The terms tone and bulk are used constantly in fitness publications. It should be realized that these have no basis in exercise physiology and rarely appear in sports science texts. Tone and bulk are more colloquial words rather than an anatomical description. They describe a person’s idea of muscular aesthetics. There are multiple opinions and when discussing women’s bodies there is a level of controversy. The image of the muscular woman generates many responses, but disgust should not be one of them. Women should not fear gaining muscle or looking strong. Often fitness professionals assure women bulking up is not biologically possible for a woman to do. Women bodies are capable of building strength and muscle despite differences in sexual dimorphism. Women compete in bodybuilding,crossfit, and weightlifting. Each has varying degrees of muscularity. The bulk up fear is related to “looking like a man.” What many fail to realize is that even the large women are not as big as they seem. Strong women do not look like men, they just have significant musculature. Knowing this, one can conclude bulking and toning are nothing more than terms giving an idea of a particular appearance. The notion you can tone without bulk seems ludicrous if you have a basic understanding of muscular hypertrophy. Erin Zeggert gives a general training program for building muscle. A correct revision of the text would be how to induce muscular hypertrophy to a certain level. To understand why this proclamation is flawed it must be approached from a perspective of exercise science.
Tone and bulk must be defined to give a correct answer to the question. Zeggert states ” there is no real definition of toned in the fitness world, but it is commonly accepted that getting toned involves adding muscle to have some muscle definition and losing fat. ” If there is no real definition then how can it be a fitness goal ? This seems more dependent on perspective. To some the toned look could be bulky. A toned woman would be bulky in comparison to a thin woman or man. The size of the muscles can be misleading. Some women may look bigger than they actually are in person. Then there is a problem of quantifying . There is no specific range in which a woman goes from a toned to bulky classification. How muscular a person get depends on their genetics, training, diet, and natural strength prior to exercise. A woman with more muscle prior to training is going to have more muscle mass gain compared to a woman does not. This means a woman who has an ectomorphic body type will have a harder time adding mass.
There are women who might fall in between bulky and toned. No such term exists for women with that body type. The terms bulky and toned can only be used to classify certain types of bodies that have undergone some form of exercise or fitness training. Physique aesthetics are more so about presentation, rather than functional fitness. When fitness publications use the term bulk, they normally mean size. There is a word that already exists for that and it is called muscle mass and weight. Female bodybuilders have the largest amount of muscle,but it is not just amount building yourself as much as possible. Symmetry,definition, conditioning, and muscle shape are important elements. Size is not the only element a truly aesthetic physique has. The denotations of bulk and tone can vary . The terms do not have a use scientifically, rather it a general description of the amount of muscle carried on the body. Creating a certain look requires both weight training and attention to diet.
It must be understood why from a perspective of histology why “bulk muscle” and “toned muscle” does not exist in a biological sense. Histology is the study of the microscopic structure of tissues. Examining muscle cells between a bulky or toned body would not show cells or tissues being radically different. If a biopsy were to be done between what is considered a bulky and toned woman there would be little cellular differences. There are three types of muscular tissue. This includes cardiac muscle, smooth muscle, and skeletal muscle.
Looking at muscle under a microscope from a “toned” or a “bulky” woman one can confirm that it is not radically different. It should be noted there is a difference in the attributes of muscle fiber types. Type II muscle fiber is designed more for explosive physical power compared to more endurance based type I muscle fiber. The body consists of connective tissues, nervous system tissue, epithelial tissue, and muscle tissue. Cells are the building blocks of living organisms. Cell theory has three major tenets. The first is all things considered living are composed of cells. The second tenet states that the cell is the basic structure of organisms. Cells can only come into existence from pre-existing cells. The process of cellular differentiation happens when a stem cells changes for a particular tissue. Neurons and muscle cells are not the same,but they have a common origin from stem cells. Cell theory was pioneered by Matthias Schleiden and Theodore Schwann in the 19th century. It was Schwann who began to classify cells, which would later give rise to modern histology. Schleiden was a botanist who through observation of plants that cells were forming from other cells. This indicated that nuclei played a major role in cell division. Myogenesis describes the cellular development of muscle tissue. This occurs in both women who either appear toned or bulky. Being bulky or tone is a matter of perspective rather than biological or physiological reality.
Building what is called a toned body is just adding some muscle. However, there are exercises and certain methods that are required to attain a certain look. Adding size or definition requires the reduction of body fat. General weight loss will not produce a toned appearance rather if done to a certain degree it will produce an ectomorphic body type. This goal can be achieved through exercise and a change in diet. There are some possible risks to dramatic weight loss. Bone mass and muscle mass may suffer,if excessive dieting is done. Some women could even develop an unhealthy relationship with food and their own bodies. Being too thin is not healthy, even though mass media representations present it as such. It should be noted also when you train, looking like another person or an ideal can be an unrealistic goal. How you look is dictated by your phenotype and genetics. The images that are seen on fitness magazines may not realistic goals that the majority of the population can attain. However, if there is enough consistency in diet and training progress can be made. The appropriate mind set and approach is critical to reaching particular fitness goals.
The question of cardiovascular exercise normally comes up in the discussion of women and fitness. There is a major error Erin Zeggert makes when suggestion that cardio can help in producing a toned body. Cardio exercise is not enough to build muscle and it is thought that adding too much may effect the total amount of muscular gains. There is the benefit of such exercise burning more calories in comparison to just lifting weights. Any amount of exercise is good for health, but it is important to get the most benefits. Some women think that the best way to lose weight is to just get on a treadmill can eat less. This is incorrect,because it is not only ineffective it wastes time.
If you are doing only cardio exercise, strength and muscle will not increase. This can increase aerobic capacity, but have little effect on the health of the muscular system. Livestrong goes off the guidelines of the American College of Sports Medicine. The recommendation 150 minutes of cardio at moderate activity level. Livestrong advises “Any activity that gets your heart rate into the target zone can be used so choose something you will enjoy and will stick with.” Zeggart also writes “target heart rate is calculated as 60 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate.” The 150 recommendation seems like too much cardio if the intent is to create a particular physique aesthetic. This may not be even useful for weight loss. The calculation is 220 minus a person’s age. A woman who is 32 years of age would have a maximum heart rate 188. One with a general understanding of anatomy can see why this equation is a problem. Women have smaller hearts than men and lower aerobic capacity. However, using this same measure would give the same heart rate for both sexes. There needs to be a new equation to accurately calculate women’s maximum heart rate. This demonstrates that exercise science has a limited understanding of how sex differences influence women’s physical fitness. Cardio cannot be completely condemned. Cardiovascular exercise can enhance stamina and aerobic capacity.
