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5 Female Fitness Influencers Who Prove That Lifting Weights Doesn't Make You "Big"

These women prove that “strong is sexy.”
FACT CHECKED BY Christopher Roback

For so many years, many women shied away from lifting weights due to the misconception that strength and weight training make you "big" and "bulky" – a claim that most fitness experts and trainers debunk. And, according to science, weight training helps with improved movement control, improved cognition, enhanced cardiovascular health, bone development, and a reduction in chronic pain. And, the reality is, it can help you build lean muscle mass, which is what you need to maintain a sculpted and toned body. If you don't buy into the science, these female bodybuilders and weight-lifting influencers are living, breathing proo.

1. Anfisa Arkhipchenko

90 Day Fiance alum Anfisa Arkhipchenko loves lifting weights so much, that she started competing in bodybuilding contests. She even won the Muscle Contest Pacific USA Overall Bikini Champion title. She recently shared a post showing photos of the four stages of her body transformation, starting after her 20 pound weightgain and ended with training for "bodybuilding stage. "I love seeing the shredz and taking it to extremes but this physique is not maintainable year round," she said about the fourth stage. "I went through a lot of trial and error in the beginning of my journey and learned what works the hard way."

Related: My Step-by-Step Guide to Losing 30 Pounds in 30 Days

2. Melissa Alcantara

Melissa Alcantara was influential in changing the way celebrities viewed weight lifting, after Kim Kardashian attributed her fitter-than-ever figure to workouts with the bodybuilder. "I've been working out really hardcore with a bodybuilder for one year. September is our one-year anniversary," Kim revealed to E! News in 2018, via People. The duo lift "heavy weights," per Kim with Alcantara adding to Women's Health that 85% of their training is done with weights. 

3. Massy Arias

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Massy Arias is a huge advocate of lifting weights. The celebrity trainer and influencer creates plans for her clients that involve a lot of weights – one lost 12 pounds in 30 days by lifting five times a week. 

4. Whitney Johns

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Whitney John is a NASM-certified personal trainer with a huge social media following and her own "Find Your Fit with Whit" app. "The form is everything," she told Muscle & Fitness about building her glutes. "People do so many different exercises hoping to build their glutes and they'll either take the weight on their quads or only in their legs, and so they are not recruiting those glute muscles. Getting the full range of motion is important, and getting that mind-muscle connection too."

Related: I Dropped 4 Sizes in a Year by Eating Sandwiches – This Is How

5. Guusje van Geel

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Guusje van Geel is a Dutch bodybuilder who proves that strong is sexy. "TRAIN EVEN HARDER AND HEAVIER," she captioned one post. "Don't be scared to look manly because of working out?? Such a joke. Be proud of your trained & strong body."

💪🔥Body Booster: Lifting weights doesn't necessarily make you look "big." Targeted training and a healthy diet combined with lifting will result in building lean muscle. 

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more