5

votes

How do I get over my fear of strength training?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 02, 2012 at 10:57 PM

Or maybe a better question is: What???s the best way a woman should work out without bulking up?

I am a Newbie who is in the process of implementing a primal style diet to lose major weight and would like to start working out. My only fear is that I will look too masculine if I do too much strength work (or the wrong kind of strength work). I see some cross fit female bodies and while every ???body??? is beautiful, I personally prefer myself with a less muscular body. Any suggestions?

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on April 26, 2012
at 09:05 PM

Can't go wrong with Starting Strength.

Ebcbbdcb8b727e69e06eaa102d49a84c

(1804)

on April 09, 2012
at 06:36 PM

+1. I have been lifting heavy weights for well over a year now and still have no bulk, just tone. I wouldn't worry about it. Lifting weights, if you are able, is good for you. AND very primal!

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 04, 2012
at 04:47 AM

thanks Eric S :)

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 04, 2012
at 04:46 AM

awww thanks jesuisjuba :-) i appreciate all your help and encouragement!

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on April 03, 2012
at 06:24 PM

Dude, it took me 6 months to do 1 strict push up. 1! Push ups - strict or from knees, any sort of chin up/pull up action, you can do these as "negatives" and such so you're not pulling your entire bodyweight. Seriously, drop and do sets of 10 pushups several times a day and you'll have guns in no time.

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on April 03, 2012
at 06:23 PM

Cinnamon - Push ups - strict or from knees, any sort of chin up/pull up action, you can do these as "negatives" and such so you're not pulling your entire bodyweight. Seriously, drop and do sets of 10 pushups several times a day and you'll have guns in no time.

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on April 03, 2012
at 06:20 PM

You do it girl! Tons of good resources out there to help out as well as what's been bundled here in PH. I guess if I can say anything.. just realize that you are wonderful and strong, and these first steps are the right ones. Healthy FTW! Note: I am a huge goofball hence the "abs" tossed in there but I do smile when I back squat tho :) May the force be with you.

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 03, 2012
at 06:03 PM

Dave, my biggest fear was having legs like this girl. Though I am not at my weight/body goals, my arms are skinny and weak so I welcome gaining strength in my biceps.

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 03, 2012
at 05:58 PM

thx for the link Stef!

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 03, 2012
at 05:58 PM

it's sooo hard to imagine myself doing these things when I can't even do a push-up *my secret shame* but i'm a sucker for peer pressure soooo maybe one day....

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 03, 2012
at 05:48 PM

thanks gismcieri, will def check out the book and link

77ecc37f89dbe8f783179323916bd8e6

(5002)

on April 03, 2012
at 05:46 PM

Just wanna agree and also recommend Rippetoe's starting strength. His chapters on the major compound lifts are brilliant. He's famous for a very good reason. He also has excellent youtube videos. If you are working out alone, its a great idea to watch his videos on the lifts you are doing before heading to the gym.

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 03, 2012
at 05:44 PM

ha! duly noted.

77ecc37f89dbe8f783179323916bd8e6

(5002)

on April 03, 2012
at 05:41 PM

Piggybacking on Jules' comment, the fact that bulking occurs slowly is an excellent point. Just another reason to put the concern with bulking on the shelf until it actually starts happening. Also, if you think that after 4-6 weeks it is already starting to happen, then you are probably wrong about it. I remember when I started lifting, the fastest change occurred right away, but only I could see it looking in the mirror (my friends didn't really notice). After that changes occured much more slowly. So don't overreact to initial changes that you think you perceive.

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 03, 2012
at 05:38 PM

thank you eva !

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 03, 2012
at 05:34 PM

thanks for chiming in smart cookie. i'm gonna remember: recover, hydrate, & dial in your diet!

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 03, 2012
at 05:17 PM

thank you jesuisjuba! i'm gonna look into what body type I am (i'm guessing a meso/endo hybrid). I am tall- 5'8" with a good amount of weight to lose..... I don't have any coaches or anything right now, I'm going to do it alone with all the online resources and books I have and if I need to, maybe incorporate professional help if needed. thanks for the link and your knowledge!

