“I don’t want to do weight training because I don’t want to get big and bulky.”
I’m sure you’ve wondered about this yourself or heard someone rejecting weight training for this reason. Many brides-to-be take up running, spin class or the cross trainer to get in shape before their wedding while ignoring weight training in case it makes them “big and bulky.”
Where does this belief come from? When someone discloses this fear and I dig a little deeper I hear two main underlying reasons:
- “I know a girl who took up weights and she looks bigger than ever.”
- “I don’t want big muscles like a man.”
Here are 7 reasons why avoiding weight training is a mistake for Brides-to-be.
1.Weight Training is an extremely efficient way to burn calories.
Burning energy (calories) is very basic. To burn energy you have to do work. That work can come in many forms including running on a treadmill on a spin bike, swimming or, weight training.
You don’t have to be out of breath for an extended period of time to show that you’re burning energy. If you’re lifting heavy objects, your body is using energy. As you get stronger, you have the capacity to lift more weight and therefore do more work.
2. Weights aren’t the cause of a girl becoming big or bulky.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news and I don’t mean to harsh, but if your friend has started doing weights and she has since become “big and bulky,” guess what? It wasn’t the weights that made the difference. It was Calories In V Calories Out which has made the difference.
If your friend’s goal was to become slimmer yet she didn’t adjust her diet so that she was in a calorie deficit then your friend will become larger. This would happen whether your friend did weights or cardio or no training at all. When it comes to body composition, Calories In V Calories Out is King. The type of training you adopt is secondary.
So avoiding weight training because of an ill founded fear of becoming “big and bulk” is a big mistake.
3. Weight Training won’t make you look like a man.
I can assure you that weight training will NOT make your body more “manly.”
But what about female bodybuilders? What about the high level CrossFit girls?
Good question. The truth is many women who do weight training but end up looking what you consider to be “more manly” due to a number of possible reasons.
- Hormone manipulation (ie, Testosterone, Oestrogen suppressants) – These will dictate how much muscle the human body can build as a response to resistance training.
- Training Programming – Not all weight training programmes are the same. There are some exercises and training methods which will cause you to put on muscle in desirable areas producing toned legs, arms, and a firmer waist. However, if your weight training programme is designed in a way that emphasises areas which you aren’t keen to build such your upper back or shoulders, then this can happen as you get stronger.
- Goal – Not every lady has the same goal as you. Some women want bigger arms, shoulders or wider back and other features which you might consider to be “manly.” Others simply don’t care. They just want to get stronger and the shape of their body is simply a by product of their increases in strength.
I can assure you that sensible weight training programme will not cause you to turn in to Arnold Schwarzenegger. The reality is, building muscle is not easy. It takes time, effort and other conditions have to be just right for it to happen. Your sleep, nutrition, hydration, recovery are also massive factors. It’s not just about the weight training.
The other fact is, the female body simply doesn’t have enough testosterone to build significant amounts of meaningful muscle. So every millimetre of muscle you add will be hard fought for. The process of building muscle is even more difficult when you’re in a calorie deficit and almost impossible for anyone who has been lifting for longer than about 6 months.
4. Weight Training speeds up your metabolism.
Weight training produces a similar impact on your metabolism that HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) has. Typical weight training involves performing a desired number of repetitions for a few sets. Each set dramatically spikes your heart rate and then it gets a chance to drop in between during the rest periods.
This stimulates your metabolism for up to 36 hours later so that you burn calories at a higher rate while resting. Sounds good, right? If you’re focusing on going for long, steady runs for 30 minutes or an hour you might burn lots of calories while you’re moving, but the impact on your resting metabolism isn’t anywhere nearly as dramatic and so you’ll have to rely on going for longer runs more often if you’re trying to burn calories.
5. Weight Training enables you to TONE and SHAPE your body.
In order to tone and shape your body, you need to increase your muscle tissue which is below your outer layers of skin and fat tissue. Increasing your muscle tissue is what gives your body shape. If your nutrition is in check and you’re maintaining a calorie deficit, you can reduce your outer layer of fat and as the muscle tissue increases, (for beginners) it amplifies the toning effect.
6. You aren’t maximising the use of your time if you avoid weight training.
In order to change your body as effectively as possible, you need to make the best use of your time. Your body can only do a maximum amount of work and it needs a minimum amount of rest time to recover before exercising again.
If you only do cardio and avoid weight training, you might see and feel some positive changes to your body, but you’re leaving a lot of progress on the table. In short, you’re wasting time if you avoid weight training.
7. Exclusively doing cardio is only beneficial for some people.
This isn’t intended to put you off doing cardio. Cardio is great for your mind and your body and it carries its own unique benefits which weight lifting cannot offer. However, if you’re trying to shape and tone your body but you’re concentrating exclusively on cardio you should be aware that it’s only going to offer significant beneifts if you already have significant muscle mass already developed underneath.
For example, if you have a previous background in sports or resistance training then doing cardio might be fine for you. However, if your muscle mass is relatively low and you’re hoping to tone and shape your body for your big day while avoiding weights, you’re going to find it much tougher.
Hopefully this clears up some of the myths regarding weight training for you. One of the most satisfying aspects of my job is teaching girls how to lift weights and then seeing them get stronger and lift heavier with amazing technique and filled with confidence and fearlessness.