When working with clients over the years, I have heard it ALL when it comes to reasons why many women will not lift weights. One of the most prominent reasons (aka excuses) is “I don’t want to get bulky.”
In short, there is not a chance in the WORLD you will ever get bulky. Ever.
This mindset comes from the pictures all of us have seen on the internet of women who have taken training to an extreme. The photo is usually from a bodybuilding show somewhere. You see a stage loaded with a whole group of women, covered in oil with their arms puffed out to the side and body fat so low it looks like their skin was painted on.
This is NOT normal. You will NOT be training like these individuals did to look like that.
Gaining muscle mass is VITAL for a number of reasons. Here is all you need to remember:
– Muscles burn sugar. Lots of it. This prevents sugar from being stored as fat
– Lifting weights increases bone mineral density and slows osteoporosis.
– If you are over 40 you are losing muscle mass every year just by walking around. You MUST lift weight just to stop this from happening. This is the ONLY way to halt this natural pattern.
– The loss of muscle mass is one of the primary causes of loss of balance and increase in injuries from falling in elderly females, along with the subsequent loss of independence.
– Strong is the new sexy
Throughout my entire career in sports and training – a career where I got to meet some of the most athletic and powerful women on the planet – I have only met one who had the ability to put on considerable muscle mass NATURALLY by lifting weights regularly and who might be considered “bulky”. ONE.
No, it was not you.
At the risk of offending, consider the following:
– Yoga does NOT increase muscle mass. It can make you feel better, increase flexibility, enhance muscle tone and reduce stress, but it DOES NOT increase muscle mass. Yoga is a great activity, just not for building up the muscles.
– Pilates and Barre training does NOT increase muscle mass. Increased muscle tone does not equate to increased muscle mass.
– Walking does NOT increase muscle mass. Walking will increase the length of your life, improve your cardio-vascular system and keep the mind sharper, but it will NOT build muscle.
In short, any physical activity has some sort of benefit. I am NOT saying to stop doing these things, but the science surrounding resistance training is overwhelming. Lift weights to fight aging, have healthier bones, look and feel better, increase your metabolism and more.
Pick something up and put it down. Repeat with more weight. Often.
Here are some simple rules:
1) Lift weights at least 2-3 times per week
2) Increase the amount of weight lifted somehow each week. This rule is THE most ignored!
3) If you can lift it for more than 15 reps, it’s too light
4) Try to find a weight – for any exercise – that you can only lift 10-12 times. Reps 13 plus should not be possible.
5) Focus on the large muscles like: legs, back and shoulders.
6) Change your entire routine every 4-6 weeks.
That’s it. I dare you to try and get bulky! You won’t. I promise.
Resistance Training – It is what you were designed to do.