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on April 03, 2012
at 04:14 PM

I'm in agreement. Try it try it!! Peer pressure! Just kidding, but really... ::jumps up and down emphatically.(in high intensity intervals)::

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on April 03, 2012
at 04:11 PM

Yep, solid answer

751d4c813cae6ffcd979dbc3b8975e41

(70)

on April 03, 2012
at 02:35 PM

You should check out 70sbig.com he has dedicated Mondays to women's issues. Honestly I think after awhile you get over the idea of gaining weight and being "bulky." atleast I know I did. I went from 125# crossfitting and switched over to strictly oly lifting and am now at 150#. But I do not consider myself bulky, hella curvy yes. It depends on what your goals are. Squatting 300# and being able to snatch over body weight? Than weight and size isn't going to matter. Looking to look good in a bikini, well then I guess it does matter.

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on April 03, 2012
at 02:24 PM

Totally agree with everything + with Rippetoe and Starting Strength. Also Wendler 5/3/1 is fantastic. Note: Lego Abs.

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on April 03, 2012
at 02:22 PM

I'm with Jules - Oly Lifts are amazing and beyond satisfying.. its really a weird fantastic feeling :)

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on April 03, 2012
at 02:21 PM

I couldn't believe it! I figured if anything I would be crunched shorter from all the heavy lifting - mm.. squats.. clean and jerks.. ::flexes biceps::

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on April 03, 2012
at 02:07 PM

I think a women's thighs are the most likely muscle to bulk up. if you don't like how she looks then don't go crazy on squats. But she looks good to me. It's almost impossible for a woman to get big biceps/delts/pecs without being on "the juice".

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on April 03, 2012
at 01:57 PM

Je Suis is seriously hot. Peeps should listen to her advice. I *also* grew 1/2 an inch since lifting heavy. Squats, deads, press is the way to go!

24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on April 03, 2012
at 01:41 PM

Excellent point about it being a process!

24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on April 03, 2012
at 01:40 PM

Cinnamon, you just might amaze yourself with what you're capable of! When I started dabbling in crossfit, I was terrified of the olympic lifts, but they are highly addictive! :)

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 03, 2012
at 05:07 AM

whoa Nance, you WERE an exercise junkie. i would rather the barn work anyday :-) thanks for your take...

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 03, 2012
at 04:57 AM

thanks miked !!

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 03, 2012
at 04:56 AM

Roller Derby? Awesome! Thanks for your input

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 03, 2012
at 04:45 AM

thanks for your perspective April, it's interesting to see how each "body" reacts to lifting. i will experiment and see what works/does not work for me

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 03, 2012
at 04:40 AM

thanks, interesting to see women who lift and don't get huge!

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 03, 2012
at 04:05 AM

WOW! Thanks for the tips Eric

1bbcd2122d9c75b07440f22ef57d6448

(2934)

on April 03, 2012
at 02:55 AM

How can she have those thighs and still have skinny little bird calves? Get those shoes off!

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on April 03, 2012
at 01:54 AM

I'd spot her ;)

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on April 03, 2012
at 01:52 AM

Protein, and carbs mainly, but fat too... Essentially just constant eating in *surplus* of your caloric needs. With that said, there's no need to fear any macronutrient itself whether it be protein, carb or fat.

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 03, 2012
at 12:06 AM

yeah I'm thinking this journey is going to be trial and error for me...thanks for your input

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 03, 2012
at 12:05 AM

I will check it out, thanks!

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 03, 2012
at 12:04 AM

I will probably never do this, but thanks for the link!

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 03, 2012
at 12:03 AM

muscular to me is a serena williams type body or any female body builder...not that these are bad body type, just not for me

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 03, 2012
at 12:02 AM

thanks for the link!

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 02, 2012
at 11:56 PM

Thanks Todd, would eating huge amounts protein be considered "eating to grow"?

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on April 02, 2012
at 11:54 PM

That's a good article!

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on April 02, 2012
at 11:35 PM

Great link +1

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18 Answers

best answer

13
Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on April 03, 2012
at 01:12 PM

Genetics play a huge part of this as well - Ectomorph, Mesomorph, Endomorph. If you can figure out what type you are, that will help in addition to diet.

