Female Hypertrophy: Beginner FAQ

woman wearing black sports bra
Blonde fit muscular woman wearing a black sports bra.

What is Hypertrophy? 

Hypertrophy describes the process of fat loss and muscle gain. Specifically, it describes the physical process of lifting weights that results in an improved appearance. 

What is the difference between hypertrophy and training for strength?

Ideally, the two processes should complement each other rather than be seen as polar opposites. 

Hypertrophy consists of the physical process of exerting pressure on your muscles through weight lifting. Training for strength also results in the same mechanical adaptations that one gets from hypertrophy, so you can see how both processes are quite similar. 

In the long-term, if you want to train for strength, you have to follow similar principles than hypertrophy which is an increase mechanical tension and improve progressive overload over time. 

If you see them as complementary processes, then you can see how getting stronger leads to the same results as training for a physique-related goal. This means that getting stronger almost always results in looking more attractive. 

If that is true, then why are so many women scared of lifting weights? 

While I do think that a lot of women are becoming increasingly familiar with the process of lifting weights as being the optimal training style for fat loss and muscle gain, I think a lot are either inexperienced, have not stuck it out enough to see results nor pushed themselves hard enough. 

How difficult is it to gain muscle? 

As discouraging as it may sound, it is difficult to gain muscle. The process of building muscles is even hard for men as it requires both patience and hard work for many years.

How can I develop a healthy fit physique? 

You can develop this physique through using the process of hypertrophy and having strength training goals. Additionally, you need to have sound nutrition and reduced life stress. 

How can you guarantee that I will not turn into “she-hulk” and unfeminine if I strength train? 

I will reiterate this point as many times as I have to, it is very difficult to build muscle

Additionally, women do not have nearly as much testosterone as the average man so their physiques will not look the same. Natural female athletes will still have some of their curves and depending on their training intensity, they will just be tighter and firmer with less body fat. It is a win, win

Additional points:

  1. Women who strength train for a few years and become “hard and ripped” look that way because they are changing their hormonal physiology through testosterone-boosting supplements. It is the only reason that they look as big as they do in the short amount of time that they have been training.  
  2. Understanding the difficulty of the process of hypertrophy is important as it sets a realistic attitude towards fitness. Adopting a  process-oriented mindset breeds its own set of rewards.
  3. A point I want to add for women who have never tried strength training: I guarantee that hypertrophy can simultaneously feel as rewarding as it can be challenging. It is difficult to achieve an impressive physique, however, I promise that in a few months of training, it manages to become very rewarding to the point that you start loving pushing yourself over attaining the results. 

Comment below to share your thoughts on this blog post. Also, if you have any other points that you think may be helpful to beginners, let them know below.

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