Will Lifting Weights & Drinking Protein Shakes Make Me Bulky??

Hi everyone!

This is a blog post I have been meaning to write for a while now as I still see so many girls just pounding the pavements and running on treadmills and lifting no weights or doing any kind of resistance work. I am here to dispel the myth that lifting weights makes girls bulky. First of all if you think you're going to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger after one session (or even 100 sessions) you are very mistaken. It took Arnie years to build up that kind of muscle and also he is of the male species which means he has a much higher percentage of lean muscle mass than females, due to the higher amount of testosterone males produce. It is significantly harder for females to gain muscle mass, so you really shouldn't be concerned you're going to look like Arnie any time soon. This quote below comes to mind. 

MYTH 1. Cardio is the only way to lose fat!

This is not correct at all! In order to lose bodyfat you must higher your metabolic rate, and to do this you need to build lean muscle mass through weight lifting and resistance training. The body uses more calories to sustain lean muscle mass than it does fat, therefore burning more calories overall. Research shows that 1lb of muscle burns 7-10 calories per day, while 1lb of fat only burns 2-3 calories, according to the American Council on Exercise. In fact - doing too much cardio can have the opposite effect: it can lower your metabolic rate and cause you to lose lean muscle mass, making fat loss even more difficult.

MYTH 2. Protein Powder is going to make me HUGE!!

Again, incorrect! Protein powder is simply a supplement used to enhance one's protein intake. Most protein powders are whey based, so are made from milk which a lot of people have no qualms about eating with their cereal or in their coffee and tea so what is different about a concentrated whey protein powder? 

To put into context the 20g protein in 1 scoop of whey protein, which is generally the recommended serving, equates to eating 75g of cooked chicken breast which is roughly a small/medium chicken breast. People don't think twice about eating chicken for protein, but it has almost the same nutritional value as eating 1 scoop of whey protein. 

Protein powder just allows for a bit of variety in the diet as it can get a bit boring eating chicken or other lean meats all the time. It also is great for convenience, you can throw a scoop in a shaker and off you go, instead of having to prep chicken and carry that around with you. I am not saying everyone should drink protein shakes, but they are a cheap (per serving much cheaper than buying chicken), convenient and add a bit of variety to the diet. So you shouldn't be afraid of protein powder, nor should you think it is some magical weight loss/muscle gain drink. It is simply a substitution for other protein sources.

MYTH 3. But I'm not losing any weight on the scales...

First of all, throw the scales out the window if you are lifting weights and doing any kind of resistance training! It is not an accurate tool for measuring progress at all. You may be gaining lean muscle mass which takes up a lot less space on your body compared to fat, so even though you may not have lost weight according to the scales you have become leaner and your measurements will have gone down. The concept that muscle weighs more than fat is incorrect, 1lb of muscle weighs the same as a 1lb of fat, just like 1lb of bricks weighs the same as 1lb of feathers but you can bet that the feathers take up a lot more space! Muscle is much denser, so it takes up considerably less space than fat. Building lean muscle doesn't mean you will look bigger, it is actually quite the opposite; you will appear smaller and leaner. 

Lifting weights does NOT make you bulky!!

I am a fully qualified level 4 Personal Trainer. I run my own business - Better Than Yesterday Fitness and offer online nutrition and training programmes. If you are interested in purchasing a programme or want more information please email georgia@betterthanyesterdayfitness.com