A little over a week ago I posted a blog titled, “What’s On My Mind – New Year’s Edition,” where I briefly discussed how I feel about women and strength training. I received some good feedback on this post and I wanted to take this chance to share a few more thoughts on the subject.
The main point I wanted to make, and that I hope came across, is that solely lifting weights will not make you “big and bulky.” By lifting appreciable weight and using the principles of progressive overload, you are promoting gains in lean muscle tissue, which is the key to the physique goals of many women and an often neglected part of their training program. I think all women have different definitions of what a “fit” or “healthy” body looks like and how exactly they would like their body to look. But be aware: many of the models you ladies see in magazines do not have a fit or healthy physique; they are emaciated, frail, and weak, which is no way to go through life (to steal part of a quote from Animal House). Strength training is essential to attaining that fit, healthy, smokin-hot bod you’re after, whatever your precise definition of “smokin-hot bod” may be (within reason, of course; throw away that Glamour magazine, okay?).
This is not healthy or attractive
Some of the women that I talked to told me that the notion of getting “too big” is essentially always in the back of their minds when they are strength training. This was interesting because these are women who consistently lift weights and truly know that this alone will not cause them to get bigger. I think this goes to show how popular the belief is in women that strength training causes bulkiness and just how tough a mental hurdle it is to overcome.
For some women, the getting big and bulky thing is mental and just in their heads, but for other women, it actually does happen when they lift weights. If that’s the case, it makes sense to take a look at your diet and what you’re eating. It is important that your diet and nutrition are consistent with your goals. If you want to look a certain way, you need to eat in a way that will support that goal. It’s like the saying goes, “You can’t out-train a bad diet.” Do me a solid and do not blame the weights or stop strength training! It’s likely that your problem is elsewhere and something else needs to be tweaked.
Shortly after my initial post on this subject, I received a wonderful message from Cory, a friend of mine from high school. Here’s what she had to say:
I just wanted to tell you that I totally agree with your rant about women being afraid to lift weights. I used to be afraid to lift more than like 5 or 10 pounds of anything for fear of becoming bulky, and my workout used to be very cardio-focused. I dropped that mentality a few months ago and starting lifting weights at a level that was challenging to me, and I have never gotten more compliments from friends and family saying that I look like I’ve lost weight. I really haven’t lost much weight at all, but I think that adding some serious weight lifting to my workouts has really made a difference in my body shape. I also liked your mention of finding women who lift weights totally sexy and picking up your girlfriend when you saw her doing squats – I’ve been hit on at the gym multiple times, and it’s always when I’m doing push ups or deadlifts or some sort of “manly” exercise. So basically, WORD BRO!
I love it! Cory hit the nail on the head here, so basically, WORD CORY!
And for those of you keeping score, that’s Lifting Heavy Shit: 1, Pink Dumbbells: 0.