Hey girl, why don't you lift heavier?
Because I don't want to look really bulky/manly…
This is a common misconception when a woman joins the gym or has decided she wants to look like those fitness girls on instagram.
Female newbie logic: Lifting heavy is what bodybuilders do, so I'll lift light…otherwise I'll build REALLY big muscles and look like a man.
There's one meme for this…
There's 2 reasons why lifting heavy weights won't make a woman HUGE:
1. Less Testosterone
A woman and a man could do the same workouts, eat the same diets and live the exact same lifestyles. However, the woman will only gain a fraction of muscle compared to the man, because she only has a fraction of his testosterone.
Testosterone is the difference between men and women. It's the reason why men have penises, deeper voices, more body hair and more muscle mass.
So the view of “I'll look like a man if I lift heavy weights” is pretty much as ridiculous as saying “I'll grow a penis if I go for a wee standing up”.
Fact: Men have 20x more testosterone than women on average (1).
Women WILL build muscle from lifting heavy, but not anywhere near as much as a man.
Lifting heavy is also one of the best methods for burning fat, as it's shown to spike natural human growth hormone levels. HGH is a powerful fat burning hormone. Sprints are also effective for increasing HGH…and look how lean Olympic sprinters are.
The Truth: Lifting heavy will burn fat and build small amounts of muscle, resulting in a toned/athletic looking body. A woman will also experience less sagging and cellulite, often occurring in females with less muscle mass.
It's the same principle as natty guys expecting to build the same amount of muscle as dudes on steroids.
…Not gonna happen.
This is because anabolic steroids will increase your test to unnaturally high levels, making that person a lot more anabolic. Hell, some guys who take steroids gain muscle even without training/lifting weights (2).
That's how powerful the testoterone is when it comes to building muscle.
2. It's not easy to get HUGE
There's men who have been lifting heavy weights religiously for years, sipping protein shakes and taking every supplement known to man.
…And yet a lot of these guys struggle to get big.
Not to mention these guys WANT to get jacked.
It takes someone with exceptional genetics to become extremely muscular (without steroids). Or it takes years and years of serious over-eating (bulking) to put on a decent amount of size.
Steroids CAN make a woman bulky/manly looking
Steroids change a woman's hormone profile so much, it's actually possible for them to grow a penis where the clitoris is located (3).
This is a side effect from taking androgenic steroids; as they increase male hormones to a large degree. Bulking steroids are usually androgenic.
Bulking steroids: Testosterone, Dianabol, Trenbolone, Anadrol.
However, cutting steroids are used by many women (who aren't bodybuilders) to burn fat without the side effects associated with bulking steroids. This is because steroids used for cutting, such as Anavar and Clenbuterol aren't androgenic, thus they won't affect your testosterone levels.