Often I see girls at the gym, exclusively on cardio machines while guys are hard at work lifting weights. I can see how it would be easy to associate large muscles with weight lifting. Many girls are scared to weight lift with the fear of gaining muscles and looking like a body builder. We don’t want large muscles, we want a lean thin shape to our body. What most girls don’t know is that a lot of their fitness goals would be achieved much sooner if they incorporated weight and resistance training into their workout routine. You are already taking the effort to exercise, you might as well get the most out of it!

I’m here to crush the myth and clearly, state that lifting heavy weights will not make you bulkier or make you look manly. Instead, they will do the exact opposite! Lifting weights will help girls tone your overall body, burn more fat and give your curve shape.You will have more control over how you want your body to look and what areas you want to target. But don’t take my word for it, just ask Jacque Crockfort, spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise! She shared five reasons why weight lifting and strength training is for every woman!

1. You’ll Burn More Calories!

Lifting weights and resistance training releases hormones that will give your metabolism a good boost! In fact, “lifting weights can increase your lean body mass, which increases the number of overall calories you burn during the day” she says. As you build more lean muscle, your body will continue to burn more calories, both inside and outside the gym. This means that you will be burning more calories throughout your day, even if you aren’t working out.

2. You gain shape, not bulk

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​Many of us have specific areas on our body that we would like to target. It’s going to be difficult to lose weight specifically in one area of your body with just cardio. Rockford says “lifting heavy weights is a great way to get the shape of the body that you may be seeking.” Hours of cardio isn’t the secret to burning fat. You can’t burn off the jiggle with cardio. You need to build up that lean muscles for a tighter figure.So what part of your body are you looking to target?

Want more toned arms and back? Well, shoulder presses and pull up are you new best friend.and pull up are you new best friend.and pull up are you new best friend.

Want a premier booty? Do some squats and deadlifts.squats and deadlifts.

If you think this all sounds great in theory but you’re not sure where to start, I recommend you take a look at this “Lift Like A Girl” fitness plan. If you are a beginner, you’ll have everything you need to know in one place. For those of you that are more advanced, Lift Like A Girl workout plan will give you new strategies and help you target your problem areas with more specific workouts.

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3. ​To bulk up you would also need to change your diet

It’s common knowledge that protein and muscles are related. However, most girls not make this connection and shy away from weight lifting in fear that weights alone will make them bigger instead of smaller.  Part of every weight loss equation is a healthy diet.  “Gaining muscle mass comes from a combination of heavy weight training and an excess in calories” says Rockford.  “If you perform resistance training one to three days per week and you’re not eating more calories than you expend in a day, you probably won’t see a ton of muscle growth.”  Keep this in mind if you are looking to get a set of killer abs.  At the end of the day, losing weight is all about the calories you consume versus the calories you burn through out the day.

4. There is no such thing as waking up with insta-muscles.

A month is the average period of time to see any noticeable fitness progress. Adding weight lifting and resistance training should be a part of any fitness plan for those looking to improve the shape of their body. “Consistency is the key when it comes to reshaping your body and making lifelong changes” says Croford. You should have weight training mixed in well with any cardio that you may be doing.

5. But I started workout out and my muscles are getting bigger, not smaller?!

Have you tried weight lifting already but felt your body getting bigger? This is especially true around the leg and thigh regions of the body. I have girls tell me all the time, “I started working out with weight but stopped because I could tell my thighs were getting bigger.” This is the number one reason girls turn away from weight and retreat back to cardio and it’s a big mistake. Your muscles may seem like they are getting bigger but that is because you are building up lean muscles under your fat.

Remember what Rockford said? “lifting weights can increase your lean body mass, which increases the number of overall calories you burn during the day”.  You are going to get a little bigger before you get a lot smaller.  So when you notice your muscles getting a little bigger and you are having a harder time fitting into your jeans, don’t stop.  You are so close to seeing the results you are looking for.  Having that lean muscle will soon help burn the extra fat you have and it will continue to burn all day, even after you are done with your workout.

Ready to get started? Grab those weights and start lifting! If you are not sure how to start, at a look at the Lift Like A Girl strength training program.