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Being afraid of Bulk – It’s all grey


Then why are so many freaking women so afraid of lifting weights?

Because we aren’t logical when it comes to how we look?

Possibly. I know Ryan would probably say that most of the time my emotions more than my brain dictate how I feel I look.

But so then what keeps convincing us that we will get bulky, if that belief isn’t at all logical?

What makes women shy away from lifting heavy even when they KNOW logically that they don’t have the hormones/eat enough calories/lift enough weight to become big and bulky?

I honestly believe it may be our definition of femininity. It is this standard that irrationally makes us fear anything that might take us away from this traditional belief.

I mean really think about it….What words do you associate with feminine? Or even masculinity for that matter.

Feminine – gentle, sensitive, thin, empathetic, caring, compassionate

Masculine – strong, competitive, virility

I know these are generic, but let’s face it….They are to some great extent what most people truly believe.

We like things in black and white – female or male.

We fear the “grey areas.”

And to be a woman who lifts weights…well that area is still grey.

It’s still emotionally  a struggle because it goes against things we’ve been indoctrinated with since we were very young.

I mean shoot, you say to a woman, “Wow your arms are jacked.” Or “Wow your arms are toned.” And I guarantee she will  go home and stare in the mirror and wonder if she is bulky. She may even be so offended by those comments that she cries or turns to friends to tell her she isn’t bulky. (Trust me…I’ve had friends do this).

Even I’ve had moments of being illogical. I’m sure every woman has.

It is hard operating in a “grey area.”

But we can’t give in to that ILLOGICAL fear that we will become bulky.

We can’t give in to all of those freaking people who seem to keep spewing the “Women who lift heavy look like men” phrase.

Because the simple truth is we don’t.

And we never will.

Because even though we may lift like men, we don’t look like them.

(Of course there is still something wrong with the fact that lifting is defined as masculine, but that is a topic for a different day.)

What “lift heavy” really means

I constantly am preaching to women that they need to “lift heavy weights.”

This just sounded like something I would say..

And while I choose to lift 100s of pounds if I can, “lifting heavy” doesn’t mean that you have to do the same.

“Lifting heavy” simply means that you don’t fear challenging weights – that you aren’t just picking up the 5lbs dumbbells because you are afraid that you will gain too much muscle if you pick up the 15s. It means that you choose the proper weight (a heavy, challenging weight) for an exercise so that you are TRULY working the muscle.

For example…today Candy and I did the iron cross, which is a killer shoulder move. For that exercise, “heavy” meant 8lbs. Using 8lbs set my shoulders on fire. I could barely complete all 10 reps each round!

Heavy weight is definitely relative. Probably challenging weight is a better term to describe the weight you should be using.

But I use the word “heavy” because using heavy weight is what many women fear – and they shouldn’t.

Today I just want to clarify that “lifting heavy” doesn’t mean you have to lift 100s of pounds. I don’t want people thinking that if they can’t lift 100lbs it isn’t worth the effort to try to “lift heavy.”

So ladies lift those heavy, challenging weights! I think you’ll like how you look if you do!!!!

And in case even clarifying that “heavy” means challenging doesn’t convince you, here are a few articles/studies that should!

The Claim: For Better Muscle Tone, Go Lighter and Repeat

This one is just funny…10 good reasons why women should stay away from weights

Even a bodybuilding website tells you that you can’t get huge from lifting heavy – Breaking the Myth


Nothing frustrates me more…

Oh yes…you bet there is about to be a rant. Hey, I’ve barely slept the last couple of nights because I’ve been hunting mice (LOOOONG story) so I deserve a nice rant.

Nothing frustrates me more than women choosing light weights THAT AREN’T CHALLENGING because they are too afraid to bulk up.

Ok nothing frustrates me more than that except maybe people slacking off IN MY CLASS! I mean at least look like you are trying hard!

Seriously ladies. Those barbie weights are cute and all but pick up the heavy dumbbells! You want to lose those love handles or get nice shapely legs? Well then lift some freaking weight!!!!!!!!

Even though I know the belief that women shouldn’t lift heavy is out there, I’m just always shocked when it rears its ugly head.

And I just had so much hope for today. A female member was out on the floor doing unassisted pull ups this morning. My clients were lifting some heavy weights. And I got emails from Man Bicepers across the country who are all taking back the weight room floor!

It almost felt as if that stupid lie about women lifting heavy was dead!

But sadly, it was just in hiding for the morning.

Boy was it in full force during my class though, which is shocking for numerous reasons.

For one, my class is torture. It is KNOWN because of its torture. So why would you come and slack off and use freaking joke weights?!?

For two, EVERYONE ALWAYS SEES ME LIFTING AND HEARS ME HARPING ABOUT WOMEN LIFTING. Why would you come to a class with a female instructor and ignore the fact that they are telling you to use heavier weights?

I always want to yell out one of two things..

“Get out of my class if you aren’t going to actually lift.”


“WHAT THE F***!” Use some freaking weights!”

I never yell out either, which is why I’m ranting right now.

I know I say this all the time, but why do people believe that women will get bulky if they lift heavy weights? Because there are female bodybuilders on steroids that look huge? Uhm it isn’t the weight lifting that made those women that big!!!

I do see a light at the end of the tunnel though – it’s all of you wonderful Man Bicepers out there flexing your man biceps!

A special “thank you” to Man Biceper Mary Kate for giving me hope!

Mary Kate is starting a nice version of the Man Bicep deadlift program and I can’t wait to hear how it goes!

Mary Kate's Man Bicep!!!

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