I'm an Ecto with a pinch of Meso and had to cut back on the bulk of my HIIT, I was a cyclist, to pack the muscle/weight on - about 6-8 months and just about 15lbs. There is no way in hell that I'll be able to bulk up huge - genetically it's not going to happen - so unless I start using chemicals to enhance.. then I'm staying lean, mean and fast as hell with my 4-abs. Smiling all the while back squatting more than my body weight.

Work with your coaches, you're paying them - tell them what you're looking to do, and search the intertubes, in addition to the loads of info that is here on PH, just remembering, as you posted "every body is different" so what works for some won't for you :)

THIS is a fantastic post full of good things that I think will help you out: Paleo & Ladies Bodies. We got into body typs and such..

Note: 5'7-1/2 I grew an inch this year! and 125lbs.

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on April 03, 2012
at 06:20 PM

You do it girl! Tons of good resources out there to help out as well as what's been bundled here in PH. I guess if I can say anything.. just realize that you are wonderful and strong, and these first steps are the right ones. Healthy FTW! Note: I am a huge goofball hence the "abs" tossed in there but I do smile when I back squat tho :) May the force be with you.

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on April 03, 2012
at 02:21 PM

I couldn't believe it! I figured if anything I would be crunched shorter from all the heavy lifting - mm.. squats.. clean and jerks.. ::flexes biceps::

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 03, 2012
at 05:17 PM

thank you jesuisjuba! i'm gonna look into what body type I am (i'm guessing a meso/endo hybrid). I am tall- 5'8" with a good amount of weight to lose..... I don't have any coaches or anything right now, I'm going to do it alone with all the online resources and books I have and if I need to, maybe incorporate professional help if needed. thanks for the link and your knowledge!

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on April 03, 2012
at 01:57 PM

Je Suis is seriously hot. Peeps should listen to her advice. I *also* grew 1/2 an inch since lifting heavy. Squats, deads, press is the way to go!

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 04, 2012
at 04:46 AM

awww thanks jesuisjuba :-) i appreciate all your help and encouragement!

9
Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

on April 03, 2012
at 02:08 PM

So, I'm a personal trainer and I want to go ahead and chime in with the others that lifting heavy won't bulk you up. But, I think you also want an answer to "how do I... without". My answer is: lift heavy. Functional, compound movements -- squats, deads, press. Start with a beginner progression -I like a 5x5 like Mark Rippotoe's Starting strength or add in some assistance work for hypertrophy. Others will chime in with whatever they do. Take it easy, be sure to recover, hydrate, dial in diet. When you're increasing the resistance training, drop the long cardio, at least at the start - doing too much will make it more likely that you feel tired, hungry, not fully recovered - too high cortisol/stress hormones - overeating - holding onto fat.

Personally, I feel stronger, I like my new, more muscular look. I'm about 5 pounds heavier, but 5% less body fat and like Je Suis, about 1/2 in. taller...(can't explain this). I sleep better and I'm more in tune with my body cues. Worse case scenario, you can give this a try and if you just hate your 6-pack, you can always go back to whatever you were doing before ;-)

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 03, 2012
at 05:34 PM

thanks for chiming in smart cookie. i'm gonna remember: recover, hydrate, & dial in your diet!

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 04, 2012
at 04:47 AM

thanks Eric S :)

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on April 03, 2012
at 02:24 PM

Totally agree with everything + with Rippetoe and Starting Strength. Also Wendler 5/3/1 is fantastic. Note: Lego Abs.

77ecc37f89dbe8f783179323916bd8e6

(5002)

on April 03, 2012
at 05:46 PM

Just wanna agree and also recommend Rippetoe's starting strength. His chapters on the major compound lifts are brilliant. He's famous for a very good reason. He also has excellent youtube videos. If you are working out alone, its a great idea to watch his videos on the lifts you are doing before heading to the gym.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on April 03, 2012
at 04:11 PM

Yep, solid answer

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on April 26, 2012
at 09:05 PM

Can't go wrong with Starting Strength.

8
50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on April 02, 2012
at 11:04 PM

I honestly wouldn't worry about it at all. You would have to seriously try to put on enough muscle to make you look masculine, i.e. eat to grow and hit the gym too many times a week.

