If it’s been said once, it’s been said 1,000 times: “Lifting weights won’t make you bulky!”
Moreover, lifting three-to-five-pound Barbie weights won’t give you the results you desire. I mean, c’mon, I can’t be the only one who rolls my eyes when a fitness model is photographed sporting teeny, tiny three-pound dumbbells? You know her purse has got to weigh more than that.
But everyone knows that one girl who is afraid of lifting heavy, or maybe she doesn’t lift at all. She can be found performing copious amounts of steady-state cardio like a gerbil wondering why she’s not tight and toned.
So how do you convince her to pick up some iron? Behold! You have before you the top 10 things to say to women afraid of “bulking up.” This compact list should have your iron-weary friends flocking to the weight room in no time.
1. You can eat more
This one’s worth reiterating—you can eat more! Muscle requires more calories than fat just to maintain. Although the jury is still out on exactly how many calories each day a pound of muscle will use up at rest, experts agree “each new pound of muscle tissue increases chronic total energy expenditure/metabolism.”
How will you spend your extra calories?
2. Muscle takes up less space than fat
Check out this visual. Muscle takes up significantly less space than fat. Although the scale may be useful for measuring the gravitational force of the Earth’s pull on your body, it’s not going to say anything about your fitness goals! During your body transformation, the number on the scale might not move or even go up! Throw it out.
Weight training will make you lose fat and gain muscle, so no, you are not going to “bulk up.” You are going to shrink down and be tighter and denser like muscle—not squishy and bulky like fat.
Fitness model Kelsie Byers is pictured here weighing 135 pounds in both pictures!
3. You are not a man
Okay, so images like these perpetuate that whole stereotype of what’s going to happen if you lift heavy. News flash—lifting heavy will not make you look like these muscle bound women!
Extreme bodybuilding women often resort to dangerous chemical cocktails—insulin, diuretics, human growth hormone, beta blockers and anti-wasting HIV drugs.
In 2015, the Ms. Olympia was dropped, marking the possible end of women’s bodybuilding. The bottom line? Very few women want to look like this, and it is very difficult and potentially dangerous to do so.
Women naturally have way less testosterone in their bodies, so you aren’t able to turn into the Incredible Hulk. Wonder Woman? Maybe.
4. You’ll build stronger bones
Think you’re too young to worry about bone loss? Think again.
A type of bone loss called osteopenia is becoming more common in young female athletes who compete in sports that require them to be very lean and very fit such as gymnastics, dancing, ice skating and running.
The good news is weight training can both prevent and reverse bone loss.
Read on for six more convincing arguments for lifting heavy.
5. It’s not as scary as you think
So you don’t want to weight train because you’re afraid you will look stupid? Do it anyway! If you’re afraid of hurting yourself, hire a trainer or recruit a friend to show you the ropes.
Evidence shows women are less confident and slower to try new things than men. This doesn’t mean women are less able, but they are less likely to take risks, because they are more plagued by “perfectionism” than men.
The natural result of low confidence is inaction. When women hesitate because they aren’t sure, they hold themselves back. Don’t let your fear of not being perfect stop you from reaping the benefits of weight training.
6. Reshape your body
Losing weight will make you a smaller version of yourself—commonly known as “skinny fat.” Lifting weights will completely reshape your body, lift your butt and give you that hard body you are looking for.
7. You don’t have to be afraid of not looking “feminine”
Kate Upton is feminine. Kate Upton trains heavy. Be like Kate.
Kate Upton trains like a beast. She pushes 500-pound sleds and knocks out hip thrusts with 200 pounds of weight while training at Ben Bruno’s Granite Gym.
You can be strong and svelte and don’t have to worry about looking like a man. Speaking of men, what do they think about a woman who lifts? The majority would rather date a woman who lifts than one who heads to the treadmill.
8. It will get easier
You could probably run a 26-mile marathon and it wouldn’t hurt as bad as the day after the first time you seriously train your legs. It’s called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). Weight training causes microtrauma to the muscle. In other words, you have to break it down before your body can build it back up to be stronger than before.
DOMS occurs anytime your body is exposed to new training—whether it’s a heavier weight load or more reps to failure. But DOMS is seemingly worse for unconditioned athletes. Push through. It gets better.
9. Blast fat
Don’t have time to spend 90 minutes in the gym? You can maximize fat burn while training with weights and cut down on cardio sessions.
Try multijoint exercises such as squats, deadlifts or even Olympic lifts to recruit more muscles and burn the maximum number of calories. Although light weights performed at higher reps will burn calories during the workout, heavy weight training will burn calories for up to 48 hours after your workout! This phenomenon is known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC).
So get after it!
10. Feel like a badass
Disclaimer: Lifting weights can be highly addictive. It will cause your confidence to soar. You will feel stronger and capable of anything. You will no longer need a man’s help to lift heavy things. You may be approached by cardio bunnies asking you how to “tone up.”