(I have to preface this with a statement that all of the information that follows has been found to be accurate – I’ve read a lot about it and learned a lot along the way as well – but this isn’t a research paper so I’m not digging in books for sources…if you are interested in learning more, let me know and I will pull out the research and sources)

Growing up, I was told to lift weights for the sports I participated in.  I even took a weight lifting class in high school.  But I always flaked and never did it.  Or never really tried.  

Weights were for boys…..boys had big muscles….and for some reason I thought that if I lifted weights, I would look like an Olympic athlete or a body builder.  It took me over a decade to realize that these women spend 5-6 hours a day in the gym, are extremely hard to come by and generally take performance enhancing drugs.  Point is, those women are not natural or normal results.

Let’s talk the facts first.

FACT: The more muscle your have, the more calories you burn at rest.  Most people are at rest for most of their day.  I work a desk job and sit for 9 hours/day.  I spend 1 hour a day working out, the rest is spent watching TV or cleaning/cooking or sleeping.  Not much activity.

  • To illustrate, imagine identical twins.  Twin A lifts weights 2 or 3 times a week and does cardio 3 or 4 times a week.  Twin B does cardio 6 times a week.  Guess who burns more calories watching tv together?  Ah, you might not believe it, but twin A is actively burning more calories while both twins are being absolutely, 100% LAZY.  Muscle burns more calories, even when you’re not moving.
FACT: Women aren’t genetically made to bulk up (with muscle).  So if you were thinking you’re end up looking like Arnold, forget it.  We don’t have nearly the amount of testosterone needed to bulk up like guys do.  Honestly, lots of guys even have a hard time bulking up.  In the initial stages, you might feel like you’re only getting bigger.  Don’t weigh yourself in the beginning, because you’ll only feel defeated.  Muscle will gradually grow as your fat diminishes.  That’s why when people start working out they initially feel like they’re gaining weight or getting bigger.  It’s a process.  Be patient.
FACT: Muscle does NOT weigh more than fat.  This is confusing for some.  5 pounds of muscle weighs the same as 5 pounds of fat.  BUT good news is (and what I think people are trying to convey by saying this) is that 5 pounds of muscle takes up a LOT less space than 5 pounds of fat.  This is why 2 people can be the exact same size and yet weigh totally different amounts, or weigh the exact same and be totally different sizes.  I found a great example from this website:
  • If you were to take 10 lbs. of fat and 10 lbs. of muscle and roll each of them into a ball, the 10 lbs. of fat might be the size of a bowling ball. In comparison, the 10 lbs. of muscle would be about the size of a baseball.  So someone who is a size 16 can weigh the same as someone who is a size 8.  That’s why I don’t go by scales alone….I measure.  It’s much better for your confidence.
I lift weights, I do pull-ups, push-ups, bicep curls, presses, flys, etc and I really push myself…but I promise you, my arms are not bulky.   Myth destroyed!  Get out there and lift some weights! (my personal recommendation, if you need to build muscle mass, is to do the P90X program.  It combines cardio and weights and is perfect for girls).