If I had a dime for every time I heard that, I would be like Scrooge McDuck from Duck tales swimming in his vault of coinage!
Of course, these words are 9.9 times out of 10 coming out of a woman’s mouth, and I understand the concern, but the concerned is misinformed. You do not want to look like a man; you like your femininity. Trust me, guys like your feminitity too, and here’s a secret: guys love a girl who is in great shape and strength trains, and there is no better way for a woman to get that shape and muscle tone she wants than strength training (Read my other post “If You Want to Look Like an Athlete, You Better Train Like One”). Many of the females I know are constantly talking about training for a 1/2 marathons and full marathons and 5ks and 10ks, etc…. Their reasons for doing so are to get in shape, and I get so frustrated because this rarely leads to their desired goal, getting into shape (Read “Speed Limpers and Wishful Walkers”)! As I have stated before in other posts, if you truly love running, then run! However, running is not the best way to get into shape, nor is it the healthiest, nor is it the safest, nor is it the funnest (I know I know, not a word, but “funnest” flows more better! (Get it). A proper strength training program designed for you will likely lead to the following:
1) Maintenance/creation of muscle mass (This is where you get that nice “muscle tone” that you females speak of) So don’t get freaked out when you hear lean muscle mass; in fact, from now one, “lean muscle mass” = “muscle tone” now in your vocab.
2) Your metabolism will soar! Lean muscle mass is a very metabolically active tissue (burns calories) in your body. Increasing your calorie expenditure equals fat loss and weight loss!
3) You will reverse the effects of aging, there is much research about the effects of resistance training and anti-aging effects all the way down to the cellular level.
4) You will increase/maintain bone density, which is huge for women of all ages!
5) You will have the healthiest, strongest, best looking body you’ve ever had.
Just so I am not misunderstood, I do believe in cardio (read “HIIT It and Quit It”) as a supplemental activity to strength training. This will enhance fat and weight loss. The take home message here is strength training will not make you bulky. A woman’s physiology almost ensures your feminine look. What I mean is your gender and your hormones aren’t muscle mass producing machines, unless you are taking steroids. Learn to strength train the right way. The best way to do this is to find a good trainer and hire him/her and learn how to do it right. Yeah it costs money, but it is less expensive than the time you are wasting!