Weight training is an integral part of any shaping program and the biggest misconception that will never die regarding women and lifting weights is that heavy training makes women “bulky”.
Those familiar with me know that I hate the word “toned” so I’m abolishing that word from the rest of this post; I prefer the word lean and coincidentally this is what a lot of women want.
This is a picture of the first ever Ms. Olympia (1980), Rachel McLish–the only Ms. Olympia in history to never use steroids. She was featured in Pumping Iron II: The Women and from clips I can tell she trained like an animal. Yet, she doesn’t meet the standards of what women today would consider “bulky”.
The next shot is of the current and reigning Ms. Olympia, Iris Kyle. I’m not making a statement about what looks better as I am a huge fan of Iris Kyle’s physique (and I’ve seen her up close–she is freaky and statuesque); but from the pic, you can clearly tell the difference in physique compared to 30 years ago.
My point is that both of these women trained (and dieted) hard–the difference is in the drugs that were available then vs. now.
As a woman, if you think doing so much as picking up anything heavier than a 5 pound dumbbell will blow you up into a man, you are mistaken. Even the hardest training girls will have a hard time becoming muscular; and limiting your progress for fear of doing so will keep you closer to the “skinny-fat” end of the spectrum.
A bigger concern should be to optimize body composition. In other words, don’t worry about the weights making you big; it’s the calories that will have more power to do so!
And that’s a another issue entirely . . .