The “Bulky” Debate
By Marta Wein
Too often the phrase “I don’t want to lift weights because I just don’t want to get too bulky” is overheard in the gym. Sadly it comes from young girls and wise women alike. As someone who is in the gym often and overhears these conversations let me quickly put your worries to rest. As women it is VERY difficult to become ‘bulky’ from lifting weights. Instead weight training is very important for overall health and well-being. Proper resistance training increases metabolism (the amount of energy your body burns over a given time), gains and maintains good muscle tone and strength so that you are able to perform daily tasks easier, and ensures that you maintain good bone density throughout your life. Those are only a few of the benefits of strength training, and they are not just applicable to women. I challenge you to google “strength training benefits for women” and then come back to me with still adequate reasoning as to why women in particular shouldn’t lift weights.
Take heart that lifting weights and exercising frequently and intensely is more likely to make you lean rather than very muscular. Testosterone levels are naturally lower in women than in men and therefore it is very difficult for women to build muscle mass the same way that men do. Also keep in mind that having large amounts of muscle mass doesn’t automatically mean large amounts of strength. Having strong muscles will keep you healthier and fitter for longer. So, if interested in increasing your strength here are a few tips:
Learn the Fundamental Compound Exercises
– Squats, Deadlifts, Bench Press, Pull ups…although they may seem intimidating and complicated they are well worth the effort it takes to learn how to do them properly. Not only do they work more than one muscle group but they are the fundamental exercises upon which everything else is built.
Try new Workouts incorporating Body Weight Training and Free Weights
– These types of exercises in particular utilize more than one muscle at a time allowing you to get a total body workout that is more realistic to the work our body does on a daily basis. You will not only be working the larger muscles in the body but also all of the muscles that help to stabilize your body during activity (aka the core!).
Eat balanced meals
– Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats (this is not a bad word!) are all important in feeding your body and your newfound strength. Don’t skip a meal and make sure to fuel your body before AND after exercise.
So, if you are now convinced that you should give this lifting thing a try there are several ways that we can help. Here at Carleton Athletics we offer one-on-one Personal Training as well as High Performance Centre courses if you prefer to learn in a small group. Our friendly and qualified instructors are trainers are more than happy to work with you to reach your goals.
Now let’s get out there and do some lifting!