If a woman is attempting to build a physique or strength weight training is the best method. Strength and muscle can be built even without access to weights. Push ups, lunges, and sit-ups can build a certain degree of strength. Lifting weights can build muscle and strength more efficiently. Livestrong reveals “the American College of Sports Medicine recommends at least two resistance training workouts per week on non-consecutive days using free weights, machines, resistance bands or body weight.” There are many methods to build a body,but it has not been determined which is the best. So far using all of these could be helpful depending on the fitness goal objective. Challenging the body and specifically the muscle will induce changes due to exercise stimuli.
Livestrong makes the recommendation that “each workout should have eight to 10 exercises working each muscle group.” This means that both the lower and upper body should be worked. Fitness literature tends to put emphasis on women’s lower body development. The intent should be to strengthen bones and muscles. Attaining the toned arms that women desire is simply adding muscle to the biceps brachii, deltoids, and triceps barchii. There is also the suggestion to work in a 12 repetition range to see substantial change in muscular development. Toning as some people refer to it still requires a certain degree of progressive overload. While a training schedule is essential rest is also equally important. Rest days should be periods in which no exercise is done so that muscle tissue can recover. When it recovers muscular hypertrophy will occur. Lifting heavy at lower repetition can increase strength and lifting lighter weights at higher repetitions can enhance muscular endurance. The training regimen should focus on lifting rather than cardio to reach a certain physique aesthetic.
Diet and food consumption is a major part of fitness. Women should keep in mind some differences. Metabolic function for women is lower even at basal rate. Women also metabolize more of their food in to fat storage. Due to endocrinology, women also have a harder time losing weight. What this means is that food consumption should be adjusted in relation to activity level.Eating less will ultimately cause failure,because it will disturb metabolic function. Diet should be balanced in proteins, carbohydrates, along with some fat. High sugar or food that contains limited nutritional value should be avoided. Sugar however should not be abandoned completely. An occasional dessert or cheat meal will not harm health or sabotage a fitness goal. If fats and sugars are consumed in excess, this is when it can have negative effects on the human body. Traditionally, it was the food pyramid that was used to give a basic guideline to healthy eating. The updated version is referred to my plate guidelines. The charts and guidelines are either not specific enough or just simply are not grounded in nutrition based science. They may come in useful as a basic introduction to health science.
Such charts may have to be adjusted in relation to a person’s age,sex, and health condition. For a highly active person, they may require more food compared to a person who is mostly sedentary. For a person who is attempting to manage weight a gradual readjustment of eating habits has to be done. The major error people make is to reduce calories to the point of starvation. Doing this only crates disordered eating and interrupts normal biological function. Seeing as humans are heterotrophs food is fuel for our bodies. The citric acid cycle explains how food is broken down and used for cellular metabolic function. This process is an intersection of both biochemistry and physiology. Energy is released in increments from respiration is a series of biochemical reactions. Glucose will divide into small units known as acetyl groups. Following this acetyl groups then merge with oxaloacetate and six-carbon compound will be produced known as citrate. Citrate needs enzymes to break it down and it will transform into a four-carbon oxaloaceate. Energy is produced in the form of adenosine triphosphate. This then enables various metabolic processes in cells of the body. Acetyl groups are derived from the food that we consume.
There are multiple factors involved in healthy eating and nutrition. A good place to begin a change is to examine the nutrition facts on food labeling. Approaches become more complicated when taking into account somatotype . Endomorphs have to be careful about nutrition and diet. Ectomorphs would struggle in comparison to gain any weight. Diet and exercise are both essential to obtaining a certain look .
Now that is has been established that toning and bulking are nothing more then general descriptions of physiques, there are some myths that must be addressed. Women fear that they will drastically increase in size from weight training and lose femininity. That claim is unfounded. Women can build muscle and still be attractive. The real problem is the bias against women who do not follow body image conformity. The large women seen on stage are not as big as one would assume. If we compare male and female bodybuilders in terms of weight the notion of women being “too big” is laughable. Stan Mcquay weighs about 202 lbs. Margie Martin weighs 154 lbs. Looking at the pictures of both of them, one would assume Margie is too big. Her weight is not that massive at all,but by certain standards she would be called “bulky.” Andrea Shaw would weigh less than Shawn Ray during his competitive career. Shawn’s biggest weight was 215 lbs. The average male bodybuilder easily exceeds past the 200 lbs range. Even if some women have the ability to gain significant mass, maintaining it takes considerable effort.
When a person builds it does not remain permanent. The opposite of muscular hypertrophy is atrophy. Muscular atrophy occurs when muscles are not in use or exercised. Muscles do not turn into fat when training stops. The only way weight can be changed is if diet is drastically altered. The image of Mina Mitsukoa demonstrates that muscles do not shift into fat. The image on the left show her when she competed as a bodybuilder and the left shows her in her current career as an ophthalmologist. The difference is that her muscles are smaller due to the fact she is not training for competition. Knowing this about muscles has wider applications. Astronauts spending long periods of time in space must exercise regularly to maintain bone and muscle mass. Another myth related to women’s fitness is that women are too weak for weight training. As Crossfit athletes, Olympic lifters, and bodybuilders women’s bodies are capable of gaining physical strength. Muscular hypertrophy operates in a similarly in both sexes. The difference is related to degree in muscular gains which is related to size, endocrine function , and genetics. What can be extrapolated from this information is that tone and bulk are just general terms for an appearance of a physique. Toning muscle without bulk is more of a paradox,because both involve lifting weights and eating a certain way.
This is the tenth set in an on going series of photographs. I thought I would celebrate with even more pictures. These include a mixture of new and past athletes.
