5 Reasons Women Won't Bulk Up


THE MOST COMMON QUESTION/WORRY/COMMENT I get from new female clients is: Will I bulk up? or I don't want to bulk up or I build muscle really easy and don't want to get too big.

I have to admit these comments and concerns drive me crazy because they are 100% untrue. It's this great myth that follows women around like an ugly handbag from the 70's. That's right ladies....the idea that you are going to bulk up like a body builder is false and I don't want you carrying that baggage around with you.

1. Testosterone. Women have 15 to 20 times less testosterone than men. You need testosterone to build muscle mass and unless you are sporting a Tom Selleck mustache it's not going to happen naturally (unless you train specifically to build muscle).

2. High Work Volume. This does not mean doing 3 sets of 20-30 reps. This is all about muscle hypertrophy and training the muscles in a systematic way over a long period of time. To build big muscles you must have a specific training and nutrition program that you follow religiously.

3. Heavy Weight Lifting. Big weights make you stronger not bulkier. When you lift weights over 85% of your Max* the primary stress is placed on the nervous system and not the muscles. Strength will improve by a neurological effect while not increasing the size of the muscles.
* Your maximum lift is based on the heaviest weight you can lift one time.

4. Nutrition. Most people will not follow the type of nutrition plan needed to build muscle. Only the truly devoted will eat like a bodybuilder. Women mistakenly think they are bulking up when they are actually fattening up. If you eat more calories than you are burning then you are going to gain weight. Lack of proper meal planning can also keep weight on. If you are eating 2 meals a day instead of 4-6 small meals per day your metabolism will slow and you will burn less energy.

5. Weight Training turns Fat into Muscle. Muscle and fat are two different types of tissue. You can't turn one into the other. When you start a training program and you are eating right, you will begin to "see" your muscles. This is primarily because you are losing body fat and not because you are getting bulky. Yes, you are getting stronger but at the start of a program it's because you are actually working the muscles you already have. It's not because you are creating muscle - that will happen if you stick to a program and are committed to your nutrition.

When you see women with big muscles on the covers of magazines it's likely that the women have committed to a very specific training and nutrition program. They are going to be in the gym 20+ hours per week. They aren't putting any junk food or empty calories into their bodies. They are carefully monitoring everything they eat and do throughout the day. (Sometimes magazines alter photos to make women look bigger and stronger than they really are.)

Unless you've got that much commitment and desire, you have nothing to worry about. It's true that some people are genetically inclined to have bigger muscles and most likely, they have always had them versus developing them. Again, this is a very, very small percentage of women and it's highly unlikely that you are in that percentile.

Here are a few great articles to follow up on.
Top 10 Reasons Heavy Weights Don't Bulk Up the Female Athlete
Myths of Women's Weight Training and Female Bodybuilding
Does Exercise Affect Resting Metabolism?

The ART of Active Release

Picture yourself participating in one of your favorite activities - riding your bike, playing soccer or working out and BOOM you go down! You were rounding third, sliding into home and you pulled your hamstring. Maybe you play tennis and that nagging pain in your shoulder just won't go away. You've tried rest, ice, compression and elevation but your injury isn't getting any better. What can you do?

Consider Active Release Technique (ART) which is a soft tissue/movement based massage technique that treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves. ART is often used to treat conditions related to adhesions or scar tissue in overused muscles. Adhesions are a result of the damaged tissue being replaced with scar tissue. Scar tissue can become a problem because the blood supply is limited preventing the injured area from healing. As these adhesions build up, muscles become shorter and weaker, the motion of the muscles and joints are altered and nerves can be compressed resulting in pain and poor mobility.

Once you find a provider (make sure they are certified in ART), your sessions will consist of hands-on-treatment. Your practitioner will evaluate the texture, tightness, and mobility of the soft tissue. Then he or she will work to remove or break up the adhesions. Stretching is also used to release the area and provide mobility.

I was fortunate to find Dr. Jennifer Londergan who helped me get back to running without pain. I had been suffering from low back pain and tight hamstrings during and after my long runs. Dr. Londergan restored mobility and function in my hips and addressed issues with my IT Bands. This work resulted in alleviating all of my low back pain and 95% of my hamstring issues. Years ago, I severely injured my right hamstring and it will never be 100% so getting back to 95% was good enough for me. Dr. Kevin Rindal also provides ART in Seattle, although I have not worked with him personally. He is featured in Runner's World Magazine.

