Will lifting weights make me bulky?

Answer my question is a weekly blog post. I attempt to answer questions presented by OC members in goal setting sessions or emailed to me. Have a question? Send me an email: – subject line “Answer my Question”

The question today is “Will lifting weights make me bulky?”

Answer: No, lifting weights won’t get you bulky.

As soon as the above statement is made,the next statement is almost always the rebuttal: “I gain muscle quickly or gain weight when I lift weights”.

I will attempt to knock all of these rebuttals out of the park. Nutrition is the foundation of training. All aspects of training, here at OC, are built upon nutrition, read more.

If nutrition is poor and you are lifting weights you might gain weight temporarily. Weight gain can happen if nutrition is poor. However as soon as we start digging deep the true cause of the weight gain is exposed.

Drinking juice with every meal. Knocking down a 6-pack of beer every night. Drinking calories in general. Or perhaps, an extreme donut obsession (I do love donuts but everything in moderation : ) ).

Below is the CrossFit pyramid of Fitness, illustrating Nutrition as the foundation:

Nutrition is important! If approached incorrectly, you might be gaining weight and blaming it on the weights. This is why nutrition is so important.

Back to the topic -will lifting weights get me bulky?

The typical way a bodybuilder gains weight or increases size is by doing Hypertrophy work. Hypertrophy is typically high volume (read lots of reps) with submaximal weights. Training for hypertrophy isn’t really a focal point at OC. Most of our personal training clients and our classes generally don’t express an interest in gaining size or mass. (If that happens to be your goal, tell us, we can help!)

Lifting weights maximally (1 Rep Max) the stimulus isn’t for the muscle to grow in size.

But instead to “fire” or “recruit” more muscle fibers. The muscle becomes more “efficient” at banding together to do something one time, an all out effort. This is simple version of what is happening. Want to read more? See SuperTraining or Science and Practice of Strength Training. At OC we will have you lift heavy as it makes you STRONGER – not bulkier.

Accessory work is designed to put muscle in the weak areas.

Typically, accessory work is targeting the stuff you don’t see in the mirror. Hamstrings, glutes, low back, triceps etc, are all muscles you don’t see that need accessory work – this is known as the Posterior Chain.

Interested in getting started? Need help reaching your fitness goals? Book a consult today!

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