Dragonball Super finished its run on Toonami last night. Watching it brought back some wonderful memories of Cartoon Network’s golden age. Let us not forget that this was the first time we saw some powerful female Saiyans in the series. Enjoy this wonderful SSJ9K video can be sure to subscribe to his channel on Youtube. Ever wonder how Broly would sing about Kale if he was into her? Well it might sound like this. Fans can rejoice with the possibility of another movie and the manga still publishing new chapter arcs. It was not just Kale that was buff. Caulifla showed her power too. At some point the series will return, but it may be a longer wait. Until then, we have plenty of episodes to enjoy.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts. It seems that in this era, opinions matter more than reality. Andy Carnegie offers his insights into reasons for Ms.Olympia’s cancellation. These observations are of course wrong and their are some corrections needed in the text. The 20% rule was made in the year 2005 and the last Ms.Olympia was held in 2014. It was not in 2015 this happened and when this article was written the end of the Ms.Olympia was not sudden. Carnegie blames the end and decline of female bodybuilding on drugs and appearance of competitors. The problem with this argument is that ignores the amount of sexism women face and body image conformity. His bias is present even in the way he describes the athletes. Statements and the evidence provided are simply generalizations. The comments at the bottom of the article also reveal a more hostile sexism : ” Just because they expressed how they see it doesn’t mean they are a bigot when most male fans of bodybuilding don’t like over roided man women and most women get grossed out by it in general. ” That was written by a user called Anonimal who then adds” Also you’re pulling the “ideal physique card” as well considering you got all butt hurt over someone’s views and opinions that are pretty damn accurate.” Well, the opinions expressed are not accurate nor correct. This requires more explanation. Andy Carnegie proclaims the era of the overly muscular woman is over,however that was premature. The Ms.Olympia is coming back in 2020 and even before that their were still female bodybuilding contests being held. The Wings of Strength Rising Phoenix was the successor to the Ms.Olympia and generated enough following to have a Ms.Olympia revival.
Carnegie makes the claim before the 1980s there was “no such thing a female bodybuilder that looked freakishly muscular.” Calling women freakishly muscular is a phrase that just projects one’s taste in aesthetics. Here it seems he has a low opinion of women who compete in general. Freakish implies that these women are some type of abnormal abomination. The argument used ad nauseum is that women are doing activities that are not natural to their bodies. The fact is men do not naturally look like Mr.Olympia either. Humanity has found a way through exercise physiology, pharmacology, and sports medicine to push the body’s physical capabilities beyond what could be done in nature. We are even extending our own lives beyond what people could have thought of centuries ago. Women’s bodies are capable of many things and muscular women are nothing new. The term freakish cannot be applied here,because as nature show our phenotypes can vary immensely. Besides just being a vituperative insult, big women were present in the early years of the sport. Laura Combes who competed at 155 lbs from the years of 1979 to 1982. Iris Kyle the Ms.Olympia champion of the 21st century competes at range of 157 to 165 lbs. That means Laura could have easily by adding more weight could have fallen in the range of a modern day Ms.Olympia winner. Women had very muscular physiques, even though they did not weigh much. Kay Baxter was considered “too big” for some judges,which explains her odd placings in contests. Female bodybuilding’s origins predate the 1970s with the 19th century strongwomen. They would preform in circuses , on the streets, music halls,and in vaudeville acts. At the time, they were also looked at a strange or violating natural gender norms. The same message is used by detractors in the modern day. Strongwomen like Mariam Kate Roberts and Pudgy Stockton often faced more harsh criticism for their athletic abilities.
Kate Roberts was a stronwoman who toured in music halls in Britain, Australia, and most of Europe. Her feats of strength became popular among audiences. The strongwomen of the 19th and 20th century were not training for aesthetics,but they did gain impressive physiques from years of lifting. Kate Roberts has the musculature that could be equivalent to a physique competitor or lightweight bodybuilder. Pudy Stockton’s muscles were in that similar range . She was the pioneer of weightlifting and bodybuilding for women. During the 1940s she was a fixture on Muscle Beach. Muscular women have existed prior to the 1980s, the difference is that women have in the first time in history began developing physiques to their maximum. Lisa Lyon became inspired by the images she saw of Pudy Stockton. She when on to be a female bodybuilding pioneer in the 1970s. She won the first IFBB Women’s Professional Bodybuilding Championships in 1979. Prior to this Kellie Everts pioneered the concept of building muscle for aesthetic purposes. The physiques of this era were more sleek with some definition. The real shift came prior to Lenda Murray and Bev Francis. Before those athletes it was Rachel Mclish and Carla Dunlap. Rachel Mclish was the first Ms.Olympia and had slightly larger and defined muscles compared to the female bodybuilders of the 1970s.
Carla Dunlap took the image of the muscular woman even further. Her body was much more massive compared to other Ms.Olympia competitors. Bev Francis arrived into bodybuilding after being a powerlifter. She was still trying to figure out how to sculpt a physique. Carla Dunlap and Rachel Mclish provided the foundation for both Lenda Murray and Bev Francis. Prior to that the athletes of the 19th and mid-20th century broke the restrictive barriers. What changed was that women no longer were afraid to look different. Women wanted to get as muscular as they could. Before, women were expected to adhere to one body type based on the culture or society in which they live.
There is a tendency to blame the end on the Ms.Olympia on anabolic steroids. The side effects at high dosages can be seen through virilization. The fact is that female bodybuilding is not a beauty contest. Just taking drugs does not produce the physiques you see on stage. Carnegie claims this is when female bodybuilding took a turn for the worse. Women do not need steroids to build muscle and their are women who use that do not attain the same level as seen on a professional bodybuilding stage. The fact a woman has developed muscle does not indicate that she has used anabolic androgenic steroids. The only way to know for certain is to take a drug test. Andy Carnegie statement becomes baseless : ” make no mistake though, many current competitors are using PED’s but nowhere near the extent to which they were used before.” The use of various drugs could be as high or the same as it was in the past. There are multiple drugs available which include insulin, growth hormone, and selective androgen receptor modulators. There really is no way of knowing accurately, because athletes may no be willing to talk about their experimentation or use of drugs. Andy Carnegie seems more concerned about a woman’s appearance rather that the health risks that can happen from long term use. The circulatory system, liver, and reproductive system could be at risk from steroid abuse for athletic performance. That should be the only concern rather than just what it does to women’s appearance. Women may not even experience side effects like others, because depending on the type of drug used the reactions could be different. The reality is performance enhancing drugs have been a part of sports throughout most of its history. Carnegie is right when he says ” what a human being decides to do with their body and life is a decision reserved only for that person. ” Too bad people are so willing to judge and be prejudiced. He falls into this classification. Even when drugs are not a factor people are still uncomfortable about female muscle and athleticism. Female athlete who have not used drugs are even criticized about their bodies. Drugs did not harm women’s bodybuilding, rather its the promoters and sexist attitudes prevalent in sports culture.
