Body Expert advice

Why Women Are Scared To Lift Weights

Sandeep Raj

Transformation & Lifestyle Coach Internationally certified Nutritionist & Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Precision Nutrition L2. NSCA CPT

4 min read

When you enter a gym, what do you see? Most women are generally busy doing cardio while the men stay crowded around the weights. This scenario is mainly due to a preconceived notion that weights are for men only and women should always be graceful and elegant and stay away from the bulky weights. Wonder why society has encouraged this kind of misogynist thinking. However, the truth is strength training is important for toning and also for that extra calorie burn. There are many other benefits of strength training and women should definitely not miss out on the same!

Gender stereotypes tend to keep women away from weights, making them stick to cardio exercises and encourage the use of equipment such as the treadmill, elliptical and stationary bike. The gender stereotypes are encouraged by the extensive attention given to men’s sports and upholding of “male qualities” like competition, aggression and strength. Unfortunately, there is some sort of double standard with regard to women lifting weights – women are only expected to be toned and not have big muscles. The fear of looking MANLY with big built muscles keeps women miles away from the heavyweights.

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Women steer clear from lifting weights due to the fear of bulking up. According to experts, women need considerable many more hours of weightlifting than men, on a daily basis to really get bulky. Moreover, to become muscular there needs to be drastic diet changes as well. Strength training cannot make a woman bulk up so easily due to hormonal differences. Women have less testosterone; therefore, the body responds very differently to weightlifting. To actually bulk up like the way men do when they lift weights, women would need to consume excessive calories combined with an intensive weight training program.

Nutritionist Advice

Our Food Scientist Dr Lakshmi. K says “In a balanced and healthy diet, a woman consumes about 0.8gm/kg bodyweight protein. To work on muscle building and advance workouts, the protein intake should be gradually increased to 1gm – 1.4gm/kg body weight. Before taking the leap of faith, please contact your nutritionist as they can assess your health conditions (if any) and give you a customised diet that caters to your muscle-building needs. In general, increase the consumption of protein by adding an additional amount of 200gm in a week to your diet. If you are above 35yrs and are looking for strength and muscle training, your nutritionist will chart a diet based on your renal profile. The renal profile lets them know the creatinine levels and urea level in your body depending on which they will advise you on your protein intake.”

Strength training makes you more energetic, helps you burn more calories and fat and also aids in preventing muscle loss due to aging. When you lift weights you not only improve your strength but also increase your basal metabolic and boost bone strength. In fact, weightlifting helps elderly people combat health issues such as hypertension, muscle loss and abnormal glucose tolerance as well. It also makes them independent.

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Expert Advice by Dr Rabindera Nath Mehrotra Endocrinologist

AgeMale (in ng/dl)Female (in ng/dl)

17 to 18 years 300-1,200 20-75
19 and older 240-950 8-60

There is no given testosterone level which helps in gaining muscle as such for women. With normal aging and lack of exercise anyone is bound to lose muscle mass. To maintain muscle mass one needs to have adequate calories/proteins- containing essential amino acids and exercise—resistance exercise. Doctors also measure an individual’s testosterone levels alongside Tanner staging; this is where the Tanner scale can monitor the visual growth of adolescents during puberty according to five stages rather than an individual’s specific age range.

Benefits Of Resistance Training For Women
  • Enhanced insulin sensitivity, decreased risk of diabetes, which is helpful for women with PCOD.
  • Resistance training also helps women protect against osteoporosis and increases bone strength.
  • Better muscle strength decreases the chances of fall and fracture.
  • Better sleep/ lowers depression and anxiety levels
  • Women don’t have much risk of bulking when compared to males. Resistance training helps women with improving their body shape.
  • Start with sessions of 15 to 20 minutes twice weekly –gradually

Lifting weights undoubtedly improves your physical appearance but along with this it also enhances UR confidence. It disciplines you and makes you positive. Strength training helps you believe you can take on challenges which in turn help you push yourself to set goals and achieve them! I believe weight training helps in all aspects of life. Ladies, don’t hold back, go ahead and lift those weights! Not only will you look better, but you’ll also acquire a sense of achievement! Don’t forget, your clothes will fit better too! Strong Women are Respected & UR stronger than U think.