Will I Bulk Up By Lifting Weights?
Every week I get some sort of email or message on my Facebook page from women asking my thoughts on whether or not they should start weight training. They ALWAYS mention that they don’t want to “bulk up” or get too muscular.
I wanted to write this post to address your concerns and help you understand how muscle building works for women.
To sum up this post… the answer is NO. If you want to start lifting weights, do NOT think you’re going to turn into the Hulk after a month of weight training. It just WON’T Happen..so chill out ladies!
You will not turn into this ….it just won’t happen!
Although sometimes I personally wish it could happen!..
Every girl who emails me has the same goal in mind. They want to gain muscle but not get bulky. They want a long, lean & toned look to their body and need to trim fat.
Step one: Get off the treadmill.
Although you may lose some weight initially when on a new and consistent cardio plan, you will have a hard time ever obtaining the lean and “toned” look you desire. Imagine this…you’re going to the gym and doing an hour of cardio a few times a week. Soon, you hit a plateau because your body gets used to it. You add an extra day to workout and see more results. Soon enough you’re going to be working out 7 days a week doing an hour of cardio and your body will hit that plateau because it will be used to it. Sure, you may increase your cardio time, but eventually you just won’t have the time or desire to do this. It will get BORING and you will end up spending your days on the treadmill as a “cardio bunny” as I like to call them.
Step two: Lift Weights
Alright ladies, I’m talking about REAL weights here. Put down those pink dumbbells and head over to the big kid’s section at the gym and grab some IRON. Yes these may leave your hands smelling like iron and calluses on your hands, but buy some weight training gloves and suck it up.
Weight training is the key to a toned physique. Muscle takes a LONG time to build so don’t worry about becoming “the hulk” after a month of weight training. Gosh..if I could build muscle easily..I’d be a happy girl. It just doesn’t happen that way. It’s HARD to build muscle! I’ll get to that more in a second…
Now..back to the weight training. Now that you have your big girl panties on and put down the pink weights, we can get serious.
Heavy weights will help you build muscle which will in return help you burn more calories. The best part of muscle is that it is more dense than fat so when you have more muscle on you, you may weigh the same if not more eventually, but your pants will fit better and you will lose inches throughout your body.
To start, put yourself on a simple weight training split. If you want to lift 4 days a week, do something like this:
Monday: Upper Body
Tuesday: Lower Body
Thursday: Upper Body
Saturday: Lower Body
You can add some cardio in AFTER your workouts or on your rest days (but always keep one full day of rest to let your body recover).
Not only will you be burning calories during your weight training sessions, you will also build muscle which will help you burn more calories AFTER the gym. If you were to only do cardio, the after burn wouldn’t take place. Be more efficient… gain muscle and burn more calories at rest!
Step Three: Eat Well
Nutrition is SO SO SO important in building a lean physique. Set a daily calorie goal for yourself, then divide by 5 or 6. That number will tell you how many calories to have per meal throughout the day. For those meals, choose a lean protein, healthy carb and some veggies. Don’t over complicate things. Just keep things simple by eating non processed foods and fill your grocery cart up with whole foods.
Now, onto the questions I get all the time…
Will I bulk up if I start weight training?
No. The only way this would be possible is if you were eating enough to grow. This means you’re consistently eating more calories than you burn, every day. If you’re eating the right amount of calories and lifting weights, your body will start transforming into exactly what you want..a lean and toned physique!
One other thing to mention is that as women, we don’t have the natural produced testosterone in our bodies needed in order to get huge. Women have 15 to 20 times less the amount of testosterone as men have. This is why men don’t have a hard time putting on muscle. It takes hard work and a lot of time and serious dedication to build muscle.
Will my fat turn into muscle if I start lifting?
No. Fat and muscle are two different types of tissue. When you start a weight training & healthy nutrition plan, you may start to see more muscle definition. This is because you’re body is starting to shed body fat…it’s not that you’re getting BULKY. So don’t stop when you start seeing muscle tone.
If you stay consistent with eating healthy and weight training (with some added cardio on the side a couple times a week), you will start to see changes in your body. You will be headed towards a FIT body and not the skinny cardio bunny look.
Will I Bulk Up By Lifting Weights?
My bottom line I want to get across by this post is to tell you that you should NOT be scared of lifting heavy weights. I remember when I first started lifting. I was totally intimidated being in what I thought was the boys only area. I remember the gym I started lifting at in Chicago had a cage-like wall around the free weights area and I always referred to it as the “cage”. I was sooo intimidated being the only girl in the cage because I felt like the guys were always looking at me. I would always be looking around and felt self conscious at all times. I felt more comfortable on the treadmill with the other females being a cardio bunny..but I soon realized that who the hell cares if the dudes are looking at you in the gym – OWN IT. I look back now and laugh at how scared I was! NOW I FEEL LIKE I LIVE IN THE CAGE!
Change starts at the edge of your comfort zone!
If you have any questions, leave a comment below!