Make some muscles, don't be afraid to lift some weights you won't turn into the HULK!
I can't tell you how many women have told me "I don't lift weights because I don't want to get bulky." I only wish lifting would make me bulk up. In every bodybuilders dream maybe! Lifting weights will NOT make you look like a "man" or the hulk.
The notion that lifting weights will make you look like a man is totally off. Unless if that is the look you are going for of course. Bulking up and getting ripped with huge muscles depends on a lot more factors than just strength training (lifting weights). Why is lifting weights so important for everyone? Lifting weights helps reduce belly fat, stress, heart disease, and cancer, and not to mention you'll look great for that summer pool party. Lifting weights can also decrease your risk of getting injured by giving you more core strength and stability in your everyday tasks.
Okay so let's get into the good stuff of WHY lifting won't make you look bulky.
There are three different body types. Mesomorph is the type of body where you are genetically able to build muscle faster and easier than others. The other two types ectomorph (thinner, and more difficult to acquire and maintain muscles mass) and endomorph (tend to naturally hold on to more body fat and find it difficult to lose weight). This basically just means we all put on muscle mass a different rates due to genetics, metabolism, activity levels, and effort. To build muscles TAKES TIME like anything else in this world. Even for men who produce testosterone it still takes A HECK OF A LOT of time to build muscles because of all the variables.
The typical bodybuilder man or woman that we see on TV, in magazines, and all over social media is most likely LIVING IN THE GYM, potentially supplementing with other substances, and EATING a lot more calories than the average. Only like 99.9% of people in the world actually have the natural genetics to be a bodybuilder. The muscles from these folks aren't happening by accident they are living, breathing, and working every damn day in the gym towards these goals. So don't worry about looking like that. Not to mention as women we don't produce enough testosterone naturally to even get that big or even close to that size. The natural physique competitors are on a very strict meal plan, workout routine, and lifestyle choice for 3-5 years plus! They spend countless hours in the gym and are constantly pushing themselves in every aspect of the fitness world. The average person will not get that toned by doing 30 minutes of resistance circuit training. A bodybuilders lifestyle is meticulously planned out with every calorie and the science of the human body.
So why are we hating on the muscles ladies? C'mon stop making excuses for building a stronger, healthier, and more efficient life.
So why should you lift?
Muscle mass burns more calories at rest. The more muscle mass you have the more calories you are burning doing absolutely nothing. Wow that's literally my dream, to burn calories while eating peanut butter. Okay so maybe it doesn't work exactly like that but what I'm trying to say is that muscles burn more calories over a longer period of time because your muscles need time to heal after you shred them in the gym. Therefore, your body is using more energy to repair the muscle fibers long after you get done working out. During your cardio you are only really burning calories while you are actually doing cardio, so go ahead and keep jogging on that treadmill and let me know how that turns out for you.
Although cardio may reduce your weight on the scale it's only because your body is feeding itself with muscle so naturally your weight will drop. Muscles weigh more so don't define yourself by the number on the scale. Use how photos from your past and how your clothes fit as evidence of progress. Lifting will allow your body to burn a higher percentage of fat. Lifting also allows for more calories being burned during a shorter period of time while you are at the gym. Imagine being able to cut the amount of time you spend in the gym but you are burning more calories! HEAVEN!
Lifting weights will also help you build stronger bones. As we age our bone density slowly decreases and we are more prone to trips, falls, and broken bones. Resistance training can help your bone density by almost 19% which might not mean much to you right now but in the long run could save you from a debilitating fracture.
Resistance training will help you live longer, get better sleep, have more noticeable progress, and boost your strength and balance. Finally you'll be able to carry all of your groceries into the house with only one trip! Or you'll be able to save some money and skip the movers and move your stuff yourself. BEST THING IS...you can potentially spend less time in the gym getting MORE RESULTS than if you were to just do cardio.
Resistance training will also make you better in ANY athletic endeavor because you are becoming stronger, more powerful, and your body will be able to hold your weight and proper form longer.
If you want to "tone" up you need to lift and be in a caloric deficit to lean out and see a little muscle definition. If you want to bulk you need to lift and have a surplus of calories. That's as simple as it gets. Don't worry about anything else but how you want to look and feel.
Everyone has a different conception of what being bulky, toned, and muscular is. I encourage you to love yourself and work towards your goals. In life you deserve to be happy and healthy and comfortable in your own skin and body type.
YOU CAN NOT OUT TRAIN YOUR DIET!