Contrary to the popular myth, women do not get bigger and bulkier when they start lifting weights. What weightlifting can do for you is make you stronger, help you lose body fat, and get that toned appearance that is so desirable. While weight lifting will not give you the bulk of the Hulk, there are numerous health benefits to pumping iron. So, if you have yet to start doing reps with weights, you should consider making it a part of your workout routine.
Women and Weight Lifting
Women do not bulk up in the same way as men because they have different hormone profiles. Men have more testosterone than women, and testosterone promotes muscle growth. Therefore, it is much more difficult for women to gain muscle. However, as a woman, you can still get that toned look from performing sets with reps at maximum capacity. Keep going until you are literally unable to perform another set for weight lifting to be truly effective. To tone up, you also need to perform regular cardio exercises and have a clean diet.
Consider Taking Pre-workout Supplements
If you do want to add extra bulk to your body, it is best to change your diet in accordance with your regular workout routine. You can also take supplements to help you bulk up. Whether you want to become bigger or not, you should consider taking pre-workout supplements anyway. Ones that contain branched-chain amino acids are especially good for creating new muscle tissue. If you are new to taking supplements before you exercise, you should compare different ones. Start by checking out this list of the best pre workouts for women.
The Right Diet
When you are weight lifting to gain muscle and improve your overall health, your diet is crucial. Do not underestimate how much your diet matters. At the end of the day, the more calories you digest without burning them off, the more fat you will put on. So, eat healthily and use a calorie counter to make sure you are eating and burning the right number of calories each day. You should eat few processed foods and regularly have healthy sources of lean protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, and healthy fats. Protein can be found in foods like non-fat Greek yogurt, fish, eggs, and turkey. Complex carbs are mostly found in leafy green vegetables. Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, and some cereals. As for healthy fats, you can get them from things like olive oil, fatty fish, nuts, and seeds.
How to Build Muscle
While you will not be able to bulk up in the same way as men, you can build more muscle by going the extra mile. If you want to gain more muscle, you need to lift heavy and often. Your muscles need a challenge if they are to grow, so you need to progressively load your lifts more on a regular basis. When your muscles face bigger demands, they are encouraged to grow more. To add more muscle mass, you need to lift until you reach fatigue, as previously mentioned, and lift in the correct rep range. That should be between eight to fifteen reps per set. As you become stronger, you will need to push yourself more by introducing techniques like drop sets, pyramid sets, and supersets into your routine. As for frequency, the more time you spend lifting weights, the more muscle growth you will gain. However, when you become very strong and muscular, frequency has less of an impact on muscle growth.
The Benefits of Lifting Weights
Lifting weights cannot only help you to gain muscle mass and become stronger. Weight lifting has many other health benefits too. For instance, it can:
- Improve your mobility and flexibility.
- Help you to lose weight.
- Improve your bone density, which helps prevent diseases like osteoporosis.
- Improve your body composition, in terms of increasing your lean mass and reducing your fat mass.
- Reduce your risk of getting certain chronic diseases.
- Make you feel confident and empowered.
- Help with mental health issues like depression.
Lifting weights doesn’t have to be a men only sport. Women are equally capable too.