There’s been a myth floating around on the internet for the past few years that if you, as a female, lift weights, you’ll get bulky. While there are definitely some bodybuilder women who aspire to achieve this, I’m going to put an end to that myth right now.
Lifting weights will NOT make you bulky.
However, lifting weights WILL firm up the flabby skin under your arms, make your boobs perkier, and add a nice curve to your booty, among other things. This doesn’t mean you need to go bench press 500 pounds. When you lift big weights, that’s when you gain big muscles. I’m really bad at math, but that makes sense to even me. When my boyfriend and I go workout together, I do higher reps(repetition of a movement) at a low weight, while he does lower reps with a heavier weight. The reason for this difference is because I want to tone my body, while he wants to gain muscle. If you follow this super simple rule, you’ll be able to get the body you want without bulking up.
There are workout guides built specifically for women(if you don’t know/love Kayla Itsines at this point, you need to hop on that train), but I know I’m not the only poor college student who can’t afford to hand over gobs of cash for these guides. Fortunately for all of you, I’ve learned a thing or two, and I’m ready to impart this wisdom upon you. You don’t need to worry about tagging along to the gym with your boo thang and being at a loss about what to do. These workouts are designed for YOUR amazing female body, and so you can say ‘see ya’ to your man once you walk through those gym doors, and go do your own workout.
I always start my workout with cardio. I definitely want to tone muscle, but I also need to make sure I’m burning fat as well. But don’t focus on cardio! Cardio is most effective for burning fat if you do it in short, higher intensity, intervals. I usually do the elliptical for fifteen minutes. It’s enough to get me sweating and my heart rate up, because I go at a slightly faster than usual rate. But then I step down and get going with the rest of my workout. And then at the end of my workout, if I’m feeling particularly energized, I do another 10-15 minutes of cardio, usually on the stair master, but I do it at a slower pace than at the beginning of my workout. This serves as my cool-down before I stretch, to make sure that my whole body is warmed up. If you’re working out at home, just go on a run to start your workout off, and then a light jog or a brisk walk to finish it off. Just make sure if you have plantar fasciitis or a similar condition to invest in a good pair of New Balance shoes for plantar fasciitis and heel pain. Some may suggest looking into keto tones on the side as well.
If the area around your house isn’t ideal for jogging, a good option is a home treadmill. If you have bad knees or are not used to running then a self powered treadmill is a good starting point. New models come out every year and old models are quickly discontinued so it’s best to have a look at some recent reviews to figure out the very best manual treadmill for your needs.
I pick one body area to focus on when I’m at the gym(Arm day, Ab day, Leg day, etc.). So, on the days that I do abs, I skip the machines altogether, and I go straight to the mats. So this workout will be the same whether you are at the gym or at home. I start with some good ‘ol crunches, which work the top part of the abdomen. Make sure you do what’s comfortable for YOUR body. I do 100 crunches, but I used to do 50. And I still take a quick break about halfway through. Then, I do 30 Jack-knife sit-ups, 30 regular sit-ups, and then I finish it off with a 60 second plank.
Most of the big weights and machines at gyms scare me, so working out at home is one of my favorite things. I have some free weights, and I use those. I start out by doing 30 push-ups(from my knees, ain’t no shame in that) to make sure my arms are good and warm before I worry about weights. And then I do arm curls, shoulder press, and hammer curls with my 10 pound weights, 30 reps for each exercise. If I’m feeling extra adventurous, I do a few more push-ups afterwards.
Let me introduce you to my little friend, squats. They do the booty good. Seriously. Knock out 50 of these bad boys and your legs will be screaming, but later you’ll be checking yourself out in the mirror and thanking me. Bonus points if you hold a free weight while you do them. Another regular move for my leg workout is lunges. I do 25 per side. And then I do about 50 calf raises.
If you’re at the gym and you feel like these are too easy, do them on a weighted machine. I know at my gym they have weighted calf raises, and grab a dumbbell to do your weighted squats; just make sure you have someone spot you. There’s no reason why we should be afraid to work out! And there’s no reason for us to be intimidated by weights or big bulky guys or think that we have to do a TON when we work out! If you keep it pretty short, you’ll be more motivated to do it again tomorrow. If you spend three hours at the gym today, the chances of you wanting to go in a few days are pretty slim. Do what makes you feel good, I can’t wait for you to see the things you’re capable of.