I love great muscles on ladies. I appreciate how they look, what they are capable of, and how hard that woman has worked to get them.
I can also appreciate the genuine concern that comes when women are considering strength training. Ladies don’t want to look like men. If you are scared of this as well, read on for some info on “bulking up.”
First, what does your muscle do for you?
• Muscle is the only way you move yourself. Its condition determines your movement options.
• Your muscle is the primary engine that burns calories and allows you to control body fat.
• Your muscles are what provide “firmness” to your body.
• Your muscles, coupled with your hormones, determine your metabolic rate. Improve your muscle and you improve your metabolism.
Hopefully you can see that your muscle is more precious than gold, and that having more of it could be very beneficial. Let’s address the factors that influence how your muscles grow in response to exercise and see if you are at risk of “bulking up.”
First, testosterone is the hormone that grows muscles. While both men and women have natural levels of testosterone occurring in their bodies, men have greater testosterone levels (that’s what makes them men) and therefore have a greater potential to grow bigger muscles. Ladies, you can’t grow man muscles without man testosterone levels. Feminine hormones develop feminine, firm, strong, pretty muscles appropriate for women.
Now, genetics can mess with the above rule a little. Yes, some women have a tendency to develop muscle faster than other women. Thank your mom for this, since you can usually look at the women in your family and predict how your body is going to respond to strength training. (Unless they are over-fat, then it’s hard to tell.) Even with this, you are unique and still won’t know exactly how your body will respond until you test it out and measure what happens. I’ve seen people do amazing things with crappy genetics, so don’t surrender due to an unknown variable.
Your potential to grow muscle is decreasing by the day. According to the Mayo Clinic, the average woman loses 1 pound of her muscle every 2 years after of the age of 35. However, this statistic is not true for women who strength train. Not only will a woman keep her muscle if she strength trains, but she can improve her muscles before age 35 and for years after. So, regardless of your age or condition, strength training is essential to improving and preserving your muscles. Use it or lose it, ladies.
Hopefully at this point, you can see that as a woman, your chance of “bulking up” or looking like a man just isn’t going to happen. With this in mind, please push your muscles hard because your intensity is the factor that will determine your personal results. Take advantage of the phase of life you are in right now to improve your body as much as you can. You will love your new muscle, and the strength, shape, energy, and extra calorie burn that comes with it.
Mark Moreland is the owner of Body Outfitters Personal Training Studio in Zionsville and has 13 years of experience as a personal trainer. Mark welcomes your comments and ideas for future topics. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.