Saturday, February 14, 2015

Back to Fitness Basics: Empowering Women to Live Fit

How familiar does this line sound? “If women lift weights, they will get bulky like a man.” What if I were to inform you that this belief is incorrect? Truth is, women do have small amounts of testosterone, but not near as much as men do. So “bulking up like a man” is actually impossible. For a large number of women, the idea of lifting weights is intimidating due to the obvious common misconception that resistance training will add bulk to the female body. Today we will discuss why using resistance exercises may help to empower women to live fit.

A large number of times, when I start a training program with my female clients, they ask me to help them “tone up”. What exactly does this mean? A common misconception is that lifting low weights with high reps will help to “tone up” the female body. “Neither lightweight nor aerobic endurance training is effective for stimulating the muscle fibers responsible for growth and definition. The most effective way to create muscle growth and definition is to activate type II (fast twitch) muscle fibers using heavy weight or explosive movements.”1 These types of lifting exercises will consist of heavy resistance that you can do 8-12 repetitions for 3 sets, as an example. Emphasis also needs to be placed on exercise technique, but that topic will be covered in a later ”Back to Fitness Basics” blog. The main point in this, is to not be afraid to lift with heavy resistance, because it will result in the lean fit muscle tissue that you want.

As you start to lift more with resistance exercises, plus an addition of more protein content in your diet, you will naturally develop more lean muscle mass. The true beauty in building muscle is that more calories will be burned outside of the gym than on a treadmill due to the increased muscle mass. “Muscle gives your body its strength, shape and definition. It's also very metabolic, since each pound of muscle can burn up to 50 calories per day. The more muscle you have on your body, the more calories you burn 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In this way, adding muscle to your body through resistance training helps you to become a higher-calorie-burning individual. This helps you lose weight that is fat without sacrificing muscle gain.”2.

Working out and being physically active can help to sculpt the body as well as the self esteem. Don’t ever be afraid to take part in resistance training. With time and dedication, exercise can help to empower more females to live fit in the future. If however, you are still unsure of how to lift properly, I would highly suggest purchasing the services of a certified personal trainer.

1. 4 Myths about Strength Training for Women. (n.d.). Retrieved February 9, 2015, from

2. Muscle Gain & Weight Loss. (2014, February 4). Retrieved February 10, 2015, from


  1. I'm not sure how many times I myself used to say "I don't want to be bulky from weight training". I've always been one for high cardio training and little weight training until the past year. I've seen more results through weight training than I have ever seen before, like you said in your article. What could Tarleton do to make females more aware of the dilemma? I feel like many girls aren't educated enough to begin weight training on their own. I would be interested in seeing someone at the rec that offers clinics for females to show them how/the benefits of proper weight training.

  2. Good comments, more women need to realize it is okay to lift weights and do higher intensity workouts.