Thursday, March 27, 2014

Ladies: Strength Training Will Not Make You Bulky

Women tend to shy away from weight lifting for fear they’ll look bulky, adding to their overall size - a size they are trying to reduce. This misconception is unfortunate; strength training gets a bad rap when it’s exceptionally beneficial for weight loss.

When you eat at a calorie deficit, you lose weight. We know that much. Unfortunately, some of what the body replaces calories for fuel, other than fat, is muscle. You lose muscle as well as fat, resulting in a weight loss on the scale, but your body fat percentage is higher (or the same) because of it.

Strength training tells your body, “okay, we’re using these muscles, so don’t get rid of them when you burn fuel.” Your body will burn more fat than muscle that way, and you can keep your muscles.

You’ve probably heard that muscle weighs more than fat. A pound of muscle and a pound of fat weigh the same, of course, but muscle takes up a lot less space per pound than fat does. Here’s a picture to demonstrate this, thanks to (

The woman in the picture weighs more in each subsequent picture, but is smaller and leaner looking because she strength trains.

This is a great reminder that the scale isn’t the final authority. Measure your body fat percentage, and definitely measure your body in inches (and clothing sizes)! If your scale weight stays the same for a long time, make sure you’re paying extra attention to your size and body fat percentage. I’ll discuss plateaus in the future.

The other great reason to strength train is that it increases your metabolism. That is to say, you burn more calories just sitting around if you build muscle. Just to exist your muscles burn calories throughout the day. Going for a run is great and an awesome way to burn calories when you’re running, but when you stop running, you stop burning calories. When you lift weights, you are still burning calories for the rest of the day because the muscle fibers are healing.

So don’t shy away from it. Lift as heavy as you safely can, two days per week at least. Definitely remember to give your muscles a day in between workouts to heal - the healing is when they’re being built.

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