Barbie Barbell is a multiple time world champion power lifter and fitness celebrity.
Today I'd like to talk about something that might make you uncomfortable, especially if you are a woman. Today I want to talk about something the mainstream fitness world is completely wrong about, women lifting weights. I want to show you how you can get the toned and sexy body you have always wanted, (and men, this is the secret to getting your girl to look like a fitness model), become stronger and more confident, and feel good about yourself everyday. To your surprise it doesn't involve endless cardio on a treadmill, or sets of 50 repetitions with a 2lb dumbbell, it involves one main thing... HEAVY WEIGHT TRAINING. Read on and I will prove to you that most of the things you know about weight lifting for women are a lie. I believe in heavy lifting enough to recommend it for my own wife, and she has seen some seriously positive results since switching up from high rep, low weight workouts.
I would like to start off by telling you ten reasons why lifting heavy weights will NOT make you bulky (like most trainers would tell you it will), but instead tone, and give you your dream body.
1) Women do NOT have the levels of testosterone that men do. Unless women have an abnormally high level of testosterone (naturally or from steroid use), they will NOT gain muscle mass like a man will. It just isn't in a women's genetic code to be 180lbs of solid muscle.
2) The women body builders you see on magazine use testosterone, this is the only reason they are as big as they are. You can tell that their levels of testosterone have been modified just by looking at them, evidence of this can be found in: increased muscle mass, deepened voice, increased hair growth, and acne.
3) Toning is developed through strength training. Toning essentially means that as a muscle becomes trained to handle higher loads it becomes denser and more easily excitable at rest, this causes muscles to look more defined and causes your body to have a more desirable shape.
4) High volume exercise causes muscle gain, not heavy weights. Reps in the range of 8-20 (what most trainers would recommend for a female looking to "tone up"), are actually what cause muscle growth (hypertrophy), for instance a body builder will typically use 3 sets of 8-12, with about four exercises per body part, this type of training causes significant micro trauma and as a result, bigger muscles.
5) Heavy weights promote strength not bulk. Lifting heavy weights within 20% of your one rep max primarily works thorough training the Central Nervous System, this leads your muscles to be able to perform more weight and stay more "tense" during rest leading to increased strength and muscle tone, without significant muscle gain.
6) Your personal trainer probably is not your friend! Most personal trainers are frauds, yes complete frauds! Trainers have been taught to make you sweat, make you sore, and most of all make you come back for more! There whole program revolves around pushing you, but not too hard so that you stay happy and keep coming back. Let's face it, heavy weights are tough, especially when you aren't used to them, most people won't actually do what will help if it's "too hard", but a true friend will tell you truth whether it pisses you off or not, that's why I am telling you not to always trust what your trainer says, ultimately they want your money not your satisfaction.
7) Getting huge muscles takes time. Getting "huge" isn't an overnight process, it takes many men months just to add 5-10lbs of lean muscle to their frame, even if you somehow start getting bulky it won't be irreversible and it takes time for it to happen.
8) Bulking up is dependent upon calorie intake. If you eat more calories than you burn you will gain weight, if you lift heavy weights and eat more than you burn you will gain weight, if you do high reps and eat more than you burn you will gain weight. If you are lifting heavy weights and "bulking up" it is because you are eating too much (unless you are looking to get bigger). Eat less, eat a better diet, or add some cardio to your training and you'll stop gaining weight. If you want a great looking body you are going to have to work for it, a small and lucky group of people look great without exercise or diet, but for the rest of us the path is hard but the reward is great!
Heavy lifting will help tone your muscles, make you stronger, and make you feel better, but it won't magically melt fat away. Unfortunately for women, one of the side effects of having high estrogen levels is fat storage. If you have extra body fat, you will need to take in less calories than you burn. The most effective way of doing this (in my opinion) is not calorie restriction but through the metabolic diet, and restricting carbohydrates. You can read more about the diet and carbohydrate intake here>http://everystepblog.blogspot.com/2011/12/how-carbohydrates-affect-your-body-part_04.html
If you have extra body fat you want to lose, I recommend doing heavy weight training for 6-12 weeks with a mild calorie restriction and some light cardio a few days per week. Gaining strength and subsequent muscle tone will be easier to achieve without a strict diet change. After you have begun to see the results of your hard work (more toned muscle, more shapely curves, and some fat loss), you will be more motivated than ever to stick to a diet and really dig deep and work hard in the gym. Depending upon how much extra fat you have to lose, you can begin to see significant changes in your body in 3-6 months by following the strong lifts lifting program, changing up your diet, modifying your carbohydrate intake, and adding some cardiovascular training, you will be well on your way to getting the body of you (and every guys) dreams. Make sure and check the link below to another post in my blog to help you plan out your lifting schedule. http://everystepblog.blogspot.com/2011/11/beginners-guide-to-power-lifting.html
Lastly I'd like to add a few pictures of women who used power lifting to get their bodies into a shape that any girl would be jealous of. Just some inspiration if you are still on the fence.
Jean Fry 415lb Squat, 375lb Deadlift, 250lb bench press at 123lbs bodyweight.
Simitah Sing, mother and powerlifter
If you still don't believe me then check out the links below on three different (very attractive) females (pictured above) who use heavy weight training/power lifting in their fitness routines both to look good, and in two of their cases to actually compete in power lifting.