I get it, you want to get toned, but that one female bodybuilder with more muscle mass than your boyfriend turned you off on the whole “lifting” thing. Well, I and millions of other women around the world are living proof that lifting weights might just be exactly what you were missing in your life.
It is possible that the idea that lifting weights results in a “manly” look because it has been associated with masculinity in our society for decades. Also, it is possible that your mind has begun to change as you have scrolled through social media and seen handfuls of women who lift weights and do not look “manly” at all, but you’re still iffy about it.
It is pretty obvious that in order to look toned, there needs to be muscle growth
Body weight exercises are significantly important for beginners and will certainly bring about results, but there comes a point in which body weight will only take you so far. Your muscles will eventually need resistance (weight) to grow, giving you the toned appearance you desire. This is why every trainer should be informing their clients about progressive overload. (We have an article on this that you can read as well).
When discussing muscle growth, we also have to factor in nutrition
I’m sure you have heard the saying “abs are made in the kitchen”, which is true! Overall muscle growth also relies on food. Your protein and caloric intake will determine the growth of your muscles. The good news, this is something you are in complete control of. Protein will repair the muscle fibers you wear out during weight lifting, and will ultimately cause them to grow over time. A general rule of thumb is 1 gram per pound of body weight of protein.
The key point in this concept: over time
I have been lifting for just about three years now and I certainly do not look “manly”, nor are my muscles even where I desire them to be! I am still aiming for more growth about three years in. Muscle growth takes extreme consistency, patience, time, and a surplus of calories! In a nutshell, you are in control of your muscle growth based on your participation in progressive overload, consistency, and nutrition.
Reverting back to weight lifting alone, there are many different paths to take when training, and not all of them will result in gaining muscle mass. Just grabbing some dumbbells or hopping onto a cable machine three to four times a week won’t bring you closer to looking like the hulk. On the contrary, resistance training can actually result in less fat as more muscle aids in burning fat. As you increase activity in certain muscle groups, you will find yourself gazing at a more slim figure in the mirror – a common result of consistent resistance training.
It is rather normal to be hesitant about weight lifting as a woman, but in reality, there is little to worry about. It will take time and the continuation of resistance training for your muscles to show a significant difference in size. Caloric intake plays a major role in the rate in which your muscles grow, which is completely up to you and your goals.
Let go of your weight lifting worries and get excited to see the results you have always aimed for!