I want to take a second and talk about women and strength training. I'm going to use myself as an example... Many women are scared to lift heavy when weight training, or are scared to lift weights at all, for fear of becoming "bulky" or "manly". So, they spend the majority of their time doing cardio. If they do attempt strength training, it's very light weight with high reps... yet they can't figure out why this isn't achieving the "toned" look they so desire. To achieve a "toned" look, you have to build muscle mass and reduce body fat. This is achieved by challenging your muscles with heavy weight, and feeding your body properly. I have been strength training for over 16 years, and I lift heavy ALL THE TIME... because I'm not going to waste my time at the gym doing something that isn't going to give me any result. I do occasionally switch from very low reps (4-8) to higher reps (12-15) just to keep my body guessing, but most of the time I stay within the 8-12 rep range, which has been shown to be the most beneficial for hypertrophy (muscle growth). Because of competing the past few years, I have learned how to maximize the mind-muscle connection, so if I want to flex and make myself look
very muscular, I am able to do that by flexing properly. I am pretty darn muscular, however, I do not look "manly" or "bulky" when relaxed... even after 16+ years of heavy weight training.
I struggle with finding clothes that fit properly just just everyone else. Women's clothing sizes are not universal, and unless you have clothing custom-made to your body... we are all going to have to search to find a flattering fit of any attire we try on. The other day I was trying on dresses for an event... I joked around about feeling like a she-hulk, and snapped a pic of an ill-fitting dress while giving a bicep flex. I had multiple people tell me that I did not look good in that dress. I knew that, and those comments didn't bother me at all. I laughed with them. :) I'm not afraid to post an unflattering pic of myself from time to time, so thought it was funny to take a picture of it just to prove my "she-hulkness" in that moment. ;) However, when I found a properly fitting dress, everyone had a different opinion (even in my awesome flexing pose ;) lol) The point of this is, when you see a "muscular" woman flexing, just realize that she does not look like that at all times. She more than likely looks fit and "toned" when relaxed. I am living proof. I felt very feminine and pretty in the dress that I chose... I've attached the 2 pics for comparison.
Sooooo.... LADIES, DON'T BE AFRAID TO LIFT HEAVY WEIGHT. Strength training will give you curves in all the right places, and will achieve that feminine and "toned" look you desire. Pick up those dumbbells, and start rockin' those little black dresses with confidence. ;)