Andy Carnegie has a masters in exercise science, but he gives answer to how women build those physiques, which is rudimentary considering hist level of education. He simply states anabolic androgenic steroids. A woman who just takes steroids is not going to look like Ms.Olympia. Training,diet,nutrition, and genetics are major factors in how much muscle mass a person can gain. Testosterone is not the only hormone involved in building muscle. Insulin like growth factor (IGF-1) , glucogen, and cortisol play significant roles in muscular hypertrophy. Steroids obviously do not transform people into athletic champions. The most egregious error is when Carnegie claims : ” So females who use anabolic steroids, can level the playing field and even surpass the musculature of a grown natural male (Steroids are that powerful).” A man who lifts can easily still be stronger than a female bodybuilder on steroids. The main reason is that men’s testis are producing more testosterone in comparison to a woman of various fitness levels. This would mean women are carrying more fat in comparison to a man who would be of larger size on average. Estrogen blockers probably would not even make a difference. Strength of the body is dependent on skeletal size,ligament, and tendon strength. Ultimately steroids to not cause the skeleton to drastically increase in size.
Andy Carnegie makes the argument that there are more so “toned” bodies appearing on stage. The idea of toning does not have a basis in exercise science. There are just degrees of muscularity that women are carrying. The bikini, fitness, physique, and figure athletes are not models with just toned bodies. The average model is thinner and does not have the same level of experience with strength training. This is typical of detractors to insult and vituperate women with success in a male dominated field. The “she’s on steroids accusations” is meant to disparage female athletes and their accomplishments. The athletes now are just as good or possibly better, yet the same amount of disrespect is ubiquitous. Drug use does not explain why women who achieve their physiques without pharmaceutical aid are still subject to vituperation. Unless you equate masculinity with strength and power being male only attributes maybe such women would fit the description. This is backward thinking especially in an age of gender equality and empowerment of women taking place around the world. Women train diligently to obtain a look that could take decades. Supplementation, exercise methods, and advances in nutrition have aid this change in women’s bodies, not just performance enhancing drugs. When viewed from this perspective, the question of drugs is an irrelevant topic.
The image of causes feelings of fear or discomfort to some. Even Andy tries to comfort himself by saying : “if you look at the female bodybuilders and even CrossFit athletes, you’ll notice that they are in great shape but it’s just a level down from the crazy physiques we’ve seen in past years.” The women are not only bigger and better, there are more women in sports than ever before. The muscular woman’s physique has gotten more exposure. The female bodybuilders in the years 2014 to 2019 still strive for a look similar to Lenda Murray or Bev Francis. Take for example Margie Martin and Aleesha Young and the physiques they have built . If they were to compete with Lenda Murray or Yaxeni Oriquen Garcia it seems they would be on equal footing. The competitors of today have improved and their bodies are no more crazier than the ones in the past century. What is happening is different levels and varieties of physiques seeing as their are more categories for women. Men’s physique came after women’s physique. Men have only two bodybuilding categories while women have five. Bikini will eventually see some form of evolution as it develops overtime. Physique has in many regards transformed into lightweight bodybuilding. The women are not just presenting bodies of muscular size rather they also focus on shape, symmetry, and conditioning. Simply have big muscles is not going to win contests unless you have the balance of all the required elements.
The IFBB may have saved female bodybuilding unintentionally, when attempting to eliminate it. The year 2013 brought women’s physique into existence with a body type that resembled women bodybuilders from the years of 1989 to 1990. Dana Lin Bailey was the first women’s physique champion and has since gone on to compete in weightlifting . Her physique resembled a bigger version of Rachel Mclish. From 2013 to present, it seems that the physique athletes are looking closer to female bodybuilders. It is difficult to tell them apart. The hints are with some slight differences in muscle size. Then there is the difference in posing. More categories means more opportunities for women to compete and it seems the numbers have been increasing compared to 1979. This leads to what exactly will the image of the strong woman look like years from now. This is an evolution that has been going on for sometime. It is unknown what the final result will be. What is consistent is the constant objections to women being involved. No one dares blatantly projects their sexist or misogynist beliefs that women should not do this. So, coded language and disingenuous comment. The message that is presented comes to although women can do the same things as men, it does not mean they should.
The fear and discomfort comes from the reality that women can no longer be excluded from a male dominated sport. Really, at this stage in bodybuilding’s history it can no longer be considered male dominated seeing as women have more classes to compete in. Discomfort stems from something new and never have in the history of the world have women looked like this or pushed their bodies to this level of physicality. Yet there is a plethora of closed minded beliefs : ” many would call women’s extreme bodybuilding a freak show or just plain crazy but these women who are passionate about the sport; just see it as who they are.” Bodybuilding is not a mainstream sport, so the general public may not be as responsive to it. Football is internationally popular and has mainstream appeal.Calling female bodybuilding a freak show or crazy is just an exaggeration. Women competing are no more abnormal than any other person. Pursuing this sport is no more crazy than playing American football with the risk of concussion or the possibility of getting hurt in a MMA match. At least it is acknowledged that they are passionate and it is clear women can be great bodybuilders. The double standard is clear when you see the extremes men go to produce bigger physiques. Men got so extreme not balancing size with symmetry, the physique division was introduced. The notorious hgh guts have been a feature on many male bodybuilders at the Mr.Olympia. Women never went to that level. While there are people who do not like the idea of muscular women or strong women in general, there are people that do. The IFBB was slow to realize this and must catch up to a growing demographic of fans.
Andy Carnegie claims that there was no money or desire to keep the Ms.Olympia going. Fans wanted it to keep going, but their desires were ignored. Saying nobody likes it when sports organizations do not promote it is a poor excuse. Female bodybuilders began to market themselves. Personal websites and other fan sites have exclusive material that fans can pay for. Gene X Magazine has competition photos and videos members pay for to get access to. Herbiceps does interviews and posing videos in which members can pay for. These are just two examples on multiple sites that feature female muscle to a wider audience. Digital media is the wave of the future, yet it seems the fitness publications are still bent on selling magazines in supermarkets and bookstores. The truth is you can sell anything to a customer. People buy products they do not need or use. This depends on marketing and public relations. Female bodybuilding must be marketed in the correct way to ensure its survival. The target demographic should be males 18 to 34. They are the ones who would most likely enjoy buying tickets. Social media and websites should be organized to promote the sport. There are many platforms on the internet which can help. The Ms.Olympia was killed, because the IFBB let it be. Now that it is returning, they now understand that there is some potential value in it. Carnegie despite the surname does not see business potential in it : ” the truth is… nobody was interested in Ms. Olympia anymore and there was no money to be made. Yes, it was because nobody wanted to see “roided-up” females anymore and it just wasn’t pretty… literally!” That is not a truth, rather an opinion. It seems that in this day and age fact and opinion are used interchangeably. Female bodybuilding is not a beauty contest and the concept is subjective. There are a portion of men who like the look of a muscular woman’s physique.
