Will Women Bulk Up If They Weight Train?
I frequently see women who are afraid of weight training. Their main concern is that they will bulk up. It usually is hard to convince them but the smart clients get it in one sentence: How many women have you personally seen who have bulked up ‘weight training’? I haven’t seen OR trained a single normal female who put on huge bulks of muscle on a natural diet and a smart training program. Where did women get the idea of bulking up in the first place? The bulky women they are thinking of are usually the females training at their ex gym (who did not weight train by the way – biceps curling with 1Kg pink dumbbell while doing steps is not called weight training) or the chemically altered men and women on the cover of bodybuilding magazines with huge muscles who have taken some rather drastic steps in that direction that has little to do with their exercise program.
Here are a few tips which will definitely change your perspective on weight training:
- You will not bulk up if you weight train. Women simply don’t have the amount of testosterone men have to build up muscle as much as men. Testosterone is the hormone responsible for men’s facial hair, bulkier muscles, bigger built and the deeper voice. Women have 10 to 30 times less testosterone than men. The less of it you have the harder it is to build muscle. It’s simple physiology. Even men STRUGGLE to build muscle. That’s why anabolic steroids (synthetic Testosterone) are such a popular drug.
- Muscle growth (hypertrophy) is achieved with higher volumes of work and longer rest intervals. Lots of sets and reps for a body part are needed to cause hypertrophy. For example three sets of 8 to 20 repetitions per body part with as much as 3 minutes rest periods between sets. This causes a lot of ‘muscle damage’ and hence hypertrophy. Strength works are below the 8-rep range and build strength rather than muscle mass. They are two different things. This has been proven time and time again. When lifting weights over 85 percent of your 1RM (1 repetition maximum), the primary stress imposed upon the body is placed on the nervous system, not on the muscles. Therefore, strength will improve by a neurological effect while not increasing the size of the muscles. And what’s wrong with being strong? Your confidence and self esteem will certainly boost the stronger you get!
- Women need to train heavy to cause adaptations in bones and the connective tissues. Women tend to develop Osteoporosis, Arthritis and Osteoarthritis more than men especially after their menopause. What other preventive measure can one take to reverse, stop or at least decrease the onset of them? Heavy exercise is your best defense against them.
- Putting on muscles is not an overnight process. If in case you do put on muscles that quickly please contact us cause we really want to do what you are doing. The men and women you see who have ‘slightly’ bigger muscles have worked hard for years to get that way. It isn’t that easy. People with huge muscles are definitely on a zillion supplements and Steroids.
- Bulking up is calorie dependant. To lose weight you need to consume fewer calories than you burn and to put on weight you need to just do the reverse. If you are putting on weight then you are not eating right or else you would simply lose weight. We are NOT made of thin air. Squats DON’T bulk you up. It’s the beers, chocolates, gorging all day and sleeping only 5 hours a day. In fact, if you weight train it will help you slim down more and burn the calories.
- Weight and strength training will help you increase your base metabolic rate and LOSE FAT FASTER. Muscles burn energy. Fat tissue doesn’t. When you weight train you damage muscles at the microscopic levels. When they heal they are stronger and slightly bigger than they were. Both repairing the muscles and maintaining the bigger muscles will take up more calories. For every pound of muscle that you build you will consume about 50 more calories daily. That’s your base metabolism increased. When you have a high metabolism, you store less and burn more calories.
- Weight Training and strength training improves athletic performance. Beyond helping you live your daily life better and making it easy for you to handle your body’s weight, heavy weight training improves almost every single athlete from Skiers to swimmers to fighters. When you have learned all the skills of your sport what would you do to get better? Practice the skills more or get stronger? If you had a car and wanted it to move faster what would you do? Go on a wide and long road and drive it as fast as you can or go to a mechanic and put a high performance engine that burns 4 thousand more CCs of fuel? That’s right. You would change the engine. Your body is your machine. You have to make your machines perform techniques faster and stronger. I have come across tens of martial artists who have been almost perfect in their techniques and would easily become world champions if they were a little bit stronger but they would have a hard time throwing me around just because they were as weak as they were when they were 16 (I don’t know why I said 16).
- For women, toning is what happens when you start a strength training program. Actually toning is just a marketing word. Muscles don’t get longer with Pilates or similar practices. You don’t tone. You are only stronger or weaker. The word ‘toning’ is more appealing to women and that’s why they are sold on it. Women don’t want to build muscle cause they think they will add kilos of beef in just 15 days. As you engage in weight training you get stronger and your muscles will shape up and won’t be sloppy any more. Control your food intake and as layers of fat are shed you will get leaner and see your muscles. As your muscles get stronger you will look better.
- What requires more ‘energy’, picking a 2kg dumbbell or a 15kg dumbbell? If you weight train you will probably burn 3 to 4 times the calories if you were to train without weights. In 20 minutes weight training you can get a lot more “WORK” done than 60 minutes of running on a treadmill. You save time, train better, work all your muscles, get faster and more agile, won’t increase cortisol levels with long ours of Aerobics and will not cause adrenal fatigue (one topic on this one later). Weight training saves you many years. Oh and by the way, you will look younger in 5 years from now if you weight-train than if you were to do Aerobics. Aerobics is very oxidative and causes a lot of free radicals your body will never be able to get rid of.
- Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC): This is also known as “oxygen debt”, oxygen deficit or exercise afterburn and measures the increase in consumption of oxygen after an exercise session to return the body to the pre-exercise state. This is accompanied by post exercise energy consumption (higher metabolism) to bring back every body system (heart rate, BP, ATP, oxygen stores, ventilation, blood circulations and body temperature) to normal pre-exercise state. Anaerobic (like weight training) exercise produces a much greater EPOC than aerobic exercise and it continues to do so up to 40 hours after the exercise session. This means you will be burning more calories above resting calorie-burn level up to 40 hours after your exercise session more. There you go! MORE FAT LOSS. Don’t do much yet burn fat more!
- Weight Training helps you make your bones, connective tissues, tendons, ligaments, muscles and joints stronger, denser and more stable. This helps with injury prevention. You must have seen a lot of people get a bad back picking something very small from the floor or just twisting or hurting themselves doing easy daily chore. What’s more is that you can handle yourself way better when you get old. Look at athletes and when they get old and look at people who have never exercised. You want to get strong and build muscle as much as possible before it’s too late. This will allow you to play football with your grandchildren.
- There are numerous other benefits to weight training such as reducing the risk of heart disease, better utilization of sugar and nutrients, better insulin sensitivity and decreased risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome, better immune function and longevity. And no, if you stop weight trainings your muscles won’t turn into fat. That’s like turning gold to brass. I am sure you can figure that one out.
If you have any questions you can leave a comment below. If you think this makes sense you can share it with your friend who is still doing the incline treadmill.
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