“I’ll look manly if I lift heavy.”

Ever heard that before? Or maybe you’ve even said it yourself? Women tend to become “cardio bunnies” or “core junkies.” They spend hours running, performing hundreds of crunches, and lifting 5-pound weights to “tone.” Still sounding familiar? Those 5-pound weights might build up some endurance, if you do it long enough, but they’re not building up muscle or strength. And in the long run, that is actually what you want!

Being strong is empowering.

Weight lifting brought me a whole new level of self-confidence that I’d never had before. There’s something about taking care of yourself, knowing that you don’t need someone else to help you, and that you’re a perfectly capable, strong woman. And let’s be honest, nothing’s better than picking up a heavier weight than the GUY next to you in the gym.

Muscles are not bulky.

Those muscles that you’ve been so afraid to build are what sculpt and define your body. Your body does not have to correct hormones to “bulk”. You will not look like a bodybuilder, and you’ll build those sexy curves in all the right places that every woman is dying to have!

More muscle equals a faster metabolism.

Do you ever wonder how your boyfriend can eat whatever he wants and never gain a pound, while you’re constantly watching what you eat and still not losing? One of the reasons for this is that muscle burns more calories. Males naturally have a higher percent of muscle in their bodies than females, as well as a higher base metabolic rate (what their metabolism burns in a state of rest). So how can you experience the same effect? Pick up those weights! When you build muscle, you’ll naturally enhance your metabolism.

Your new routine:

First, choose a weight that you can complete 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions with, while still maintaining proper form. If you can only lift the weight 8 times or less, give yourself a little more time at a lower weight. Never sacrifice form for a number. However, if you’re able to get up to 16 or 18 repetitions, it’s time to increase that weight.

Do 2-3 movements per muscle group. If you’re lifting chest, include bench press, chest fly, and push-ups. If you’re working triceps, include assisted dips, tricep pull-downs, and tricep presses.

Follow a strength training routine:

Monday: Chest/Tricep
Tuesday: Back/Bicep
Wednesday: Active Rest
Thursday: Lower Body
Friday: Shoulders/Arms
Saturday: Core/Cardio
Sunday: Active Rest

This routine will allow full recovery for your muscles between workouts, while ensuring that each muscle group is worked equally.

Emily Wiley
-iFit Trainer

WARNING: This post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. iFit assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.