Carnegie claims the era of the large female bodybuilder is over, yet they never disappeared. Jake Wood was pivotal in organizing the Wings of Strength Rising Phoenix, which from 2014 to 2019 was a successor to the Ms.Olympia. It found success that the Olympia agreed to a sponsorship deal with the Wings of Strength. Some new competitors are also emerging giving the more seasoned ones more of a challenge on stage. Fans of female bodybuilding have chosen to consume it through the internet and digital media. The IFBB just realized the possibilities. The return of the Ms.Olympia should not be a surprise to people who have followed developments with the Wings of Strength Rising Phoenix .
The worst distortions detractors make of the sport is the claim no one likes it or that people that do are some how bizarre. It is no secret that there is a fetish culture related to muscular women. While women in the female bodybuilding class are associated with muscle worship or session wrestling fitness,figure, physique, and bikini women also do it as well. Seeing as the sport pays the women’s divisions less this can be a means of making income and financing competing costs. The large sponsorship just might not be there for women. Fans are either criticized for liking the sport and schmoes are accused of giving it a horrible image. These accusations seem baseless coming from critics who do not like the sport in the first place.The fandom surrounding female bodybuilding is a niche community, not bound by mainstream conventions. To say all men or most hate female bodybuilding can be challenged by the fact that a large portion of men may engage in session wrestling or visit female bodybuilding websites. There is a vast cross section who are either fans of muscular women in general or specifically female bodybuilders. Some men hide their love of such women to avoid being ostracized. However, Andy Carnegie perspicaciously explains “men will pay top dollar to be dominated by a woman who is bigger and stronger than them and it’s not really hard to see why (Some of you men know exactly what we’re talking about).” Women posing in bikinis will generate male attention and muscular women will get male attention, even though most men will not admit it. When the stigma of being a male fan is removed, only then can the fandom grow. There is nothing wrong with liking muscular women or female bodybuilders. A message like this must be spread,which can ultimately help the sport.
The declaration that female bodybuilding is dead seems to be premature.If anything, there has been an explosion of muscular women more so than in the past. The sport has survived with much struggle,but the women continue to present impressive bodies. The desire women have to compete will not be stopped or stifled. There is a place for all women of various muscularity levels. The various classes have enable more women to compete at both the professional and amateur level. Some women who were in physique have moved into the bodybuilding class. Female bodybuilding looks like it will be around for a while. The revival of the Ms.Olympia happened for a reason.Despite the disrespect and vitriol directed at women in the sport they still continue to progress. As long as women compete and have involvement female bodybuilding will be fine. Even former Ms.Olympia champions have been promoting. Lenda Murray has been promoting her own contests since her retirement from competition. Women must support other women to ensure the growth and sustainability of the sport. Even if the Olympia disappears for another time, the wonderful result is that women are no longer afraid to build muscular bodies. The modern female athlete presents a physique more powerful than their predecessors sixty years ago. The change is a silent revolution and it is uncertain where it might lead. The physically strong woman is gradually getting more exposure in both mainstream and underground culture.
Women are no longer focusing on just simple weight loss or attempting to be slim. There is a desire to put shape to their bodies or enhance physical fitness. Training and exercise can be more complicated than just rudimentary movement of the body. The problem currently is that exercise physiology and fitness literature has not caught up with the number of women entering weightlifting or muscle building activities. There are levels that are documented for men,but rarely are there reliable guides for women for what their novice,intermediate, advanced lifting ability should be. A proper pathway should be established depending on the fitness goal in mind. If it is muscular hypertrophy,strength gain, or just health maintenance lifting can be used for all of these. The question proposed is how much should a woman be able to lift ? There are multiple factors in how much strength a person can gain. Age, sex, body type, health condition, diet, and training methods are the essential factors in relation to physical strength. Women being different in terms of physical fitness capacity have to work harder to attain a certain level. Although it may be a challenge a simple guide can help.
Women can vary in terms of somatotype. This does have impact on full potential. The average woman can have 46.2 lbs of muscle. The body can contain up to 40% of total muscle mass. Based on this information it can reveal much about baseline and natural strength. When baseline is used in this context it refers to the amount of muscle before training. Natural strength is that amount of force the body and generate prior to training regimen or change in diet. Women have lower amounts of muscle mass. That means the average woman does not have huge amounts of physical strength. Starting off it will be difficult. If one remains consistent with the program and diet it can become easier as time progresses. The common misconception is that the female body is not capable of strength. Women can experience muscular hypertrophy through load bearing exercise.
Brooke Enuce prior to weight training and the results after the exercise regimen. These photos are years apart.
Women have less to build upon, but gain substantially more in the process. The rate and amount of gain depends on genetics. A woman who already has significant strength prior to a training program has an advantage. Women who are more slim or contain a higher fat to muscle ratio have to work harder. Despite genetic advantages building strength and muscle is not a fast process. From crossfit athletes, bodybuilders, and weightlifters reaching higher physical fitness capacity takes a number of years. They may make it look easy, yet it can be complicated. This should not discourage women. While comparisons are normal,it should be realized that having realistic goals will prevent mishaps. Some quit because results do not come fast enough. This is a mistake too many people make. Women have been told they are the “weaker sex” but that is not a true statement. Women’s muscles respond to weightlifting exercise. Type II and type I muscle fibers can be found in women’s bodies.
