“I Don’t Want to Lift Weights because I Don’t Want to Get Bulky” and 5 Reasons You Won’t!
Hey team. This article comes from a discussion with multiple individuals over the last couple of months. When discussing strength training in a personal training program, I primarily have women who will give me the title response. “I don’t wanna get bulky.” This is an excellent discussion for many individuals and allows me to discuss why getting bulky is the least of your concerns regarding a strength training program. In today’s article, we dive headfirst into the importance of strength training as we age and why you won’t “get bulky.”
Don’t Worry… You Won’t!
Many women have expressed a fear of getting bulky with strength training. The primary reason is women, for the most part, don’t want to resemble the bulk of men. But let’s get into the details of “getting bulky.” Men and women, after the age of 45, go through a transition in their life hormonally. Women will be close to, or get in the stages of menopause, and men start a dramatic decrease in testosterone production in their bodies. Because of these facts, muscle mass, and improvement in strength are challenged. What must occur for a person to increase girth in their muscles? For one, there must be consistency. A consistent strength training program with progressive demand must occur for the size of the muscle to grow. Number two, there must be progressive overload. What is progressive overload? Strength training to the point of failure is required to put a demand on the muscle to encourage it to grow. It is hard to get “bulky “without strength training to failure. Point number three is hormones. Women and men start losing the critical hormones necessary to develop muscle mass successfully. Without these vital hormones, it is challenging for the body to produce “bulky “muscle mass. Essentially the worry of women getting bulky with strength training is grossly misunderstood.
Five Reasons You Can’t Afford NOT to Get Bulky
# 1: Muscle Mass Shrinks With Age: After the age of 45 for men and menopause for women, our ability to produce increased muscle mass is affected. Men start to reduce testosterone, thus affecting muscle mass dramatically. Women lose estrogen and any testosterone left in their bodies, making them susceptible to osteoporosis and muscle weakness.
# 2: Increased Fall Risk: Without proper muscle mass, our body cannot produce the coordination and balance needed to respond to the body becoming off-balance. We might get bumped, stumble, or trip- and we cannot correct ourselves well. Many falls are related to the lack of strength in the legs.
# 3: Fatigue: Tired of feeling tired? By mid- afternoon, are you looking for a recliner? Fatigue in the afternoon may result from a lack of muscle in the body. Without proper muscle strength, the body must work harder to achieve mobility and independence. What is the result? Fatigue. We feel more tired and worn down and want to sleep more often.
# 4: Balance: As mentioned in fall risk, our balance is greatly affected by a lack of muscle mass? Why? We need coordination of movements to help respond to the world’s demands. Without proper muscle mass, we tend to perform more daily tasks while holding onto surrounding objects for safety and have more difficulty getting out of our chairs. Balance is greatly affected without proper strength.
# 5: Preservation of Life: We need to maintain mobility and independence in our lives. Without the ability to freely and safely move, we are limited socially. We need proper mobility to stand safely, walk safely, get in a car safely and ascend stairs safely. Without adequate strength, our social lives are at a significant deficit.
Ok Team. Let’s revisit our initial concern. Women ( primarily) worry about strength training as they do not want to get bulky. I get this, but the concern is overblown. Women can gain strength like men, but their overall genetic and biological physiology make it difficult to get “bulky .” Plus, as we age, this becomes even less of a concern. If you are over 50 years old, getting bulky is not a concern. Not strength training for fear of getting bulky is a colossal mistake. What affects our mobility and independence as we age into our 70s, 80s, and 90s??? It is the LACK of strength! Therefore, one of the best things you can do today is to work to improve your muscle mass, strength, coordination, and balance. People tend to fall, fracture bones, have difficulty getting out of a chair, and are not able to live their life independently. All of these concerns are due to a LACK of bulk.
I would have to say, to not strength train due to the worry of getting “bulky” is one of the greatest mistakes a person can make for their health and mobility. Thanks for reading today, and feel free to email, call or contact me regarding any questions you may have about this article. Helping people like you stay independent and mobile and preserve life is one of my greatest joys. Keep Moving!