A quick glance at various facebook updates, blogs and direct questions I receive are fairly indicative of a trend from a number of my female friends to have some misconceptions about “weight loss” and weight lifting.

I thought I’d take a moment here to try and provide some insight and examples that expand upon my brief comments in the last fitness post I did.

Weight lifting is king. This is perhaps the most important thing that I’ve learned with regards to exercise; lift as heavy as you can. 4-8 repetitions in 3 sets is a good way to start. This is true for men and women, young and old. One of the most inaccurately propagated myths is that if you lift heavy, you will become a giant monster looking like the Incredible Hulk. This isn’t going to happen. Just as the belief (which is thankfully changing) that Yoga and Pilates are for women, lifting isn’t just for guys. A quote I saw a while ago on Reddit (as best I can remember), “Lifting weights isn’t going to turn you into the hulk any more than taking spin class will make me grow breasts”. See all those guys at the gym there for hours? They’re TRYING to get huge. Do you think you’re going to stumble upon the secret to becoming a giant by accident? You’re not. TheCookieMonster is a power lifter with an amazing blog. This link will take you straight to her progress pictures. She doesn’t look like She-hulk, she looks like Supergirl. And that’s a very good thing. Yoga, spinning, Pilates, are all great supplements, but you gotta lift.

Basically what I was saying was, lifting weights will give you the best and fastest results. Additional physical activities that you do, such as cycling, rock-climbing, Yoga, fencing, jogging, rowing, are fantastic; they will assist you with cardio, twitch-muscle (depending upon the activity), endurance, and the like.

But the guys that do the Tour-de-France, they don’t spend all of their training cycling, they’re at the gym squatting. The guys playing baseball aren’t swinging the bat all day and playing catch, they’re at the gym doing bench-presses and pull-ups.

Weight lifting makes you better at the physical activity that you enjoy for recreation.

Don’t get me wrong, if you’re happy with what you’re doing and it’s working for you to the degree you want it to, then by all means, keep doing just that. But, if you want to see some more gains, consider taking up weights.

The above applies to everyone, the following is directed at my female family members and friends a little more specifically (and no, this is not directed at any one person, I’m serious when I say I’ve had a lot of inquiries about this).

YOU WILL NOT GET HUGE LIFTING HEAVY WEIGHT!

You will get harder. You will get stronger. You will feel better. You will NOT look like the Hulk.

You can’t.

Not without some serious steroidal help.

Now I’m going to put some images, videos and links up here. These are female weightlifters who look amazing BECAUSE they lift. That said, training and lifting should not be just about physical appearance, it should be about improving ones self, as well as setting goals and surpassing them.

The Cookie Monster – This is Christine. I’ve been hitting her blog (and linking to it, and mentioning it…) a lot lately because she fascinates me. She knows her shit, she lifts crazy amounts and she has a blog that is interesting, simple and very amusing to read. She is also a “real” person. She’s responded to my emails when I asked some questions and she’s GTA based. I find her to be more of an inspiration than any of the other people I’ve followed online because of these facts. I highly recommend subscribing to her blog.

The Mighty Kat – Kat is a bit more extreme than I am (and she has a home gym I would kill for). She is a fitness machine. She has some great articles, and her blog is here (though it seems to have not been updated in almost a year at this point).

Maryse Turcotte – A seriously impressive weightlifter who started in the early 90′s. I’ve included an old CBC profile of her and here is a mini-biography she wrote herself about a decade ago for Stumptuous.com.

Unknown – I’m not sure who this is, but she has an amazing squat. Check out how low she goes on that. And those Bulgarians that she does with the chains and bar are nutty.

I hope that these girls provide some motivation and show you that you don’t get gigantic when lifting heavy.

While I was gathering examples for this post, I came across this post on Stumptuous.com. It’s an interesting read to dispel a lot of the myths about women and lifting. Give it a read.

If you’re looking for a starting program, I would recommend starting with StrongLifts 5×5 (here’s a direct link to the FAQ, which I stole some of those above names from for you). It’s a simple program with big compound movements that doesn’t have you living at the gym.

Have a nice day guys. :)