I'm 5'2", 147 lbs, and I can dead lift a 90 lb dumbbell. 12 times. Haha! That's a solid 61% of my body weight!
I've been working with a personal trainer once a week for 6 months now. It's been a tough journey, he kicks my butt every week and usually I feel like I'm gonna die at the end of it. But this week I really saw how far I've come since I started.
My trainer is having all his clients do a circuit (one for men, one for women) and timing them to see who is the best out of all of us. It was 25 dead lifts with a 60 lb kettlebell, 25 reverse crunches, 25 squats, and then 12 pull ups with a bar about 2 feet off the ground. And I KILLED IT! My time was 1:57.9, the best by a mile from the other girls! So I have officially earned my "girl wings" and now I'm moving onto the men's circuits that he does. Once I get the moves in them down (dead lifts with the dumbbell and hand clings I think they're called), he's going to time me on the men's and rank me on the leaderboard with the guys! Until then, I sit atop the women's leaderboard, proving that girls kick ass :)
But of course a common response to this triumph (which came from my concerned boyfriend, typical), was "don't get all weird and muscle-y". Ugh... pet peeve right there!
I'm not taking steroids. Girls CANNOT get "weird and muscle-y" just from lifting heavy weights once a week for 30 minutes. I still have 29.8% body fat (and shrinking...), whatever muscle I do have is still hiding for the most part altho it's coming out in an attractive way! I'd have to be doing a hell of a lot more to get muscle-y any time soon.
So, my point is that girls can lift like guys! We're strong too! Even if I'm only 5'2" and don't look like I could lift a 60 lb kettlebell, I like to surprise people ;) And the benefits of it are increasing your muscle tone while losing fat from burning more calories at rest. Muscle burns fat! Basically lifting and strength training increases metabolism. So by swapping out a cardio workout or two a week to strength train, I'm still able to lose weight with the right diet (SO important, I can't say that enough!).
And don't worry, dear boyfriend, you won't notice any crazy muscles, just thin toned arms and legs and a sexy flat stomach in a bikini. And really, what guy is looking at my ARMS when I'm rocking a Victoria Secret bikini? :)