Why Women Should Lift to Maximize Their Fitness

female shred stack

Why The Ladies Should Lift

Ladies, just like us men, you have a body you envision having. You know what you want, but what you think we should do to attain what you want is usually off. For example, many women do endless cardio, endless dieting, and avoid strength training thinking that’s the lifestyle to their dream physique.

However, serious strength training will build attractive muscles and get you stronger. The adaptations of lifting recomps your body meaning you look leaner and have more muscle. This is a good thing on top of better posture and health. In other words, you need to lift.

So why don’t more women lift? It’s definitely not because they’re incapable. Women are extremely strong and capable, but many stigmas and misconceptions deter many females from entering the weight section.

You might see a few there, but they’re usually using light weights and neglecting heavy barbell and machine work.


So You Want to Get Toned Right?

Even up to this point, I don’t think the concept of lifting has clicked with all the ladies yet. That’s ok. Listen on.

If you think I’m trying to make you a bodybuilder. I’m not. What you want is to be toned right? What you don’t realize is lifting makes you toned. Those women that you see in magazines or Instagram with your dream body have muscle. Those curves and shapes you see, that’s muscle. It doesn’t magically appear overnight.

You have to lift hard and heavy over time to force that tissue to grow whether it’s more shaped shoulders, a chiseled back, or thick lifted glutes.

Toned bodies are also lean bodies. So the muscle you built gets revealed when fat is lost. Most women have dieted their whole life without building muscle, so the toned look can’t be achieved. Simply put, losing fat, but having no muscle underneath doesn’t make you look toned, it makes you look flat. There is no dimension.

To be clear, I’m not hating on skinny figures, but I’m calling a spade a spade.

Most women don’t want to be flat. They want to be described as firm, toned, strong, and defined. And I know for a fact, you don’t want to be described as bulky, so let’s talk about that fear.

Why are women scared to lift?

The first image that comes to a women’s mind when they think of lifting is a Thor like bodybuilder. Yes, there are bulky women who look masculine and are so muscular that they can’t fit through doors. Those women compete, grow muscle tissue relentlessly, and more often than not, use steroids. This doesn’t even account for genetic outliers.

If you’re an average Jane from HR who’s never touched a weight past 10 pounds, I promise you, you’re nowhere near that she-hulk look. That’s like me worrying that I’ll turn into Tiger Woods by playing mini golf a few times a week.

So while I get that it’s a common concern, getting too bulky shouldn’t even cross your mind. I often tell my female clients that if they’re afraid of getting too muscular somewhere, they can just tell me and we can stop lifting. This never happens.They end up loving to strength train because it’s the missing piece of the puzzle they need to reshape their body.

You simply need to get started and stick to it long enough.

Where to start

If you’re still intimidated with lifting, that’s understandable. Here’s what you can do to start strength training and moving towards the toned body you’re after.

-​Ditch the dieting mindset. You need to eat to fuel your performance. You can’t cut calories year-round.

-​Eat sufficient protein. Protein builds muscle and repairs muscle damage. Consume 0.7-1 gram per pound of bodyweight daily.

-​Start at a less intimidating gym. Something like a Planet Fitness has plenty of weights, machines, and cables for strength training. It’s not considered hardcore and that might be perfect for a beginner.

-​Prioritize strength training in your calendar. These become non-negotiable meetings and should be your focus of exercise for the week.

-​Aim for 3-4 lifting sessions lasting 45-60 minutes.

-​You can still do cardio, but treat this as the side dish. It is not the main course and should not dominate your week. Same goes for pilates, yoga, circuit training, or anything that doesn’t involve adding more weight/reps to the bar.

So now there’s no excuse. You know what you have to do ladies. The weight room isn’t exclusive to men. You deserve to lift, sweat, and grunt there too.

Calvin Huynh
Calvin Huynh is a trainer, online coach, writer, and joyful ruler behind AwesomeFitnessScience.com. His content has reached various top sites and he has worked with a variety of clients ranging from top CEOs, hardcore lifters, everyday desk workers, and stay at home moms. When he’s not working, he spends his time going to church, dreaming of unicorns, and eating whole pints of ice cream on a comfortable couch somewhere in Southern California.