It’s amazing how often I hear women say that they don’t lift weights because they don’t want to bulk up or look like a man. Interestingly, it’s often from the same people who tell me that they like my physique. They always seem a bit surprised when I tell them that the body I have is the result of serious weight training and not running, putting in time on the elliptical machine or aerobics classes. Cardio certainly has an important place in the world of fitness. It’s a critical component of fat burning and heart health but as far as sculpting a pleasing physique, it’s not the only key. Think about it…as far as aesthetic pursuits go, the cardio bunnies are simply making smaller/thinner versions of themselves. Whatever their bodies look like naturally, they will continue to look the same after hundreds of miles of running or endless hours on the cardio machines…only less large. If their hips are big in comparison to their shoulders, that will still be the case when they are done. There’s nothing wrong with that but if creating a pleasing physique is the goal, it’s not quite enough.
Weight lifting allows you to truly sculpt your body…as a matter of fact, I don’t usually refer to myself as a bodybuilder or weight lifter. I say I’m a body sculptor. That’s the power and beauty of resistance training using progressive muscle overload. If you start out with little shoulders in proportion to your hips, you can make your shoulders wider so that your shoulder to hip size ratio is more appealing…it results in that nice V-taper that’s so pleasing to the eye. You can sculpt shapely legs and arms instead of just thin ones. A little curvy muscle is a much better look than skinny. You can see in my own before and after photos what I’m referring to.
If take a close look at my picture on the left, you’ll see what thin looks like. It’s not horrible but in my opinion the me after hitting the weight room consistently is a much better version. In the first photo, the width of my shoulders and hips is just about the same. My arms and legs lack any sort of curve or muscle definition…as a matter of fact, my elbow is the widest part of my arm. After lots of concerted effort in the gym, I was able to pack a bit of muscle on my shoulders which creates a much more pleasing, toned and still feminine appearance. How did I do it? By lifting weights. That’s right, heavy weights. I’m pretty sure the women who are worried about what’s going to happen to their bodies should they venture into the lifting area is that they’re going to end up looking something like these women.
I found these photographs of female bodybuilders on Google. Out of respect I cropped them so the women could not be identified. These bodybuilders put in an almost unimaginable amount of work to get their bodies to look like this. They dedicate their lives to lifting and eating to grow but they still would not be able to gain the mass to create this look unless they enhanced their results by chemical means. Ladies, this is not going to happen to you. I think women see pictures of female bodybuilders like these and get the idea that lifting makes you gain extraordinary amounts of muscle. I lift hard and heavy four days a week and I’ve been doing it for years (I started when I was 28, I’m 48 now). My lifting is specifically designed to help me gain and maintain muscle mass. Believe me, gaining muscle doesn’t happen by accident and it doesn’t come easily either. I’m purposeful and diligent in my pursuit and my results speak for themselves. I think you’ll agree….I don’t look much like a man.
Ladies, lifting won’t make you look like a man. It WILL make you tight. It WILL make you toned. It WILL give you that lovely curve of muscle and it WILL make you happy when you look in the mirror. See you in the weight room!