Will Weights Make You Bulky?

Will Weights Make You Bulky?

A statement I often hear from my female clients (and some male);

“I don’t want to lift weights, because I’m worried it will make me bulky”

As a female that has been lifting weights for a number of years, I can tell you that this statement is blatantly inaccurate… and here’s why.

In order to gain lean muscle mass, a number of factors need to be working in your favour.

These include;

Diet: 

  • Your diet needs to consist of an adequate amount of protein (around 1.6-2.2g of body weight depending on whether you are male or female)
  • For optimum muscle gain you need to be eating in a surplus, therefore steadily increasing your calories to contribute to muscle development.
  • You should be eating an adequate amount of all food groups (i.e. carbohydrates, proteins and fats).

Sleep:

  • Research has shown that sleeping 7-9 hours a night… CONSISTENTLY, can contribute to muscle gain and protein synthesis. Growth hormone, which contributes to muscle development, is increased during sleep. Therefore, increased sleep quality will convert to muscle adaptation.

Hormones:

  • Stress hormones such as cortisol, can inhibit protein synthesis. Hence, if you are operating at a high level of stress/fatigue, your body is unlikely to prioritise muscle development.

Exercise:

  • Research suggests that you need to be training the specific muscle group at least 2 x a week for optimal muscle growth. Whilst one session per week may demonstrate some improvements, it is unlikely to give your muscles the stimulus required for optimal synthesis.  

If you have ticked off all these factors, good on you! 

I will now break down the realistic % muscle gain you will likely see depending on your training history. 

For a beginner lifter: (lifting < 2years): 1-1.5% of total body weight 

For an intermediate lifter: (lifting 2-4 years): 0.5-1% of total body weight

For an advanced lifter: (lifting > 4years) 0.25-0.5% of total body weight

Therefore, if you are a 60kg female at each of these stages;

For a beginner lifter: 600g -900g per month

For an intermediate lifter: 300 –600g per month

For an advanced lifter: 150-300g per month 

In order to become “bulky” you would need to put a serious amount of years… that’s right… years… into your training. You would also have to prioritise sleep, stress levels, fatigue levels, diet and hormones to see the optimum results. 

Putting on muscle is hard work!

So please trust me when I say that adding weights into your rehabilitation program will not make you bulky, but rather improve your quality of life! 

Chantelle Bailey  – BeFit Training Physio Double Bay

Chantelle Bailey – BeFit Training Physio Double Bay

Chantelle Bailey is a physiotherapist based in Double Bay, in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. Chantelle has successfully treated musculoskeletal problems on the basis of a thorough assessment and diagnosis coupled with evidence-based rehabilitation programs tailored to the needs and goals of each individual. To book a consultation, click the link below.

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