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Lifting Weights Won’t Make You Look Manly Overnight

Women tend to shy away from lifting weights because they think it will make them turn into female bodybuilders. I had the same fear. In fact, if not for thefitjuan forcing me to pick up some weights, I would have wasted so much time doing cardio (which I HATE), and I would not have found my passion for lifting.

You don’t transform overnight

Women see the pictures of male and female bodybuilders and become scared that they will end up with 30 pounds of muscle in just a few short weeks. That’s not even possible in a few months so you’re not going to wake up one day looking like a totally different person. It takes consistent progress through training properly and eating an adequate amount of calories.

lifting weights before pictures
Post-workout selfie after doing Jillian Michaels’ 30-day shred lol April 2011

Flexing and lighting make a huge difference

No one walks around flexed all the time. The photos you see online are most likely of people flexing or doing “relaxed” poses but still flexing somewhat. Also, side or overhead light will always be more flattering (hence the term, half-natty lighting) than front light.

lifting heavy progress photo

How long it’s taken me

“But what about you, you started lifting and you got big.” If my lifting weights before and afterbody type is “too much” for you, and that’s perfectly fine for you to think that by the way, know that I didn’t get to this point overnight. It has taken me 3 years of going to the gym 5-6 times a week. I was never away from the gym for more than 3 days. I’ve been tracking my macros for over 2 years now and even when I wasn’t yet, I ate A LOT. I “dirty bulked” as good as the guys, so trust me, I ate enough to support muscle growth. But even then, right now, I’m still nowhere close to female bodybuilder status.

If you don’t think I’m big and the look you’re going for is similar to mine now, then you have an idea of how much time it takes and how much effort you need to consistently put in. I’m nothing special even after putting so much effort into “fitness.” However, I’ve never stopped and that has made the biggest impact on my physique.

Lifting weights can give you that “toned” (lean) look

So there, now you have an idea of how long it takes to build muscle and look “toned” through lifting weights. I’m made a lot of mistakes along the way, so that cost me some of the muscle that I’ve worked so hard to build. Even still, I’m nowhere near done and I’m eager to see where the next few years of strength training will bring me. I’m mediocre in terms of strength, but I love it so I’ll continue doing it. The muscle I’ll grow along the way will be an added bonus.

If you want to be lean and have some muscle definition (ie. Abs, v-cut, shoulder cuts, grow a booty), you need muscle. The amount of muscle you’ll need will depend on the look you want to achieve, which is why it should become apparent to you how short-term diets that last mere weeks, are not feasible for the natural lifter. Think in months and years, not weeks.

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About littlemisspatricia

I love to lift and eat all the things.


  1. Patricia,

    what rep range did you train in to get to where you are? should I continue to train to 12 to 15 reps even though I’m not really seeing results anymore? I’ve progressed in the weight I’ve lifted, but now I feel stuck. should I train in the 6 to 10 rep range instead?

    • I have a wide rep range– 2-12 reps. That doesn’t include band work or burnout sets that can go as high as 50-100 reps. I don’t think it’s the rep range that’s the problem but the overall progression scheme which is affecting your total training volume. Look up periodization schemes online