Curls For The Girls – Seriously

Meagan SwansonFood, Getting Toned, Lifting Weights, Losing Fat, Obesity, Working OutLeave a Comment

Alright ladies, shit’s about to get real so listen up

When it comes to lifting weights, how many of you have been caught saying “I don’t want to get too bulky” or “I don’t want to look manly” or “I just want to tone”…?

I get it, I’m guilty of it too; I used to be terrified to lift weights in fear of gaining too much muscle. I would see a picture of a very muscular girl and I’d immediately think “she must lift weights, I never want to look like that”. And then I would go run for miles and my body wouldn’t change.

The way I am now, you might not believe that I used to refuse to lift weights; but if you ask any one of my friends or family members who knew me in high school, they would tell you the same thing word for word. I HATED having the muscle I already had, and there was no chance in hell that I was going to get even more bulky by being forced to lift heavy. After all, as much as I can appreciate the hard work, I didn’t want to look like this (because it’s obviously not photo shopped…):

female_muscle-11 (2)

Sound familiar?

I actually remember arguing with Cj about something that our high school weight training teacher had said (Hi Coach Mumm!). He stated “Girls, you do not have to be afraid of putting on too much muscle and looking manly. Less than 2% of women are actually capable of building muscle to that extent without enhancements, and even those 2% that can build muscle would need some type of enhancement to gain the muscularity of a male. You will not get huge, I promise.”

Of course, I immediately thought “well I must be in that 2% then because I gain muscle too easily”. So I put off what Coach Mumm said, and I continued to avoid weight lifting, only lifting light weights when I had to (now ab work, I would do that all day everyday – abs without muscle is a thing right?).


Then something changed


After years of having the mindset that lifting weights made women manly, I started researching the science behind it. I read hundreds of articles, reviews, success stories, etc., and every single one of them said the same thing – weight training was absolutely necessary to sculpt your dream body.

The truth is, if you want to look lean and toned, if you want to lose fat, then you HAVE to lift weights. And not just that, you have to lift heavy weights – none of those 2 pound dumbbell curls. Contrary to popular belief, women cannot gain muscle the way that a man does; they lack the testosterone necessary to put on that kind of mass.

And now you’re thinking “well what about those women who DO have huge muscles?”, and I assure you, those women want to look like that. They put in a lot of time and hard work, and they often use enhancements in order to build that amount of muscle. So again, women do not have the capability to put on the amount of muscle that a man can. You will not look manly; you will look strong. This is me now at my most recent bodybuilding competition (with my adorable son):


Lifting heavy is favorable for multiple reasons, one being that it allows for your body to burn calories for up to 24 hours after a workout. A second reason being that it adds muscle to your body which in turn helps you burn more calories when you’re at rest. That’s right – the more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns even when you’re not doing a thing. Research shows that for every one pound of muscle that you have, your body burns an extra 50 calories a day.

What’s up weight loss?

On to the all too common “I don’t want to gain muscle, I just want to get toned” phrase… Cardio will not make you toned. Cardio will make you what some people call ‘skinny-fat’… Which is cool if that’s what you’re going for! But in order to have a toned appearance, you must have muscle. In order to have muscle, you must weight train.

This isn’t to say you should never do cardio; cardio is great for your heart and overall health. It helps clear your mind and can also aid in fat loss/weight loss, but it isn’t going to be the thing that helps you reach your goals – weight lifting is.

More lifting of the weights, less cardio. Capiche?


Till Next Time — Meagan