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Women will get bulky if they lift weights?!?!

Posted Aug 24 2009 12:23pm 2 Comments


Why women don’t do more weight training is beyond me!

I listen to women complain all the time about their weight, belly fat, love handles, flabby arms and saddle bags around their hips all the time, but when I offer the “weight lifting” solution to solve their weight issue … they usually look at me like I’m an alien.

I was reading a survey (women aged 21-45 were surveyed) not long ago and some of the stats startled me and explained a lot of the resistance I’ve been getting from women when I suggest weight lifting to them:

* A whopping 23% of the women surveyed NEVER exercised

* 79% of them lift what I call baby weights (aka weight that they don’t perceive to be heavy)

* 41% or women find muscles on women to be unattractive

* Most women believed that most men (they said 72%) didn’t like women with muscles.

* A majority of women would rather look too thin (71% are in favour) than look too muscular (only 11% would rather look more muscular)

* 18% of women would rather look fat than muscular (only 11% would rather look more muscular)

* Even if women think that weight lifting won’t make them bulky (when asked if they could lift weight and never look bulky), only 34% said they’d actually consider lifting weights

>>> I cannot believe how women perceive weight lifting in such a negative light!

I can tell you that some of these results are shocking to a long time weight lifter like myself. I started lifting weights in my 20s and I’ve never looked back.

Back in 2000, I decided to get serious about weight lifting because I had just gotten laid off from a job and had succumbed to all those catered lunches and had packed on about 20 extra lbs.

I reduced the number of aerobic classes I did and started lifting heavier weights. Up to that point, I had been lifting baby-weights (very light weights), but that made very little difference on my body.

When I started lifting heavier weights and also lifting weights about three times per week, I started seeing the difference quickly. Within a couple of months, people who would see me at the gym weekly started commenting on how much weight I had lost and how much more defined my body was.

>>> How weight lifting has transformed my body

I not only dropped the weight, but I also defined a lot of muscle mass and I could see very cut (as in well-defined) parts of my body.

I also noticed that I no longer had issues with my stomach, flabby arms or those saddlebags so many women have and complain about (squats will take care of that quickly).

I also started feeling stronger in general … as if I could take on anything.

When you look at me, you’d never be able to compare me to a lot of the women who are competing in those muscle shows, but you can tell that I do work out.

Most women who are regulars in the weight area at my gym have the same body definition and I can tell you that from my point of view, I think they look amazing because of the fact that their bodies look so solid and so strong (and NOT bulky).

Weight lifting is the ONLY way to keep “everything where it’s supposed to be” (aka prevent sagging and dropping), but it’s also so important as you age.

>>> Don’t worry, you won’t get too bulky from weight lifting:

Every time I hear a woman say that she doesn’t lift weights because she doesn’t want to be bulky, I want to scream. The reality is that most of us don’t have enough testosterone in our body to get us to that bulky stage. Most of us can gain a certain amount of muscle, but there is a tipping point. To go further, we’d need to spend some serious hours at the gym lifting weights, adopt a daily commando-style fitness regime or have the need to get into a certain body shape for a movie role (think Angelina Jolie, Demi Moore, Hilary Swank or Angela Bassett).

When it comes to female Hollywood celebrity muscles on the big screen, my all-time favourite is Linda Hamilton in “Terminator 2: Judgment Day”! I could not believe how well defined her body was and I remember wanting to look like her!

When you see women who have muscles that rival those of many men … you know that drugs are involved … it’s just not natural.

The bottom line is that most of us will look toned and trimmed if we lift heavier weights (I’m talking about lifting a 12-pound weight versus a 3-pound one). I’ve gotten to a point in my fitness regime where I can lift heavy weights and I often have personal trainers pushing me further letting me know they are convinced I could lift more.

Trust me ladies, you will NEVER look like these women below unless you really work at it or if you intend on competing:


>>>> Muscle mass as you age is so crucially important!

Although I’ve not seen my 20s in a whole long time, I can assure you that I can take on any 20 year old out there.

I was reviewing a boxing club a few weeks ago and the instructor paired me with Neil, a 17-year-old kid who was training EVERY DAY for a semi-professional fight (yeah, it was a tad bit intimidating)! My job was to hold the boxing bags as he pushed into them with all his strength.

Had it not been for my regular weight lifting sessions, young Neil would have sent me flying every time he punched that boxing bag.  At some point he was hitting so hard the instructor looked at me and asked if he should pair me with a woman. Neil quickly responded (before I could even open my mouth) and said: nah, she can take it! That was the best compliment I have gotten in a long time!

Lifting weights could be perceived as purely an aesthetic thing to be able to fit into a size 2 dress, but as you age, you quickly realize that weight lifting can help you remain younger and more fit for a very long time.

One of the biggest myths out there is that we gain weight as we age. The reality is that age has nothing to do with it and it’s all about losing muscle mass.

As I was having lunch a few weeks ago, I was watching re-run of The Doctors and über-sexy Dr. Travis Stork delivered the big shocker: because we lose muscle mass as we age that’s what causes the weight gain and NOT the fact that we’re celebrating a new birthday.

Unless you make a conscious effort to build and maintain your muscle mass, you will lose it!

Weight lifting keeps your weight in check and also builds a stronger body.

>>> What’s the point of this weight lifting banter?

I’m not going to go into any weight lifting exercises because it’s not the point of the post … it’s really to drive home the fact that women should stop being worried about being bulky if they lift heavier weights.

The best way to properly learn how to lift weights to redefine and strengthen your body is by working with a personal trainer or by getting some of those really good fitness DVDs (I think the P90X training seems so fierce).

As for the fact that most women believe that the majority of men don’t like women who have more muscular bodies, I can assure you that few men want a woman who has more muscle mass than he does, but I personally think that most men find a well-toned body to be quite attractive!

>>> I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and know which side of the weight lifting fence you find yourself on!

Top photo by dno1967

Photo of body builder by roonb

Comments (2)
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I agree with you! In my experience, more guys prefer a toned, even quite muscular body on a woman, than the "weak" floppy thing figure. I guess I'm talking about guys who are involved in sport mostly, but even amongst the "regular" guys I know that  don't really take care of themselves, they even think muscular looks good. I work out and have good muscle definition, C-cup breasts and a size 6 butt, and I get WAY more attention now than I ever did when I was more "curvy" and had bigger boobs. When you lift, you carry yourself differently, your whole attitude is different -- confident. And if we look to a lot of other cultures where "sexiness" isn't defined in the narrow frame of pop culture, confidence is the biggest factor in having sex-appeal. It's about how you see yourself, and when you feel confident, you can take on the world, and other people really pick up on this vibe. I have never found anything that can combat fatigue, modern lifestyle symptoms, age, depression and low-libido like lifting weights. It truly is the cure-all that most Western women need, but would never dare admit. And anyway, even if men didn't find muscular women sexy (which they very much DO) -- why should we let them dictate how we should look? Women need to take a stand and fight against this unhealthy, boney figure that popular culture is flaying on its flag. The human body was meant to be USED, to be strong and practical. Bottom line: I don't know a man out there who doesn't think THAT's sexy. 


 I agree with everything you say.

Your words are wisdom and it's so fantastic to meat a woman who feels that lifting weights is an important part of her healthy life!

 Amen to such powerful words and thanks for taking the time to comment.



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