I have a few girl friends who lift heavy weights (relative) 2-3 times a week and have been doing so for a few months now. They too feared that they would get bulky but it hasn't been the case with any of them. Just gradual weight loss with a subtle hint of muscle tone.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on April 03, 2012
at 01:52 AM

Protein, and carbs mainly, but fat too... Essentially just constant eating in *surplus* of your caloric needs. With that said, there's no need to fear any macronutrient itself whether it be protein, carb or fat.

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 02, 2012
at 11:56 PM

Thanks Todd, would eating huge amounts protein be considered "eating to grow"?

Ebcbbdcb8b727e69e06eaa102d49a84c

(1804)

on April 09, 2012
at 06:36 PM

+1. I have been lifting heavy weights for well over a year now and still have no bulk, just tone. I wouldn't worry about it. Lifting weights, if you are able, is good for you. AND very primal!

7
77ecc37f89dbe8f783179323916bd8e6

(5002)

on April 03, 2012
at 12:06 AM

The idea that working out will make you bulky is a myth that is especially prevalent among the females I know.

Note that people who want to bulk up often have a very difficult time achieving their goals. It takes years of dedicated lifting, supplements, and a crazy high protein diet. So when somebody expresses concern over looking bulky, it sounds a little crazy, almost arrogant, to experienced lifters. A good answer is: don't worry, that'll be the least of your concerns, especially since leaning out is easier than bulking up (muscle tissue is biologically expensive, and your body doesn't just pack it on without a fight).

A common mistake among females is to attempt to avoid bulking up by doing high-rep 'toning' workouts rather than lifting heavier weights at lower reps. This is the opposite of what you should do. Low-weight high-rep workouts produce the big water-filled muscles that you notice on the beach. Whereas high-weight low-rep workouts geared toward strength produce smaller, denser, and more functional results.

Regarding crossfit, some xfit girls look thick and masculine, while others maintain their feminine figures with ease. This is clear from a quick scan of xfit youtube videos. The difference is only partly due to genes. Those thick, muscular girls have been working on their olympic lifts for years. They aren't just doing the WOD three times a week.

If your squat gets insane, here is a preview of what you will look like... in like 5 years :)




how-do-i-get-over-my-fear-of-strength-training?.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on April 03, 2012
at 02:07 PM

I think a women's thighs are the most likely muscle to bulk up. if you don't like how she looks then don't go crazy on squats. But she looks good to me. It's almost impossible for a woman to get big biceps/delts/pecs without being on "the juice".

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on April 03, 2012
at 06:23 PM

Cinnamon - Push ups - strict or from knees, any sort of chin up/pull up action, you can do these as "negatives" and such so you're not pulling your entire bodyweight. Seriously, drop and do sets of 10 pushups several times a day and you'll have guns in no time.

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 03, 2012
at 06:03 PM

Dave, my biggest fear was having legs like this girl. Though I am not at my weight/body goals, my arms are skinny and weak so I welcome gaining strength in my biceps.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on April 03, 2012
at 01:54 AM

I'd spot her ;)

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 03, 2012
at 04:05 AM

WOW! Thanks for the tips Eric

1bbcd2122d9c75b07440f22ef57d6448

(2934)

on April 03, 2012
at 02:55 AM

How can she have those thighs and still have skinny little bird calves? Get those shoes off!

6
Fddbf985647ca4b3c389331a6fab33d4

(90)

on April 03, 2012
at 05:35 AM

after over 10 years of HEAVY lifting - powerlifting - my thighsection starts to look something like that pic. i admit i have more muscle thatn the average girl but way less than a figurecompetitor for example. and it has been 10 years of heavy work 5-6 times a week sometimes 2 x a day. no worries. lift heavy, eat paleo and look in the mirror. you wont wake up one morning bulky. you will see the changes happen and you can tweek and change while you go.

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 03, 2012
at 05:38 PM

thank you eva !

77ecc37f89dbe8f783179323916bd8e6

(5002)

on April 03, 2012
at 05:41 PM

Piggybacking on Jules' comment, the fact that bulking occurs slowly is an excellent point. Just another reason to put the concern with bulking on the shelf until it actually starts happening. Also, if you think that after 4-6 weeks it is already starting to happen, then you are probably wrong about it. I remember when I started lifting, the fastest change occurred right away, but only I could see it looking in the mirror (my friends didn't really notice). After that changes occured much more slowly. So don't overreact to initial changes that you think you perceive.

