The Bulking Up Myth: Why Women Should Weight Lift
by Greer Thomas, Personal Trainer, Adelaide Club
The myth persists among many exercisers that heavy resistance training will make women bulky. The term “bulky” tends to imply large or undesirable muscles. This happens to be untrue in most women who take up strength building resistance training.
Hormonally and physiologically, women generally don’t build muscle as easily or as quickly as men. Women lack the testosterone levels that slightly advantage men in gaining lean mass. Females also maintain naturally higher body fat percentages, decreasing the likelihood of visible definition. For both sexes, though, building significant size requires large effort, dedication and dietary control. The idea that lifting weights will result in very large or unsightly muscles, is just plain untrue for the vast majority of women.
Why Women Should Resistance Train
Women experience a natural loss of bone density as they age, which accelerates enormously after menopause. Applying a load to your bones is one of the best ways to slow this decline. In this regard, resistance training is even more beneficial to women than it is to men. Endurance training alone has demonstrated little or no positive impact on bone mass.
Weight lifting has been shown to result in improved self-perception and self-efficacy in both men and women, but to a greater degree in women. Lifting heavy can be literally and figuratively empowering.
Aesthetics and Weight Control
Building muscle increases how many calories your body uses simply to maintain base functions, which increases the number needed per day to maintain body weight. Muscle building is the most effective long-term weight control tool. Drastic diets decrease muscle mass, increasing the chance of serious yo-yoing in size at the completion of the diet. Traditional long distance or long duration cardio exercise increases cortisol levels, which among other things, suppresses the immune system and decreases bone formation.
The Author: Greer Thomas is a Personal Trainer at Adelaide Club. She is also a fitness competitor who regularly lifts heavy weights. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a session and learn more about resistance training.