Fitness blogs and magazines love reassure women that we do not get big and bulky from strength training. This narrow view leaves those of us who desire the bulky, muscular aesthetic completely out of the loop. It perpetuates the idea that size and muscles are not attractive on the female body, and spreads misinformation about the female body’s ability to gain impressive musculature.
Increase your Strength
Muscles grow when they are provided adequate stimulation and nutrition. It really is that simple. Hormonal makeup will affect the ultimate size and musculature that you’re able to achieve, but impressive aesthetics are possible no matter what–if you train hard, consistently, and while eating to fuel growth. For many women, physique changes will be apparent very quickly after beginning training, while your ideal musculature may be a few years down the road. It is essential to learn to trust your process, and also to pick programs that inspire you to push a little harder, every day, continuously. Day by day, you will build on the foundation you laid the day before to get bigger and better.
The key to attaining a large, muscular, bulky physique is a combination of putting in the time under heavy weight and eating at a caloric surplus. It is ultimately unimportant if your training stimulus is coming from heavy olympic lifting, or heavy powerlifting, or heavy bodybuilding training – as long as you lift big it will translate to getting big. When it comes down to it your glutes can tell little difference between squatting for triples and doing sets of heavy lunges, and both have the ability to cause enough desired muscle damage to elicit repair and growth.
Fuel the Bulk
Your muscles need fuel as well as stimulus to grow, so you’ve got to learn how to eat big. It’s important to have an idea of your resting caloric needs as well as your training caloric needs, and to ensure that you are achieving your calories daily. The rhetoric that women don’t get bulky from lifting weights is partially founded in diet. Heavy lifting combined with maintenance calories or a caloric deficit can lead to amazing strength gains without putting on attendant mass gains. To combat this, you must eat.
If you are a weight-class athlete, your approach to nutrition and weight maintenance will be more exact; but for the average woman who just wants to put on muscle and gain strength, the scale going up should be a general indicator that you are on the right track. Most women will need to eat well over 2000 cal/day in order to begin to bulk and this can take some dedication, planning, and preparation.
Essentially, any woman can get plenty strong while maintaining her current size and weight, but if she desires to push for a larger physique, she must commit to fueling her body properly for growth. So get out there, throw some heavy stuff around, and then be sure to refuel so you can go do it again.