But, will it make me bulk up?

female bodybuilder

One of the concerns I hear most often from new female clients is that doing resistance training will make them ‘bulk up’ too much. Thankfully, this is nothing to worry about for the reasons described below. However, what resistance training will do, is help you burn unwanted body fat.

World-renowned strength and conditioning coach, Charles Poliquin explains why women should not be afraid of doing resistance training and gaining some muscle mass:

Not enough testosterone

Women have 15 to 20 times less testosterone than men. This means that they don’t get the same post-workout testosterone boost that men get, making ‘bulking up’ almost impossible (and very easy to reverse as muscle is so costly to maintain).

Elevated Growth Hormone

When women do hard resistance training their levels of Growth Hormone become elevated. This helps muscle building to some extent but has a much bigger impact on burning fat. And it’s losing the fat around the muscles that gives you a ‘toned’ look.

Muscle takes up less space than fat

5 kilos of muscle takes up around half the space of 5 kilos of fat. So when you’re shedding fat, and building some muscle, even though you may weigh the same, you will look a lot leaner and slimmer.

Sufficient resistance is required to build fat-burning muscle

Performing a ton of of high reps with 2kg dumbbells will not give you toned muscles. In fact, you may even lose the little muscle you already have. Light weight training (an oxymoron, as Mike Boyle says) with high reps is a type of aerobic exercise and it may raise cortisol, the stress hormone which actually encourages you to store fat.

10 more reasons women should do resistance training and build some muscle:

1. You’ll have less body fat
2. You’ll look better in clothes…and without them
3. You’ll have a healthier baby and a leaner pregnancy
4. You’ll have less disease risk: cancer, diabetes, etc.
5. You’ll have better posture
6. You’ll have better balance and flexibility
7. You’ll have a better mental outlook
8. You’ll have a stronger immune system
9. You’ll age better
10. You’ll live longer