Myths about bodybuilding in women


“Strength training makes you too muscular.”

Many women worry that they will quickly look like a man when they practice weight training. But this fear is completely unfounded. Even men who naturally have more muscle mass and can build it faster than women should train several times a week for a few years and eat an appropriate diet to appear remarkably muscular.

If you do a similar workout as a female you will of course gain muscle mass, but your results will not be comparable to the average male because your muscle building naturally cannot go that far. It is more precisely due to the lack of testosterone in women. This sex hormone has, among other things, an anabolic effect and therefore develops muscles. This is why it is used as an anabolic steroid in sports (sometimes) and bodybuilding (frequently).

While healthy men have testosterone levels between 3.5 and 9.0 µg / L, women only have 0.15 to 0.55 µg / L. Men therefore have 6 to 60 times more testosterone in their bodies than women. [7] It is obvious then that as long as you do not take testosterone, you will not have too big muscles . In fact, extremely muscular women have generally used the same method as male bodybuilders, supplementing with testosterone and other anabolic steroids.

Of course, some women gain more muscle mass than average ; because after all, there are always deviations from the mean. These women have a rather unusual basic constitution

  • higher than average concentration of testosterone, HGH or other hormones
  • above average hormonal response to training
  • lower than average estrogen / testosterone ratio
  • genetic predisposition to the formation of significant muscle mass
  • ability to perform particularly intensive strength training

“I can lose weight quickly with strength training.”

You may have heard that weight training is a great way to lose weight. This is because strength training itself consumes a lot of calories. Plus, the extra muscle mass increases your basal metabolic rate, so your body would burn more calories in a day. “More muscle, less fat” is the motto. Unfortunately, some of these claims by the best gym in west delhi are not entirely correct. Let’s go back to point by point:

It is true that strength training does burn calories because it is after all a physically taxing activity. However, the actual training time is only part of the total duration of a weight training session : for one hour in the gym, you will spend 30 to 45 minutes on a break between your sets. This means that you don’t burn a record amount of calories during a workout, around 300 to 400 kcal per workout. For comparison: one hour of intense cardio training consumes around 500 to 800 kcal. [9] 

And what about increased metabolism? This actually only increases about 13 kcal per kg of additional muscle mass per day, so very little. [10] A few calories are obviously added when this kg of muscles is active. Finally, each kg of additional muscle mass consumes more and more energy to move the body itself. But even these two points are of negligible importance.

The bottom line: Strength training and extra muscle mass burns you extra calories, but isn’t a realistic way to lose weight fast . This is because you need extra calories to build muscle, and therefore need to consume more calories than you burn. So you won’t lose weight, and instead gain it. By the way: since muscles are heavier than fat, mass gain can quickly make you gain weight, without necessarily having to change the size of your clothing.

How to solve this problem ? Because your final goal is surely to have a strong and slender body at the same time … The solution is to proceed in two phases : after having developed muscle mass in phase I (and possibly a little fat), you get rid of fat in phase II, while largely maintaining your muscles. You can do this by continuing strength training while following a high protein diet.

“I have to train differently for definition than for muscle gain.”

There is no specific training for defining or gaining muscle mass. Muscles can only be rebuilt or maintained through training. If you exercise too little or not at all, or if you have a bad diet, you lose muscle mass. This applies to both men and women, although women often enjoy strength training because it simply “defines” or “tightens” their muscles. However, this is physiologically absurd. There is only one way to get well-defined musculature: As described above, you will need to continue muscle building and eat a high protein diet to lose fat until your muscles are visible. .

“The more muscle I have, the more strength I have.”

As with body fat percentage, many people wonder what the ideal muscle percentage for a woman is. However, this approach is not really effective, because muscles are not an end in themselves. They support your body and give you the ability to move and participate in physical activities. It is therefore a question of quality rather than quantity . In fact, your health and well-being do not depend on the size of your muscles, but on their performance.

It is true the strength and amount of muscle are related to some extent. But the equation “the more muscle I have, the more strength I have” is wrong . This is because strength is not only based on existing muscle mass, but also on the ability of the nervous system to control and use muscle fibers. And this ability must be specifically trained. This is why most bodybuilders would look old even when faced with much less trained athletes in a weightlifting competition: their muscles are bigger, but their nervous system does not know how to use them in the right way. optimal because it was programmed differently.

Here’s the best example: Venezuelan Stefanie Cohen is 1.53m tall, weighs around 55kg and can perform a squat with a load of 200kg (3.6 times her body weight) ! The record for this exercise is 247 kg (4.5 times the body weight). This woman is obviously an absolutely exceptional athlete. But in absolute values, his muscle mass is still much lower than that of a bodybuilder of 95 kg for example. And the latter should already be very strong to lift the same load as Cohen who is much lighter. If he was as strong as her in relative terms, he would be just as impressive. Thus, it is better to take into account your strength than the size of your muscles.; especially since muscle size can be quickly changed by carbohydrates and water retention.


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