As a trainer, one thing I hear a lot from women in the gym is that they don’t want to lift weights because they’re concerned about becoming bulky or too muscly. If it were that easy, for me it would be awesome but professionally I would be out of a job!
Bulky is a very general term but I get it. It’s a common misconception that training with weights will create a “masculine” look. With the proper programming you are able to sculpt and shape your body rather than make it bigger. You’ll still build muscle but the degree will vary depending on your program and the definition will depend on your body composition, weight and diet.
You also have to bulk up your diet in order to bulk up your body. So If you feel that you are getting bulky then you’re probably doing something wrong either in your training, diet or a combination of the two. One thing I can assure you is that lifting weights will not morph you into the Hulk without you realizing. It takes a lot of heavy, repetitive training to develop muscle mass. You can train for the results you want by lifting accordingly.
Adding muscle to you body has its benefits and lifting weights has advantages for both men and women. It can reduce the risk of Osteoporosis which is generally higher in women. It can improve sleep quality, energy levels and decrease stress. Additional benefits are boosting confidence and changing your body composition. When training and eating properly you will increase lean muscle mass and decrease fat mass, which in turn can increase the number of overall calories you burn during the day. So you will look and feel better at the same time.
Here are a few tips to develop LEAN MUSCLE MASS and create a stronger and sleeker body. A balanced program of cardio and strength training is ideal. Programming supersets*, compound movements* and circuits* into your training will keep the intensity and heart rate up to a higher calorie burning level. Make sure you are using the appropriate weights. Using a 5 pound dumbbell to do squats won't do it. Use a weight that will challenge you from the first rep to the last.
If you're still uncertain about hitting the weights, your best bet is to get some personalized advice from a trainer. He/she can design a strength training program with your goals in mind to achieve optimal results.
*Supersets are doing two exercises back to back with little to no rest between them. Typically, the two exercises work different muscle groups or movement patterns.
*Compound movements are exercises engaging two or more different joints to stimulate either entire muscle groups or multiple muscles.
*A circuit is one completion of all exercises in a program.