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I shudder ever time I hear a woman utter that word.

Actually, I shudder and then I want to shake her until she is a limp pile on the floor…or at least scream at her at the top of my lungs.

This is what I feel like doing when I hear a woman utter the word bulky!

But usually I don’t do either. Usually I just internally roll my eyes and then say, “You won’t get bulky if you lift heavy weights.”

Trust me.¬†You won’t.

As I tell all my clients, if anyone has tried to get huge or “bulky”…it’s me. I’ve lifted super heavy without doing any cardio. I’ve eaten more protein than any human should and I’ve taken supplements that I will never ever try again.

And trust me…I’m not big. Although I am the biggest I’ve ever been and I don’t think my photos look “bulky.”

I’m muscled. I’m “toned.” I’m lean…when I avoid pizza ūüėČ

But I’m nowhere near bulky.

Where does this fear of lifting heavy weights, gaining muscle and becoming bulky or manly come from?

I blame the media. I blame all of us women who perpetuate it. I blame all of the men who make us feel like we should act like the weaker sex.

But I think Caitlin at Fit and Feminist narrowed it down to the true root cause of the whole problem – that society promotes a single body ideal.

All of us women grow up being¬†indoctrinated¬†with a single ideal of female beauty, an ideal that really doesn’t promote lifting heavy weights in the least.

As Caitlin states in her article “Body Image: The Danger of a Single Body Ideal”:

[A] slim figure with breasts that aren’t too big and thighs that don’t touch and a butt that isn’t too flat and nothing that jiggles too much — is desired with such single-mindedness that the non-cosmetic benefits of weight training are dismissed without a second thought.

So we can’t even seen how good weight training is for us because of this feminine ideal. We can’t risk becoming BULKY because BULKY means we look manly and unattractive.


Seriously, how and why did women decide that weight lifting makes them look bulky? I mean how is a lean, toned body not sexy?!? And if you lift weights that is what you will get – a lean, toned body!

I’ve never seen a woman get bulky from lifting weights UNLESS she is ¬†a) taking steroids or b) carrying around a ton of extra fat on top of her muscle. In the second scenario, what actually makes the woman look bulky is the extra fat NOT the muscle.

Sorry, but it’s true.

So next time you go to utter the word BULKY, think for a second about whether or not the person you say it to will want to shake you until you fall limp to the ground.


How do you feel about the word bulky? Have you ever been guilty of worrying that weights would make you manly and “bulky?”

Top 10 Must Reads

1. Mark’s Daily Apple/Primal Blueprint/21 Day Total Body¬†Transformation¬†– I love just about anything and everything Mark writes. While I definitely don’t follow his workout plan, I think his diet is perfect. His website and books not only tell you what to do but they also explain why you should do it. If you follow the Primal Blueprint, you aren’t just blindly accepting something, you are being fully informed as to WHY it is the right thing to do! Bye Bye conventional wisdom, hello Mark’s Daily Apple!…My only question is…why Daily Apple? Mark doesn’t believe in eating fruit every day!;-)

2. Good Calories, Bad Calories¬†– So people always cite¬†their doctors as their source of information, but my question is…does your doctor really keep up with the latest studies or does your doctor just prescribe the medication that makes him or her the most money? I think I’d rather have Gary Taubes, a research journalist with no ulterior¬†motives, telling me what is good and bad for me. Taubes looks at the facts, which makes for a very informative, if not sometimes dry, read. If you’ve read this book and Primal Blueprint and still think carbs are key and fat is bad…I think you have issues (no offense).

3. Be Heavy – I just found this blog through My Athletic Life (which is another great blog). Dana is AWESOME! Recently her posts have been spot on to what I’ve been thinking and feeling. I really loved her post yesterday about giving yourself permission to fail. I think this happens more often than we even realize!

4. Men’s Health – Yep…that’s right…a men’s magazine. No women’s magazine made the list, but Men’s Health did. Men’s Health has some great workouts as well as good nutritional advice (they promote Primal/Paleo/low carb!!). They really try to relay the most current information to their readers!

5. 4 Hour Body¬†– Tim Ferriss is the definition of a human guinea pig. Talk about self-experimentation. I love this book because it SHOWS you what works. You know he isn’t just trying to sell you a fad diet, but something that he has tried and that has WORKED for him!

6. Strong Lifts – One of the best lifting sites out there (AND he really promotes women lifting!!!). His 5×5 program is something that I really want to try at some point! Great information if you are interested in gaining strength or even size!

7. The Great Fitness Experiment – I love the name of Charlotte’s blog! Personal fitness really is just one big experiment. AND Charlotte really has tried it all so she is a great source of information!

8. Fit and Feminist¬†–¬†I’ve recently added this¬†blog¬†to my daily reading list. While Caitlin definitely¬†likes running more than I do, she is definitely a Man Biceper! She is a strong woman who doesn’t seem afraid to tell it like it is! I loved her post the other day about weight training as feminist resistance.

9. Leangains РA program to get super sexy that goes against conventional wisdom Рof course I love this blog!!! Again another person that does more than just regurgitate information РMartin has actually experimented to find out what works! Check out Intermittent Fasting the Martin Berkhan way!

10. MAN BICEP – DUH! I mean come on… ūüôā

By the way, I wrote an earlier post about how there weren’t¬†any good women’s lifting blogs. While I’m still disappointed by most of what is out there, I have found a few great ones which are on this list (and I check every day!).

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