The question of bulkiness is raised when discussing women and weights. It becomes a ridiculous fear that some women have about how their bodies should be. Really there should be no debate considering “bulky” is not a reality of exercise physiology. Spot Me Girl even states : “One concern that many women have is that lifting heavier weights might lead to huge muscles and a loss of femininity.” Personal trainers constantly say it is impossible for women to get bulky. That is correct, but it is not impossible for women to get muscular. Being a muscular woman does not mean they lose their femininity. Muscular development can vary from woman to woman. Lifting does not make women inflate automatically. There is one aspect of this that can be disputed : ” The reason why weight training won’t lead to big, bulky muscles is that you don’t have testosterone levels as high as the guys do.” Women who can very in somatotype and size could have the potential to be stronger than some men. Certainly, women who train seriously can surpass a man who does not. Smaller and thinner men would most likely struggle to match a woman of more muscular mass. However,elite female athletes performance does not match their male counterparts. The reason has to do with endocrinology : “In fact, with 15-70 ng.dL of the natural hormone in your blood, that’s almost 15 times lower than the 300-1,000 ng.dL the average man will have.” Bulky is nothing more than a term that is both relative and subjective. Even the biggest female bodybuilders are not as large as one would assume.
The contest weight of female bodybuilders is less than that of the average man. Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia ‘s weight is 160 lbs. According to BMC Public Health from accumulated data the average weight was 177.9 lbs ( statistics from both men and women). This was based on data collected in 2005 and put into the report in 2012. According to the data, the muscular women are not “bulky.” Compared to their male counterparts in fitness women’s weight is low. Many time the “large” female bodybuilders are smaller than they look. Women should not be afraid to build their bodies. There are numerous health benefits. The physiques women create are bulky rather body sculpting for aesthetic representation.
There are certain safety precautions that a neophyte should take. It is important to consult with your doctor before embarking on a new fitness regimen. Once your health condition is deemed good for exercise, then a training regimen can begin. Technique is critical for avoiding injury and gaining more results from your training. Muscle soreness or more serious tears to the tissue can also be avoided. Basic rules should be applied when dealing with weights. Do not use more momentum to cheat in a lift. This wastes energy and could cause physical harm. Note that movements must be controlled and remain under tension. Training past the point of fatigue is not advised. If pain is chronic stop to prevent damage. Have a spotter help you when weight training. Do not start off with the heaviest weights . Their should be a gradual progression in amount. Starting off intense could shock the body. The suggestion is to choose weights appropriate for your abilities. However, knowing your potential is not going to be automatic. Once technique and safety precautions are known, then a woman can embark on lifting.
Two questions emerge when selecting which weights to lift. How much should be lifted depending on size and how much should one lift to induce muscular hypertrophy ? There are multiple factors that determine this. Lifting too much can cause injury and lifting too light weights will not produce dramatic results. Women who do lift select the lightest weights,but that is not going to improve strength to its highest degree. It can enhance muscular endurance if done fast enough in terms of repetitions. What can be extrapolated from this is that weight must be heavy enough to challenge the muscle,but adjusted so that repetitions can be done easily.
The objective is to achieve progressive overload. When microtrauma occurs then when rest happens muscle will grow. The body will eventually adopt to training and therefore become physically stronger. There is no way to predict just how high physical fitness capacity can go for an individual. Training is both trial and error based.
There are general guideline for how much a woman can lift. Anatomy and physiology are important to understand in this relation to women’s training methods. The average woman does not have an immense amount of strength to start off with. The weakest area would be the upper body compared to the lower body. Women will find building the lower body easier compared to the upper body. So assuming the woman lifting is healthy,but not reached her full physical fitness capacity this is the general guide lines for women . The charts below are samples of weightlifting range determined by body mass and experience level. Novice (N) refers to women just beginning. Intermediate (I) refers to women with some lifting experience for a certain period of time.Advanced (A) is the level in which a woman attains a high physical fitness capacity.
|105 lbs||70 (N)||80 (I)||100(A)|
|105 lbs||90 (N)||105 (I)||140 (A)|
|105 lbs||90 (N)||105 (I)||140 (A)|
These charts do not take into account the vast difference in natural strength levels between women, so the amount they can lift may not be exactly what is show on the guidelines. Women who are really small may not be able to do the novice level lifts. Women who are larger may go beyond the novice and intermediate lifts. Looking at the values in bench press, it is clear they are lower compared to lifts that involve the upper body. Building the upper body can be a harder task for women. This is not impossible to do. The process takes time, a specific diet, and a particular method of training.
Even the highest performing female athletes have difficulty building upper body mass. If you are not seeing progress, then there may be some error in training or diet. Rest is also pivotal to strength gain. That is why strenuous activity should be avoided during rest days. Exercise is good for you,but doing too much of anything can be harmful. It is advised that two rest days of no training should be taken. Consulting with an experienced personal trainer or weightlifter can help a person design a training program. The general guideline provided can at least give a woman an idea about targets to track progress.
The conclusion that can be drawn is that what determines how much a woman can lift is reliant on muscle mass, natural strength prior to training, and experience. Thin women looking to add strength and mass are going to struggle more compared to women with more mesomorphic body types. Endomorphic women can see a reduction in body fat if exercise sessions and nutrition is adjusted. When discussing fitness, people tend to overemphasize appearance. Women have an irrational fear of looking “too muscular” or “too strong.” Women can look any way they want and just because it makes some uncomfortable should not matter. It is unfortunate that some women internalize subtle sexism and seek to adhere to narrow definitions of proper female appearance and behavior. Thankfully, these dated attitudes are being challenged. Lifting has benefits beyond just superficial appearances. Strength training can lower the risk of osteoporosis, obesity, and sarcopenia . Muscle can burn more calories, which helps regulate body weight. The psychological advantage is that more women have better moods and more confidence. The theory is that large amounts of endorphins are released during exercise which improve a person’s emotional state. Energy can also be enhanced. The text continues, but there are minor errors. It claims you can gain strength without bulk. Bulk does not exist only the increase in muscle mass. Toned and bulky are only terms used to describe the appearance of certain physiques. The women who get on stage did not get that way by just a few irregular training sessions.
