What’s on my mind: the idea that girls will bulk if they lift anything over 10 lbs.
I wanted to try to help this clarification, mainly because girls and women often find it questionable when built men say females won’t bulk. How do you know for sure? It actually has to do with the fact that women have much lower levels of testosterone than men. However, if you’re looking for other reasons to ease you into heavier weight training, I’ve come up with the reasons I told myself after research as well as reliance on qualified professionals.
Women tone through heavier weight training as opposed to “bulking” like men, because they don’t gain the added mass on top of the muscle. The result is toned muscle. This is a great thing, for the fat that surrounded the developed muscle reduces, and you are left with a toned physique.
It should be noted that reps and sets make a big difference to the type of training you’re trying to do, as well as recovery time. Some are training with more weight and less reps for more muscle, and some are doing less weight and more reps for more endurance. It really depends on you. Simply lifting heavier weights will not make you bulky, in fact, it’s important to increase weight to continue gaining benefits from your exercises. Your body will adjust to a stagnant routine, and you will be left with zero progress.
Bulking is calorie dependent. If you eat more calories than you are burning, then there is a chance you will experience weight gain. And sometimes when you start lifting heavier you have a higher appetite, so make sure to follow the next tip: diet.
It’s a false assumption that increased gym time or adding weight training to your routine means you can slack more on your diet. This is not true at all! I have personally experienced myself needing more protein with my new workouts, but I focus on eating clean. Eating clean and working out will get you so much farther than you think. So much of what you see in the mirror comes from what you’re eating in the kitchen! It is said by trainers that diet is 80-90% of your fat loss.
I also need to pay special attention to the seemingly universal rule that women should do sets of 10 reps. It has been ingrained in our heads that we shouldn’t do more than 10 reps, when in reality we could probably do 30 per set with those small dumbbells we always carry to our corners out of everyone’s way. Listen to your body and also listen to qualified trainers that could give you a free consultation at your local gym. You may be surprised with what your body can do.
There’s no universal workout routine for everyone. People have different body types, fat distribution and problem areas, as well as metabolisms. It’s not realistic to compare your workout routine to someone else’s to achieve your desired results.
Also take note that women you see on magazine covers that specialize in weight training also take supplements to enhance their muscles. Not everyone takes supplements. I personally just use protein powder, a plant-based one from Vega, in order to increase the protein missing from my pescatarian diet.
Your personal genetic makeup plays a huge role in how your muscle develops, as well as fat reduction. Everyone loses fat in certain places in a certain order. In other words, if you are trying to focus on two specific areas as priorities, you might lose the fat in other areas first due to your genetic makeup. This process takes time.
If you’re looking for an even leaner look, integrate cardio into your routine, but don’t overdo it and deplete the muscle you’ve worked hard for. I like to do no more than 20 minutes of cardio at my gym sessions.
There is also the theory that men and women have to train differently. This isn’t entirely true. I go through workouts with my trainer or with guy friends in the gym and I’ll do the same exercises as them. Yes, I will be using less weight, but that’s because I’m not strong enough to do the heavier weight with correct form. So do not avoid workouts thinking they are gender specific, because this is also a myth.
Bottom line: train the way you want to train. There are many different types of training to choose from, however, adding weight training can only benefit weight loss and toning of the muscles. My current mix of training is as follows:
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) : lots of jump squats, mountain climbers, etc to boost my heart rate up
Weight training: personal training with heavier weights and getting new material!
Cardio: believe it or not I actually get very bored doing cardio now. But when I do I like to do 10 minutes warm-up doing sprint intervals on the treadmill or the elliptical, and then often end weight training with 10 minutes on the stair master. This gives me a variety. Sometimes my shins bother me from the treadmill, so if you have the same issue, choose a lower impact cardio workout with the bike or elliptical.
Yoga and Pilates: I love yoga for flexibility and Pilates for toning and core. I would highly recommend integrating them into your weekly routine, and there are plenty of online videos to follow if your schedule doesn’t allow time to go to a class.
I hope these tips and clarifications helped anyone deciding on a new workout routine! Feel free to ask questions on the above content in the comment section below.
For my fitness journey, refer to my Instagram. My username is @kmzwicker ❤
Thanks for reading! xx