Unfortunately, most women (including my girlfriend) is obsessed with "dieting" and love the color pink. As a result, they love to perform endless repetitions with those 8 pound pink dumbbells every chance they get, thinking that this will elicit more fat loss. Couldn't be further from the truth. (What's with the pink dumbbells!... Seriously?!? OMG, is that a pink phone… for me?!?)
I am inundated with constant struggles and frustrations:
Which Jessica to choose from: Jessica Biel, Jessica Alba, or Jessica Simpson?
Throwing the television out the window every time I see Jared (from Subway) espousing the benefits of eating a low-fat diet.
Having self control to not strangle lazy people.
Deciding which is the best trilogy ever made: the original Star Wars or Lord of the Rings?
Trying to convince my girlfriend that lifting weights won't make her look like a she-man.
A typical day for me at a nearby gym:
Question: "Sugarbottoms, how 'bout I teach you how to squat today?"
Answer: "But I don't want to get big and bulky."
First off, most people won't work hard enough to get "big and bulky". It's hard enough for a man to put on any significant amount of muscle, let alone a woman. Women are physiologically at a disadvantage for putting on muscle due to the fact that they have 10x less free testosterone in their bodies compared to men.
That being said, you still need to get the most bang out of your training buck, and that includes ditching the glute-buster machine and focusing more on the compound movements. I trained a few professional cheerleaders/dancers and their programming includes squats, deadlifts, chin-ups, bench variations, sled dragging, and tons of energy system work. Guess what they're not doing? Watching Oprah every day while walking on the treadmill for 60 minutes.
Just because you're a woman doesn't mean you can't train like a man and lift some serious weight. I never bought into this whole mindset that women are these delicate creatures that can't hang with the boys. Simply put, there are two types of muscle tone: myogenic and neurogenic. The former refers to your muscle tone at rest; the latter refers to muscle tone that's expressed when muscular contractions occur. Low(er) rep training increases the sensitivity of various motor units resulting in increased neurogenic tone. On the other hand, myogenic tone is correlated with the overall density of your muscles (specifically the contractile proteins myosin and actin) and is vastly improved by lifting heavier weights.
This is going to come as a shock to most women, but utilizing light weights (anything above twelve reps in my book) while dieting will likely result in loss of muscle, which is the exact opposite of what you want to happen. When dieting, the body will adapt to the caloric deficit by down-regulating many of the hormones involved with metabolism (T3, T4, leptin, etc.), as well as getting rid of metabolically active tissue (muscle.) Obviously you'd want to prevent this from happening in the first place, which is why I always recommend that women drop the 20 rep sets and start training with heavier weights.
For the last time, ladies, you will not get "big and bulky" just because you're doing squats and deadlifts. That statement is akin to me saying, "Eh, I don't want to do any sprints today because I don't want to win the 100m gold medal next week." Getting big and bulky isn't easy, just like winning the 100m gold medal isn't easy. If anything, it's an insult to all those people who've spent years in the gym to look the way they do. It didn't happen overnight, which is what you're assuming by saying something so absurd (i.e. “I don't want to get big and bulky”).
(Now go buy me a Skin-It cover for my Razr so you can hardly tell its pink... thanks honey bun!)