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Why lifting weights WON’T make you bulky

By December 17, 2019 December 30th, 2019 Coach Highlights

As a coach, the number 1 question I get on a daily basis is… “If I start lifting weights, will I start looking buff?” *eye roll*

Relax ladies, you won’t magically morph into a female Arnold Shwarzernegger overnight. Very often when we mention “weight lifting” or bodybuilding, a ripped overly tanned oily tree trunk of a woman in a bikini comes to mind.

Rest assured that these women represent a minority of the population that have gone to great lengths to achieve that ripped physique. What you see took years to build – their lives are centered on how much, what and when they eat, specific training programs and how often they train – its a science!

Here are some reasons why adding weight/resistance training to your routine will not turn you into the hulk:

First of all, testosterone is an important factor in muscle building and repair. Men and women possess both testosterone (widely known as the male hormone) and estrogen (widely known as the female hormone) in our bodies.

However, since a woman’s body has 10-20 times less testosterone than a man, muscle gain is NOT as easy as you might think.

Another point I’d like to make would be that you’re most likely not consuming enough protein macros or training hard enough to bulk up. Here’s the lowdown on how bodybuilders get stage-ready: they go through multiple bulking (increasing muscle mass) and cutting (fat loss) phases. To get those “big” and “bulky” muscles that you’re all so afraid of takes cycles (I’m talking years) of bulking up to increase muscle mass by intense strength training and a HUGE calorie surplus.

Fun fact:

A 55kg woman must consume AT LEAST 110grams of protein PER DAY to build muscle mass in conjunction with a strength training phase. This doesn’t mean a 135gram piece of steak. Here’s what 110grams protein actually looks like – 10 chicken thighs, ½ Kilo of steak, 1kg tub of greek yoghurt.. you get my drift.

Look in the mirror and you’ll see that our bodies vary greatly from men. Women naturally hold more body fat then our male counterparts, so despite gaining muscle we will still maintain our curves.

On average, women have 6 to 11 percent more body fat than men.

An average toned looking female athletic can have a body fat percentage between 21-28%. Those women you see on stage in bodybuilding competitions have intentionally lowered their fat percentage to almost 10% just to show off their muscle definition.

My point here being that us normal girls lifting normal weights and eating normal food portions will NOT make us look like the female version of hulk any time soon.

However, here’s what actually happens when you DO lift heavy:

Free facelift

I love incorporating weight training into training programs for my more mature ladies – with CONSISTENCY and TIME, they see their skin regain its elasticity and firmness. While the results won’t be as dramatic as a facelift or botox injections, they will be healthier for your face. Getting a procedure doesn’t improve the health of your skin like exercising can because it doesn’t boost collagen, improve blood flow, or stimulate growth hormone.

Human growth hormone (HGH) produced by our body is a vital part in the health and aging of our skin, but when we hit 30 years old our HGH levels begin to decrease.

Studies have shown that moderate to heavy weight training increases collagen production – free facelift!

So, stop spending thousands of dollars on those anti-aging creams and get your butt into the gym and start lifting weights – you will get the same results 😉

Burn more calories

In the past I used to think that running on the treadmill was THE BEST way to burn calories. Here’s what I learnt along the way:

Yes running on the treadmill does burn a significant amount of calories however it did nothing for my resting metabolism rate (higher metabolism – burn more calories doing NOTHING).

Now that I’ve got your attention, let me explain why I now incorporate a mixture of weight training and cardio into my regime.

Weight training is more effective than cardio at building muscle, and muscle burns more calories at rest than some other tissues, including fat.

One of the most significant benefits of resistance training is an increased fat burn rate – quite the opposite of bulking up!

Better sleep

We all know we want/need our precious beauty sleep but too often I hear clients complaining about having trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.

Serotonin is an important brain chemical that improves your mood, as well as improves your sleep/wake cycle.

It plays an important role in sleep because the body uses it to synthesize melatonin.

Melatonin helps you fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.

Daily exercise boosts serotonin levels – the feel good hormone that battles anxiety and gives you a sense of well being.

Now that you know that weight training won’t bulk you up like the hulk, come have some fun with your guns!

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