‘The Reality’ is a series that focuses on the myths commonly surrounding fitness, for beginners and advanced fitness enthusiasts.
Strength training. The words spark a vivid image of lifting heavy weights to achieve growth in both muscle size and strength. However, when many women first begin their fitness journey by getting a gym membership, they are often wary of weights, be it machines or barbells.
Can women bulk up with Strength Training?
Strength training may involve anything between calisthenics, kettlebells and free weights. They offer the same benefits to men and women. It strengthens bones, muscles and helps you get stronger. But you might be afraid of ‘bulking up’ or looking too muscular, as do most men after strength training for some months.
This could not be further from the truth. Men are likely to build bigger muscles as they have 15 times more testosterone than women. So unless a woman decides to use steroids or stick to an intensive diet regime and exercise plan that is dedicated to building muscle mass, it is unlikely that she will ‘bulk up’. So unless your wish is to look like a bodybuilder, there is very little chance you will look too muscular. Besides, who says stronger muscles are just for men?
Benefits of Strength Training
Strength training helps in building stronger muscles and strengthens the bones. This helps in reducing the risk of diseases like osteoporosis and helps improve spinal health. Strength training also helps women achieve the toned look, and helps in building lean muscle which can allow you to eat a little more and still look fit. Even famous Bollywood actresses get in shape with resistance training, sometimes in combination with yoga and cardio.
To summarize, strength training will not make you look bulky unless that is the goal. Bruce Lee, the world famous martial artist lifted weights and managed to stay lean too. It boils down to a person’s goals whether they wish to gain muscle mass or strength. However, this does not apply to strength. Men and women have equal potential to build strength, when considering genetics, a good diet and exercise program. So avoid doing a lot of cardio to burn fat, as strength training combined with the former is sure to bring in results that will leave everyone stunned.