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Does lifting weights make women bulky?

If you avoid lifting weights because you are afraid
training with weights will give you bulky muscles, you
might be surprised when you hear that it will not. To
obtain those "bulky" muscles, you literally have to spend
hours in the gym. The level of strength training required
for general good health will not produce bulk in women.

The hormone balance for men and women are not the same.
Thus, it takes a lot of effort to achieve the likes of a
female bodybuilder. To reap the known health benefits
associated with strength training - such as increased
metabolism, decreased risk of osteoporosis, and improved
mental health - it only takes about 30 minutes two to
three times per week.

For general fitness and conditioning, you need to include
one or two exercises that focus on each of the major muscle
groups. Keep the weight light to moderate. The number of
repetitions should range from 10 to 15 reps per exercise.
The number of sets performed depends on the amount of time
you have to spend. Research has shown that performing
three sets opposed to one set does not produce a
significant benefit - at least not enough to warrant the
extra time spent performing the additional two sets.

If you are worried about weight gain as a side effect of
weight training, you should know that regularly
incorporating strength training into your exercise regimen
will actually help you control your weight. True, you will
likely gain a few pounds after you begin strength
training. However, it is important to keep in mind that
muscle is more dense than fat. This means that while muscle
may weigh more, it takes up less space.

As you lose fat and gain muscle, your weight may not
decrease. This is why it is so important not to focus on
the scale. How do your clothes fit? A little looser? How
about your appearance? Do you feel a little more confident
in how you look? Then forget what the scale says. You
will very likely drop a size or two with little to no
change in your weight.

Long term is where you will notice the real benefit of
strength training for weight control. With age you
typically experience a decrease in the rate at which your
body uses calories (metabolic rate). By regularly
incorporating strength training, you offset the loss in
muscle tissue that typically occurs in the aging process.
Ultimately, you avoid age-related weight gain when you
prevent muscle loss. Muscle tissue is metabolically
active, unlike fat tissue. This means that even at rest,
muscle tissue is burning calories.

Lastly, as you become stronger through weight training,
you are likely to be more active. You will feel better
and have more energy. This alone will promote a more
active lifestyle. As a result you will spend less time
sitting around - this equals more calories burned.

The message to take out of this? Incorporating strength
training exercises two to three times per week will promote
a healthy weight, not a bulky physique.

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