What is Bulky Muscle Anyway?
Bulky means taking up a lot of space. Woman are scared that by building muscle, they will look bulky, but if the ultimate goal is getting lean and toned and you’re not eating too many calories, it is virtually impossible to get big or bulky. Muscle is denser than fat, meaning a pound of muscle takes up less space than a pound of fat. Therefore, if you build 3 pounds of muscle (which is exceedingly difficult for reasons I will explain below) but lose 5 pounds of fat, you will be less bulky, not more. More muscle tends to mean decreased bodyfat, increased strength, a “toned” look, and better metabolic health.
Gaining Muscle Mass as a Woman
The process of muscle building is very slow. An experienced male weight trainer would be lucky to gain 2 or 3 pounds of muscle in a year, and this would require consistent training, good sleep and a sound nutrition and supplement plan. Testosterone is the primary hormone that increases muscle mass. Women have much less testosterone than men, which makes building muscle that much harder. Muscle building also happens much more significantly when there is a calorie surplus. If you’re trying to lose weight and are in a calorie deficit, muscle building becomes very challenging or even close to impossible. In this setting, heavy weight training will allow you to keep the muscle that you have, and maybe build some too, but the likelihood of getting bulky in this scenario is essentially zero. And even if you’re the 1 in 1,000 exception to this, muscle growth is still very slow, even in the most ideal of settings. It is not like you’re going to do some squats and bench presses and wake up the next day looking like Lou Ferrigno. At any point, if you do see muscle size increases that are bordering on too much, simply back off.
Heavy, intense resistance training offers a host of benefits. It increases strength, burns calories, and decreases the risk of fractures, diabetes, and high blood pressure. It can make you look lean and strong (but will NOT make you look bulky) and will help to decrease body fat.
If you’re looking for a lean, strong, feminine look, you should include weight training as part of your exercise routine. The goal of your weight training should be to get stronger. If your nutrition is sound, progressive strength increases are an objective way of measuring muscle development. If you are not stronger than you were 2 months ago (or if you don’t know that you are, you should try a different program. If you are not progressing in your training (in other words, if you’ve been doing the same 3 sets of 10 with 5-pound hand weights for the past 6 months), your muscles will not change.
To sum this up, lift smart and hard, using weights as heavy as you can handle safely and with good form, and keep your nutrition sound. Be consistent, get as much sleep as you can, and you will see great things happen.
If all this seems like overkill, it probably is, but I still can’t stress enough that you need to lift hard. The harder you lift, the faster your progress and the sooner you will achieve your ideal physique. It is the key to changing your body. Follow your routine. Do the cardio (if you want to or have to). And before you know it, you’ll be inside the body of your dreams.
Do you have more questions about this blog post or Dr. Charlie Seltzer’s weight loss program? Contact Us and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours.