Should women lift weights to lose weight? Or will lifting weights make them bulky?

Let’s start by getting the basics right. Testosterone is one of the major hormones responsible for increase in muscle size. Women do not, and cannot naturally produce as much testosterone as men do. This also explains the reason why men are leaner and can carry more muscle mass than women. Female bodybuilders with muscular structures have a different training schedule and also take hormonal supplements in order to gain greater muscle mass.

Importance of Weight Training

Most women who workout are seen doing cardiovascular exercises(running,cycling,etc.) and prefer skipping the weight section. Cardio based workouts are improve stamina and heart health but focussing only cardio based exercises can result in muscle loss in the long run. Which essentially means that you will never get a toned physique.

Weight training helps in increasing lean muscle and strength. As your strength increases, you are able to do advanced exercises and move on to the next level. Also, it makes you physically stronger and energetic, making you more efficient. Research studies conclude that even moderate weight training can increase a woman's strength by 30 to 50 percent. Research also shows that women can develop their strength at the same rate as men.

An increase in lean muscle increases the resting metabolism of the body, thus helping in burning more calories even during rest. For each pound of muscle you gain, you burn 35 to 50 more calories a day.

Weight training decreases your risk of osteoporosis. Research has found that weight training can increase spinal bone mineral density (and enhance bone modeling) by 13 percent in six months. This, coupled with an adequate amount of dietary calcium, can be a woman's best defence against osteoporosis.

Weight training not only builds stronger muscles, but also builds stronger connective tissues and increases joint stability. This acts as a reinforcement for the joints and helps prevent injury. Studies have indicated that weight training can ease the pain of osteoarthritis and strengthen joints.

Weight training can improve cardiovascular health by lowering LDL ("bad") cholesterol, increasing HDL ("good") cholesterol and lowering blood pressure. When coupled with cardiovascular exercise, heart health benefits are maximized.

Weight training may improve the way the body processes sugar, which may reduce the risk of diabetes. Adult-onset diabetes is a growing problem around the world. Research indicates that weight training can increase glucose utilization in the body by 23 percent in four months.

A Harvard study found that 10 weeks of strength training reduced clinical depression symptoms much more successfully than standard counselling did. Women who do strength training commonly report feeling more confident and capable.

The right fitness routine includes a balanced approach in terms of workout and diet. With such an approach women can gradually gain more muscle and improve their body composition, resulting in a toned body with more lean muscle mass and less body fat.