Women and Weight Training: Shaping Without Bulk
The image of the incredible muscle development of women bodybuilders, weight lifters, and throwers makes many average women shun weight training. Few women want to have tree trunk legs, bowling ball calves, or bulging biceps. These concerns are not Justified. In fact, intense weight train-ing helps lose fat, burn calories, and make muscles look firm, lean, fit, and sleek. Behemoth women strength athletes often get that way because they have more male hormones than normal or they take muscle-building drugs, such as anabolic steroids or growth hormone. Weight training will not build large muscles in most women. Infact, our experts at Exercise.com say it’s impossible!
Scientists began studying the effects of weight training in women more than 30 years ago. Every one of the studies showed that women do not build large muscles from weight training. Rather, they lose fat and gain only some muscle. Weight training makes women look smaller, firmer, and toned —not larger and bulkier. Muscle is denser tissue than fat When you lose fat and gain muscle, you lose bulk because dense muscle tissue takes up less space than less-dense fat.
Muscle stokes your metabolic furnace, helping you use more calories. Most studies show that women who weight-train while dieting maintains muscle mass and prevent the decrease in the metabolic rate that accompanies weight loss. Women who lose weight and either don’t exercise or do only aerobics look drawn and flabby became they lose muscle. Muscle is what makes you look healthy, toned, and fit.
Men have bigger muscles than women because men have higher levels of testosterone in the blood. Testosterone levels are more than 10 times higher in men than women. Young men (18 to about 90 years old) have between 400 and 1,000 nanograms of testosterone per 100 milliliters of blood, while women have 30 to 150 nanograms (10″ grams; very small units). Women produce another “male hormone called androstenedione that can be converted to testosterone. Scientists from Drew Medical College, ht Los Angeles, have shown that muscle growth depends on blood levels of testosterone—the higher the level of the hormone, the more muscles grow.
Women have low levels of testosterone, so they don’t gain much muscle tissue when they train with weights. Rather, they train their nervous system to use existing muscle. The muscle they gain makes the upper and lower body look firmer, leaner, and shapelier.
Some women have high levels of testosterone and androstenedione and will gain muscle faster than normal. If you are a woman with larger muscles than other women, you might have high testosterone levels. However, even if you are one of these rare people, gaining muscle and strength will make your body look better.