Hey girls, guess what? Lifting weights will not make you bulky! I've trained women from all walks of life - mums, athletes, models and actresses, you name it. If I could choose one thing that unites almost the women I've ever trained, I'd say it would have to be their fear that lifting weights will make them bulky. In fact, if I had a dollar for every time a new client told me that, I'd probably be happily retired on a beach somewhere by now.
Related story: Man up: should women be lifting heavy weights?
Why you're unlikely to get bulky from lifting weights
The good news is that you have about as much chance of looking like a female bodybuilder as I have of getting paid everytime someone tells me they're scared of lifting weights. It all comes down to your basic hormonal profile and most females simply don't have enough testosterone to be able to build massive physiques.
Ironically, most of my male clients are trying to achieve the exact thing that the girls are trying to avoid - and trust me when I tell you - it's not easily achieved! Putting on massive amounts of muscle requires incredible dedication. Firstly, there's the amount of time spent in the gym. I'm talking up to 12 sessions per week, and a lot of volume (heavy weights and lots of reps). Secondly there's the nutritional side of it, which is arguably even more important.
Imagine having to eat 6-8 full meals per day (not snacks)! These big guys have a massive caloric intake in order to fuel their growing muscles. Then the complex supplement regimes that many of these guys are on pretty much require a PhD in chemistry just to understand the ingredients list. Bottom line is, unless you're training like a bodybuilder, chances are you're never going to look like one.
Related story: Why strong is the new skinny (and how to be both)
Here's one reason for resistance training you're going to love
Burning calories. When people think about burning calories, the first thing that comes to mind is some form of cardio. However, if you put cardiovascular exercise up against resistance training in a head to head battle you will find that resistance training comes out on top when it comes to burning calories.
Your body burns calories when you move but it also needs energy to maintain itself. The big advantage of weight training is your body's ability to burn fat during and after exercise. After strength training, your body continues to consume oxygen for hours and even days after the session. When your body uses more oxygen, it requires more caloric expenditure that means you burn more calories for longer.
So, as your strength training improves and your lean muscle mass increases, your body begins to burn calories more efficiently. The more muscle contractions you experience in a day the more calories you will burn and the more lean muscle you have the more muscle contractions you will experience.
In a nutshell, more muscle = more burnt calories. And you can't argue with that!