Adding muscle is not easy!
The way most people describe it, when adverse to the bulk, you would be forgiven for thinking that one session lifting weights and you wake up the next morning looking like the hulk.
No matter who you are, what you eat or how much testosterone you have, it is a slow, methodical process adding muscle.
The people that grace magazines or enter high profile bodybuilding competitions, have generally been working on their growth and development, not just for years, but for over a decade in most cases.
Even if someone followed a plan to Squat Every Day for a month, the changes achieved may be noticeable, but smaller than you would likely expect.
So, to say that you don’t want to lift weights because you don’t want to get bulky is actually quite insulting to the people who do work extremely hard to achieve just that.
I have come across women (in particular) over the years who are convinced they are getting bigger. Their thighs are doubling in size or their back is suddenly huge.
The usual measuring stick for that is their clothes are tighter in those areas.
Keep in mind, muscle is hard and dense, fat is soft and pliable. If we are talking about clothes that feel restrictive, chances are they were fairly fitted in the first place (no one is going to be complaining about feeling tight in a baggy jumper that is 5 sizes too big for them, but they wear for comfort in the winter). Therefore, where certain body parts may have felt more maneuverable before within those clothes, now they are causing pressure.
This is generally not because they are bigger overall. It is simply that they have burned off a little fat and gained a little muscle. Or, if their diet hasn’t been great, they may have added a little muscle density without burning off much of the fat. The difference in size is usually miniscule, if you measure it, but it feels huge because the composition is so different.
Lifting weights does not make you bulky. It is a slow process and if you feel it is going in any way too far, you can change your approach, or if you so desire, stop.
If you are trying to tone up, you WANT to add muscle
I’ve already covered this in my article What’s the best way to tone up? However, briefly, when someone says they want to tone up, get leaner or look more athletic (but they don’t want to get bulky) what they generally mean is, they want to look shapely with fewer wobbly bits.
The bits that wobble is fat, so that’s what they want less of.
However, the bits that are hard giving the shape you are looking for is muscle.
Skinny with exposed rib cages and collar bones protruding may work in Millan or Paris during their fashion weeks, but as the clothes displayed on those catwalks are rarely ‘day to day’ wear, neither are the physiques sporting them.
People tend to want ‘shapely’ arms, sculpted mid sections, and a proportion to their physiques that not only looks good, but is functional, feels good and radiates the energy they are feeling.
Without adding muscle that can then be uncovered, you can’t have that shape.
However, that does not mean adding bulk, it simply means adding shape to the areas of your choosing. And that is exactly what a well-developed training programme is there to achieve.
So, lifting weights does not make you bulky, it allows you to shape your body in the direction of your choosing.
It’s a lazy excuse
Often, even with all this information, and more if needed, there are people who will still fight against it. However, the bottom line is, that person just doesn’t WANT to do the work. They are choosing not to take part in resistance based training because it is hard work. But, rather than admit that, they would rather find an excuse that puts them in control. Because, they do actually want the results that training would bring, they just don’t want to do the training to achieve it.
I’ve have MANY female clients over the years tell me that they have been out with friends after training for a while and those friends will ask them, “how do you get in such great shape?”. However, once they are told that they go to the gym and lift weights they get a dismissive frown or possibly the reply of, “oh, I don’t want to get bulky”.
I mean seriously!
They clearly liked the changes this person has made and yet, when given the ‘secret’ they say they don’t want the result they BELIEVE it will bring, despite the fact that there is evidence sitting right in front of them showing their beliefs are incorrect.
The bottom line is, some people don’t want the truth.
However, those people probably stopped reading after the first paragraph.
But, for those who have continued to be misinformed up until now, I hope this has helped you realise the error in that thinking.
Whether you choose to go and start utilising resistance training is entirely up to you. But, if you are doing it through an informed choice rather than inaccurate information, that is a much better path to be following.