As a woman, if you’re worried that lifting weights will leave you looking bulky, take a deep breath and please relax! The truth is that most women who look like they have an unnatural amount of muscle, probably do. It is truly very difficult to gain such large muscle mass naturally and without the use of anabolic steroids.
The main reason why women who lift heavy weights won’t become bulky is the difference of the hormone called testosterone, which is one of the body’s major growth hormones. On average, men produce roughly 16x more testosterone than women do. Even with this testosterone advantage, the majority of men even have trouble putting on muscle. Unless blessed with amazing genetics, the average male has to work their butt off in order to see a little muscle growth by training relentlessly and eating a sizable amount of calories and increased protein all day, every day.
In addition to the lack of testosterone in females, men have roughly 2x larger contractile muscle fibers than women do. This means that men not only have more muscle fibers but they also have larger muscle fibers than women do, placing them at an advantage from the start. Even though women can make significant increases through weight training, the average woman simply cannot put on the muscle size that the average man can.
Lifting heavy weights can actually make you smaller and leaner. Lifting more weight will allow you to build more muscle and burn more fat. Additionally, the more muscle you have the higher your BMR (basal metabolic rate) will be. This means that just by lifting heavy weights, your body will burn more calories at rest, which will result in fat loss.
So, next time you are at the gym, put down the weights that you can do 20+ reps of and reach for a weight that really challenges you!