“But I Don’t Want To Get Big and Bulky”
Are your ears bleeding yet? Cause mine do every time I hear a woman utter those words whenever someone mentions strength training.
Note: much of the post below was part of an article I originally wrote for t-nation.com last year titled “4 Things Your Girlfriend Should Know.”
Newsflash, ladies: You will not get “big and bulky” just because you’re strength training. That statement is akin to me saying, “Eh, I don’t want to do any sprints today because I don’t want to win the 100m gold medal next week.” Getting big and bulky isn’t easy, just like winning the 100m gold medal isn’t easy.
If anything, it’s an insult to all those people who’ve spent years in the gym to look the way they do. It didn’t happen overnight, which is what you’re assuming by saying something so absurd.
Besides, getting “big and bulky” actually entails lifting appreciable weight. Or in the case of J-Lo, looking like you’re going to give birth to two twin 747’s.
Let’s be honest, most people (men and women) won’t work hard enough to get “big and bulky” in the first place. It’s hard enough for a man to put on any significant amount of muscle, let alone a woman. Women are physiologically at a disadvantage for putting on muscle due to the fact that they have ten times less free Testosterone in their bodies compared to men.
That being said, you still need to get the most bang out of your training buck, and that includes ditching the glute-buster machine and focusing more on the compound movements. Joe Dowdell, owner of Peak Performance in NYC, trains many of the top female models in the city and their programming includes squats, deadlifts, chin-ups, bench variations, sled dragging, and tons of energy system work.
Yes, Victoria’s Secret models are doing squats and deadlifts. And yes, that’s completely hot. Guess what they’re not doing? Watching Oprah every day while walking on the treadmill for 60 minutes.
Just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean you can’t train like a man and lift some serious weight. I never bought into this whole mindset that women are these delicate creatures that can’t hang with the boys.
UPDATE: Apparently J-Lo’s uterus doesn’t defy the laws of human nature and she actually gave birth to two twins (one boy and one girl) last night instead of two 747’s. Bummer, I was totally going to try to use up my frequent flyer miles.