But I don’t want to get Bulky?

I can tell you that I hear this line every time I sit down with a woman during an initial consultation and it is my number one pet peeve.   The mere mention that you need to lift weights ( heavy weights) to change your shape sends a majority of woman into a tizzy.  There is nothing wrong with having more muscle on your frame. Actually there are a multitude of benefits from a health stand point, but most importantly you just look better naked with more muscle and less fat on your body.

Some of the benefits to adding muscle are:

  • The more muscle you have, the more calories your body will burn while at rest.  Muscle has a higher demand for energy than fat.  It has been estimated that for every one pound of muscle you gain over your current level you will burn an extra 50 calories a day.  So if you gain 5 lbs of muscle you will be burning an extra 250 calories a day!
  • The more muscle you have, the more sensitive your body will become to insulin (fat storing hormone).  Being more sensitive to insulin promotes better prevention of diabetes and promotes less fat storage (you will look better naked).
  • The more muscle you have, the more strength you will have.  Having strength and being strong is very empowering and a huge confidence booster.
  • The more muscle you gain through strength training, the greater bone mass/density you will develop.  Having strong bones as we age is critical to a healthy and active lifestyle.
  • The more muscle you have, the less acidic your body will become.  It has been shown in many studies that when your body is in a constant acidic state, there is a higher risk for developing cancer and other immune diseases. The less acidic you are, the stronger your immune system will become.  You will get sick less and recover faster when you do catch a cold.
  • Muscle is denser than fat so it takes up less space on your frame, it also promotes a lower body fat percentage.  Simplified, the more muscle you have the less there will be of you.
So what would constitute lifting heavy weights to gain muscle? well if you are thinking all you have to do is increase from those 10 pound weights you use now in body pump class to 15’s, you are way off.
Minimum baseline:
  • Bench Press .5 x body weight
  • Squat 1.0 x body weight
  • Dead Lift 1.0 x body weight
A woman who has been lifting properly for 3 years should be able to perform the following:
  • 1-3 chin ups unassisted
  • Bench press .8 x her body weight
  • Squat 1.5 x her body weight
  • Dead Lift  1.8 x her body weight
As an example, a 130 lb woman with weight lifting experience, should be able to perform for 3 reps:
A 105 lb bench press
A 195 lb squat
A 235 lb dead lift
in addition to 1-3 chin ups
It is this kind of effort that will get you the body you are looking for and always wanted.
Here is an example, I would like to say she is one of mine but alas she is not.  But she is FIERCE!
Does she look bulky at 115 lbs?

So if you can get over the mental blocks of having less body fat, more confidence, a stronger immune system, stronger bones and plain just looking better naked then you are ready to start strength training!!




Poliquin, Charles “Why Should Not be Afraid of Gaining Muscle”, 2/2010

Berkhan, Martin “Fuckarounditis”, 9/2011