I receive quite a few emails from my subscribers asking fitness and nutrition questions. One common question is related to women being afraid to resistance train because they believe they are going to bulk up! I think this stems from the periodic viral emails that go around showing women who look like men. These bulky woman have been taking steroids!!
One specific question I received was, “I have been hearing two different stories for years that I’m hoping you can shed light on. I’ve had some people tell me that if I don’t lose weight before exercising I will just turn the fat into muscle and be bulky. I’ve also heard the opposite in which you need to work out to lose weight and thin down.”
Their are plenty of women I work with who are extremely strong, lean, and sexy, and all wear a size 4 or smaller. I have a couple of women who were small to start with, but had extremely low strength and muscle mass. Once they started to weight train, their body fat dropped 6-8 % and they became very toned and lean. Then I started hearing them complain that they couldn’t even fit into size 0, and were having to shop in the kids section. Both of these woman are moms with two kids, and are both under 100 lbs. My point isn’t suggesting that women should weigh under 100 lbs or be a size 2? What I am saying is women who lift weights will NOT get bulky, but rather get toned and lean no matter your size.
My philosophy is lift heavy and hard… Women have 30 times less testosterone then men, and can’t really develop much muscle even if they are lifting hard. If a woman isn’t weight training, but just dieting and doing cardio, she is actually breaking down the little muscle tissue she possesses in the first place. Muscle burns fat, period. If you are constantly losing muscle, you are going to be on an upward battle to stay lean and tight because your metabolism will slow down and you will be forced to eat less and do more cardio to burn those calories. When weight training is combined with short bursts of cardiovascular exercise and proper nutrition, not only will a woman lose weight, but also get long and lean. I see women come to me who are cardio junkies, they are in the healthy weight range, but complain everything is loose and sagging. Most of these women have high body fat %’s and low muscle mass.
Just eating better without exercise can cause good weight loss, but for most who try it with diet alone, they gain the weight back. Weight training will give you a much higher success rate.
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