We’ve all heard this one: “I don’t want to workout or lift weights because I don’t want to look like a man.” If you’ve ever spit those words out or know someone who has, then we’re here to show you that this is a complete myth and that you won’t end up bulky and masculine by simply picking up some weights every once in awhile.
From experience, I’ve been lifting and strength training for about five years now and although I can squat harder and do more push-ups than some guys, I’m not even close to manly looking.
So what gives?
Let’s just say that this nasty little rumor has been spreading for far too long. Ladies, here is just one of the reasons why it’s virtually impossible for women to bulk up like a man.
“Women can’t build muscle like men. They don’t have enough testosterone.”
Sure, you’ll build muscle if you workout and lift weights, but you’ll build lean, toned muscle mass instead. By increasing your lean muscle mass, you’ll appear sexy and toned instead of manly and “too big.”
If we haven’t convinced you yet, well Medi Weight Loss Clinics also backs up our point with this research,
“One pound of muscle takes up only one-third of the space of one pound of fat, so as you increase your lean muscle mass and decrease your fat mass, your body will become more toned, sculpted, and defined.”
We’re not bringing up the whole muscle weighs more than fat issue either. We’re just stating that you’ll be much better off (visually) if you stick to lifting weights, or strength training, a few times a week.
To help you out, I have a few favorite strength training exercises that I live by…
Deadlifts are a full-body, compound exercise. They work every major muscle group in the body (including the all important fat burners), can help improve your posture and strengthen your core. What more could you ask for at this point?
I aim to do them consistently 2-3 times per week.
Ever wonder where those Instagram hotties get their perfectly plump bubble butts from? Well, it’s thanks in part to SQUATS!
Squats not only target your lower half, but they are also super effective for developing total-body strength. As your leg muscles become more powerful, so do the joints within your lower body too.
Additionally, squats strengthen your core. The muscles in both your abdomen and lower back are used to hold and balance the weight throughout the movement so they are constantly engaged and active.
I always incorporate these bad boys on leg day. Oh yeah, don’t skip leg day either. If you’re looking for slimmer, more toned thighs, then you absolutely have to add a leg day into your routine.
The power clean is an explosive exercise that can build both strength and muscle mass. You may have seen this move in some CrossFit videos and competitions since they are a great way to get results.
Power cleans help enhance well-developed muscles in the calves, glutes, and hamstrings. Plus, they target muscles in the lower and upper back as well as in your traps.
As an added bonus, not only will you become stronger with the help of power cleans, but you’ll also torch fat in no time leaving you with a sexy, lean physique.
For your safety, we definitely recommend that you meet with a professional at your local gym before attempting this one on your own. If your form isn’t on point, you could risk an injury and you may not achieve the results you were hoping for.
This one is an oldie but a goodie and should always be a part of your routines.
When you bench press, you’re activating several muscle groups in the upper-half of the body, including pecs, deltoids, forearm muscles, and those not-yet-carved abdominals of yours.
To get the best results, I like to superset these with tricep extensions or bench dips.
Kettlebell swings are awesome and can help increase your power, muscular endurance, aerobic and anaerobic capacity.
I try to use these exercises when I am doing more functional training, or “training the body for activities performed in daily life.”
So how do professional, women bodybuilders actually bulk up than?
Hours and hours (we’re talking two training sessions a day, each consisting of 1-2 hours minimum) of lifting weights and an even stricter, protein-packed diet.
I’ve learned that you should always balance cardiovascular exercises with strength training to get that perfect hourglass figure.
While 30-60 minutes of cardio will burn off more calories than 30-60 minutes of strength training, using weights will “build lean body mass, which will increase your resting metabolic rate (BMR) and help you burn more calories throughout the day,” according to Medi Weight Loss Clinics.
The more muscle you have, the more fat you’ll burn. However, keep in mind that if you are doing too much cardio, you will diminish your muscle gains and lose that toned physique you’ve been eyeing.
So let’s put an end to the bulking up myth once and for all and start seeing that silver lining of lifting. Once you do, you’ll realize how beneficial it will be for not only your physical appearance but also for your health.
Strong is the new sexy, so learn to love the burn!