24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on April 03, 2012
at 01:41 PM

Excellent point about it being a process!

6
Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on April 02, 2012
at 11:33 PM

A good example of how strong does not mean "bulky":
Julia Rohde: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4g1jU9sVbQ

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on April 02, 2012
at 11:35 PM

Great link +1

24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on April 03, 2012
at 01:40 PM

Cinnamon, you just might amaze yourself with what you're capable of! When I started dabbling in crossfit, I was terrified of the olympic lifts, but they are highly addictive! :)

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 03, 2012
at 12:04 AM

I will probably never do this, but thanks for the link!

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on April 03, 2012
at 06:24 PM

Dude, it took me 6 months to do 1 strict push up. 1! Push ups - strict or from knees, any sort of chin up/pull up action, you can do these as "negatives" and such so you're not pulling your entire bodyweight. Seriously, drop and do sets of 10 pushups several times a day and you'll have guns in no time.

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on April 03, 2012
at 04:14 PM

I'm in agreement. Try it try it!! Peer pressure! Just kidding, but really... ::jumps up and down emphatically.(in high intensity intervals)::

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 03, 2012
at 05:58 PM

it's sooo hard to imagine myself doing these things when I can't even do a push-up *my secret shame* but i'm a sucker for peer pressure soooo maybe one day....

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on April 03, 2012
at 02:22 PM

I'm with Jules - Oly Lifts are amazing and beyond satisfying.. its really a weird fantastic feeling :)

4
65bf1ca7071028018c6d8305d0ddcd76

(3049)

on April 03, 2012
at 02:41 AM

Hey cinnamon,

I played roller derby for 5 years. At 5"2 and size zero, I actually tried very hard to bulk up. Playing roller derby means skating hard and fast (I was a jammer), knocking others and getting knocked around a lot; I played for the love of the sport and athleticism. I was eating large quantities of protein and taking all sorts of supplements, including creatine. I lifted heavy weights 4x a week. Did I bulk up? Not really. I had a great shape and strong muscles, but they were certainly not over defined. Every body us different, but I think it's very unlikely you will become masculine looking!

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 03, 2012
at 04:56 AM

Roller Derby? Awesome! Thanks for your input

3
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on April 03, 2012
at 02:59 AM

I always found it pretty impossible to get a body-builder look. I grew up working in barns, carrying water/hay/straw, mucking stalls, rubbing horses, etc. and if I was standing still you couldn't have told any difference between me and sedentary city girls.

Even when I became an exercise junkie (typical week was 250 miles on my bike, 3 aerobics classes, 2 body sculpting classes and line-dancing 4 nights per week) and managed to achieve low body fat for a year or two you couldn't tell how fit I was unless you touched me. A few people were surprised by how firm/fibrous my muscles felt but I found that funny.

I think "fast twitch" females might show a little more muscle but I've never seen a woman with more than lovely toned limbs unless she was abusing her body with dehydration, etc.

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 03, 2012
at 05:07 AM

whoa Nance, you WERE an exercise junkie. i would rather the barn work anyday :-) thanks for your take...

3
E57d8e182251b61ccc6ada197c359d7e

on April 02, 2012
at 11:32 PM

I don't really agree with crossfit much but this is a great Article that discusses what i think you are talking about.

http://www.crossfitsouthbay.com/2011/05/skinny-fat/

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 03, 2012
at 12:02 AM

thanks for the link!

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on April 02, 2012
at 11:54 PM

That's a good article!

3
Ef40e29cee3d4f7b6d60e3473824f1dc

(267)

on April 02, 2012
at 11:06 PM

Honestly I think the best way is to just try it without any particular restrictions/reservations, and see how it affects your body. It's not like it will have a irreversible effect on your body. Worse case is that you will have to change the way you work out. Most likely I don't think that will be a problem. If a woman is muscular and works out, it was probably because they are more inclined to have that body type, and were muscular to begin with.

