Women + Weight Lifting (from a woman’s perspective)

Hey you guys! Actually you girls… Claira here making a guest post on the blog.

Since opening the gym, it’s surprising to me how many women are either too scared to lift weights in fear of the word “bulk,” or just don’t lift weights because they think they will “lose more fat by spending 30+ minutes on the treadmill.”

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not writing you being all hypocritical and telling you never to do cardio. It is a good way to burn a few extra calories per day. I do cardio, and I enjoy it, but that is the key word: I enjoy it. I do cardio BECAUSE I enjoy it. I don’t do cardio for any added fat loss or because it is the magical ingredient to losing a muffin top.  I do it to help my heart be healthy. I do it so when I feel like going on a 3 mile hike that is up hill both ways I’ll be able to do that without dying (Chaz does no cardio and he’s gasping for air on hikes haha). I do it because I have nieces and nephews that are a lot faster than me and I want to do my best to keep up with them.  Those are reasons why I do 2-3, 10 minute HIIT sessions per week. Never steady state cardio, HIIT cardio. And 95% of the time I will never go over 10 minutes.

Now let’s talk about lifting weights, and not just any weights, heavy weights. Building awesome, beautiful muscle, type of lifting weights. I’m going to make it pretty simple and just give you a bulleted list with some explanations. There will be another blog following this one because there is too much to say about this topic in one sitting. But let’s see if I can change some of your minds a bit about lifting.

  • Lifting Weights is for Building Muscle

When most women think of lifting weights, the first word that pops into their head is “tone.” Welp. I’m about to crush all your dreams. The word tone isn’t a real word. The word actually derives from the word “tonus” and means: the firmness of any given muscle when you aren’t deliberately flexing it. Tonus does improve when you lift, but you can’t actually see it improve. What you are seeing improve IF you lift heavy enough weight is the size of your muscle.

So when you’re lifting weights, you want to be lifting hard enough that you can actually build muscle! Build up that beautiful muscle that is under your skin, if you don’t, no matter how much fat you lose, there will be nothing underneath to give you that “toned” look you are all searching for. If your muscles don’t grow, they won’t look any better than they do now, and the only way for them to grow is by lifting heavy things. “With or without excess fat, your body simply will not look healthy and fit without well-trained muscle tissue.” (-Lou Schuler)

  • Women + “Bulk” = Myth

Couple quick facts: Did you know it is nearly impossible (if you aren’t on steroids) to grow more than a half a pound of muscle every 4-6 weeks, IF you are a male? Did you know men can grow muscle almost twice as fast as women? Did you know they can accomplish this because men have a hormone that does that for them and women have much, much less of this hormone? (I’m talking about testosterone.)  So. Let’s put this “bulky” word into perspective between men and women.

Chaz is a 24 year old male. In his prime of testosterone production and muscle building capabilities. He has been lifting hard, and heavy weights while in a HUGE bulk for the last year now, trying his hardest and doing everything he can, aside from taking muscle enhancing drugs, to put on muscle. In that time frame, he’s probably put on about 7-10 pounds of muscle. In a year! Of eating 3600 calories a day in his bulk! You women are barely eating half that! So for all of you out there who think you can walk into the gym, lift up one 10 pound weight and believe with your whole heart that those 10 pounds somehow surge from the weight, through your hand, and straight into your muscles… I’m sorry to be the one to tell you, but, you’re super wrong. And if you ever find out how to make that occur I’m sure Chaz will be super interested to know how you accomplished it…

So long story short, you will not, you CANNOT, get bulky. Your body simply won’t allow it.

  • Lift Heavy. Build Muscle.

So now that we know we need to grow our muscle, how do we do it? I can tell ya this, lifting those little purple dumbbells 15 times and calling it a day is not going to increase your muscle size.  The best method that we have found, is doing a mixture of heavy lifts; as heavy as you can for 4-6 reps, and moderate-heavy lifts; lifts you can do for 10-15 reps. But there are two keys here: 1. Push yourself in every lift, every day. 2. Mix up your weight limits, your reps, your sets, etc. Keep it interesting and keep your body guessing.

Okay, I think that’s enough for today…   I hope you’ve gained some knowledge on the fact that building muscle is the key to that dream body you’ve been longing for.  That muscle growth is actually that “toned” look every woman talks about.

Part II

HAPPY LIFTING!