Having been a fitness trainer for 27 years, one can imagine the misconceptions, stories and "Someone told me..." statements I have heard over the years. One of the biggest misconceptions; lifting weights will make a woman grow big muscles or make her look bulky.
I cannot tell you how many times I have heard: "I don't want to lift too much weight, I don't want to look like a man." Two things are wrong with this statement. First, if the weight is too heavy, you would not be able to lift it, you would more likely injure yourself than create "big" muscles. Secondly, a woman cannot look like a man when it comes to muscularity, because women do not have enough testosterone to create big bulky muscles. Women who do look big, boxy, bulky or downright freakishly larger than life, have most likely given themselves some sort of boost. So, I say, no worries.
Weight training is fantastic in so many ways. It builds muscle; it can stave off or at the very least slow the onset of osteopenia and osteoporosis. As muscle builds, you increase the rate of your metabolism. And since muscle can slowly degenerate as we age, weight training can keep muscles strong. You will notice that as you go along in your fitness routine, the weight will seem less and less challenging. This simply means it is time to challenge the muscles and introduce them to a heavier weight.
When I see women in the gym lifting very little weight and doing 20-30 reps all I can think of is, why are you wasting your time? You are not challenging your muscles to do anything except maybe go to sleep. A good rule of thumb, if you can perform more than 12-15 repetitions, then you are not challenging the muscles, bump up that weight! If you are doing 8-10 reps that seem challenging, then you are at the correct weight.
The more weight you lift, the stronger and tighter your muscles will be. The stronger your muscles get the leaner you will look. So go ahead, lift weights and start building a tighter, leaner physique!