For many women, starting a strength training program can be scarier than any ghost story you could conjure up around a campfire. What are people afraid of?  The usual responses are: “If I lift weights, I will bulk up.” “I don’t want to look ‘manly.’”  “It’s dangerous and I’ll hurt myself.”  But these things couldn’t be further from the truth!

Many women associate lifting weights with images of professional female bodybuilders and are hesitant to start their own strength training programs because they don’t want to bulk up like that.  But those professionals train specifically for muscle development; their training and nutrition are designed for maximum muscle growth and definition.  It is possible to customize your strength training program in a different way that will help you build lean muscle definition without bulking up.

And lifting weights is not dangerous, either. The key is to work with the appropriate resistance and learn the proper form to execute each movement. When you think about it, you lift weight every day. You may lift boxes or grocery bags, move heavy items at home or at work, carry young children, or climb stairs, among many other daily functions.  A strength training program will make those daily tasks easier and help you avoid strain and injury.

The reality is, women should not be afraid of strength training.  Building muscle mass will, in fact, burn more body fat and give you a leaner physique. Other benefits of strength training are reducing stress, improving mental focus, and strengthening bones. If you play a sport, strength training will help you become stronger and play a better game as well as avoid injuries. And there are countless other benefits that will leave you feeling great.

If you’re interested in strength training but find yourself walking around a gym frustrated and not knowing where to begin, don’t waste time wandering around doing random exercises. Working with a strength and conditioning coach is the best way to get started and stay motivated. Your coach will customize your training program to your abilities, goals and track your progress. Soon you will be challenging yourself to reach new goals.

Take a look at Hillary’s journey. By dedicating herself to strength training and good nutrition, she made a lifestyle change and was able to lose fat, build muscle and transform her body!

So ladies, don’t be afraid; lose the excuses, get in the gym, and lift!

Debra Rydziel

Coach, TFWConnecticut

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