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 03, 2012
at 12:06 AM

yeah I'm thinking this journey is going to be trial and error for me...thanks for your input

2
Medium avatar

(1240)

on April 03, 2012
at 02:17 AM

I work out by lifting weights about three times a week, and my shoulders have definitely grown bulkier to a point where I'm a little self conscious about it. To halt the growth but hopefully maintain definition, I've been purposely not lifting more than 30lbs overhead with no more than one set of 10 reps. On the other hand, I've seriously been challenging my lower body, and my thighs seem to be getting slimmer and more defined.

I've known some women who claim to bulk up in their thighs when lifting, but that's definitely not the case for me, despite being somewhat bottom heavy. So, I wouldn't trust any blanket statement like "You'll bulk up if you lift" or "You have to try really hard to bulk up by lifting," and just experiment. Increased muscle mass will boost your metabolism, and the gains in strength will give you more energy throughout the day.

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 03, 2012
at 04:45 AM

thanks for your perspective April, it's interesting to see how each "body" reacts to lifting. i will experiment and see what works/does not work for me

1
E57d8e182251b61ccc6ada197c359d7e

on April 03, 2012
at 04:02 PM

stronglifts.com also has a really good 5 x 5 program. I have tried lifting but i can't get into it so I prefer bodyweight for strengh training and its virtually impossible to get huge in bodyweight but you will get lean and strong. Take a look at the book Convict Conditioning by Paul Wade. I am loving it.

Matt

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 03, 2012
at 05:48 PM

thanks gismcieri, will def check out the book and link

1
C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on April 03, 2012
at 12:33 PM

If you get trapped under fallen rock, or barbells from the sky, that strength training comes in handy.

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 03, 2012
at 05:44 PM

ha! duly noted.

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 03, 2012
at 04:57 AM

thanks miked !!

1
C0fcb48d7da4f76fac17318efd2cd6b8

on April 02, 2012
at 11:35 PM

Here is a link for a good discussion of your concern- http://everydaypaleo.com/2011/07/03/women-and-muscle/

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 03, 2012
at 04:40 AM

thanks, interesting to see women who lift and don't get huge!

1
1bbcd2122d9c75b07440f22ef57d6448

(2934)

on April 02, 2012
at 11:12 PM

This depends somewhat on what you define as "muscular." If you mean looking like a bodybuilder with bulging veins and arms the size of your neck, there is absolutely nothing to worry about. If you're talking about having defined and visible muscles, it may not be totally avoidable.

Without supplementation, women's bodies will not develop muscularly the same way men's do. The female lifters who look like men almost always take large amounts of male hormones (and spend hours in the gym) to achieve that look. Even if you do lift heavy, you will not have manly muscles unless you want them. I know women who follow heavy barbell programs (Stronglifts 5x5 and the like) and still look lean and feminine (not to mention getting scarily strong).

Still, every person is different, so you may develop differently. Try a strength program for a month or two, and if you see unwanted aesthetic changes, cut back or change your routine.

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 03, 2012
at 12:03 AM

muscular to me is a serena williams type body or any female body builder...not that these are bad body type, just not for me

751d4c813cae6ffcd979dbc3b8975e41

(70)

on April 03, 2012
at 02:35 PM

You should check out 70sbig.com he has dedicated Mondays to women's issues. Honestly I think after awhile you get over the idea of gaining weight and being "bulky." atleast I know I did. I went from 125# crossfitting and switched over to strictly oly lifting and am now at 150#. But I do not consider myself bulky, hella curvy yes. It depends on what your goals are. Squatting 300# and being able to snatch over body weight? Than weight and size isn't going to matter. Looking to look good in a bikini, well then I guess it does matter.

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 03, 2012
at 05:58 PM

thx for the link Stef!

1
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on April 02, 2012
at 11:07 PM

Agree with Todd. I like the Primal Blueprint Bodyweight workout, personally.

36f130c3ee5bdc4c47e739e8b7316170

(65)

on April 03, 2012
at 12:05 AM

I will check it out, thanks!

0
870fdea50f2a9f1cd2890c8e22549300

(2056)

on April 09, 2012
at 03:56 PM

I see no one has recommended New Rules of Lifting for Women (Lou Cosgrove et al.) yet, so I will. ;-)

If you don't like your arms there's a lot worse exercise than plain old pushups. Need no equipment, can be done anytime, anywhere, can be modified to be easier or harder depending on your current strength level.

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