While there are a ton of articles about this topic already, THERE AREN’T ENOUGH. Until Tracy Anderson stops being relevant and I cease to hear the word “bulky” outside of Costco, the world needs more writing about women and weights. Within my secluded fitness bubble, I began to think that the myths attributed to women and lifting were mostly kaput. Every so often though, I’ll read something that makes my corneas bleed. Something like, “Zumba is great for women who want a long, lean body and not that stocky look”.
*smashes computer with face*
**buys new one in time to finish blog post**
Apparently this way of thinking is still pretty common. So at the risk of being redundant, here is my take on why women should stop avoiding strength training.
Bulking Ain’t Easy
“Oh, I don’t want to bulk up.”
This is the objection I hear most. Here’s the thing: bulking is HARD, regardless of gender, but especially for women. Even if a woman TRIES to bulk up it’s going to be considerably harder than it would be for man. Not to say it’s impossible, but the hormonal make up and build of most women makes it pretty tough. And it’s not exactly easy for dudes either. Guys must consistently eat a ton and lift a ton just to gain a measly 5 lbs of muscle
In other words, it’s not going to happen on accident. You must intentionally design your regimen around bulking. This entails prioritization of certain exercise techniques and eating a metric shit-ton of extra calories. If you are trying to lose weight, like many women concerned about bulking are, you shouldn’t be eating a caloric surplus ANYWAY. That’s the kicker. Even if your workouts are designed for bulking, if you aren’t eating enough, it’s not going to happen.
That said, if, heaven forbid, a woman does get “bulky”… who gives a fuck?! It’s her body, not yours, and I doubt she cares about whether or not she fits your ideal. Maybe she WANTS to be muscular. Ok, rant over. Moving on!
The Ever Elusive “Tone”
The “tone” that everyone always talks about is achieved through building muscle and losing fat. When eating in a caloric deficit, both muscle and fat will decrease unless you lift weights. Strength training will preserve muscle while fat decreases. This will change the ratio of muscle to fat which means your muscles will look more defined. Voila! Tone!
Ironically, strength training gives women the physiques they try to achieve by avoiding strength training in place of Zumba or pilates or whatever.
You get to Open Jars for People
Physical and mental growth happens outside of the comfort zone.
Being more physically capable than you once were is certainly an awesome feeling. Building strength instills a certain breed of confidence that is pretty hard to replicate. While your body does not define who you are as person, challenging your physical limits, whatever they may be, often translates into a propensity for challenging your limits outside the gym.
Physique change, at it’s root, is often more about confidence than the muscle to fat ratio. Getting stronger is an amazing way to build confidence. People carry themselves differently after lifting 100 lbs for the first time. It’s not just about teaching your body to get stronger though. It’s also about teaching your brain that perceived limitations are sometimes just that: perceived. This is more important, in my opinion, than the physical benefits of strength training. Being able to move furniture and eat an unfathomable amount of pickles unassisted is just an added bonus.
Want to learn to pick up heavy things and then put them down? Unsure of how to get started and train safely? I’m currently accepting clients in Oakland and would love to help! If interested, check out my website and apply for a complimentary consultation at http://mortontrainingsystems.com