Hey ladies, this one's for you.
When I meet with women for their first session here at the gym about 30% of the time I hear this one concern “Well I don't want to get bulky, can we make sure I don’t get too big?”
I want to let you ladies know all the reasons behind why this doesn’t really happen the way you think it will.
So let’s get into it.
Weight gain (fat or muscle) is more of a product of having a calorie surplus than the type of training you are doing. Yes, you will gain muscle while strength training but if you are keeping close tabs on your calorie consumption then you will not get “bulky”. You will still look lean, toned, and tight.
You don’t have a ton of testosterone. OK, so do you remember when you started going through puberty and so did the boys. What happened? You likely gained some more fat around your hips, chest, butt and legs… right? And what happened to the boys… they got wider shoulders, more muscle and deeper voices. That didn't happen to you (at least I hope). So you don't have the testosterone levels to gain a ton of muscle. It just doesn't happen that way.
Most people don’t train hard enough or frequently enough to get really big. Most of the bodybuilders you see are training 5-6 days a week with weights. They push themselves so hard that they’re in pain even before they leave the gym, and they do a lot of work. So much work that they will have 90 minute workouts dedicated to their arms alone. If you are training full body 2-4 times a week you are not accumulating enough work to actually grow big like a bodybuilder or get “bulky”.
Muscle doesn’t grow that fast. If you are lucky your muscles are only going to grow at a rate of .25# per month and this is with eating a surplus of calories. So that is really only 3-5# of muscle per year. When you are new to training this can happen a little faster but it doesn’t happen all that fast.
I know what you are thinking, “Well if I don’t gain muscle that fast how is this training benefiting me?”. The main benefits of strength training go beyond building muscle. For starters: increased bone density, more joint stability and muscle tone (less pain), more capacity for movement, more strength, and most of all more confidence!
So ladies if you want to get bulky all you have to do is eat a truck load of food, take some steroids and train like an animal, and even still you might not get “bulky”. Believe me, I have clients that have tried.
But if you want to look nice, get great health benefits, gain strength and confidence just train full body 2-4 times a week, watch your calorie intake, get some good sleep, and stop worrying so much about getting big from training.