Fact or Myth: Weight Training Makes Women Bulky

This is a MYTH.

Walk into any gym and you’ll see a disproportionate number of women sweating it out on cardio machines to women lifting weights. One of the reasons women may avoid the weightlifting section of the gym is due to an erroneous fear that weight training makes women bulky. On the contrary, if it’s a compact, tight frame you’re after, weight training (and other strength training workouts, including those that use your own body weight) is the secret to slim.

Hispanic woman at gym lifting dumbbellYour Muscles and Your Metabolism

Weight training builds lean muscle mass and revs up your metabolism. A strength training session doesn’t just burn calories during…it increases the baseline number of calories you burn throughout each day. That’s because muscle is the most metabolically active tissue in your body, and the more you activate it, the more calories you burn, even at rest!

Building muscle helps you:

  • Lose excess fat
  • Drop stubborn pounds
  • Prevent age-related muscle loss
  • Build bone density

Not only that…building and maintaining lean muscle mass is one of the keys to anti-aging. Weight training beneficially impacts your:

  • Bone density
  • Blood lipids
  • Blood sugar levels
  • Blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular fitness
  • Aerobic capacity
  • Gene expression
  • Joint mobility
  • Telomere length (the shorter your telomeres the faster you age)

Start incorporating one weight lifting session per week and you’ll notice that everything gets easier: carrying groceries, climbing stairs, holding your children, etc.

Why the “Bulky Look” Is Bogus

Weight training makes women bulky is a myth because females have less muscle tissue and produce 15 to 20% less testosterone than men. Unless you’re training for a weight lifting meet, taking anabolic steroids, and not monitoring your diet, you don’t need to worry about bulking up. All you need to do is help those strong muscles out by eating healthy and burning the fat.

Another mistake many women make is to avoid weight lifting until they’ve dropped some initial weight with cardio exercise. But remember, weight lifting and muscle building help accelerate fat loss. Measure your progress by how your clothes fit and by how much more toned your body looks. Muscle weighs more than fat, so the scale isn’t an accurate reflector!