Why lifting weights will NOT make you bulky
It is a common misconception, especially among females that lifting weights, or more specifically, lifting heavy weights, will make you bulky. I am here to tell you that is straight up NOT true, and here’s why:
What will strength training do?
Make your bones stronger.
Our bodies are very efficient machines only wanting to keep what they use. So the old saying; “use it or lose it” is very true. As we age, if we become inactive our bones will start to breakdown unless we use them. How do we use them I hear you ask? We lift weights, we jump, run, even walking can help. But without a doubt, the best way to increase (or at least limit decreasing) our bone density is through lifting weights. As we use our muscles to lift heavy weights, they pull on our bones, the bones response to this is to add more bone cells and become stronger! So drink all the milk you want, but you’re gonna wanna pick up a dumbbell as well! No one wants Osteopenia or osteoporosis!
"Tone up" your muscles & Burn more fat
Muscles, much like their boney friends, will only hang around for as long as you use them, this process is accelerated as we age (sarcopenia). Muscles will adapt to specific demands you place upon them, this means that the more you use them, the stronger they will become. They might also grow in size, but ladies needn’t worry, strength training 3 times a week for 40-60 minutes or so WILL NOT make you bulky, but it WILL make you stronger and more “toned”. Women typically do not have the testosterone amounts required to bulk up quickly like some men are able to do. So if a sexy toned body is what you’re chasing, quit the incessant amounts of cardio training and start shifting some lead instead!
The more Lean muscle mass you have = the more fat you burn.
Boost your metabolism
As we build up our muscles through strength training you might also find that you are becoming increasingly hungry. This is due to the fact that a muscle requires more energy at rest than fatty tissues, meaning you can consume more calories throughout the day (and who doesn’t want to eat more without the repercussions?!). Lean muscle mass is what leads to that “toned” look most women strive for, this is achieved through weight lifting. And I don’t just mean doing the same 30kg squat because instagram told you that’s how you get a butt (FYI squats are predominantly a QUADRICEPS exercise). In order to have any type of progress we need to be continually changing the stimulus we put our muscles under. This means increasing the weight (only a little bit!) each week, or manipulating tempo (speed of movement) or sets and reps in order to mix it up and keep the body guessing. Our bodies are reeeally good at adapting to what we are doing and in turn doing the least amount of work possible in order to maintain homeostasis (google it).
You will become stronger
That niggling low back pain you've learnt to deal with? Gone. You'll just generally have less aches and pains (other than the muscle soreness lol), you will feel empowered, sexy and you will most likely sleep better due to the added caloric output.
Note: If you are someone who DOES want to bulk up, you will need to eat A LOT, resistance training increases your expenditure of calories, so in order to bulk up you need to be eating at a surplus (eating more calories than you’re burning), which is a lot harder than it sounds, you will need a pretty healthy and clean diet to get all the nutrients you need and as a general rule, “clean” food generally has lower calories, meaning you need to eat even more of the good stuff!
So in summary ladies (and gents) if a fear of getting bulky is the thing that has kept you on the treadmill and away from the weights room, then you needn’t worry. Lifting weights are how you build the shape you desire, increase your metabolism, sleep better and generally feel more confident at the same time. Go do some deadlifts!
If you like this kind of information and want to see more, follow Pegasus Strength and conditioning on Instagram and Facebook. Located in Noosaville, Queensland, Australia.