Women, Muscle, & Training--just a word or two to address common questions I often get from female clients and friends.
Can women truly build muscle? Yes!
Will I be big and bulky? No...not unless you want to be. Women don't just wake up huge after a few lifting sessions. Women with solid, muscular builds got there on purpose, not by accident. So if you don't want to be big, don't worry...you won't get "big" unless you're trying to get big and it takes very hard work. Also, women simply do not have the hormonal makeup that supports the type of muscle growth that men have, so while you can certainly build muscle mass, you will not turn into she-man.
One of my passions in personal training is inspiring women who are interested in building muscle and strength to gain confidence in the weight room and to believe in their goals. We train according to our goals, not our gender. Muscle is muscle and a bench press is a bench press. Your muscle cells don't know you're a female. Male or female...the goal is the same...to create the maximum possible aesthetic development of our physiques. It takes hard work and a commitment to realizing your goals through consistent training and proper nutrition. The two areas where women tend to short themselves when it comes to muscle building are: lifting heavy enough and eating properly. If muscle growth is your goal, you must sufficiently overload your muscles by lifting heavy enough and you must eat to grow. Note: "eating to grow" doesn't mean "all you can eat." We're talking about lean, clean eating to fuel your body and supply your muscles with the proper building blocks to grow.
Another critical component is patience...many women do not stick with the training long enough to reach their full muscle building potential. You can't train haphazardly. You must train with specificity and consistency. Muscle building doesn't happen overnight. It takes patience and persistence. The important thing to remember is that when we set out to climb a mountain, we start at the bottom and work our way to the top...one step at a time...even when we can't see the top, we press on with determination that we will get there if we don't give up.
Life and lifting are the same...both are a process of continual learning and improvement. Believe in yourself and your goals...train with focus, intensity and determination. Consistency and persistency are the keys to unlocking our success. To my fellow iron chicks out there, keep liftin'! Muscles are beautiful!
Below is a comparison photo showing the difference in my arm size and build before I started a consistent weight training program and two years later. The "before" photo was taken in 2011 when I was primarily a "cardio queen". The "after" photo was taken in 2013 after I fell in love with strength training...I have since then improved upon my musculature even further with consistent, progressive training.