You have recently started lifting weights. You are afraid that you will become “bulky” with all the muscle that you are building. What is the truth? Will lifting weights make me bulky? Find out here!
Table of Contents
- Can Weightlifting Make Women Bulky?
- Is It Just Impossible For Women To Look Bulky?
- Is Weightlifting Safe For Women?
- What Will Happen If I Stop Lifting Weights?
- Will Lifting Weights Help Me Lose Body Fat?
- How Often Should I Be Training And Why This Frequency Works Best?
- What Training Frequency Should You Use?
- Conclusion – Will lifting weights make me bulky?
Can Weightlifting Make Women Bulky?
The short answer to the question of ‘will lifting weights make me bulky?‘ is no, it will not. Yes, women will gain some muscle when they lift weights, especially if they eat a lot of food and put in a lot of effort during the training. But the type of muscle will be lean and will give you curves in all the right places instead of an Arnold Schwarzenegger-type look.
The fact is that the female body doesn’t produce anywhere near enough testosterone in order for them to start looking bulky or ‘like a man’ if they were to start lifting weights in the gym.
What’s actually happening when you lift weights is that you’re encouraging your body to create lean muscle tissue through a process called hypertrophy.
This will help you to tone, strengthen and sculpt your body into shape, but will not actually increase the overall size of the muscles in question. Jumping on steroids, however, will do that.
Is It Just Impossible For Women To Look Bulky?
Not at all! Women will definitely build muscle when they lift weights, that’s why people who tend to not know much say you will get bulky if you lift weights (or will start to look like a man).
The type of muscle you will put on will NOT be the same as men.
It will not make you look masculine instead it will actually make you look more curvaceous and it could actually make a waist look smaller and boobs look bigger if that’s your goal.
Is Weightlifting Safe For Women?
The quick answer is, yes, of course, it is.
The long answer is, well it depends. If you’re just starting out, to avoid injury (which will make you stop exercising and could put you off altogether) it’s best to start slow. If you feel it would benefit you, talk to a personal trainer with an expert about what kind of weightlifting program would suit your goals or fitness level.
Jist of it is that there are pros and cons to any form of exercise. If you haven’t done that kind of thing before, start slow, see what your body can take, and build up gradually.
If you’re already lifting weights then even better. Keep on doing whatever it is that’s working for you and just tweak where necessary 🙂
What Will Happen If I Stop Lifting Weights?
If you put down the weights, will your muscles shrink or disappear? No. That’s not how your body works. Lifting weights gives you muscle mass and definition. If you stop lifting weights, it doesn’t mean that all of your hard work goes away! Your muscle memory stays with you, even if you’re not working out. When you start lifting weights again, your muscles will quickly return to their previous size and shape.
I started lifting weights last summer but I hadn’t been back in the gym all winter. When I tried to lift at the beginning of spring break, it was so hard! No matter how long ago you stopped working out…your muscles don’t forget! By the end of my break, I was surprised at how quickly they came back. My shirt was fitting a lot looser too!
Will Lifting Weights Help Me Lose Body Fat?
Yes, lifting weights will help you lose fat!
Lifting weights is such an effective way to burn calories and improve your metabolism. You can do this by performing resistance training with dumbbells or a barbell as well as using your own body weight for resistance through exercises like push-ups and planks (calisthenics).
What I love about calisthenics is that you can perform them just about anywhere at any time because all you really need is your body to get a solid workout in. Often if I’m abroad and I don’t have a gym nearby, I do calisthenics in my hotel room so maybe I’ll do some squats and press-ups on the hotel room floor before going to bed.
What is most key is that you lift weights with proper form so that you target the specific muscle groups and not injure yourself. If your form is off or if you use too much weight, then you won’t see results as fast and could even get injured.
Working out with weights can help you:
- Get more toned
- Increase your bone density and prevent osteoporosis which is more common in women
- Burn more calories throughout the day while youre not actually in the gym which is awesome, so that you don’t store fat as easily,
- reduce risk of injury when doing activities like running or playing sports,
- Improve sleep quality by increasing production of growth hormones during exercise which helps you relax and get a better night’s rest and
- Improves your overall strength, energy levels and mood.
The speed at which you see results from weight training all depends on how much muscle you have to begin with, and also what your diet consists of. Getting a good fitness and diet plan is key.
How Often Should I Be Training And Why This Frequency Works Best?
In general, if you want to get stronger, the rule of thumb is to lift hard and lift heavy. However, it’s not as simple as that, there are a few more details to this statement that will make your training more effective.
You should be training at least 3 times per week, with a minimum of 2 days rest in between. If you are doing this correctly, you will see significant progress over time as your body adapts to the stimulus that you’re giving it.
However everyone doesn’t have to use the same workout frequency, there are variations to this depending on a number of factors.
What Training Frequency Should You Use?
The 2 most significant factors that determine your optimal training frequency would be intensity and volume. Volume is the total amount of work completed in a given session or workout, whereas intensity is how heavy you lift for a certain exercise.
- If you are new at weightlifting, perhaps just beginning to learn the technique for a given exercise, then you should aim for 3 days per week. You can split your training into one full body workout or 3 separate workouts during the week.
- If you are further along in your weightlifting journey and perhaps even compete regularly at a specific lift, than it may be beneficial to use hypertrophy (muscle building) workouts. This would be using weights that are heavy, but not to the extent where it disrupts technique. Hypertrophy workouts are programmed to use relatively heavy weights but also specific rep ranges. Rest periods are slightly shorter to keep the heart rate elevated, making this an anaerobic workout.
Conclusion – Will lifting weights make me bulky?
The short answer is no, lifting weights won’t make you bulky. The key to this is using a progressive overload with an appropriate training frequency. It is a myth that just by lifting weights a girl will bulk up, it takes a lot of effort and dedication to see results from your workouts.
If you want to maintain light, lean muscles whilst losing body fat, then a good place to start would be interval training. Interval training is a mixture of cardio and strength training, for example, sprinting or stair running combined with light resistance exercises.
This type of workout will improve fitness levels while keeping lean muscle mass by alternating between anaerobic and aerobic phases during the workout. Although it is recommended that you do interval training in addition to weightlifting, it is not necessary.
Good luck on your journey – Happy lifting!
Bianca JamesI’m a mother, yoga instructor, runner, and blogger. Originally from South Africa, I’ve been a yoga instructor for over ten years. I share my time between raising a very boisterous toddler (the love of my life) and teaching small yoga classes, but more importantly, loving every second of it!
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