Women and men do not just magically inflate with muscle from lifting a few times a week. Women can vary in the amount of muscle mass they carry. Whether it is a little or more,both looks have there beauty in them. Muscular women should not worry about losing femininity. Toning is nothing more than a term describing building muscle. As the last paragraph states “regular weight training and a controlled diet lead to better fitness levels, lower body fat, toned muscles and a sexy, feminine shape.” Muscle does not harm the female figure, rather it enhances it. It adds shape to the lower body and while making the upper body appear bigger. The result is a waist that looks smaller with a hourglass look. It is questionable that lifting causes better menstrual cycles. Having too low body fat may cause ammenorrhea. The body requires fat for the cell membranes and women need it for ovulation. This is why women need to be mindful of tracking their periods during the off season. Competition may require low body fat to present a defined physique, but this is only done a few times a year. Women who compete in sports such as gymnastics or long distance running are at higher risk . Seeing as some bodybuilders compete at 12% bodyfat, women should take the off season to check on menstrual health. Too much intensity in training could also be a risk factor for ammenorrhea. Keeping track of training progress, changes in the body, and diet can ensure an effective fitness program. Women should be able to lift various ranges of weight if the right exercises and technical approach is utilized.
Brian Maher is the owner of Philly Personal Training and writes for the Philadelphia Enquirer . He has an extensive knowledge of fitness and personal training. Maher wrote in 2015 about how building muscle can be beneficial to women’s health. The difference with his approach is that he does not condemn the idea of women having powerful bodies: ” in fact, by the time you finish reading this article, I guarantee that you’ll actually want to put on muscle!” Unlike most fitness materials there are constant warnings for women not to fear “bulking up.” What this does is perpetuate false information about anatomy and makes women not be active. Muscles are seen as masculine, but that is not the case. Women can benefit from building muscle and weight training just like their male counterparts. Gender bias in relation to the body and lack of knowledge of health science could be putting women at risk. Seeing on average women will live longer it is critical to maintain health. The medical establishment has just realized how important physical activity is for healthy aging and preventing chronic illness. Bian Maher’s simple explanations are refreshing and a good introduction for women getting involved in weight training. Fitness books or videos may be too complicated for novices to understand. That is why it is pivotal to explain complex subjects related to exercise and fitness in a way that readers can comprehend. The health benefits women can get from muscle are increased strength, metabolism, and maintaining musculoskeletal health.
Women can gain strength through a weight training program. To build strength it is suggested that one lifts heavier with fewer repetitions. Building muscular endurance usually involves using light weights with more repetitions. While this improves fitness one may wonder how does this apply to everyday life situations. Extra strength can be useful in tasks of daily living. Moving objects or carrying children and groceries becomes easier. For women it is a greater benefit, because you will become less reliant on a man to move something for you. Lifting weights alone would not be the best for developing power. Plyometrics appear to be the best at developing power. Weights can build more physical strength rather than power. Too often these measures of fitness are confused, but there is a difference between the two. Power is the period of time in which maximum muscular force can be generated.
A common myth is that weightlifting is bad for women’s health. What health science reveals is that it provides benefits to both the skeletal and muscular system.
If strength is to be increased there must be a gradual increase in weight lifted. This is known as progressive overload. Once a certain amount can be lifted with minimal effort that means it is time to move on to higher weight. It would be too dangerous to start off at high intensity. The risk of muscle tears or rhabdomyolysis are injuries and medical conditions a weight lifter should be aware of. Adding muscle can contribute to burning fat. Women have a harder time losing weight due to hormonal differences. Maintaining a healthy weight is the best way to avoid obesity, heart disease, or diabetes. Blood pressure can even be managed with a change in diet combined with exercise. Keeping excess weight off requires commitment to eating a healthy diet and exercising on a regular basis. Simple weight loss probably is not enough. Even if a dramatic loss in weight happens from a change in nutrition its not thoroughly protecting the health of the musculoskeletal system. As a person ages they lose muscle and bone mass if they are not regularly exercising. Maintaining a level of strength can allow elders to be more independent and have less health challenges.
These women are all senior citizens and in great shape. Their ages range from 65 to 80. Aging should not mean you become incapacitated or lose independence.
A big concern for seniors is mobility and loss of balance. Falls can be fatal if a hip gets fractured or broken bones happen as a result. Bone fractures can cause multiple complications. The spine and hips are trouble spots in terms of rates of fracture. Hip fractures can be induced by a fall and could be potentially lethal. Fractures in the spine can occur even without a fall or loss of balance walking. The vertebrae can fall victim to compression fractures. This means they can basically deteriorate to the degree in which back pain and height loss can happen. Sometimes this also causes a hunched posture to develop. Any amount of exercise can be beneficial. It is never too late to start doing physical activity. Weight can increase as a person ages which is related to changes in metabolism.
Metabolism does change through a lifetime. Muscle has the ability to alter metabolism. The definition of metabolism refers to the chemical processes that occur to maintain life in an organism. Food consumption is the fuel for the human body. Food can be converted into energy and contribute to functions in cells. According to Brian Maher: “Metabolism, the process by which your body creates energy from food, slows at a rate of two to three percent every decade after the age of 20. ” Age becomes a factor in health and fitness condition. Adding muscle mass can reverse this change in metabolism that causes age related weight gain. Women’s basal metabolic rate is lower compared to men’s. This means a woman at rest is burning less calories. Muscle in comparison to fat tissue burns more calories. Seeing as there is a difference in body composition, this explains why have an advantage in metabolism. However, if women build muscle, their calorie burning potential increases. Maher states ” a pound of muscle burns roughly six calories each day compared to a pound of fat, which burns only a fraction of that amount at about two calories per day.” What can be extrapolated from this is that the more muscle that is on the body the more calories can be burned even during sleep.
Metabolism is also present in other living organisms. Humans are heterotrophs meaning they require nutrition from other organic substances. A person can consume vegetables or meat,but they cannot generate their own food. Autrotrophs can get their nutritional requirements from inorganic matter. Plans are an example of autotrophic organisms. Knowing this about the body and the relationship to health is essential. A balanced diet and eating the right amount can help with maintaining a healthy metabolism. Skipping meals can harm your metabolism. To maintain muscle mass enough protein must be consumed. The amount of caloric intake should be adjusted to the precise amount of physical activity.
Oddly increased definition is listed as a health benefit. There really is no health benefit that comes from increased definition. It does however,look incredible. What should be established here is the difference in what a person is training for. Training for aesthetics is for the purpose of making the body appear a certain way. A bodybuilder is not trying to get physically stronger, rather mold the muscles to a particular aesthetic. A track and field athlete is training to either run faster or build endurance for longer running distances. This is training for sports performance. Brian Maher did not explain the difference between the two. Before getting serious about an exercise program your goals should be known. The most basic of these is training for health maintenance. A woman does not have to train like an Olympic athlete to see improvements or results.