ART can be used to treat headache, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, shin splints, shoulder pain, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, knee problems, tennis elbow and many other conditions caused by overuse. In many cases these conditions can be resolved quickly and permanently. ART is not appropriate for a blunt trauma injury or active inflammation.

There is no need to suffer from injuries when there are many treatment options available. ART may not be right for you but trying out different types of treatment can help you return to full function and health.

Vacation Time!

May is finally here! I was starting to wonder if gloomy, cold and rainy April would ever end. In fact, I have been daydreaming about a sunny vacation on a regular basis. When was your last vacation? Did you know that most Americans don't take vacation? Did you know that vacations have lasting health benefits? Sure, that's a no-brainer but even though most of us would agree that vacations are good for us - it still can be hard to get us out the door.

And once we get out the door laptops, smart phones, and work follow us, leaving us just as stressed and harried as if we had never left. Here are 7 reasons gt; we should take vacations even if it's just a long weekend.

When you do decide to take vacation, set boundaries on your availability with co-workers and your boss. Remember, this is your time and you've earned it. If you get a real vacation with time to rest and rejuvenate, you will return to work fresher and more productive. It's a win-win situation for everyone.

Finally, make the most of your vacation and do something that you really enjoy. Travel, go to a spa, try a fitness vacation, try something you've always wanted to do or stay at home - completely unavailable to anyone unless it's on your terms. This might sound selfish but your health and well being are dependent on you taking time for yourself.

Take a break. You deserve it.

Spring is Here

Are you emerging from your cocoon? Spring is right around the corner and I can feel it in my bones. Can you feel that new energy start to flow in? Especially coming off of a tough winter season, it really is time for a fresh start. As April nears, this is an opportunity to reflect on your yearly goals. Where are you right now? Are you on track? A little behind or a little ahead? Are there any adjustments you need to make to reach your goals?

As you may already know physical fitness and our overall health play a key role in our success. Being strong and healthy is a great feeling and can propel you forward - sometimes up and beyond what you thought yourself capable of. 6 months ago I was a wreck and unable to sustain a regular workout program which took its toll. Not only did I lose energy and focus, I was also unhappy and prone to the grumps. 6 weeks ago I had surgery and am happy to report that I am feeling better than ever. And I am thankful for the fitness I did have. Having a great foundation and an appropriate weight for my body type had a huge impact on my recovery. If I didn't have my fitness and strength then who knows how my recovery would have been effected.

My recovery is nearly complete, I am emerging from my cocoon and I am really excited for spring. I am ready to start working out and to start training for my next half marathon. I am thinking about my goals, making adjustments and putting the next steps together. If you need to reboot or take your next step join me in moving forward. There are many great events, large and small to take part in. Join a group of like minded people for motivation, consistency, and success. Or do something for yourself, something that makes you feel vibrant and alive. You deserve a healthy, happy life and your fitness is a key to living it.

A Fresh Look

I have officially launched my new website with a new logo and a couple of new programs.

It's always fun and sometimes a little crazy to start something new, to remake yourself and yet that's what I do everyday. Except I am usually helping someone, like you, remake themselves. I help people lose weight, become stronger and change their bodies. I also help people feel more confident, less stressed and in general - just feel better about themselves. I take people to new places within themselves by helping them achieve their goals.

I am really excited to do this fresh, new thing for myself and my clients. I am excited to see what happens this year. The way I see it, 2011 has just begun and I've got goals. Goals with a capital G! I have been working on a few different programs, some you've seen before and one brand, spanking new program.

Running Group starts the 22nd of March - that's a Tuesday. Put it in your calendar. I'm also kicking off my Rock/Roll/Run Half Marathon training program. Time to stop thinking about doing this great event and just do it!

March 14th kicks off the 10 Pound Weight Loss Challenge. I'm taking sign ups right now and if you are wavering then check out the testimonials on the 10 Pound page. Good stuff. Women, just like you, took the challenge and it changed lives.

My newest program is the Corporate Fitness Challenge. Inspire your co-workers to lead a healthier lifestyle. Interested? I can give a free presentation at your work. Got a brown bag lunch? Invite me to speak. Complete information can be found on the Corporate Fitness page.