Myth Busters: Why Women Should Gain Muscle

In my 24 years as a coach, I constantly hear women saying, “I don’t want to get big and bulky.” “I don’t want to lift heavy.” Where did the myth
come from that women shouldn’t lift heavy weights, or that we would get big and bulky? Why are we afraid to be strong, to lift heavy things, to move mountains? Will I get big and bulky if I lift heavy? It’s time to bust this myth! It’s time to build muscle and feel the amazing benefits of
being Kaia Strong! In my 24 years as a coach, I constantly hear women saying, “I don’t want to get big and bulky.” “I don’t want to lift heavy.” Where did the myth come from that women shouldn’t lift heavy weights, or that we would get big and bulky? Why are we afraid to be strong, to lift heavy things, to move mountains? Will I get big and bulky if I lift heavy? It’s time to bust this myth! It’s time to build muscle and feel the amazing benefits of being Kaia Strong!

A Little History and Physiology

Women didn’t really start lifting weights until the 1970s. It was thought that if women lifted weights it would de-feminize them or possibly even harm our reproductive capacity. It’s likely our first impressions with women lifting weights were those in weight lifting competitions. These women were big and bulky, yes. However, the women in weight lifting competitions very likely take Male Hormones, like testosterone, steroids, or HGH. Women do not have the same amount of testosterone in our bodies as men. We produce 1/10 to 1/20 the amount of testosterone as a male. In order to achieve that bodybuilding look, women need to supplement with male hormones. Testosterone is an anabolic hormone that builds muscle. The Female body is just not designed to build large muscles. We can lift heavy all day long and still not naturally achieve the size of a male. So, we can put aside the thought that we will look like a man if we lift heavy. We are not made like men and we won’t look like a man.

In the body, the mechanisms of cardiovascular endurance training and resistance training compete with one another at a cellular level. Under certain situations, they can cancel each other out. The body prefers cardiovascular fitness over muscle hypertrophy, strength, and power improvements. Therefore, if you prefer a less muscular look, add more cardio endurance training to your workout regimen, like running, cycling, swimming, jump rope, or walking.

The GOOD NEWS is that at Kaia, most of our workouts are cardio-resistance workouts!

In recent years, women are embracing strength more than ever. We look up to athletic role models as we have watched all they have achieved. We recognize the benefits of a strong body and strong mind in our lives. We know women have so much more strength and power to give to this world and we want to make a difference!

Not convinced yet? Why should women gain muscle?

Women begin to lose muscle cells as we age, at a faster rate than men. This begins at the age of 25! The neurons that control muscle die off with age, with our fast twitch muscles going first. That means a loss of speed and power. Loss of muscle also puts us at an increased risk of injury, with less muscle to support our joint stability.

Muscle is primarily responsible for metabolism. As we lose muscle with age, our metabolism slows. Now that explains a lot! On average, women lose 5 pounds of muscle every 10 years. After menopause, this loss doubles – creating a 3% drop in metabolism – per decade! The end result? Weight gain and muscle weakness. BUT, the GOOD NEWS is with the right workouts, we can SLOW this rate of loss, maintain our muscle and metabolism, and keep our joints strong!

Muscle is very active tissue. It uses energy to sustain it. Conversely, fat cells store energy and are mostly inactive tissue. The more muscle we have on our body, the more energy our body uses even at rest. Sitting on your bum all day, your body will require more energy if you gain muscle than if you gain fat. Your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) can be measured and is dependent on the composition of your body. More Muscle = higher
Resting Metabolic Rate.

At the end of a day, your body’s Total Energy Expenditure (TEE) is dependent on 3 things.

TEE = RMR + Dietary Thermogenesis + Physical Activity

TEE is how many calories your body burns in a day and is very important in our Calories In/Calories Out balance.

RMR contributes 60-75% of TEE
Dietary Thermogenesis (energy used and heat produced to digest food) contributes 10% to TEE
Physical Activity contributes about 15%, depending on how active you are!

We can control these 3 things and we can increase our TEE!


Every 1 lb of muscle gain increases RMR by 30-50 kcal/day. This equates to 5 lb of fat loss/year. Gain 5 lb of muscle and that’s 25 lb of fat loss in a year!

Dietary Thermogenesis – EAT PROTEIN AND FIBER – takes more energy to digest!
Physical Activity – BE MORE ACTIVE throughout the entire day! Get off your bum!