This is where Brian Maher’s assessments can be challenged : ” many women fear bulking up or looking masculine, but that’s scientifically impossible.” It should be noted there is no such thing as “bulky’ muscles. The unfortunate aspect of this is people cannot separate physical prowess from masculinity and female athletes are scrutinized for their appearance. Women do not “bulk up” but they can build muscle. Virilization only occurs with large amounts of anabolic androgenic steroids. Women do not need drugs to experience muscular hypertrophy. Steroids may not be as effective as thought (are steroids effective ? ).Depending on genetics. somatotype, body composition , and training method this determines how much muscle a person can build. The female bodybuilders on stage have spent years to reach a certain level. Their diets are high protein and vegetable based and combined with various supplements produces this hyper muscular look. Maher notes ” but even men with bulky muscles have to work extremely hard at it because it’s not how the body naturally responds to exercise. ” When lifting weights at high intensity microtrauma occurs. When a person recovers from a training session muscular hypertrophy will occur. That is a natural response to exercise, but it seems Maher contradicts himself. Changes in the body are a natural response to exercise stimuli. The results are different in terms of the development of total physical fitness capacity. The physical changes are gradual. No one will just automatically look like a champion bodybuilder in a couple of weeks.
Attaining mass and definition takes a number of years. Bulky muscles do not exist. When placed under the microscope there is no way to determine what is regular muscle or bulky muscle. Histology shows that and it seems that their is a different preference in relation to aesthetics. Brian Maher then delineates further : ” Because muscle weighs more than fat and is denser, it’s entirely possible that in the process of building muscle and losing fat, the scale won’t budge.” Muscle does not weigh more than fat. A pound of muscle would weigh the same as a pound of fat. A muscular person of 165 lbs can weigh as much as an overweight person 165 lbs. The difference in ratio of body composition.It is also questionable of simultaneously building muscle and losing fat. There have not been many studies confirming this. Healthy weight gain comes from increased muscle mass. Weight gain in this context is not the result of increase in fat, rather more bone and muscle to the body. It could be possible that increased definition does have a psychological benefit. Women report when they gain physical strength, they feel more confident. Added definition may not be a physical heath benefit,but it can be a psychological one. Confidence in physical skill can translate to other areas of life. Another aspect to this is that physical strength can also be helpful in women’s self-defense. Women face higher rates of domestic violence from their intimate partners.
Domestic violence and violence against women is a global women’s health crisis. Women being smaller and having less physical strength puts them at a disadvantage when attacked by a man. Learning self-defense techniques and various martial arts can be a deterrent to violence directed at women. It would not be unwise to incorporate some self-defense in with weight training. Sheer brute strength may not be enough to protect one’s self, but skill is essential. Mastering the proper movements and situation response determine whether or not a person can effectively protect themselves. Sometimes just looking like you can fight can be a deterrent. There are men who fear physically strong women. Such men probably would not think to attempt physical attack. Muscle definition may not have a health benefit, yet it may have another one unrelated to a fitness application.
Building bone mass and specifically protecting the skeletal system becomes a greater concern when women age. According to Brain Maher when women reach age 30 they attain peak bone mass. Around the age of 40 the amount of muscle in a woman’s body declines as well. What this means is women are at a higher risk of osteoporosis. When lifting weights people only think that muscles are altered by exercise stimuli. Bones also respond to weight training. Bones are living tissue and will change with age. Ligaments and tendons are also strengthened due to weight training. Joints and connective tissues require as much attention in relation to physical health. Osteoporosis is a disease in which the bones of the body become more delicate and porous, resulting possible fractures. Bone loss can happen due to changes in sex hormone levels. When women begin to produce less estrogen as they age, the skeletal system can be vulnerable. Menopause can be a risk factor for osteoporosis. Besides endocrine system explanations of the disease, the other risk factors include race, age, family history, and body frame size. White and Asian women are at higher risk for osteoporosis. However, this does not mean other races of women cannot get it. Some conditions of your health is genetically inherited from your family. Body frame size is also a big factor. Smaller or thinner people have less bone mass to work with. If they are not active enough bone loss from age could be more devastating.
The thinner women have a higher chance of getting osteoporosis compared to the women with more muscle mass.
A common misconception is that the thinner a woman is the healthier she is. That is untrue. Being underweight is just as severe as carrying excess weight. Too much weight loss can endanger musculoskeletal health. The best technique would be to increase bone and muscle mass to avoid age related declines in strength and mobility. Tabacco use and alcohol consumption could put a person at risk. Having a sedentary life style can also cause bone loss over a lifetime. The more active a person is the better chances they have to avoiding serious bone or muscle conditions and diseases. There is no cure for osteoporosis and some treatments are available. Prevention seems to be the best logical solution. Exercises that are load bearing help. Walking,running, or general push-ups can be enough to ensure the health of the musculoskeletal system.
Proper calcium intake and enough vitamin D can keep the skeletal system healthy. There is a recommended amount of calcium that women should have when they reach the age of 50. The amount should be 1,200 milligrams a day. One simple source of vitamin D is the natural sunlight. This can be a challenge for someone who cannot go outside or is at risk for skin cancer. There are foods that have vitamin D. Fish, beef liver, cheese, egg yolks, and certain cereals contain sources of vitamin D. Exercise and a balanced diet can prevent many chronic illnesses.
There is a notion that muscle for women is not healthy. Women building muscle is actually beneficial to health. Women’s life expectancy and life span tends to be longer than men’s which is why it is important to maintain a stable health condition. Too many people reach advanced age and are suffering from chronic illness. Women will be disproportionately effected. There is however a positive element. Strength training can reverse bone and muscle loss . Brian Maher’s fitness advice is correct , yet there were some errors . Increased muscle definition is does not have physical health benefits. Psychologically, it can make a woman feel more confident about her body. Many women have difficulties with body image and often women who weight train state it helps them overcome that. Muscle does not weight more than fat and bulky muscle does not exist. Women are constantly admonished that they “will not bulk up.” They can gain muscle,but this should not be viewed with negativity. Muscles do not hinder the female frame. Beauty is a relative concept and varies from culture to culture. The point should be improving ones health,not just solely about aesthetics. Philly Personal Training requires that its employees must have a bachelor’s degree in an exercise related field rather than just a certification. It just seems egregious that the owner of the business still makes errors in disseminating fitness knowledge. Despite this, what is known that muscle gain can contribute to managing weight, retaining bone mass, and the prevention of disease.