“So I want to lose about a stone I think, maybe a little more, but I need to be careful with weight training”, said Janet.
“Oh really? Why’s that? I asked, already knowing what was coming next.
“I put on muscle really quick so I have to keep the weights really light. I don’t want to “bulk” up like you see some of those girls. My last trainer told me that I just have really good genetics for putting on muscle quickly”
“What is?” she said. “Oh I was just thinking it’s interesting that you bulk up so quickly because I’ve been training 25 years and I’ve been trying to “bulk up” quickly since I was 15 and just can’t do it – what’s your secret?”
I started grinning ear to ear, hoping she’d see I was messing with her.
Irony missed completely, she said, “I guess it’s just my genetics. My Dad is pretty sporty and my mum said she’s the same so…”
“Oh OK. No problem. Well you can keep the weights quite heavy but it all depends on the exercises you select. Maybe your last trainer gave you the exercises that are really good at bulking ladies up. We definitely won’t do that I promise. Best thing to do in my experience is train as heavy as we can and at the first sign of you laying any lean muscle tissue down then just give me a shout. I will change your programme ASAP. That cool?”
“Sounds great, but just keep an eye out for me bulking, she said with a knowing grin.
Janet trained with me three times per week for the next 4 weeks and a conversation very similar to this popped up at least once a week. I told her to relax as “I’m keeping an eye on your body to see if you start growing too quick”
Finally, in about week 5, after a heated conversation where she told me she was definitely “getting bigger” and that she really doesn’t think weight training is the way forward for her, I told her the truth.
“OK Janet, let’s see where you are getting bigger. Where do you think you have increased your muscle?”
“Well my shoulders are definitely much bigger and my thighs are really big. One of my girlfriends asked me if I’d put weight on and I got really upset”
She looked into the mirror ahead and as she did, I noticed her eyes glisten over as she fought hard to control her emotions.
“Have you got time to grab a quick coffee after we finish training?” I said.
“Yes I do but have to be quick. Why, what do you want to chat about?”
“Lets just sit down and look at what we can do and how to avoid you bulking up any further. OK?”
We finished the training session, she grabbed her kit and we left the gym to the nearest coffee shop. I then told her that I didn’t believe that she was bulking up.
I told her that it’s virtually impossible for any woman to bulk up due to various factors but with the main reason being that women just don’t produce enough of the muscle building hormone, testosterone.
“How many times are you doing resistance training per week Janet?
“Three times per in total, once on my own and twice with you”
“OK, great. Any idea how many grams of protein do you eat per day or how many calories you eat per day?” “No idea”, she said.
“And have you put any weight on since we started training together?”
“No, of course not, in fact I’ve lost 6lbs, you know I have”
“So where has all this muscle gone if you are losing weight?” I said.
I was trying to get her to come to the conclusion that she wasn’t bulking up by herself but it was proving a little difficult.
“I think my shoulders have got bigger and definitely my thighs. I’m sure my jeans are tighter. I’m just scared of looking like those girls that are big and ripped”
Finally I decided to put her out of her misery.
“The average man has anywhere from 10 times to 17 times the levels of the muscle building and fat burning hormone testosterone available in her body. Which means, even the smallest man you know can potentially grow larger muscles than nearly every female you know.
With all the will in the world, it’s extremely hard for most women to gain even one or two kg of muscle over a period of 3-6 months. It’s possible if you were training 4 or 5 times per week, your diet was very high protein with about 2 grams of protein per kg of body weight AND you are extremely gifted genetically.
You are not that person. You would know if you were that person. You are not”
(To the readers of this newsletter, does this sound harsh? I didn’t mean it to be. I just wanted to tell her straight)
She started to protest but I stopped her in her tracks.
“Question for you. How many guys do you know that have got too much muscle and are in really great shape with a ripped six pack?”
“Errrr, none actually, she laughed”
“And how many of your girlfriends or any women that you’ve ever known have actually got too big when they went to the gym?”
“Precisely. They don’t exist. It’s a myth. If you see a girl on social media that has competed in a fitness competition there is a fair chance she has better than average genetics and has trained her arse off for the best part of 12-16 weeks to look like that for one day.
And, what YOU see as huge is usually between 50-60kg maximum on stage, they are just in great condition with a low body fat. And that said, with all the training, diet and superior genetics, it’s almost impossible to win a pro bodybuilding or figure competition without performance enhancing drugs.
So what you think MAY happen to you when you weight train, just wont”
I continued to explain that weight/resistance training is the very best way for any woman to shape her body.
“It’s really hard for any lady to gain muscle so it’s imperative that she trains hard and with heavy weights with a view to becoming as strong as possible. This hard earned amount of lean muscle tissue play a vital role in an increased metabolic rate, which in turn will allow more body fat to be burnt by the body as fuel.
This means that even when you are sitting down, working at the computer and just being you, you will burn much more fat. It’s a win-win.
I went on…
This lean muscle tissue will actually do the opposite of “bulking” and give an appearance of being smaller, leaner and tighter all over, which is what women tend to enjoy in most cases”
So that was Janet. Her belief on bulking was well and truly quashed that day.
In 20 years of working in and around the health and fitness industry, I’ve only ever seen one woman “bulk up” naturally. This girl DID have great genetics.
I wont mention her name as she will kill me if she reads this but we always knew that she could potentially lay down some serious muscle should she want to.
She wanted to.
So she ate and trained with that in mind and now she is a world-class power lifter that competes naturally, which means she is drug free.
Will the average woman that comes to the gym a few times per week and wants to lose 10-15lbs and a dress size, bulk up?
The answer is a definitive no.
Ladies, do not be scared of weight training.
Men, it won’t bulk you up that quickly either so hit the iron hard if fat loss, general health and looking hot in your speedos is high on your agenda.
PS. The above was a little snippet of my book that is coming in early 2018. This and 12 other myths will be well and truly destroyed in the new year. You guys will be the first to know when the book is ready…
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