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Does lifting weights make women bulky?
If you avoid lifting weights because you are afraid training with weights will
give you bulky muscles, you might be surprised when you hear that it will not.
To obtain those "bulky" muscles, you literally have to spend hours in the gym.
The level of strength training required for general good health will not produce
bulk in women.
The hormone balance for men and women are not the same. Thus, it takes a lot of
effort to achieve the likes of a female bodybuilder. To reap the known health
benefits associated with strength training - such as increased metabolism,
decreased risk of osteoporosis, and improved mental health - it only takes about
30 minutes two to three times per week.
For general fitness and conditioning, you need to include one or two exercises
that focus on each of the major muscle groups. Keep the weight light to
moderate. The number of repetitions should range from 10 to 15 reps per
exercise. The number of sets performed depends on the amount of time you have to
spend. Research has shown that performing three sets opposed to one set does not
produce a significant benefit - at least not enough to warrant the extra time
spent performing the additional two sets.
If you are worried about weight gain as a side effect of weight training, you
should know that regularly incorporating strength training into your exercise
regimen will actually help you control your weight. True, you will likely gain a
few pounds after you begin strength training. However, it is important to keep
in mind that muscle is more dense than fat. This means that while muscle may
weigh more, it takes up less space.
As you lose fat and gain muscle, your weight may not decrease. This is why it is
so important not to focus on the scale. How do your clothes fit? A little
looser? How about your appearance? Do you feel a little more confident in how
you look? Then forget what the scale says. You will very likely drop a size or
two with little to no change in your weight.
Long term is where you will notice the real benefit of strength training for
weight control. With age you typically experience a decrease in the rate at
which your body uses calories (metabolic rate). By regularly incorporating
strength training, you offset the loss in muscle tissue that typically occurs in
the aging process. Ultimately, you avoid age-related weight gain when you
prevent muscle loss. Muscle tissue is metabolically active, unlike fat tissue.
This means that even at rest,
muscle tissue is burning calories.
Lastly, as you become stronger through weight training, you are likely to be
more active. You will feel better and have more energy. This alone will promote
a more active lifestyle. As a result you will spend less time sitting around -
this equals more calories burned.
The message to take out of this? Incorporating strength training exercises two
to three times per week will promote a healthy weight, not a bulky physique.
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