24 Mar

I don’t want to get too big! Have you ever said this?  

Have you ever heard someone (more often than not, a female) make this statement? How many of people out there that lift weights would be considered too muscular or too big?  

Here are the facts when it comes to lifting weights and getting big.

  • Fact One: Muscle is more dense than fat; meaning that one pound of muscle is smaller than one pound of fat.  As you build lean muscle, you are able to become smaller than you were when you had a greater body fat percentage. This is why you can weigh the same, but lose inches!
  • Fact two: You need to eat big and train big to get big and often times this still will not lead you to getting “big”. Lifting weights alone will not pack on the size. To push the scale up and measurements wider, you need to take in at least an extra 400 calories more than you do on average to bulk up.  
  • Fact three: Ladies, this is for you! Women have more estrogen than testosterone. Men have 10x’s more testosterone. Estrogen’s role is to manage female features such as breasts, hair, menstruation, and the reproductive system. Testosterone focus’s more on rebuilding muscle tissue. Hormonal balance prevents women from bulking up the same way men do. Now this is not to say it can’t happen. There are other factors such as hormonal imbalances and enhancement supplements that impact a woman’s physique.

There are times when someone may feel as though they are getting bigger when they lift. My suggestion is to take measurements and pictures to note your progress with factual inches.  Often times, people feel like they are getting bigger and here are the real culprits behind why this may be true:

  • Reason One: You can’t mold muscle into clothes like you can with fat.  I know this may sound gross, but the reality is muscle is more firm than fat so it will not feel the same in clothes as fat. Fat can be jammed into a pair of pants or shirt or covered up in special garments. However, muscle does not take on a different form – it can’t be jammed, tucked, covered or camouflaged the same way as fat!
  • Reason Two: Another reason you might fee like you’re getting too big is that you’re actually over developing certain muscles. Our bodies choose the path of least resistance and the stronger muscles will take over. Often times for women this means their quads and hip flexors and men it’s their shoulders. This is why a woman may look in the mirror and think her legs are getting too big or a man may feel he’s not working his chest enough. There is a fix though!  Proper form, correct rep and set scheme, along with rest will assure you’re targeting the muscles you want too. This takes time and often times a coach that specializes in aesthetic based training.  

As you can see, getting too big is more difficult than we think.  You need to lift heavy, eat a lot, have enough testosterone and human growth hormone to assure your body will grow. Proper nutrition and targeting of muscles will assure one doesn’t get too big and hopefully one doesn’t feel that way either.

About the Author

Scott Keppel is the owner of Scott’s Training Systems, a world-class coaching facility in Chandler, Arizona. He is a nationally certified trainer through NASM and ISSA. His mission is to empower women of all ages and fitness levels. For more information head to scottstrainingsystems.com or check him out on Instagram at @scott.keppel.