In our continuing series on weightlifting for women, let’s today talk about

Fears Women Have About Lifting Free-Weights

This is Part 4 of 4 in the series.

pic:  women look good with muscle

Fears women have of getting bulky from lifting weights are unfounded

Click here for part 1, part 2, or part 3.

“I Don’t Want To Get Bulky!”

Way too many women are worried about “getting bulky”.

Holy Cow, you’d think that merely looking at free-weights would turn a woman into a she-man!  The biggest myth aside from the “muscle tone” myth is that women will get bulky from lifting weights.

Let me say this to those of you women thinking this:  unless you are a genetic oddity, meaning like 1 in 1000 or rarer, you are not going to get bulky from lifting free weights.

Last time we talked about ideal workouts for women.  Will they make women bulky?

Many men – who have far more natural growth (anabolic) hormones like testosterone – do everything they can to TRY to get bulky, and they can’t even do it!  Do you really think that with your higher levels of catabolic hormones and lower levels of anabolic hormones you are going to become muscle-bound?  No way.

And what is “bulky” anyway?  I guess some women might be afraid that any muscular definition starts to look “bulky” but that comes down to tastes I guess.  I don’t really follow Hollywood or the music industry but it seems to me that there are beautiful women who are trim with nice muscle definition, and also beautiful women who are thin with little muscle and rounded/softer women who are considered beautiful.

Most polls of guys’ preference comparing “thin female models” to “athletic looking women” show the athletic look beating the thin look by a healthy margin.  Poll after poll shows that men don’t like stick-thin women.  And you don’t get to look like the woman in the photo on the right without lifting some serious weights.

So if you think being able to see some muscle definition is “bulky” then you have a misguided impression of beauty.

“I’m Afraid Of The Atmosphere In The Weight Room”

Another perception preventing women from lifting weights, and thus making the mistake of resorting to machines, is the assumed atmosphere in the weight room.

You know, where guys are supposedly only doing two things:

a)      Grunting really loudly to show off how massively strong they are, which would be intimidating

b)     Waiting around for some hot woman (or even not-so-hot) that they can ogle and hit on, which would be both intimidating and annoying

Idiots are everywhere.  You can’t limit your health and fitness because you want to avoid idiots. And the “problem” is really not likely to be as bad as you think.  After spending 20 yrs in various gyms across the country:

  • Very few guys grunt that loud (and usually they are the fattest [strong, but fat] so their grunts are not intimidating – they are laughable).
  • Most of the serious lifters are focused on their workouts and aren’t going to waste their time hitting on you; in fact, that kind of thing happens more in the machine room than the weight room.  Most guys (believe it or not) are smart enough to not let the presence of a woman distract them from the fact that they have 200+ pounds of metal over their chest.
  • Guys are impressed by women who lift free weights.  A switch flips in their heads that makes those women more “colleagues” than “sex objects”.  This doesn’t mean you are less attractive in the physical sense – it’s just that it activates a different part of the male brain and so they aren’t thinking vulgar thoughts anymore.  And the out of shape guys?  They’ll be afraid you’ll kick their butt if you catch them staring!

If you are really worried about being ogled, here are a few pointers:

  • Go with a guy – a brother, friend, boyfriend, whatever.  If you are with a guy as your training partner, you’ll be totally fine.
  • Don’t wear tight-fitting clothes (not a good idea anyway as that can restrict your movements).
  • Think about your positioning when doing certain exercises.  I don’t want to get graphic here, but facing one direction or another when doing some exercises will attract less attention.

To Summarize

So in Part 1, we covered the premise that your goals, not your gender, are what drive your workouts.   In Part 2 we eliminated the concept that high rep, low weight workouts burn fat or build a great physique for women.  In Part 3 we got into the meat of what most women should and shouldn’t do in the gym compared to men.  And finally, today we talked about some of the misconceptions women have about weight lifting in general.

I’d love to hear more about what you thought of this series!

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