Fitness Myth #3
Women Who Lift Weights Will Bulk

Welcome to Week 3 in “Debunking Fitness Myths.”  Last week we covered Fat Can be Spot Reduced” where we debunked the idea that you can train one specific area of the body and result in a loss of body fat in that specific area.  Continuing with fitness myths, this week we will debunk the belief that if you’re a woman and you lift weights, especially heavy weights, you will become bulky!

women who lift weights will bulk

As a woman, this is one of my favorite myths not only because I find myself addressing this question all the time with female clients as well as with friends, but also because it is such a widely believed fitness myth among women and this is understandable.  It’s stereotypical to see a muscular looking man lifting heavy weights in the gym and make the assumption that if you are to lift like a man, you will look like one.  However, the truth of the matter is that lifting heavy weights will actually make you smaller and leaner opposed to big and bulky.

If you’re worried that lifting weights will leave you looking like Starla from Napoleon Dynamite, take a deep breath and relax.  I promise you won’t turn out like Starla.  In fact, if you do, please let me know – there are a lot of men out there who would love to know your secret!  The truth is that most women who look like they have an unnatural amount of muscle, probably do.  It is truly very difficult to gain such large muscle mass naturally and without the use of anabolic steroids.

women who lift weights will become bulky
Worried lifting weights will turn you into Starla?

The main reason why women who lift heavy weights won’t become bulky is the difference of the hormone called testosterone, which is one of the body’s major growth hormones.  On average, men produce roughly 16x more testosterone than women do.  Even with this testosterone advantage, the majority of men even have trouble putting on muscle.  Unless blessed with amazing genetics, the average male has to work their butt off in order to see a little muscle growth by training relentlessly and eating a sizable amount of calories and increased protein all day, every day.

In addition to the lack of testosterone in females, men have roughly 2x larger contractile muscle fibers than women do.  This means that men not only have more muscle fibers but they also have larger muscle fibers than women do, placing them at an advantage from the start.  Even though women can make significant increases through weight training, the average woman simply cannot put on the muscle size that the average man can.

As we covered in “Cardio is King”, lifting heavy weights can actually make you smaller and leaner.  Lifting more weight will allow you to build more muscle and burn more fat.  Additionally, the more muscle you have the higher your BMR (basal metabolic rate) will be.  This means that just by lifting heavy weights, your body will burn more calories at rest, which will result in fat loss.

As a female, I find it empowering to be able to lift just as much (or at least close to) as the guy next to me at the gym.  I lift heavy and challenging weights on regular basis and can confidently say that I haven’t become bulky; in fact I’ve become leaner.  Not only does lifting heavy weight as a female make you awesome, but having a strong body is an amazing confidence boost and feeling of capableness that is hard to get elsewhere.  Next time you are at the gym, put down the weights that you can do 20+ reps of and reach for a weight that really challenges you.  I promise that you won’t turn into Starla overnight 🙂

Catch last week’s myth, “Fat Can Be Spot Reduced” and stay tuned for next week where we’ll be debunking, “Muscle Weighs More Than Fat!”

Written by Sophie DeHenzel
Fitness Myth #3 – Women Who Lift Weights Will Bulk

About DeHenzel Training Systems: DeHenzel Training Systems offers In Home Personal Training services throughout Northern Virginia and Washington DC.  Aside from in home, personal training is also available at the office gym or outdoors at a local park.

Within Northern Virginia, we service Loudoun, Fairfax and Prince William Counties including: Alexandria, Annandale, Arlington, Ashburn, Burke, Centreville, Chantilly, Fairfax, Falls Church, Great Falls, Herndon, Lansdowne, Leesburg, Lorton, McLean, Oakton, Reston, Springfield, Sterling, Tyson’s Corner, Vienna and Woodbridge.

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