Have you ever noticed when you walk into the gym that men usually occupy the weights section, and the cardio equipment is a woman’s domain? Okay, this is a generalization, but it is a common sight across the gym world. And, it’s problematic. When women avoid weights, they’re missing out on some great ways to reach their health and fitness goals!
There is a pervasive myth that using weights leads to looking like a bodybuilder with bulky muscles, and it’s why some women shy away from lifting. We’re ready to challenge that myth and let you in on all of the reasons weight training is actually beneficial - with or without big biceps.
We want women to feel empowered to train with any equipment that will help them lead a healthy lifestyle.
Why You Won’t Get “Too Muscular” By Accident
Women should feel empowered to look however they want to, including muscular and strong. But let’s be clear – it takes a significant amount of purposeful effort to achieve those ‘big muscle’ results. Whether or not you become muscular-looking does not depend on if you implement weight training, but how you do it. It’s just simply not true that you’ll accidentally develop big muscles if you add moderate weight training into your fitness mix.
If your goal is muscle growth, it takes a combination of consistent, progressive heavy weightlifting, targeted nutrition, and time. What does that mean? First, it means focusing on hypertrophy training, or the process of using resistance training to grow your muscles. Second, it requires getting your nutrition in check:
- Meet your daily protein needs. If you want to build or keep muscle, you’ll need to increase your protein intake.
- Keep fats and carbs healthy. Be mindful of what you’re eating and, perhaps, make some healthy food swaps.
- Consume enough calories. Underfueling, especially when you are exercising, is bad for both overall health and your ability to reach your goals.
Let’s say that getting muscular isn’t your fitness goal. Is it still worth doing some weight training? Definitely!
Why Train With Weights?
Weight training can help you reach just about any fitness goal. Before you pick up any type of weight, though, think about what you want to achieve.
- Do you want to lose weight?
- Do you want to simply improve fitness and health?
- Do you want to build muscle?
Weight training supports all of these goals. With weight loss, for instance, it helps you efficiently burn calories while maintaining muscle mass. For those of you who want to improve overall fitness, doing weight training even just once per week will help you increase strength and reduce muscle loss. And, of course, if you want bigger muscles, going heavy with weights is a perfect option. In addition to delivering the mechanical stress needed to develop muscle mass, it allows you to target areas you want to build up, like biceps.
Our training expert Kian explains more about how weights support your goals in this video.
Weight Training’s Extra Benefits for Women
Beyond the above, weight training offers a few other outstanding benefits.
- Improved bone density. As women age and transition through menopause, our levels of the female sex hormone, oestrogen, decline, leaving us at risk for decreased bone density and conditions like osteoporosis. Weight-bearing exercise helps keep bones strong and healthy, and it’s never too early to start this kind of training.
- Better joints and movements. Resistance training is excellent for improving the stability of your joints, especially the hips, knees, and ankles, which lowers the risk of fractures, falls, and osteoporosis.
The take-home message here is weight training isn’t just for big, bulky muscles – unless you want that. It has a huge range of benefits for women of all ages, sizes, and fitness goals. Let’s feel empowered to pick up those kettlebells, dumbbells, or resistance bands and take up space in the weights section of the gym.