In more recent years, women are taking up weight lifting without the fear that they’ll look like a man. Many moons ago, many women strayed away from any intense weight training programs because they didn’t want their body to look like that of the opposite sex. Honey, you can bench like a man, and you’ll still look like an amazing woman. The only difference is, you might be able to take on those annoying men who cross the line. Sounds good, right?
Ignore those strange stereotypical images surrounding a woman lifting weights and do that thing, girl! Even female bodybuilders still look like women. However, lifting some weights when you hit the gym won’t have you looking like any kind of bodybuilder, as that look comes from intense bodybuilding. By all means, if you’re hoping to get a bodybuilding figure, do that thing too!
Muscle Building & Ladies
While men and women are similar structurally, we have many physiological differences affecting each sexes ability to gain muscle mass. Physiology says we can do the same exact workouts while maintaining our individual structure, whether it be male or female.
The main reason we ladies can’t gain muscle mass as quickly or to the extent that men can is because of the difference in hormone status.
Testosterone is responsible for the masculine traits such as facial hair, deep voices, and more hair! It’s one of the androgenic hormones that are responsible for anabolism in our body. Males and females both produce testosterone, since it’s necessary for body function and hormonal balance. However, males have much higher levels of testosterone than females.
The female hormone equivalent to testosterone is estrogen. While estrogen increases growth hormones, it also increases something called SHBG, which will decrease the levels of free testosterone in the body and cortisol, which reduces muscle mass. This is how our bodies balance things out when we lift. It’s how we keep from looking like MEN!
Muscle Types & Muscle Fiber
There is a similar distribution of the percentage of muscle fibers in both men and women. However, women have a 60-80% of the muscle CSA or cross-sectional area, and whole muscle ACSA, anatomical cross-sectional area, than those of males. Meaning, despite the potential for muscle hypertrophy over a short period of time, similar percentages will increase in muscle mass or volume caused by resistance training. The result is smaller total overall gains in ACSA and CSA in females than in males.
The Final Word
A masculinization in females will not happen as a result of heavy weight lifting or training because of the excess of androgenic hormones like testosterone, paired with correct stimulus for muscle growth. Honey, if you want to get into some intense weight-training, don’t allow some myths to creep into your mind causing doubt. Do the darn thing and lift those weights. You will look like an amazingly beautiful woman that someone won’t want to mess with!