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Will Lifting Weights Make Women Bulky?

Women, when faced with the thoughts of lifting weights, regularly express concerns about turning into the female hulk. When explaining process of building their lean muscle mass to aid an increase of their basal metabolic rate, contributing to toning and weight loss, I am usually greeted with smiles and “that sounds good.”

I am hoping to dispel some of the myths that many women believe, thanks to television’s “Trainers to the Stars”. One of these celebrity trainers recommends the use of weights no higher than 2.5kg (roughly 5lbs) for women. Now I don’t know about everyone else, but I know that my mother used to lift and carry me when I weighed well over 5kg. Thinking back and looking at old photos, she never looked very muscle bound or bulky.  Strange, right?

Myth 1: Weights make you muscly and masculine

Unfortunately women do not produce enough testosterone (the main hormone involved in muscle building) to increase muscle size in the same way that men do. To look like men, most women would need to work out about 3 hours per day, take many supplements and adhere to a very strict diet. As for that image of the female bodybuilder that many women are worried about, many use steroids to aid the process and become this big.

Myth 2: Fat turns to muscle

This is like saying potatoes will turn to apples by rubbing your toes. Fat and protein (the thing your muscles are made from) are 2 totally different body tissues. It is true that the body has a process to convert carbohydrates to fat for storage but fat cannot be converted to muscle.Fat can be lost and muscle built. The increase in muscle size and use can result in increased energy usage by the body thus decreasing your body’s fat content.

Myth 3: Muscle turn to fat when you stop weights

Again potatoes to apples. If you cease performing resistance training and do not replace this exercise and energy expenditure then your body will begin to store the excess energy that your diet contains. This will be stored as fat. Without the stimulus of weights, your body will not maintain all muscle size/strength and you will become weaker and less toned (your body will change shape).


Performing resistance training as part of an exercise program will aid women to tone and tighten those parts of the body that they want, the tuck-shop lady arms (triceps), the love handles (abdomen and obliques), butt and thighs (glutes and quads). Your body will change shape, you will lose fat and increase muscle (to a certain extent) and become leaner and stronger. Performing things at work, home, during leisure activities and sports will likely become easier and less taxing and those little niggling pains will probably ease.Don’t fear weights, use them to your advantage. Try to lift the heavier weight as you are able, increase the amount of repetitions you lift, and the one thing to make sure is always use the correct technique. Here at Optimum we specialize in designing weight training programs for people even when they have injuries or have never done them before, we will show you correct technique and progress through to a stronger, leaner and healthier life.

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