Calling all women! You won’t bulk up!

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In my earlier days, I was averaging 135 pounds at 5’3″.  Now, on scales that’s Obese Class 1- even though I had 12% body fat.  I had “tree trunks” for legs and broad shoulders.  At one point, my mother thought I was taking “something”.  What she and others failed to realize- I was active in sports dating back to when I started walking.  I found my sport of Track and Field when I was 12 years old.  From there, I was conditioned for sprinting and jumping.  Do you remember what sprinters and jumpers looked like?  Can you picture the size of their legs?  It took years for me to gain muscle, trained for it, and ate like it.  I don’t think you are training for any sprinting events soon are you?

Each week I come across women who are afraid of “bulking up” when lifting weights.  My response is quite simple- you don’t have the amount of testosterone and you’re not training hard enough.  Here are some other facts I found to back up my response as well as add to it:

1.  You have to have 15-20x the amount of testosterone that men have. (Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning-Kreamer)

2.  High volume (108 reps) causes considerable muscle damage, which in turn, results in hypertrophy. The considerably lower volume (18 reps) will build more strength and cause minimal bulking.

3.  When lifting weights over 85 percent, the primary stress imposed upon the body is placed on the nervous system, not on the muscles. Therefore, strength will improve by a neurological effect while not increasing the size of the muscles.

4. If you eat more than you are burning, you will gain weight. If you eat less than you are burning, you will lose weight. Women perceive any weight gain as “bulking up” and do not give attention to the fact that they are simply getting fatter. As Todd Hamer, a strength and conditioning coach at George Mason University said, “Squats don’t bulk you up. It’s the ten beers a night that bulk you up.” This cannot be emphasized enough.

5.  What you see on the cover of magazines just doesn’t come from working out- say chemical enhancement?


I have been able to change my routine within a year.  I now weigh 123 pounds through a Vegetarian diet, Pilates, walking, and lifting weights.  I have never felt better!