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Weight Training without the Bulk: A Woman’s Guide

When we think weights, muscle and bulk are usually what come to mind. For most men, this is what gives weights their appeal. It’s also why you’ll find the weight section of the gym flooded with men. Muscle and bulk, however, are usually not on a woman’s list of fitness goals, which is why that same weight section is only lightly sprinkled with women. Studies show, however, that the correlation between weightlifting, women, and bulkiness, is a myth. Women should, in fact, incorporate weights into their workouts, as they are an essential factor in losing weight. You can pick up those weights without the fear of looking like fitness magazine bodybuilders – and get beautiful, bulk-free arms and legs. Here’s how:

Combine your weight training with other exercises. Weights focus on the muscle, while cardio helps burn fat and lose weight. Thus, the combination of the two will cancel out the ‘bulking’ and muscle building process. Exercises such as yoga, Pilates, Zumba, and barre classes will certainly increase your flexibility and improve your posture – making you feel leaner and longer. Weights, on the other hand, don’t just give the illusion of lengthening your muscles. They actually, truly do make them longer. And what does that mean? Using weights along with the aforementioned exercises will definitely give you the long, beautiful body you want.

Don’t go overboard. The more you use your muscle and challenge it, the stronger it will get. Thus, the more you work out, the more muscle definition you’ll see. Focus on different muscle groups each time you’re at the gym every week. If you worked on your arms and shoulders yesterday, focus on your legs today. Women generally don’t naturally produce enough testosterone to develop massive muscles, so a varied weightlifting routine without overtraining will give you the strength and muscle tone without the size.

Maintain or decrease your caloric intake. Diet is crucial for managing how your body develops through weight training. Your body needs calories to develop muscle, so those looking to increase muscle mass should combine weight training with an increase in caloric intake. Maintaining your current calorie intake will allow you to gain strength without becoming larger.

Don’t be afraid of weights over 5 pounds. A huge weight misconception is that using heavier weights will make your muscles look too big. The truth is that weight size doesn’t make a difference. That said, don’t simply dive right into using heavier weights and instead, slowly ease them into your workout. As you feel your body getting stronger, start increasing your weights. You’ll notice that your body will begin to get used to your routine (weight size included), and when that happens, change stops. Gradually increase your weights to prevent this from happening.