The Truth About “Bulking Up”

(updated Sept 17, 2019)

Yes, women CAN bulk up from strength training!

In fact, it would be chauvinistic to say that we can’t. I know that many of the popular websites and blogs say that women cannot bulk up, so please follow along with me…

Men and women have the same muscle tissue.

If given the right environment, any muscle has the potential to become larger.

Now, because of hormonal differences, men are able to build muscle WAY easier than women are. But to say that we can’t bulk up is entirely wrong.

Now, let’s get clear on our language here because trust me… you will never accidentally “bulk up” to the degree than a man can. A woman will never wake up one day looking muscular like a man, unless she intends to do so.

If you don’t want larger muscles, you really don’t have to worry too much. And if you believe that you “bulk up easily” let’s discuss a bit more.

And, if you DO want to add muscle, you will have to put in some very serious – and consistent – effort to make it happen.

Keep in mind that SOME women do build muscle more easily than others. In my book Lift To Get Lean, I created a program specially for what I refer to as an “Easy Gainer.” This is someone who does in fact, add muscle easily. There aren’t many of you out there that truly fall into the Easy Gainer category, but I know you are there. My hope here is to validate you if you are one of the women that do add muscle easily.

In reality, most women do not add muscle or bulk up easily. In my personal experience working with women for the past 25 years, I estimate that 90% of women are hard gainers. This means that it is actually very hard for you to build muscle. I’m a classic Hard Gainer and it’s sooooooo hard for me to build muscle.

In this week’s video (click below!) I’ll explain why you might THINK you’re bulking up, when you’re actually not. I’ll teach you exactly what happens in the first few weeks of starting a strength training program, and how to understand what feels like bulk, when it’s not.

This is great stuff for both Easy Gainers and Hard Gainers. If you don’t want to build up too much muscle, this video is for you. And, if you do want to add more muscle, it’s helpful to understand the basics of how and when muscle grows. Be sure to check out the exclusive content below.

Check out this week’s new video below!

This Week’s Exclusive Content

The Rules of Building Muscle for Women

 As I always say, you will never get bulky (like a man) by accident. It just won’t happen.

And yes, women can increase the size of their muscles, too.

the thing to remember is that,

Building real muscle takes specific focus and action, month after month.

If you are interested in building lean muscle mass, consider these rules…

  1. You must overload your muscles. This means that you must engage in strength workouts that are challenging, and progressive over time. You have to gradually increase how hard your muscles are working.
  2. You must be eating enough calories each day so that your body will signal your muscles that it’s safe to grow. Without sufficient calories, it’s REALLY hard to grow muscle.
  3. You must be strategic in how much cardio you are getting. Too much cardio is a muscle-killer.
  4. You must allow rest in between your strength workouts. It is during the rest time that your muscles recover and grow from your last workout.

I’d love to hear from you. Truly. Leave your thoughts and questions in the Comments section below!

Want to hear even more on this topic? Join me live every Wednesday on Facebook and Instagram and I’ll be talking more in depth and answering your questions. Check out “LIVE with Holly” by clicking HERE.

Stay strong, friend!

4 replies
  1. Brenna
    Brenna says:

    Holly! I’ve had Lift to Get Lean for a few years, but cracked that baby out again to get serious after having a baby. I’m a cardio junky and knew I needed a change in workout after baby. Anyways, I’m not new to weights, but hadn’t done them in a few years. I started with Easy Gainer. It’s going well, I’m on the second of the three phases. I am wondering, can I switch to another of those programs after I’m done with Easy Gainer? I chose this one because I like the flow of super sets and wanted that challenge. Which program do you suggest after this one?
    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Holly Perkins
      Holly Perkins says:

      Hi Brenna! LOVE that you came back to my book after having a baby. That’s amazing!!! I love Easy Gainer too. SO good. The ideal transition would be to go into Hard Gainer (3 day per week). If you like the supersets of Easy Gainer, you can bring the flow to Hard Gainer too. Just pick two exercises for different body parts and superset them together! Glad to have you in my community. Keep us posted on your progress! Do you follow me on FB or IG? Feel free to share updates there!

      Reply
  2. Sara
    Sara says:

    What if you want it all, to be tight and lean, and also build muscle, How can you achieve that? And 1000 calories is enough for building muscle?

    Reply
    • Holly Perkins
      Holly Perkins says:

      If you want it all, why don’t you try out 12 reps for a while and see if you like the results. 10 reps is best for building muscle, but 12 reps will limit muscle growth. Calories are dependent on your current body weight and how much you’re working out. Did you download my Macros 101 Guide? It will help you determine the right number of calories: https://hollyperkins.com/macros

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.