Avoid getting bulky.
It’s something women the world over have spent years in absolute dedication to. This post explores some of the best practices wannabe internet experts often miss when help womankind everywhere in this pursuit.
[Note: I was raised in New England, land of real maple syrup, Friendly’s “Cone Head” ice cream sundaes, Fenway pahk, and wicked sarcasm. Only continue reading if you have a sense of humor.]
If I had a dollar for every blog post, magazine article, or celebrity trainer espousing the correct training method women must follow to achieve the elusive Goldilocks level of muscle – you know, enough to look mildly tube-like but not enough to scare the dickens out of little kids – I’d be sipping coconut water on a Balinese beach instead of chained to this laptop.
Truth is, these so-called experts often completely miss the mark. I’m here to set the record straight for these internet trainers with the very best tips for avoiding this dreaded “muscle bulk.”
Avoid Getting Bulky Tip #1: Only lift dumbbells that weigh less than your head.
Fun fact: The average human head weighs approximately 10 pounds, so only lift less than that for the rest of your life. Even after you’ve developed a really solid base of good movement patterns and mobility, it’s best to only ever hold a heavy weight if you have the opportunity to pose for photos.
Bonus points if you apply the best advice from other celebrity trainers found in pithy single-paragraph magazine blurbs, such as this gem on staying feminine:
In fact, it’s best to just keep your arms by your sides at all times to avoid creating those masculine muscles. Don’t want to end up wider than a semi-truck! For optimal smallness, you’ll want to use an exercise program that doesn’t encourage you to put your arms over your head.
Avoid Getting Bulky Tip #2: Eat less than a toddler.
For maximum bulk-avoidance, be sure to use a giant dinner plate and appoint it with 3 cubes of chicken breast – any and all bits of fat meticulously removed with the skill of a brain surgeon – 2 celery sticks, 1 cherry tomato (tomatoes are high in carbs after all), and a glass of air.
And if you want to speed up the slimming process, cut out 1/3 or more of your daily calories. Sure, you’ll lose any muscle mass, but who needs that anyway? All it does is increase your metabolism and burn fat, the exact thing you’re trying to do when you “tone.” The horror!How to avoid getting bulky: expert tips you need to know Click To Tweet
Avoid Getting Bulky Tip #3: Sleep is for dummies.
Why languish for 8 hours or more wasting time in bed when you can be doing other things like applying the newest Snapchat filter (butterfly crowns, duh) or binge-watching Stranger Things on Netflix?
After all, sleep is known to help improve health and – gasp! – build muscle.
For best muscle avoidance, regularly stay up past 11 p.m. and wake up before 5 a.m. to do allthecardio. Pro tip: Do all of this on an empty stomach and only drink coffee until past noon each day. Who needs adrenal glands, anyway?!
Avoid Getting Bulky Tip #4: Stress the shit out of yourself.
Perhaps the best-kept secret of bulk-avoiders everywhere is to be stressed about everything 24-7. With all the cortisol coursing through your veins, you’ll ensure you don’t accidentally venture into Bulky Land.
How does this sorcery work?
Since, as a woman, you only have a tiny fraction of a healthy male’s testosterone levels, ramping your cortisol up all the time will tank your test to practically zero. And since we all know that testosterone makes your muscles magically quadruple in size if you so much as glance sideways at a weight, anything you can do to stress yourself out all the time means you won’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of growing muscle. Win-win.
Which kinds of stress count toward this muscle blockade? My favorites are worry about:
- Eating too much fat. (See Tip #2.)
- Eating too many carbs. (Also, see Tip #2.)
- Eating your macros to the exact gram. If you’re +2 over on fat, well…
- What everyone thinks about your body.
- Thighs that touch together.
- Having abs even though getting them means you’re miserable.
- What you look like in shorts or anything with less coverage than a $2 plastic rain poncho.
The above are just a sampling! The possibilities are endless.
Avoid Getting Bulky Tip #5: Contract Avian Bone Syndrome.
If all else fails, you can go the route of Phoebe from season one of 30 Rock and contract Avian Bone Syndrome to avoid getting bulky.
Phoebe’s hollow, bird-like bones were one surefire way to avoid getting bulky at its absolute epicenter. Sure, she had to avoid most human contact, but for the hard core bulk-o-phobe, this goes beyond just atrophied muscle. Why only lose muscle mass when you can lighten your bones, too!
This post is totally satirical, and it’s the most sarcastic thing I’ve ever published. I’m not intentionally poking fun at you if you struggle with anything listed above. It’s a commentary on all the crazy, BS things I see internet coaches recommend to women.
I’m so sick of so-called experts treating you like garbage for caring about your own health.
While it was funny to write on one level, it pains me as a nutritionist and weightlifting coach to know that women keep falling prey to these types of damaging practices in the pursuit of a “hotter body.”
It takes the convergence of some very specific factors and a huge amount of effort to produce women who have bodybuilder levels of muscle. Lifting heavy-ish weights a few times a week is simply not enough to bulk up.
If you do lift weights and feel like your clothes are getting tighter, it’s quite possible you had sub-healthy levels of muscle to begin with.
I repeat: If you lift weights and your clothes get tighter, you may not have had enough muscle to start with.
Remember the scale and your weight only tell part of the story. If you want to track whether your body is changing for the healthier, at the very least take photos every few weeks and get a DEXA scan once a year to measure important factors like bone density.
Track your health in a myriad of ways. Get your mind right. Nourish your body. Manage your stress. Move with purpose…and thrive.
A healthy body is what matters.
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