Though the fitness industry seems to be welcoming a more muscular female physique, women are still apprehensive to lift weights for fear of getting “bulky.” We first need to define what “bulk” these women (and perhaps you) may be referring to, how it happens, and also, what they REALLY want, plus what it ironically takes to get there.
You want to be toned? You probably need to bulk.
WHAT?! Yes, hear me out.
Fact is, shape comes from having muscle. This is not arguable. Muscle is mass in which adds shape to and changes the appearance of our bodies. Pretty freaking cool. Fat can do that too, but we have far more control of muscle growth and WHERE it grows. Unlike adipose tissue.
Before we dive in, my hope is that by the end of this blog, you won’t let the fear of getting bulky stop you, because you can always atrophy muscle or lose fat. You can manipulate muscle for growth or loss. Never forget.
In case you’re new here, I don’t sell aesthetics, but I work with women, and aesthetics are certainly a thing. And I believe they always will be. So I might as well be a part of the education process in those aesthetic desires.
Listen up. First off, “bulky” is a completely subjective term – like beauty, it is in the eye of the beholder. What I think is “bulky” you may not view as such. Keep that in mind. Secondly, most women entering fitness want to be “toned” – another one of the mainstream buzzwords we all know so well.
Toned simply means you want the appearance of muscle tone in a state of rest. Whether you welcome this fact or not, you must build muscle to achieve a toned physique. And the best and worst news is that building muscle is harder than you think.
You need to work hard enough in training, get in enough protein, sleep/recover from training, as a BASE for muscle building. And it takes longer than you probably think as well. Think 6-12 months instead of weeks.
I presume that the “bulk” which you might not like is *probably* based on excess visceral fat between the muscle and skin. OR being so lean that muscle appears stereotypically “manly.” It’s absolutely fine to have these views. You’re building YOUR body. You’re allowed to have preferences.
If we know you need to build muscle in order to achieve a toned physique, I gently remind you that it’s common to put on fat with muscle. It doesn’t HAVE to happen, but is common. You can build your rig at maintenance or surplus of caloric intake, and if you end up being the bulk master you always feared, feel free to enter a caloric deficit.
Let us not forget genetics are real. Perhaps you put muscle on in one area very easily and don’t want to – that can be accommodated for in training. Bless it. I promise, you can control your “bulk” – whatever you’re thinking that looks like.
Physiology is physiology – there are plenty of things to manipulate. Moral is, please don’t let the fear of getting “bulky” stop you from lifting weights.
For fuck’s sake – you can always atrophy muscle back to it’s previous state. Again with the physiology. Happy lifting. Happy gains.
If you want to get strong, enjoy your workouts and make #educatedgains, then get on the Built by Annie waitlist.
Join my mailing list for weekly blog and podcast updates. You may or may not get VIP discounts as well. Just saying. Join the fam!
I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.
You love my style, trust my reviews, and want more Annie Miller Concepts vibes in your life? Shop my favorite brands. You get awesome products and yours truly gets a little kick-back.