygen to help restore your body to its normal homeostatic function. During this time, the body’s metabolic rate is significantly enhanced, which means you’re burning more calories after the workout compared to what you would burn had you just done a steady-state cardio workout.
Plus, lifting weights also helps build muscle. The more muscle you have, the higher your basal metabolic rate is, which means you’re body is burning more calories even when you’re just sitting around watching TV!
Injury-Proof Your Body
Resistance-training also helps improve the strength and resiliency of your joints, ligaments, and connective tissue. Strengthening these “supporting” players of your muscles and skeleton will help make you more injury proof in your daily life performing regular tasks such as putting away the groceries, walking the dog, or moving furniture around the house during spring cleaning.
Reduce Stress and Boost Mood
Exercise of any kind, including weight lifting, releases a flood of feel-good neurochemicals like dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. These “happy hormones” boost mood, reduce stress, and help block the perception of pain. Furthermore, the rush of endorphins and dopamine also increase physical and mental energy and motivation helping brighten your day and push you to get more done!
Help Prevent Chronic Disease
Lifting weights also improves your chances of staving off disease and illness. Numerous studies have shown that lifting weights helps improve glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity, blood pressure, and various other markers of cardiovascular health.
Fuel Your Workouts with 1UP For Women
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- Layne, J. E., & Nelson, M. E. (1999). The effects of progressive resistance training on bone density: a review. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 31(1), 25–30.