Most female bodybuilders’ sole motivation to weight train is they want to be “buffed”, “ripped” and “jacked” just like the guys. Most do it as a hobby just to have a better self image. Others do it to be or look like fitness models and still others dig into their DNA by shooting anabolic steroids because that is just their thing.
First of all, what is Bodybuilding?
Definition: A sport or athletic hobby consisting of building an aesthetically muscular physique through weight training and hypertrophy which may culminate in a competition in which participants appear before a panel of judges to be given points based on their appearance.
Diversity of Women’s Bodybuilding
Women’s bodybuilding has changed quite a bit over the past 3 or 4 decades. Early physique contests for women officially started in the 1970s. They accentuated femininity in which participants were not allowed to clench their fists and perform “un-ladylike” poses such as the double biceps, crab, and lat spread. As time went on, however, the world of female bodybuilding seemed to squash all preconceived notions that the public has for women to always look like fitness models. In fact, many of the women’s modern bodybuilding contests have the contestants up on stage looking just as grainy and muscular as male bodybuilders. Similar to the men, the women’s team of iron slingers also has numbers of bulky, anabolic steroid “mass monsters” as well as also having the smaller, more streamlined “naturals” who don’t mess around with injection needles.
For women who want to become shapelier via weight training, there are several obstacles. For one, there are several training myths in women’s bodybuilding:
- Lifting weights will make you look like a man and you will get a deep voice: What do you mean look like a man? Do you mean, a woman, after slinging iron around for six months, will somehow end up resembling a hairy lumbering oaf with a bald spot? No, this won’t happen. Women actually end up looking more aesthetically feminine after training with weights for awhile. The only ones who develop masculine traits are those female bodybuilders who take anabolic steroids and eat a lot to bulk up their muscularity.
- Doing chest exercises like bench presses or flys will increase the size of the breasts: Exercise develops muscle tissue. Breast tissue and muscle tissue are made out of two different things. Women’s breast tissue is fatty and muscle is made out of well, muscle.
- If you lift weights, you will turn your fat into muscle: This can’t happen because fat is fat and muscle is muscle. The slogan “fat into muscle” is just slick marketing and many people buy into it. What happens is women who become bodybuilders lose fat through diet and cardio and at the same time increase their protein intake and do tons of exercises that cause their muscles to contract super hard. After a time, they get the muscular back, sexy six pack abs, defined shoulders, shapely legs and butt of a physique model.
- If you stop lifting weights, your muscles will be turned into fat: Again, muscle is muscle and fat is fat and one cannot become the other. It only appears that muscles turn into fat because you stop weight training and increase carb consumption to the point of getting way more calories than you are burning up.
- Muscle burns fat: No, this is not a myth; it is definitely indirectly true in the sense that having more muscle increases your metabolism which means you will be burning more calories. Muscle requires more calories than fat to maintain its existence.
Hormones levels are Different
Men generally tend to be stronger in the upper torso. Women, however can have the same strength capabilities as men in the leg department. Many a female athlete knows what it’s like to walk into a gym and push a bigger stack on the leg press than any guy in the joint. It is harder, however, for women to put on muscle mass than men because a plentiful supply of the male hormone testosterone is required for that and women don’t have much of it. They do however have quite a bit of estrogen which unfortunately tends to store fat.
These two things, difficulty building muscle mass and having a natural hormone, estrogen, that tends to store fat and fat that tends to store estrogen, make female bodybuilding quite a challenge. It’s not fair in a way because in many instances, the women work out much harder than the men.
Develop the Perfect Diet Habits to Get that Buff Bikini Body:
- Remember that no matter if you are on a low carb or high carb diet, it’s always calories in should be less than calories expended. The only way to get skinny is to limit the amount of carbohydrates you consume. Also, decrease the amount of sugar you consume.
- Eat plenty of protein and consider using protein supplements. Most women bodybuilders consume a huge amount of protein—anywhere between 1-2 grams per kilogram of bodyweight. What else you do think the muscles are made out of?
- If you eat carbs, consume only whole grain low glycemic carbs. If you use carbs for your energy source, eat more carbs than protein and more protein than fats.
- Eat a big salad once a day.
- Do not eat junk food or consume any trans-fat. Foods having trans-fat will eventually make your body somewhat insulin resistant which means you will not be able to lose fat very efficiently when you would like to. Eat only healthy fats that are unsaturated or monounsaturated. Eat saturated fats in moderation. Note: If you are on a cutting diet, your nutrient ratios will change: You will be eating more fats than carbs. If you are using fat as your energy source, you will be eating more fat than protein and more protein than carbs.
If you are up to the challenge, here is a sample workout:
(All exercises are done for 2 sets 8-12 repetitions)
Monday:Chest and triceps
Tuesday:Quadriceps, Hamstrings, calves
Hanging leg raises
Thursday:Back, biceps, forearms
Lat pull downs
Reverse wrist curls
Standing lateral raises
Bent lateral raises
Only One Way There
If you think bodybuilding or weight lifting for women is a silly notion: There are women over 40, 50 and even 60 years of age who are taking up bodybuilding and strength training every day. Muscles do not age. They are always in the process of reproducing themselves as new. If you start in woman’s bodybuilding today, you won’t be a beginner for very long. Woman bodybuilders, like the men, are a rather diverse lot as some (a minority) want to inject steroids for ultimate muscular bulk whereas the vast majority simply want to look like streamlined fitness models who look great in a bathing suit. The one thing they they all have in common is that they know the only way to achieve their goals is through weight training. Slinging iron is the fastest way to develop lean body mass.
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