Many women are afraid of strength training because they believe that it will create large muscles that are unattractive. "I’ll weight train once I get this fat off. I don’t want to turn it into muscle".
This is a prevalent misconception. The vast majority of women cannot build large muscles because they are genetically incapable of doing so. It is impossible to turn fat into muscle, or muscle into fat, as each cell is unique from the other.
In order to dispel these types of myths, we need to understand the physiology of strength training. Strength training results in an increase in muscle fiber size. As the muscle fibers increase in thickness, the shape of the muscle changes, getting thicker in the belly, or middle, of the muscle. This results in a change in the shape of the muscle. How much the muscle changes in shape, and how large the muscle gets, depends on the amount of work the muscle is asked to do. If the muscle is asked to lift very heavy loads, it will respond with a significant increase in fiber/muscle size. (The goal of most men.)
In order to avoid this gain in muscle mass, women are told to lift very light weights. This recommendation is oftentimes interpreted to the extreme, and women perform many repetitions with 3 or 5 pound weights. Unfortunately, without sufficient load (weight), the muscle will not change, and the goal of "tone" and "shape" cannot be achieved. A change in the shape or tone of a muscle is created in the same way that size is created, with hard work and consistency!! In order to shape or tone your muscle, you must lift a weight that is heavy enough to create muscle fatigue (also known as failure). Working your muscles to fatigue means that your muscles refuse to lift/move the weight in a correct and safe fashion. Working your muscles to fatigue will not necessarily create large, unsightly muscle mass.
Even if you work your muscles to extreme fatigue, rest assured, that the majority of women are genetically unable to create large muscles because they lack sufficient hormones or body structure to do so.