Want to look good in a bikini? Then start hitting the weights ladies! Above is Stephanie Check competing in her very first NPC Bikini competition. Here she is roughly 105 lbs and trust me…she didn’t get there by doing a bunch of cardiovascular training. She was hitting the weights HARD and HEAVY throughout her entire prep and never did she get big or “bulky” muscles.
One of the most common exercise myths that I come across regularly is that women should avoid lifting “heavy” weights so they don’t get “bulky” muscles. In reality, it’s physiologically impossible for a woman to build large bulky muscles no matter how hard she hits the weights at the gym.
Of course there are certain weight lifting manners and techniques that are more conducive to “bulking up”; however, it all comes down to sex hormones. Men are able to put on bulky muscle mass for one reason only – the male sex hormone- testosterone. Testosterone promotes protein synthesis and increases red blood cell production, which has an anabolic effect on muscle mass and bone density. Women produce very little testosterone and primarily produce the female sex hormone, estrogen. Unfortunately, estrogen is responsible for many unwanted effects on the body such as higher body fat, increased cortisol levels, and fluid retention, as well as decreased muscle mass and bone density; however, by lifting weights women can combat all of these negative side effects that they experience from estrogen.
Weight lifting places stress on your skeletal muscle, tendons, ligaments and bones. Over time, your muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones adapt to this stress to better handle it in the future. One way the body adapts to the stress caused by lifting weights is by reducing estrogen levels and increasing testosterone levels – this is true for both men and women. This does not mean that women will produce testosterone and build big muscles like a man. This simply means that women will experience a small reduction of estrogen and a small increase of testosterone, which results in an increase in: bone density, red blood cell production and metabolism, as well as a decrease in body fat and fluid retention.
Women who lift weights also have a reduced risk for developing heart disease and osteoporosis, which are the top two afflictions women suffer from in the United States today. Every woman can benefit from the health advantages received from regularly engaging in weight training. Just 45-60 minutes of weight training two days per week will greatly increase your physical fitness and decrease your risk for many diseases and disorders.
So to all the females out there who workout regularly…don’t be afraid to lift “heavy” weights for your ability! It’s not going to make you “bulky” and muscular! If it were that easy to get big and muscular I’d be an IFBB Pro Bodybuilder!