Don’t wait to gain muscle! Start building muscle now. The more you invest now, the larger the base you have to maintain more muscle for longer. Keep in mind that we walk around our legs all day long. We may lose more muscle in our upper body as we don’t push and lift things as much as we age. Push Ups and Pulls Ups here we come!

So many benefits of gaining muscle!

  • Increase RMR
  • Decrease body fat with an increased RMR
  • Get that “toned” look you love. Glow with the appearance of fitness.
  • Prevent back pain by strengthening the core musculature that supports the spine
  • Increase stability of joints = less injury. Resistance training increases the strength of tendons and ligaments
    supporting the joints.
  • Strengthen your knees. The muscles of your hips and legs play an important role in knee stability. Women’s knees are especially susceptible to knee injury because our wider hips create a stressful hip-to-knee V-angle pulling our knees inward if our hips are not strong enough to pull them out.
  • Increase bone density. As muscle pulls on bone, this puts stress on the bones, requiring them to remodel and build density to withstand stresses.
  • Maintain independence as we age. Maintain functionality and capacity. No assisted living! Slow the age-related decline of muscle
  • Regulate Blood Sugar and reduce risk of diabetes with resistance training
  • Improved self-esteem! Studies cite increased self-esteem reports with the act of participating in a resistance training program even when there were no physical improvements in strength!
  • Build a Strong Mind
  • Build a Strong Body

A strong body and a strong mind makes for an unstoppable woman.

The Future is Female. The Future is Kaia Strong.

2020 has thrown so many obstacles at us that bounce right off of us. Kaia Girls are stronger than any obstacle.
We have the power and confidence to overcome and still finish 2020 Stronger! Build that strong body and mind and
achieve your goals. Fight for YOUR future!

As a World’s Toughest Race Finisher, I know I can climb any mountain. I know I can forge any jungle. I
can swim any sea. I can do TOUGH things. I am FREE. No limits. No weakness. No Fear.

It’s taken me time to get there and you can get there too! Don’t be afraid to gain muscle
and gain the strength to be free!

Be patient. It takes time and years of hard work in the gym. Start today!

Here’s a great Beginner Workout to get you started

2-3 Days a Week

10 Repetitions of each exercise

2 sets of each exercise with 30s rest between each exercise

1a. Bodyweight Squat

1.b Push Up

2a. Reverse Lunge

2b. Assisted Pull Up

Want to know what your RMR is? What to know what you’re made of? Get an InBody Analysis of Body
Composition today at your local Kaia Studio.


Heather Flebbe, M.S

Owner/Coach Kaia FIT Santa Clarita

7 Day Reset

We’ve incorporated inspiration and motivation to help you rock all 7 days. In the next 7 days you will make shifts in your mind and body that will boost your metabolism, improve sleep and increase energy.


This is a self paced reset, so you can start when you are ready but we recommend to continue with the reset each day once you begin to see the maximum results.

All it takes is 7 DAYS. What are you waiting for?

Kaia Tri is a ten-week triathlon training program with workouts three times a week, which is an optional extra during our spring and summer CORE sessions. We swim, bike, and run, with some cross-training classes too. By being able to set a personal pace, our triathlon training program is suited to beginners tackling their first race and intermediate athletes looking to improve their finish time.

Our mock triathlons run several times to familiarize women with the course route. We finish the season with a Triathlon Training Camp which includes paddle boarding and power workouts. The next day is our exhilarating and fun Triathlon race day for all Kaia Tri women to enjoy working out in a beautiful location. Friends are welcome too!


Kaia Sandbag combines traditional fitness with unconventional training methods. With sandbags, the weight shifts and moves in an unpredictable fashion. This piece of equipment is integrated into our conditioning & strength building workouts to simultaneously develop strength, power, endurance, mobility, and balance – with an additional emphasis on developing overall core strength and stability.

New to sandbag training? No problem! Beginners are always welcome.


TRX® Suspension Training® body-weight exercise simultaneously develops strength, power, endurance, mobility, durability, balance, flexibility, and core stability. Whether you’re younger or older, out of shape or a pro athlete, injured or at the top of your game, TRX Suspension Training meets you where you are and takes you where you want to go. TRX Suspension Training leverages gravity and the user’s body weight to enable hundreds of exercises that can be instantly scaled for any user to reach any fitness or training goal. The easily-scalable nature of TRX Suspension Training makes it a practical solution wherever you are on the fitness continuum.

