If you had asked me a couple of years ago what my idea of fitness and a beautiful body is, I would’ve said it was running on a treadmill and being skinny”. I didn’t go near the weights section of the gym, that was for the boys. Girls lift and no it won’t make you bulky.
Girls Lift and No it won’t make you bulky
Once I found Crossfit and weightlifting my perceptions changed. I love the feeling of approaching a heavy barbell, it seems the weights are no longer just for the boys. Lifting didn’t make me bulky and the myth that women get ‘bulky’ is just not true – quite the opposite, actually.
Other than the amazing health benefits for ladies who lift, here is what my journey into lifting has taught me:
You train for the results you want
Female bodybuilders specialise in building muscle to get that muscular look?
They eat, train, and take supplements specifically so they can look like that. They have been dedicated to working towards that goal for years and years.
It is important to make the distinction between bodybuilding and strength training, they are not the same thing, and do not create the same end results. There is a difference between a toned functional muscle and one that is shaped and built for physique competition. I have done both and the training is very different.
You’d have to bulk up your diet to bulk up your body
Gaining size comes from a combination of heavy weight training and an excess in calories. When you pick up heavy things, your muscles get stronger (but not necessarily bigger). If you pump yourself full of certain supplements and eat way more calories than you are burning every day, you will get bigger.
If you pick up heavy things, and eat a caloric deficit (and eat the right kinds of food – clean, healthy foods), your muscles will get stronger and denser; you will burn the fat on top of your muscle, and you will build a lean and toned body.
Your metabolism will increase
Strength training increases muscle mass and thus increases your fuel requirement. Lean muscle mass requires more fuel for everyday functioning than fat does, which means your body needs to burn more calories everyday just to survive. So even when you are resting, with a larger muscle mass you will burn more calories and fat than someone with a lower muscle mass.
CrossFit has transformed me
I can say from personal experience that Crossfit has transformed me not only physically, but mentally as well. My motivation for training and perception of my body has changed completely. I now train because I enjoy it, not to look a certain way. I am proud of my body for what it can do, not what it looks like.
Lifting requires a greater knowledge and deeper respect for the body. You learn your limits and you fight to break through them. Along the way you discover how to move better, think more confidently and take pride in what your body can do.
But do we care ?
As Camille Leblanc-Bazinet said: ‘Women should be defined by what they can do, not just by how they look. Most women train to fit into some kind of box for the female body, how it’s supposed to look, move and function. But this isn’t right; women should feel they can work out because they want to.’
Note about the Author:
Joelle Niven is a coach at CrossFit Ex Animo in Craighall. Training with the Ex Animo team for over 2 years now, she has found a cause in helping other athletes and ladies find their way to fitter and healthier lives through strength and conditioning training.