Thank you Claudia for having me on your blog. I can not wait to share my thoughts and information about lifting with your readers.
My favorite (and probably most used) “hashtag” on Instagram is by far #girlswholift . When you search this item, you are shown an overwhelming amount of inspirational pictures and quotes from females who partake in what is typically associated with a MAN’S sport…
Now, why exactly is this? Why are women given strange looks when they tell others that they prefer the weight room as opposed to the cardio machines at a gym? Is there a reason most females shy away from ever picking up a dumbbell that is heavier than 5 or 10lbs?
Today, we know that women are just as capable as men.
Beginning centuries ago, women have suffered demeaning connotations with their gender. Girls are too weak, dumb, or unable to do anything more than house work, raise children, and please the men in their lives.
Now, lets take a big sigh of relief because THANKFULLY, our modern society has (mostly) jumped on board with the truth that women can do anything a man can.
So if suppression is no longer the issue, what is?
To start, there are a plethora of myths surrounding weight lifting, along with an abundance of females who are misinformed or simply do not know much about working out. I would like to begin with DEBUNKING a few of those myths, so we can get right into the juicy stuff.
MYTH 1: GIRLS WHO LIFT WILL GET “BULKY”
Oh, boy. If I had a dollar each time I heard this one, I would be rich.
First, how many woman have you actually seen who look “bulky,” as described? Probably not many. In fact, the pictures that circulate through the hands of women who share this fear are probably images of athletes who are the elite, such as competitors in Ms Olympia. The average Joe -or in this case, Joetta- who lifts weights for strength, health, and a “toned” look (we will get to that later) will absolutely NOT LOOK LIKE A PROFESSIONAL BODYBUILDER.
You will not look like Ms. Olympia unless you train, eat, and supplement like her. This is a highly unattainable goal for the majority of the lifting population.
I once saw a quote that said something like this:
Not lifting weights because you want to avoid “bulking up” is like saying to not drive your car because you don’t want to become a Nascar driver.
Yeah. The probability of a natural female lifter to ever develop muscles like a man is slim to none. This is because without the use of supplements or steroids, women do not have enough testosterone to build muscle like a man.
There are two main types of hormones that distinguish a man from a women. Men have a surplus of testosterone, which among other attributes allows them to have more body hair, a deeper voice, and bigger muscles than a girl. Females are estrogen dominant, meaning that they develop breasts, a menstrual cycle, ext.
Testosterone allows men to become bigger, faster, and stronger than women over a lifetime. It is easier for males to build muscle because of this hormone. That being said, WOMEN HAVE ONLY 5-10% OF THE AMOUNT OF TESTOSTERONE AS MEN. It can take years for a man to build significant muscle… so imagine how long it would take a women!
Bottom line, you will in no way became manly, big, or bulky by lifting weights as a girl.
MYTH 2: ” I JUST WANT TO TONE UP”
This too is another saying that is entirely inaccurate.
There is in fact no such thing as “toning.” It is simply a popular term coined by so called fitness “professionals” usually trying to get you to purchase a miracle working meal or workout plan.
No, you do not want to “tone up.” That sleek, slender look you are looking for is actually attained by building MUSCLE and losing FAT.
Body fat is usually the enemy in unveiling a tight and “toned” image. Fat sits on top of muscles, hiding them and inevitably making someone look “bigger.”
Unless you are very genetically gifted, you will not attain this look without adding muscle and losing fat. Even Victoria Secret models work out!
Ever wonder why doing 100 situps a day does not give you a six pack? It is because of the fat sitting on top of your abs. You very well could have a six pack, but unless you shed the layer on top or your muscle, it will never be seen.
However, the same goes the other way. You can be SUPER low in body fat, yet have no muscle mass and will therefor not have the desired body that is associated with the word “toned.” By losing body fat and gaining a bit of muscle, you will accomplish your body image goal.
MYTH 3 : “SPOT REDUCING”
In relation to what I previously mentioned about situps, there is no way to spot reduce fat in a specific area of your body.
Fat loss is highly individual and varies mainly due to genetics. Some people naturally carry more fat around their midsection, or their thighs. People also lose fat in places at a faster manner than others (for instance, many women will lose fat in their breasts before they ever see their tummies shrink.)
HOWEVER, there IS such a thing as spot-targeted training, for lack of a better phrase. In other words, you can NOT decide where your body will lose fat at first, second, or even last. You CAN choose specific areas to work you body in order to strengthen and grow a muscle, such as doing back squats to target legs, push ups to target chest, ext.
MYTH 4 : I WILL BE LAUGHED AT THE IN THE GYM
I know this is a huge fear for many gym goers, and for some, a reality. However, for 99% of those who go to the gym for ANY reason… I promise, this is ENTIRELY a myth.
We have all been there! Don’t worry, soon enough you will feel right at home in your gym.
Yes, some gyms have a group or two that come daily, are loud and obnoxious, and think they look hot. But even these groups don’t mess with anyone in the gym. They are simply there being loud and proud amongst each other.
I can assure you, as long as you are in the gym you will NOT be judged. People are not looking at you in a weird way and thinking, “Why are they here?”
No… as a daily gym goer, I can promise that anyone who is truly dedicated to a fitness lifestyle admires and respects ALL newcomers.
I remember when I first started lifting weights. I had an idea of what to do, but the weights and machines scared me. There is a specific time that is still in my memory: I was trying to do the lat pulldown, and I saw a big, buff guy eyeing me. I felt very embarrassed and upset, but he came up to me with a huge smile and a warm heart. He asked if I was new, and if I needed some help. Graciously I accepted his offer, and quickly realized everyone was at the gym to HELP one another and not tear anyone down.
(Disclaimer! I won’t lie and say that being a girl who lifts is ALWAYS accepted. Some people don’t understand weight lifting or still think it is a ‘man’s business.” Also, many people are misinformed about the true benefits of women lifting weights and might try to tear you down. If this happens, don’t worry… all of us are bound to experience it at some point. Other than these few encounters, most fellow trainees are totally supportive and will think you are awesome.)
Here are some key things to take away from this post!
- You will NOT look like a man from lifting weights. It is almost biologically impossible.
- If you want a “toned” look, you need to build muscle. Which means you need to utilize weight training.
- You can not target one area of your body to lose fat. You must accept that fat loss takes time and effort, and you will see results in the long run.
- Don’t worry about being judged at the gym! People are inspired by your effort. They are not laughing.
Stay tuned for Part 2: Reasons Why Lifting Weights is Awesome