The myth of “lifting heavy makes you bulky” has been debunked time after time, yet many people are still afraid to lift weights because of this. They are scared to lift any weight that is over 10 pounds simply because they don’t want to get “bulky.”
You see this everyday at the gym, men and women both trying to get toned, lose fat, get lean, etc. So what are the first few things that they do?
The first activity they engage in is usually the treadmill, elliptical, or bike. They do the long, slow, boring cardio until they feel like they got a good workout in. As we have discussed many times before (here, here, and here), you already know where I stand when it comes to long slow cardio.
Next, after wasting their time on doing long slow cardio for an hour, they then head to the weight room area to “lift.” They do some shoulder raises, bicep curls, and maybe some tricep extensions. All of the lifts are done with no more than 10 pounds because the last thing they want is to get bulky.
Please realize this: Lifting heavy does NOT make you bulky! In fact, it makes you strong, lean, and a fat burning machine.
Think about it…
- The more weight you can lift, the stronger you will be.
- The stronger you are, the more lean muscle you will have.
- The more lean muscle you have, the faster your metabolism.
- The faster your metabolism, the more fat you burn.
So that means the more lean muscle you are able to gain, the less fat you are going to have. Simple as that. If you look around at everyone that is lifting heavy weights, men and women, the majority of them are not bulky. Sure their are some people that are, but the majority of the people you see are fit, lean, and strong.
The reason for this is they are constantly getting stronger in the weight room, and are following a solid nutrition plan. Getting bulky and big is very difficult.
The other day at the gym, I noticed a guy that was very muscular and quite fit. He was about 6’6″ (the same as me), so naturally I went up and asked him what his nutrition plan was like to put on such muscle. Do you know what he said?
“Most days I go to Chipotle at 11am, then again at 1pm. After that I eat every few hours till I go to bed.”
Yes, Chipotle TWICE in the same day, just two hours apart! Then he continues to eat every few hours until he goes to bed. That is why he had such great muscle size.
Putting on tons of muscle takes a lot of work. It is not just your workouts that need to be great, but it is the other 23 hours outside the gym that need to be focused on getting big.
I can attest to the fact that putting on lots of muscle takes hard work. Like the gentleman in the story above, when I put on 30 pounds of muscle after my freshman year of college, my friend Brian and I were constantly eating and fueling our muscles. We had to force ourselves to eat sometimes because we knew that’s what it was going to take to gain the muscle we needed to gain.
Today, I eat when I am hungry and until I am satisfied, while still lifting heavy and gaining strength in the weight room. Does that mean I just keep gaining tons of muscle? No, but what it does, is it keeps me strong and lean. In fact, I can lift more now than I could back then but I am still the same size.
The reason I am not getting “bulky” or putting on a crazy amount of muscle is because that is not my goal. My goal is gain strength and stay healthy.
If you are someone that is afraid of the “bulk” myth, I challenge you to test it for yourself. Hit the weights hard for one month and work on performing each exercise with a weight that is challenging. Each new workout, bump up the weight on your exercises to ensure you keep getting stronger.
By the end of just one month, I can guarantee you will be stronger and more cut than you are now. (Please remember, however, that eating is 80-90% of the battle so be sure to follow a solid nutrition plan when doing this.)
Instead of just following blindly everything you read or hear (like lifting heavy makes you bulky), go test it for yourself. The only true test of knowing is by doing it yourself and coming up with your own conclusion.
This article is my conclusion. What is yours?