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Will I get bulky by lifting weights?

Don’t lift weights, you will get bulky  

Client:  “I want to tone up and lose some weight, abs would be great… But, I don’t want to get bulky.  I’ve heard that lifting weights will make you bulky… Can I just do cardio?” 

Me: Whew…I am so glad we are just going to focus on getting in shape because getting bulky is a LOT MORE WORK!”  

All snarkasm aside, healthy/sexy/good looking body composition is a journey for all of us.  Like any journey where you are starting and your destination are key to figuring out the best route to take.  (Spoiler alert…no, weights won’t make you bulky, they will make you sexy)

Let’s talk about healthy weight loss and more importantly what makes you look better naked. The science is pretty clear.  Muscle burns about 3x more calories than fat does when you are at rest. What that means is that if you increase your lean body mass (muscle) you have a higher resting metabolic rate and an increased daily calorie burn.  Additionally, when you do resistance training (weights) you continue to burn excess calories long after the workout stops. This is required for your muscles to repair replenish and yes…grow. So, in short, you want to gain muscle in order to burn more calories.  Almost all research shows that successful long term weight loss COMBINES strength training with nutrition.  

Let’s also be real.   Muscle also looks better than fat, and normally due to hormonal differences in women, muscle gain is sleek and not bulky.  In fact, when men or women WANT to get bulky (for sport or competition) it usually requires dedicated effort, specialized workouts (in many cases this is multiple sessions per day) and eating a lot more.  Folks that bodybuild have a saying “You gotta eat big to get big” and it is really a lot of work. 

Despite what you see on Insta there is no perfect body type and each person is different.  Your existing body type, percent body fat, weight, genetics, hormones, stress, lifestyle, previous experience, injury history, health history, etc all play a big role in how YOUR body stores and loses both fat and muscle. These factors also impact how fast you will lose fat, gain muscle or get in shape.  They also are huge in determining is the best nutrition plan that works to achieve your goals. Just because some Insta influencer is eating the “All Cheerios Diet,” is tight rope walking and has great abs, doesn’t mean that it is healthy, effective or the best plan for you.

Lifting weights and strength training will not in itself make you bulky.  As a part of a comprehensive plan including diet and other forms of exercise, strength training will help you to be stronger, look great and feel awesome.  

Want a customized plan?  Need help?  Just want to talk more about getting bulky?

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