That is the million dollar question, thank you for sharing with the EmpowHER community! A majority of women want lean, toned muscles and are afraid of getting 'buff.'
Those women who are trying to get buff are focusing on high calorie diets and heavy weight lifting.
You don't have to use weights to build a good muscle tone. Any type of resistance workout will help to tone up verses bulk up! Some suggestions you can try are bands, cable machines, free weights, kettlebells, TRX suspension straps, or your own body weight. The idea is to tone muscles and burn fat simultaneously. Repeated bouts of heavy lifting with weights (3-8 rep range) along with high calorie intake will definitely add muscle bulk, so stay clear of that. Stay away from bench pressing heavy weights and arm curls with heavy weights. Doing things like pilates or yoga and following a good diet can help you to achieve a lean and toned physique.
Just getting out in nature and hiking, rowing a canoe or following the circuit training at a nearby park will also build muscle tone while avoiding bulk.
Lauren, were these suggestions helpful?