Does Weight Training Make You Bulky?

why you should weight training
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Hey, tough soul. I’m Alyssa.

If you’ve been here for a while, you know I’m a great fan of strength training. My workout mostly filled with lifting heavy weights instead of cardio.

In fact, when I first started years ago, I’m the one that stay away from the weight area too. However, the moment when I dive into strength training, I never returned.

Weight lifting had changed my life so much. And I want to tell you some truth about weight training how it could help you to achieve your fitness goal.

What Most People Get Wrong About Weight training

As we know, there are a lot of misconceptions about weight training especially when it comes to females. This makes female friends often reluctant to start weight training.

Here is what I commonly heard and I wish I can help you clear those misconceptions:

‘I Don’t Want To Become Too Muscular’

This is the most common question among females. I know that, because what most female wanted in fitness is to get lean instead of ended up bigger, right?

If this is your concern. First thing, weight training won’t make you the next Arnold Schwarzenegger (no offend here, in fact I admire him a lot) or any less feminine.

It is because biologically, female have only 5-10% of testosterone compare to male. And testosteronehe is the hormone that have to do with stimulating muscle growth. Obviously we don’t have that. Even the most muscular female we seen on those body building competition, they are either working out really, really (repeat this 10 times), really hard to get those muscles or are on steriods.

My conclusion for this is, no. You can’t get any muscular or bulky with weight training. Not even a fraction of it if you are a female.

‘But I Just Want To Tone My Muscle”

I heard this mostly from those that are skinny fat or thin individual that struggle to get ‘toned’.

It’s weight training that tone your muscles, not those toning exercise. In fact, doing thousands of arm raise using light water bottle (or with no weight at all) don’t give you a long, lean muscles. This is because our muscles only get thicker or get smaller, however, they can’t become longer. [Why toning exercise is a myth.]

Instead, contrast with what you might expect. The real meaning of ‘toning’ is actually to build muscle, so that you get the pretty, beautiful muscle definition. Weight training will be your main tool the tool. While incoorporating your workout with the right nutrition. Then you achieve the toned look.

To get muscle definition you need to build muscles, not ‘tone’ it.

I did once not believe in this until I tried it myself. Then I know it is true. We can squat heavy weights but still remain slender, and small figures. (Side note: People usually can’t imagine I’am able to leg press up to double of my own weight) I do not get bigger, instead, what I changed is that I had become more ‘toned’ (this is exactly what you want right? Toned).

“Weight Training Can’t Help Me Lose Weight.’

Most people think cardio is the only way to lose weight. However, If you are those that want to lose weight, you should do weight training. Well, I’m not biased here. I have the reason. What if I tell you the total calories you burned through weight training could be highier than cardio?

Hmm, not convinced?

This is why. Becauce we are not looking at only the calories burned in the workout itself, but including the Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) of your workout. In case you never heard of what is EPOC. It is an afterburn effect that keeps burning extra calories after a workout.

Let’s compare the total calories burned on both cardio and weight training. When we only look at the calories burned during the exercise, apparently cardio will be higher than weight training. But if we look at how much the EPOC keeps burning after weight training. That is a huge amount in total!

Yes, so it’s true that you can keep burning a lot of calories after your workout through weight training(who else gets excited here?). Of course, I don’t ask you to stop doing cardio at all. A combination of both could actually bring better results.

So Why You Should Weight Training? Actually.

After clearing the misconception above, now I’m straight into the topic. I know, most of you are not interested in being a bodybuilder. So why does everyone should strength training, specifically?

Yes, I said that. No matter what you have any fitness goal, you should start weight training.

Here’s what weight training can bring you:

Help You Achieve The Look You Want

I put this first because I know most of you are interested in this. Let’s be frank, most of us started fitness because we wanted to look good.

If you expect weight training can’t help you much with your appearance, you are totally wrong.

So this is what actually improves if females started weight training. As I mentioned above, it is impossible for females to get too bulky and muscular through weight training. Instead, what happens is that you’ll get more muscle definition (don’t worry, you can’t get big) on yourself and that makes you look ‘well-sculpted’.

Look at these top female fitness influencers that have the hottest physique, defined abs, sexy booty. Can you believe that they mostly trained with weight?

Instagram: Jen Selter
Instagram: Alexa Jean Hunt
Instagram: Kelsey Wells

Improve Overall Physical Ability

Besides appearance, weight training does offer other practical benefits.

You don’t need to aim to have massive strength like a powerlifter. But at least integrating some weight training in your workout help improves your overall strength.

I had seen people that claim themselves too weak to carry a grocery bag. That leads me to think, if they started weight training, things could be much better.

Of course, any type of exercise are able to improve our cardiovascular capability. However, what makes weight training different is, you are not only capable to involve in physical activities for a long time (cardiovascular endurance), but you are also able to handle heavy work.

If you question how can weight training is related to your daily life. Think about it. Those movements of weight training are actually nothing fancy. It’s just the compilation of basic movements we did in our life: squatting down with a bag behind you, lifting up a box, moving the sofa, or saving yourself from danger. I literally meant it, research had found that strength training help reduce the risk of injury.

Increase Lean Mass

In case you are not aware of this. For individuals over 25 years old, their muscle mass will started to decrease every year. That’s why most people who reach middle age notice they gain weight easily even if they did not make huge changes to their diet. (Hint: Because of their slow metabolism.)

Use it or lose it. This describes best on our muscles as well. So if you don’t want your metabolism to slow down, weight training is the most effective way for you to increase your lean mass.

Even if you still not reaching that age yet, you probably wish to have a higher metabolism (so that you won’t gain fat easily), right?

You can hack your metabolism by simply increasing your lean mass.

As our BMR (basal metabolic rate) is determined by our lean body mass. The more lean body mass you have, you will have higher BMR. As I said your BMR accumulates about 60% of your TDEE. Overtime, you can see how much the difference as it turns out.

Your Workout Become More Meaningful

One thing that I love about working out with weight is that I can progress my strength overtime. That brings me so much satisfaction everytime when I break through my own limitations. [Why do you need to progressive overload?]

It’s hard to describe the feeling. When I track back my record long time ago and found that I had improved so much. That often time becomes my source of confidence.

Your workout becomes less boring and more enjoyable. It’s no longer just a workout, but more like a record that you keep progressing. Now your goal for working out is not to tax out your energy, but to build yourself up.

Humans tend to have a sense of satisfaction when the progress is measurable. So when it comes to weight training, we are able to see actually how much strength that we get. You know that everytime when you return to the gym, you are stronger than the last time.

If you feel like your workout is boring, try this. Keep a journal that records your exercise with the load that you are using. Everytime when you are able to handle heavier weight than last time, note that. You’ll be started to love your workout more than you’ve ever been.

Final Thought

A workout should build you up and makes you feel better and stronger each time. That’s the thing that only weight training able to provide me more than other types of workouts.

Fortunately, there is an evolution in weight training trends as we can see more and more female friends start stepping into the weight area. It’s great to see them proudly showing their well-sculpted arms after a shoulder workout.

I hope that these insights can give you a new perspective on what weight training really is and how it actually can help you in your fitness. I will be mostly joyed to see you join the evolution and make the change!

Let us grow together,


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