It can be intimidating to venture out onto the weight room floor, especially when it's full of bodybuilding types throwing weights around. But you aren't doing yourself any favors by staying in the corner with those little pink dumbbells!
"You have two types of muscle fibers: slow and fast. If you don't use heavier weights, you neglect an entire set of muscle fibers, namely the fast fibers, which are important for moving quickly, lifting weighty objects (your heavy purse, grocery bag, suitcase), and for spine and hip stability," says Michele Olson, Ph.D., professor of exercise science at Auburn University Montgomery and creator of the Perfect Legs, Glutes & Abs DVD.
And if you're worried that you'll bulk up, don't be. "Women cannot add much size to their muscles to begin with since we have low concentrations of the male hormone testosterone, which is necessary to enlarge muscle to any noticeable degree," Olson says.