Need a little extra boost to keep your body guessing? Our TRX/Cardio class is an excellent complement to any Kaia FIT session. TRX workouts, which can be used by anyone at any level, builds true functional strength and improves flexibility, balance and core stability all at once. Mixed with cardio, the classes give every member the perfect balance of challenge and success.

*TRX classes not available in all areas. Please contact us your local studio.


Our trademark Kaia Cross-Training™ classes are a unique mix of cardio, functional movement, and both weighted and non-weighted exercises.

Cross-Training benefits:

Each day brings a new workout. We have an elite group of advanced coaches who infuse each workout with their own flair and focus, meaning you’re never going to repeat a workout, avoid burn-out, and fitness plateaus.

Keeping the body guessing is key to sculpting lean muscle mass. We also have a 3-part modification foundation: Balance (non-impact); Strength (mid-impact) and Kaia (high impact). Each exercise has its own progression so that everyone can feel successful.

As a part of our program, we also offer nutritional guidance to help you make healthy food choices and keep your fitness on track.

What are you waiting for? Join us today!


Our barre-based class is a unique combination of postures inspired by ballet, yoga, Pilates and Kaia. Using the barre as a prop to balance, you’ll complete a series of isometric holds combined with high reps of small range movements to elongate and tone your major muscle groups.

In addition to the barre, classes incorporate pilates balls, yoga blocks, and/or resistance bands for increased endurance, challenge and focus. Following each set of holds, you’ll rest and recovery with a short series of stretches and poses to increase flexibility prior to advancing.
Kaia Barre is a low-impact class that perfectly complements our program offerings. Meet us at the barre and try your first class for free!

Participating locations may vary. See the schedule page for more details.


Our dance fitness class is rooted in traditional dance. We use those foundational moves and offer a class that is easy enough for beginners yet challenging enough for the more seasoned dancer. The simplicity of the routines allows you to keep moving with ease. Although this is a workout, it feels more like a dance party with your girlfriends.


Improve your speed, skill, endurance, stamina, and strength with our Kaia running program. The program works on developing running skills that can increase speed, endurance, and overall fitness. The program is designed for you to run at your pace and and help you see improvements every step of the way.

The Kaia training is a simple, progressive program designed for women of all ages and all fitness levels. Whether you are a walker, jogger, or runner, you will be able to join this program and move at your own pace. Research has shown that even 20 to 30 minutes of running (two to three times per week) is enough to help you lose or maintain weight and improve many other important health markers, i.e. your cholesterol, blood pressure and insulin response.

Don’t be intimidated by the Kaia Run program name, each class will have walkers, joggers and runners. Keep in mind that the first mile is the hardest mile you will ever run. Once you get off the starting block, things only get easier. All you have to do is be patient and disciplined in your training, and that is where Kaia


Kaia Yoga combines mind and body with a power yoga and core-strengthening weekly workout with Pilates-style techniques. We focus on balance, strength, and cardiovascular fitness through stretching, strength training and dynamic movement to improve overall fitness levels.

By creating long, lean muscles, Yoga promotes improved coordination, greater flexibility and a fuller range of motion, with a strong body that’s less prone to injury. Yoga keeps the mind centered and reduces stress through positive thoughts and a sense of mindfulness, which also inspires mental strength and confidence.

Yin Yoga, or restorative yoga, is a quiet contemplative practice. It targets the deepest tissues of the body, our connective tissues – ligaments, joints, bones, and the deep fascia networks of the body. Poses are held for 1 minute or more and transitions between poses are gentle and slow. This class is an excellent compliment to our other classes, provides dedicated stretching, and is known to reduce stress and anxiety.


Our BRIK Bootcamp sessions are offered three times a year and are designed to help you reach your health and fitness potential, and you’re welcome to start anytime!

Our BRIK Bootcamps are six weeks long and feature classes daily.* This programming fits in seamlessly with our regularly scheduled classes, and it’s as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Register for BRIK Bootcamp HERE (included for Platinum & Gold Memberships)
  2. Book your classes through our branded app and Show Up
  3. Let our expert coaches do the rest!

These sessions offer great results in weight and body fat loss and an increase in strength and cardiovascular endurance. Our nutritional support will boost energy, help you de-bloat, increase sleep quality, and enhance your overall glow.

BRIK Bootcamp includes:

In between BRIK Bootcamp, we offer a variety of classes to meet you at your level! We also have nutrition and fitness challenges, in addition to fun opportunities to spice up your routine. What are you waiting for? Join us today!


Cardio based, calorie torching workout with certified spin instructors. It’s a party on a bike!

Try a Week Free