Progress in gender perceptions and equality have come a long way in the last several decades. Although female powerlifters have always been present, they’re finally starting to grow in numbers in some part thanks to Cross Fit. These ladies are fighting outdated expectations that women should be delicate and soft. Female muscle growth is no longer clouded by negativity.
Their reasons are as unique as anyone else’s when it comes to setting fitness goals, but the results are often the same. Even the buff beauties that were conventionally attractive before, now have more confidence in themselves since they started lifting. All while looking fantastic, they prove that being strong and tough does not diminish femininity.
However, this message of acceptance has not met everyone. Beyond ignorant critics that patronize and taunt female powerlifters, some of the hesitation comes from inside. Plenty of women regularly exercise but avoid the free weights. Why do they seem afraid of female muscle growth?
Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding female powerlifters. The internet offers a lot of confusing information, and some of it is just flat out wrong. Let’s debunk some of the most potent myths that deter women from exploring their full fitness potentials.
The Myths of Female Powerlifters
In the world of fitness, a lot of misinformation is spread that leads a lot of us down the wrong paths. These myths pair with conventional beauty standards to dispel many women from the world of strength training. Although goals will differ from person to person, don’t let these false statements scare you away from the free weights.
You’ll look bulky and “manly” if you lift weights.
We’ve all seen the magazine covers, TV shows, and movies where slim supermodels dominate the spotlight. Although there’s nothing wrong with being slim and trim, you have more options than you think. Human bodies come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Just because you practice weight training does not mean you’ll end up looking like Hulk Hogan.
Since it’s your body, it’s entirely up to you on how you want it to look. Don’t let the thought of bulging veins and supersize thighs scare you away from the weight room. Weight training will make you stronger than you ever thought possible while you sculpt your personal dream body.
Women and men should train differently
Although clear physical differences between the sexes exist, they do not dictate how each one should train. As a female, if a trainer gives you dainty circuits with high reps and low weight to achieve female muscle growth, just leave. Believe it or not, this happens more often than you might think – even in professional settings.
Women are perfectly capable of squashing the same intense weight training circuits as men. Besides, if you stick to lifting light weights, you can’t build muscle. Progressively challenge yourself with heavier and heavier resistances.
Either way, it’s your body and your journey. Train how you want and don’t let anyone stop or slow you down. The free weights do not discriminate and are there for everyone to enjoy. Take advantage of them.
If you aren’t sore afterward, you aren’t doing enough
No pain, no gain? No way!
You should feel some slight discomfort during a training session. However, if you spend the next day limping and waddling around, something is wrong. Your body is trying to send you signals to slow down or take a break. Or, even worse, you are using bad form. (Hint: People commonly do the wrong work out because they do not know better. I.e. Our Guide to Crunches Vs Sit Ups).
Simply, sore pains the next day are a sign of injury.
Additionally, if you feel uncomfortable pains during your workout, take a break. Do not try to “work through it” or “walk it off”. Let your muscles rest! Rather than using pain as an indicator of your limits, you’ll notice your technique start to slip. When those become difficult to maintain, you’ve done enough for the day.
Cardio is the end-all solution for weight loss
Cardio offers plenty of healthy results, but weight loss is not directly caused by hours on the treadmill. If your only goal is to lose weight, the majority of that effort should be put into your diet. Focusing solely on cardio will eventually cost you more time as well. As you continue to improve, more and more cardio will be necessary to keep seeing gains.
On the other hand, strength training (along with a healthy diet) is more efficient and less time-consuming. You’ll lose weight, gain muscle, and burn more calories post-workout with more free time in the evening to spare.
However you decide to train, the most important thing is that you enjoy what you do.
Let’s take all of these false beliefs, wad them up, and throw them away! You can move beyond them and into the vast area of health benefits that female muscle growth offers.
The Benefits of Female Muscle Growth
Now it’s time for the truth: weight training offers nothing but benefits. We go over this in our guide to body recomposition. The very remote downsides that female powerlifters might face are easy to avoid. Once you get past these, the progress you make will blow your mind. There’s a part of you that you’ve never met and it’s waiting in the weight room!
Your bones become denser
As we get older, we start to lose bone tissue. This loss happens quicker with a sedentary lifestyle and in women who are in or past menopause. Since women are more likely than men to suffer from osteoarthritis, it’s vital that you build up those bones!
Strength training for female muscle growth activates the development of important cells to do just that. Your bones are constantly remodeling, so help give them a boost. Make friends with the dumbbells, and you’ll face aging with grace and vitality.
It lowers your risk of diabetes and heart disease
By now we’re all aware that obesity, sedentary lifestyles, and poor diets put us at risk for chronic health problems. Sometimes these problems will even lead to premature deaths. Why knowingly sacrifice your quality of life? Take charge of your health by stepping up in the weight room.
Don’t believe us?
During a 10-year study, Harvard researchers found that female powerlifters had significantly lower risks of Type 2 diabetes and risk of cardiovascular disease.5 Training a few times a week will balance blood pressure, glucose, and cholesterol while reducing inflammation.
If that’s not enough, think of it like this: trade countless trips to several doctors over your lifetime for a few gym sessions a week. A healthy lifestyle will help you enjoy life more and provide more time to embrace all that life offers.
You’ll fight depression and anxiety
Roughly 40 million adults in the US suffer from anxiety disorders, which often goes hand-in-hand with depression. Even if you aren’t part of this statistic, you likely feel anxious due to regular stress on a daily basis. Between family, bills, and other responsibilities, life can sometimes feel more like a burden than an experience.
So what do you do? Lift those burdens away!
Strength training is proven to ease your daily stress, anxiety, and worries. Along with looking great, you’ll also function better and get better rest while strength training.
Food becomes Fuel
Along with a fear of the weight room, many women suffer from fear of foods and eating as well. We’re stubbornly trying to achieve an unrealistic, typically unhealthy body type. As a result, we follow strict diets, avoid our favorite foods, and shy away from the tastes and textures that make us happy.
Weight training will throw all of those fears and hesitations out the window. To develop female muscle growth, you’ll have to eat more calories. However, that isn’t a pass to start scarfing down snack cakes and fast food.
While you will need more calories, they should come from healthy, whole foods. When you figure out how to balance your macros and properly plan meals, you’ll rediscover your love for food.
Empower Yourself through Female Muscle Growth
It’s truly amazing how weight training can improve every aspect of your health and well-being. Anyone with enough willpower and determination will reap the rewards regardless of shape, size, age, gender, or fitness levels. Even if you’ve never set foot in a gym, it’s never too late to start.
Like we said, the free weights don’t discriminate and that includes you.
We can’t say it enough: it’s your body, your journey, your life. Do what you like and what makes you happy (as long as you aren’t hurting anyone). Forget cultural beauty standards that wax and wane through generations.
You define what is beautiful. You determine what is strong. You define your success.
If nothing else, consider joining the ranks of female powerlifters to benefit your health. Extend your lifespan and improve your quality of life. How can you live life to the fullest if you don’t have the means to appreciate its every far-reaching corner? There’s a stronger, healthier, happier you waiting to bust out and give life a run for its money!
Find all the resources used in this article and the scientific basis of all our article at The Science Behind Fitness.