Weightlifting for Females
The most popular question I get in e-mails from females (hey, that rhymed) is about weightlifting. They tell me how they don’t want big muscles. They don’t want to get big and bulky like a guy or like a big female bodybuilder. They just want to be slim with a flat stomach and defined muscles in their arms, shoulders, back, legs etc., they don’t want to be huge or anything crazy like that! So, they then tell me that to avoid getting big and bulky like a guy, they workout with lighter weights for higher reps. They say that this will stop them from becoming a huge manly looking bodybuilder. Well, to put it simply… that is 100% complete and total nonsense!
Some women use this light weight with high reps approach to stop them from getting too big and bulky, and some don’t even workout with weights at all for fear of becoming huge like a guy. Lots of women seem to fear weightlifting. They are scared that they may one day wake up and look huge and bulky with big muscles like a guy or one of those huge freaky female bodybuilders. Well ladies… have no fear! What I am about to explain is how you can and SHOULD do weightlifting, and how it doesn’t matter if you use lighter weight with higher reps, heavy weights with less reps, machines or free weights, or any type of weightlifting there is… you will NEVER EVER get big and bulky like a guy or a freaky looking female bodybuilder.
Here’s the magic secret word… Testosterone. Say it with me… Testosterone. This is the magic ingredient that allows guys to get huge, and stops women from getting huge. The way it works is like this. Men have lots of testosterone. Because of this fact, we can get “huge” and “big and bulky” and whatever other fancy words you want to use. We can get big muscles. We men can get big and bulky looking, the way that most of you ladies don’t want to get. On the other hand, you females don’t have anywhere near the amount of testosterone that us guys have. Because of this fact, you can not get big and bulky like a guy. You will not wake up one day and look like a huge bodybuilder. You can workout just like a guy, with big heavy free weights with low reps, and do big manly exercises like the bench press and military press and squats and deadlifts and any other exercise there is… and you can workout like this for years and years and years, but, because of that whole testosterone thing we just talked about, you will never get that “big bulky huge muscles manly guy” look that you are afraid of getting. It just can’t happen. Don’t get me wrong, you ladies certainly can increase muscle just fine. However, no matter how hard you try, your bodies just can’t get as big and muscular as many ladies are scared of getting.
Wait! I’m going to read your minds now. You are thinking, what about those female bodybuilders? Or even some female wrestlers and other female athletes. You know, those freaky looking women who look big like a guy. The ones who if they weren’t wearing a bikini top, you wouldn’t be able to tell if they were male or female. Well, just like I said above… you females can’t get that big because you don’t have enough testosterone. However, these “freaky” females you’re thinking of, use steroids and God knows what else to increase their testosterone levels so that they can get big and bulky like a guy! I’m not making this stuff up! They all have, at one point in their lives, used steroids or a drug of some kind to increase their testosterone levels, therefore allowing them to get so big.
So ladies, unless you are planning on taking steroids any time soon, you have NOTHING to worry about. You can workout however you want, use free weights all night long, use heavy weights that guys can’t even lift and lift them for low reps, you have nothing to fear. You have no need to be scared of weightlifting anymore.
Weight Loss Tips
The only way to lose weight is to consume fewer calories than the body expends. Athletes desiring weight loss, need to learn how to apply this concept, while maintaining the energy levels required for training. But, before a weight loss diet is attempted, the athlete should have a body fat analysis done to assess weight loss needs and set reasonable goals. Many athletes believe they need to lose weight because of a number on a scale. However, these athletes probably have a high proportion of muscle (which weighs more than fat) compared to fat, in which case weight loss may impair performance.
Weight loss should be done by reducing calories and increasing physical activity. Avoid fad and gimmick diets that promise quick or easy weight loss. Weight loss in these cases are usually due to water and muscle loss. Fad and gimmick diets may give a quick fix, but they can have adverse effects on performance and health.
Follow these tips for healthy weight loss:
1. A gradual weight loss of 1-2 pounds a week, allows for weight loss without irritability, fatigue, and weakness.
Creating a daily deficit of 500 calories is the most efficient way to create long-term weight loss. This can be done by reducing daily caloric intake by 500 calories, increasing physical activity by 500 calories, or by combining physical activity and caloric intake to create a 500-calorie deficit.
2. Choose a variety of foods from all of the food groups in the Food Guide Pyramid.
Don’t cut calories too low. This can slow metabolism and make it difficult to consume the necessary nutrients for performance and health.
3. Don’t skip meals.
Food intake at regular intervals, three or more times a day, is necessary to fuel the body. Also, waiting until you’re “starved” to eat can lead to binge eating.
4. Eat smaller food portions.
Decreasing your portion sizes will help cut caloric intake.
5. Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
In addition to water, plain ice tea and caffeine-free, artificially sweetened drinks can also help reduce daily caloric intake and help to keep you hydrated.
6. Eat slowly.
It takes time for the body to adjust to the food eaten and to send a satiety signal to the brain. Eating slowly helps prevent overeating by allowing time for this signal to take effect.
7. Calories from all the food and drink you swallow adds up.
Some foods provide more calories than others. Foods that are high in fat, generally are higher in calories. Choosing low-fat foods can aid in weight loss by reducing total calorie intake. Loading up on foods naturally high in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, and limiting high fat items like cheese, butter, oil, whole milk, red meat, and sweets will aid in these recommendations (see tips on low-fat eating and low-fat food items).
8. Don’t cut out all fat items.
Many athletes feel that fat intake is the culprit to unwanted weight gain. Although excess fat intake leads to weight gain, a certain amount of fat is necessary to maintain good health and performance.
9. Eat bigger meals earlier in the day, when activity is greatest, and smaller meals in the evening.
Eat meals and snacks throughout the day to maintain blood glucose and energy levels. During the evening, activity is usually minimal. As a result, a large meal will more likely be stored as fat. A moderate-size evening meal will help replace glycogen stores.
10. Eat your favorite foods regularly.
If you deny yourself your favorite high-fat foods, you are more likely to crave them and finally binge. Occasionally eating these foods can reduce cravings and binges. Remember, no food is taboo. Every food is okay in moderation.