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Wait….Females Need To Lift Weights? But Doesn’t That Make Me Bulky?

“I want to lose weight”

“I wish I was skinnier”

“I need to cut down on fats”

“Oh no! I’m getting too bloated”

Ladies, we’ve all been there, myself included. Of course, this isn’t a bad thing at all, I think it’s wonderful how more women are prioritizing their health and fitness. It’s a great starting point, and without goals will we actually get anywhere?

When starting off trying to lose weight, we have way more questions than answers. Should we limit our food consumption? Do only cardio? Lift weights but focus on repetition rather than load? Should I not train a certain body part?

And here’s the best question of them all ‘WILL I GET TOO BULKY…..” yes you read it correctly. So ladies let’s break it down shall we?

Lifting weights is for sure one of the best and most viable options for most females who are looking to lose weight. Definitely many of us find this scary because if we lift wouldn’t this make us even bigger than before? Well, maybe… But the chances of that happening is actually really ‘small’. Let's look at four reasons why we build muscle in the first place shall we?

1. Testosterone

The hormones primarily responsible for muscle growth or in layman terms getting you ‘bigger’ is testosterone and growth hormones. As females, we don’t exactly have an abundance of this unlike our male counterparts. So if we really wanted to get ‘big’ this would actually be quite difficult to do.

2. Body type

As females, we don’t have the same genetic make up as men. Our DNA predisposes us to store more fat naturally and build muscles in different ways. Honestly, it’s hard for us in the body to be ‘buff’ like men.

3. Muscle Stimulus

There’s perhaps no better way to stimulate lean muscle growth than through weight training exercises. Through resistance we can stimulate greater muscular contractions and overtime we can create muscular hypertrophy through progressive overload, which leads to an increase in muscle mass. This is by no means an easy feat at all and requires; detailed programming, time, solid nutrition and tons of effort and dedication.

As mentioned in my first point, for females we lack the primary hormones to achieve a really big growth in our muscle cells. But what we can do is get much toner and leaner as a result of lifting weights, which is awesome!

4. Nutrition

Ladies, dial in your nutrition and know your macros, there’s only three of them, these are your proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Whether you are trying to lose weight or gain lean muscle, understand these and utilize them in your daily eating life.

Now we know how muscle is built and how this differs from men. We can see that this process happens overtime, you will not wake up one day after doing some squats and start having a huge butt, that's just not possible (I’m sorry). So, ladies let’s now take a look at why muscles can benefit us in the long term.

  1. You will look beautiful,firmer and sexier, no matter your age we are able to always build muscle.

  2. Weight training increases and maintains your metabolism, let’s face it who doesn’t want to eat more or visit our favorite Bangkok cafes.

  3. Make you stronger, which really helps in your day to day life. Plus, it’s cool being strong.

  4. Decreases the risk of developing chronic illness, such as Osteoporosis, diabetes and heart related disease etc.

All I can hope for is that we can all take to weight training with the right mindset, let’s also not forget to get a few cardio sessions in each week as well. This is a potent combination for any ladies out there.

Ensure that you have the right training mindset by educating yourself on various exercises, programming and nutrition. Don’t forget to eat well and ensure you get an adequate amount of sleep.

Lastly, our long term goal is not to be skinnier or lose X amount of weight, but exercise should form part of our healthy active lifestyle. As a coach all I can ever ask from you is to be brave, be the strong women that you know you are. The gym can be intimidating if you let it be so don’t, if you don’t know what to do then I hope that this piece could at least guide you. It’s time to say ‘Hello” to your better version of yourself.



Aoii Ornkawee is SMART certified personal trainer and CrossFit Level 1 trainer. She started out in the hospitality industry. After a year into her work, she quickly discovered that her real passion was seeing people live healthier and happier lives through exercise. At Iron Hive, she teaches three classes: CrossFit, Gymnastics and Powerbuff, and is also a personal trainer.

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