STRENGTH – Part Three
‘Lifting weights doesn’t make women bulky, it makes them awesome’
Brendon Patrick - TOTEM FITNESS
My short and honest answer is yes and, it’s also a resounding no!
This is a question that somehow just won’t seem to go away from the world of fitness because of the false stigmas attached to female weight training.
I have mentioned in previous articles that one of the key benefits of strength training is that it helps develop lean muscle.
That statement generally see’s the majority of women bypassing the weights area and head straight for the treadmill.
So, before we jump deep into this article, I want to set the record straight;
Strength training + lean muscle does not always equal bulk!
Bulk is a relative term and, is ultimately dependant on your body type and your overall approach to goal specific strength training.
The Three Main Body Types
When assessing body type, we ultimately fall into one of three body categorizations that can each determines how we would ideally approach strength training and nutrition.
These categories, applied to both genders and, can easily be explained in terms of strengths and weaknesses for an individual category. Ultimately, you will fall into one of these categories; however, this is not set in stone as your body has the ability to merge into another body type via specific training.
This body type is generally tall and skinny with long stringy muscles. This body type commonly has a high degree of difficulty adding any muscle to their frame.
Ectomorph’s will generally have a high metabolism and can often be described as hyperactive.
Two most notable examples of an Ectomorph would be, Brad Pitt and Cameron Diaz.
For an Ectomorph to put on noticeable levels of muscle mass, he or she would ideally need to refrain from cardio exercise whilst conducting an individualized weight routine that specifically targets weight gain.
It is recommended that eating a high carbohydrate diet would support a gain in muscle mass for an Ectomorph.
This body type is the complete opposite of an Ectomorph. They will generally be of a thicker build with little to no muscle definition and, will generally find it difficult to lose weight irrespective of how they exercise.
Endomorphs typically have larger appetites and fatigue a lot easier than an Ectomorph.
Jack Black and Serena Williams are two notable Endomorphs.
Endomorphs are required to do more cardio than an Ectomorph and conduct weight training at a higher intensity to burn fat.
Endomorphs also need to adhere to a much stricter diet when compared to an Ectomorph while targeting a low carbohydrate intake.
Individuals with this shape are the lean muscular body types that we generally see on the covers of Health and Fitness magazines.
The endomorph sits somewhere in between the other two body types with the muscular frames that maintain very low levels of body fat.
The Mesomorph finds it typically easy to build muscle while burning fat while eating in moderation.
Jennifer Garner and Mark Walberg are two notable Mesomorphs.
Mesomorphs are only required to train at moderate intensities and conduct moderate amounts of cardio to maintain low levels of fat while consuming a balanced diet.
NOTE: All of the names mentioned use strength training to maintain their physiques.
Weight Training for Women
The actual effects of strength training do, however, become a little different for women. While still associating themselves with a body type and training accordingly, women typically find it harder to put on large levels of muscle mass because of the lower levels of testosterone produced in their bodies.
However, it is important to note that, not everybody is the same and, some males may have lower levels of testosterone then some women; it is also possible for women to have higher levels of testosterone than the average male.
Approach Your Training Individually and Specifically
Ultimately you’re not going to know where you sit in terms of where you sit in terms of muscle building ability until you begin lifting weights. With that in mind, to even obtain unfashionable levels of bulk, you would be required to spend a large portion of specifically dedicated time to working out.
In addition, to achieve bulk, you would need to follow a specific routine and diet, individually personalized to target muscle gain for your body.
Looking back at those details, the odds of you getting bulky from weight training can be limited for those who aren’t specifically targeting particular goals for gaining weight.
Although the worst thing that could happen is, you ending up with a body like Cameron Diaz.
Whether you’ve been leading a mostly active or sedentary lifestyle, chances are that you or someone you know has experienced an exercise-related injury.
It’s safe to say that most gym-goers have encountered the dreaded feeling of gym intimidation at some point in their life. For some people, overcoming anxiety about the gym may be harder than the workout itself!