Wednesday, 25 January 2012

"I don't want to bulk up"

At some stage, usually in the induction when I start to explain the benefits of strength training, women will say "But I don't want to bulk up."

Fair enough, but... it's unbelievably hard for the average woman to bulk up. In fact, if you take a look around the weights area of your gym, it's actually very hard for the average man to bulk up. And they're trying to do it.

I'm currently watching the programme about Jodie Marsh training for competition. Over the last few weeks, she's been on telly, in the papers, on the radio, talking about her transformation. There have been a lot of negative comments, and that's to be expected - a lot of muscle on a woman is not to everyone's taste. But these comments have ignored the amount of work that's gone into getting her body into this condition.

(A slight aside for the Daily Mail's reader comments I was reading: no, she doesn't wear the bronze fake tan all the time, that's for the stage to highlight the muscles and prevent all competitors from looking drained under the harsh lights. And I doubt she spends every moment of the day posing, so when she's in everyday clothes she'd just look in good condition.)

Firstly, her diet changed completely. No alcohol, no carbs, an awful lot of protein. She ate more than most people would feel comfortable eating in one day - definitely more than I'd be able to eat in one day. The eating alone demands an awful lot of dedication. When you're trying to reduce body fat levels down to the 10% she's aiming for, every mouthful counts - whether that's in a positive or negative way. That chocolate digestive you gave in to without thinking about it too much, would mean a setback in terms of body fat for Jodie!

And secondly, she spent almost all day, every day in the gym. Each day a different muscle group was worked, but the volume was relentless. (Although she still managed - at this point, halfway through the programme - to keep a full face of make-up in place. ???) After your workout, you get to go home with the knowledge that you probably will have the next day off. Could you imagine spending a day at the gym, and then going back again tomorrow, and the next day.

Back to the average woman who has a job, maybe a partner and/or children, who has friends and likes to go out to eat in restaurants and go for a drink, who takes the kids to the cinema and shares popcorn... all these things mean you are not doing enough work to bulk up.

This is probably good news for most women - phew!

And those who are thinking that actually they do want to have a go, well, it's time to consider exactly how you need to change your life to do it.


  1. I can remember saying this to you but I now know that I need to work on my muscles to help me burn the fat it can all be goo din the end

  2. Cool blog!

    Stopping by to welcome you on board the A to Z Challenge April 2012
    We shall have loads of fun exchanging comments and visits!

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z