The amount of times I hear this phrase as a personal trainer when introducing women to resistance training is absurd, and there is still widespread fear amongst females beginning a program that lifting weights will result in them resembling a masculine, ‘bulky’ body builder.
This could not be further from the truth.
Firstly, even if a woman’s goal is to become a female bodybuilder and gain muscle mass, it’s no mean feat even with a lot of work and determination – it takes years and years of training, dieting and supplementation to get even remotely close. Bodybuilders work extremely hard to look the way they do; you can't end up there by accident! Women simply don’t have the same hormonal make up as men (specifically testosterone levels) to gain huge amounts of muscle mass. There is a great misconception that women shouldn’t train in the same ways that men do, however the truth is quite the opposite.
Most women are looking to lose fat and sculpt their bodies to achieve those sought-after curves, yet they spend hours on the treadmill every day and then wonder why they don’t get the results they want. To achieve a ‘toned’ appearance, lean muscle mass is crucial.
The more muscle mass you have, the higher your basal metabolic rate will be and therefore you’ll burn more calories over the course of the day.
This only be attained with weight training, be it bodyweight or weighted exercises, but ideally a combination of both!
The free weights section of the gym can be an intimidating male dominated place, but it’s important to remember that women have just as much right to be there as anyone else. Resistance bands and cables are a great place to start before jumping in the deep end with barbells and dumbbells and can still provide a great resistance-based workout. Resistance training is key for weight loss, increasing strength, power and confidence, and best of all it’s enjoyable and empowering!