Muscle Myth Debunked!
Ladies – hear me loud and clear – lifting heavy weights will not make you big and bulky. Let me say that one more time just to be clear – pushing heaving weight will absolutely not make you big and bulky. OK, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s discuss a few things about the body, muscle and what happens when we lift.
First, it may be important to understand basic body stuff. Testosterone is the essential hormone in gaining muscle mass. Normal testosterone levels in men are 200-1200 ng/dl while women only have a fraction of that, 15-70 ng/dl. It is virtually impossible for the female to gain the amount of muscle men do. If you’re wondering about the lady bodybuilders – bottom line, they are getting testosterone injections or steroids.
Now, down to the nitty-gritty… studies show that men and women do not need to train differently. So what happens when women start lifting heavy weights?
Let us determine what is the purpose of lifting weights: To lose weight? Be strong? Look fabulous? My guess, and my hope, is all three. While we all may want to look great in a size 4, let’s be honest with ourselves… not everyone is made to fit a size 4. Another big truth, skinny does not mean you are strong OR healthy. So let me ask you this question – how do you want to feel when you’re 60 and retired? Do you want to walk the monuments of Europe or would you rather see them from the window of a bus?
Now what happens when we start weight training? Your muscle is going to get stronger, which means it is getting larger… if it’s getting larger, it’s getting stronger… if it’s getting stronger, it is more tone. Goal achieved. But wait – you might ask, Jenn, “Didn’t you say that I wouldn’t bulk up if I lifted heavy weights?” Maybe we need to back track and define what “bulking up” refers too. That’s really only something you can define, however, there are a couple things I want you to keep in mind while working towards those gorgeous, defined, lean muscles you desire.
- First up: It’s important to understand that health, body composition and body feel is a process. You didn’t get where you are today overnight, so why should we expect to get the results we want overnight? Your body still has fat that it will need to get rid of – surface fat and visceral fat, hidden in the crevices like a good looking marbled steak. As your body is getting stronger, it will release the “surface” fat, while the visceral fat will be the last go. This also means that your legs or your arms or (name body part) may become “bigger” in the process of becoming smaller. Frustrating I know but I did say this was a process.
- Secondly: Define what “bulking up” means to you. Big is relative. If you want tone, sleek muscles remember that it’s nearly impossible to become a female version of Arnold Schwarzenegger and it’s important to be lifting weight that will actually create the toned look you desire.
OK, so we know that we want more muscle (if you’re still unsure, please contact me) to achieve a desired look and feel, not to mention a life full of mobility. Consistency is key friends, it is not one program or the novelty of a program that will make it happen. It takes work and a lot of it. I am sorry to say there are no permanent quick fixes. So, get that out of your mind… decide to put in the work and start lifting that weight!