Quite often you hear women say that they don’t want to lift weights because they are worried that they will end up “bulky” but they want to get “toned” and lose fat. This is a very common misconception that women need to understand. If you lift weights, you will not suddenly look bulky. In fact, lifting weights will help to shape your body and give you definition in your muscles to give you that “tone” look.
Firstly, females have much lower testosterone levels than males which muscle bulk is largely dependent on. This is why females tend to take much longer to build muscle mass than males. Testosterone helps to stimulate muscle and tissue growth so without high levels of it, females must work much harder to develop their muscles. This is why as a female you should not be afraid of lifting weights because your hormones aren’t equivalent to males and won’t stimulate muscle growth as quickly. Muscle mass is important to help with injury prevention with age as well as metabolic benefits to help reduce high blood pressure and other health risks. That is why women should lift weights and engage in a regular resistance routine not only for the physical physique but also the health benefits that follow.
Lifting weights helps to increase your lean muscle mass which increases your metabolism and ability to burn fat. By having an increase in lean muscle mass your body burns more calories throughout the day to provide your body with energy for your everyday activities. Burning more calories per day ultimately leads to burning more fat and losing weight. Losing weight allows for the muscle definition to begin to show and therefore slowly giving the “toned” effect. Not only that but lifting weights helps to improve bone density and reduce the risks of osteoporosis as you age. Bone-forming cells are stimulated by mechanical stress placed on the bones which occurs when you are engaging in resistance or weight-based training resulting in stronger and denser bones. Bone density is extremely important to maintain as you get older as it helps to reduce bone fractures and falls which you very commonly hear of in the elderly population.
Another reason as to why you shouldn’t be worried is that females don’t tend to eat enough food especially protein to fuel their bodies and aid the process of muscle building. In order to become “bulky” you must be eating in a calorie surplus and training very hard to use that extra fuel and cause hypertrophy. Not only that but women don’t tend to lift often or heavy enough to cause such significant changes to their body, certainly not overnight. If your goal is to get fitter, stronger and “toned” then lifting weights regularly in the gym whilst eating a sufficient diet you will most likely find that you lose those stubborn few kilos and gradually see your muscle shape and definition.
Next time you’re in the gym, try up your weights and improve your strength! Don’t be afraid of it! Remember bodybuilders aren’t made overnight; female body builders work extremely hard to look the way they do, take numerous supplements to aid muscle gain, and eat a very specific diet. A couple of resistance training sessions each week is not going to make you bulk but it will help to build lean muscle mass, burn calories, lose weight, and overall look “toned”.