I get this question a lot. I also used to get a lot of confused looks from women when I’d told them that I liked lifting weights at the gym (this is true, I just don’t belong to a gym here… yet). The look would always be followed by ‘are you trying to become a bodybuilder?‘ or ‘aren’t you afraid of bulking up‘?
<<< You mean, looking like this dedicated lady to the left?
No, I’ve never worried about that, not ever. Why?
The short answer, to the title question and my own is this: I would have to inject myself with steroids/testosterone on the daily and invest years of my life (and hours each day) in order to look like our strong friend in the photo.
And let’s be honest: Steroids are only to be used in my case when fighting a relapse, and not for recreational activities like making all of the men in my life fear me, or starting fights with foreigners at the train station.
As we’ve stated many times before on this site, none of us are doctors, trainers, or paid to do this. We’re just a bunch of chicks who are totally down with teh fitness. That being said, we’ve all got something in common that keeps us from bulking up: estrogen. Estrogen and the absence of testosterone make it physically impossible for us to look like a female version of the hulk.
The most any of us could EVER hope for or expect to look like is Zuzana from Bodyrock.tv: and even in for that to happen, we’d need to have like, less than 10% body fat (which isn’t even considered healthy for women) and DO THE BODY ROCK workouts. I know, I know… I’ll get to them eventually. Just not now.
So, no. You won’t bulk up from lifting weights. IN FACT, chances are that by lifting weights, you’ll actually slim down: building muscle/pushing weights burns calories a lot faster than most workouts, speeds up your metabolism, and you’ll start to see toning and definition once you’ve converted all of that body fat to muscle!!
But I’m no doctor. If you won’t take MY word for it, then please have a look at the following links, where others discuss and break down every concern you might have:
Strength Without Size: How to Get Stronger Without Getting Bulky (this guy is excellent)
All of this being said, there is ONE exception to this rule of never bulking up (past Zuzana-level, at least): If you are a woman with a hormonal imbalance. This could be for any number of reasons. Some women are just BORN with low levels of estrogen (myself included). Some women have had to have ovaries removed (myself included), or a hysterectomy. Both of these issues could lead to a lack of estrogen in your body.
If this is the case, you might want to talk to your doctor about any kind of working out, what the risks are, if you WOULD be prone to bluking up, and if there are supplements or vitamins you could take.
And if you happen to be taking testosterone or steroids for anything, then you might want to talk to a doctor as well. As I said, I keep off the ‘roids except for when I have a bout of not being able to walk or use my hands. You should keep off them, too, unless you need them for something.
Now go lift some weights!