30 Days To A Healthier, More “Fitter” You Series! (Do women get bulky lifting weights?)

resistance exerciseI had a lot of feedback from yesterday’s posting on resistance exercise in my personal e-mail and on Facebook messaging. 

A common question I get “all the time” is; Do women get bulky from lifting weights? 



Well, I lift weights and perform exercises using my own body weight every day and I am not bulky. 

Women can definitely benefit from resistance training/lifting weights.

Lifting weights is NOT the same as bodybuilding! 

Resistance exercise is about improving muscle strength and muscle tone. 

Lifting dumbbell weights or performing exercises with your own body weight will sculpt, lift, shape and define the contours of your body. 

Women do not produce as much testosterone (the hormone responsible for increasing muscle size) as men do. 

Many professional female “body builders” unfortunately use anabolicsteroids (synthetic testosterone) along with other drugs in order to achieve that high degree of muscularity. 

In addition, most also have good genetics that enable them to gain muscle quickly when they spend “hours” at the gym lifting VERY HEAVY weights. 

Women who perform weight training without the use of steroids get firm and fit cellulite-free looking bodies. 

Weight training changes body composition, so that you lose fat, increase muscle and become leaner and lighter

Nothing else puts shape into a body if it is not assisted by the benefits of weight training and cardiovasular exercise. 

Resistance exercise will make the difference by turning your body from the ordinary into the extraordinary!

For more on healthy living with a positive approach Click here to get a complimentary online hand-guide of “The Livings Key Principles – For Creating Wholeness, Peace and Health From The Inside Out!”

Healthy Blessings,

 Gena Livings


  1. Thanks for the information. I often got weird looks when in the gym and using the free weights section from women. One asked me whether I was trying to look like a guy! I used to work at that gym too so I let all the instructors know to mention it when taking people around for inductions so they were educated about it! I found it really weird that they would use the weight machines but not the free weights because they thought those would bulk them up more!
    Alexandria Ingham recently posted…Evergreen Content vs. Seasonal Blog Posts: Which Is Better to Do?My Profile

    • Hi Alexandria!
      I am so glad that you were there at the gym (along with all your instructors) to help “educate” people on this common misconception. Hopefully more and more people/women will learn to “benefit” from resistance training! It’s the best way to firm and tone your body without adding the bulk.

      Thank you for commenting!
      Healthy blessings,
      Gena 🙂

  2. Hi Gena,

    I don’t do a lot of weight lifting as in lifting dumb bells and putting them back down again, but I do lift the weight of other people in Jiu-Jitsu – not full on weight, but even with key leverage points, I’m lifting. No bulk. Just solid muscle 🙂

    Great post dispelling the myth of muscle bulk, which is, in my very humble opinion, an excuse not to exercise. xxoo <3
    Peggy recently posted…Why I’m Not Freaked Out By The HolidaysMy Profile

    • Hi Peggy!
      This is another excuse NOT to exercise. In-fact, I was going to add this to my list of excuses in my article, “The five most common excuses Not to exercise” but there are just so “many” to list that I chose only five to keep the article short and sweet. Lol 🙂

      Cheers to healthy, firm, fit, strong muscles!!

      Healthy blessings,
      Gena 🙂

  3. Hi Gena. I definitely noticed I was firmer and more toned when I was resistance training. I also swam regularly and that helped to tone my body too, which is a sort of resistance training I guess, as you’re using the water’s natural resistance. I found I lost the wobbly bits so although I didn’t lose any weight as such, my body shape definitely improved. Muscle definitely burns more fat. It’s a win-win! Really looking forward to moving back to civilisation so I can get working on it again. 😀

    • Hi Andrea!

      Muscle is your body’s most potent and active tissue for burning calories and body fat. It’s basically your body’s “furnace” and you always want to keep it burning hot. When someone loses a lot of weight, which usually comes from crash dieting or some other unhealthy way of dropping the weight, the body’s lean muscle mass is cannibalized and the person loses some of the most powerful tissue for keeping a lean body.

      Muscle is much more “compact” and dense versus fat. Pound for pound they ‘weigh’ the same but a pound of fat is larger in volume than a pound of muscle.

      This is why when a person has “muscle” they may not weigh less but they look smaller in size (in volume).

      There are plenty of ways that you can tone your body right where you are at today. You should see where I live! I live in the forest. The closest town near me is 20 minutes away. I use light free weights, light tree logs and my own body weight to perform resistance exercises every day!! I’m not going to let you off the hook that easy girl!! 🙂

      Healthy blessings,

      • Ha ha ha! Well, I have tried the following activities given the restrictions of where we live and all the other excuses I’ve come up with:
        Walk to the top of the driveway with the bins once a day, that way carrying heavyish bags and walking uphill for about half a mile
        Result? Got bitten by a horsefly (twice) which I had an allergic reaction to and nearly ended up in hospital and still bear the scars
        Run up and down the stairs
        Result: Fell down (twice), first time got concussion, 2nd time fractured my neck and back (yes, really!) fortunately I’m fine, but it’s taken months for the pain to subside and I have to be really careful what I do still.
        Whatever it is I reckon there’s some SERIOUS resistance to me exercising again!! At least my morning yoga ritual seems safe so far 😉 Actually now I see it written down I’m going to have a think about how extreme my self sabotage appears to be. Thanks for the reply; it’s given me food for thought xx

        • Andrea,
          I just love your “fun” energy, how you speak your truth and how you take responsibility for what is! 🙂
          YOGA is very empowering and develops your flexibility, strength, and balance all at once! I’m glad to know that you have
          incorporated this into your daily routine and that it is working for you! You don’t even have to drive 130 miles round trip! YAY!! 😉

          Healthy blessings my friend,
          Gena 🙂

  4. I think there’s a very small percentage of women who bulk up almost like men, but for the most part, it takes ‘roids for them to develop like that.

    I love using weights in my workouts to sculpt and shape, but I stick with light weights and high reps, and usually 3 sets so I can fatigue the muscles.

    But like you said, our bodies begin “redistributing” when we use weights. I remember women telling me that they weren’t losing any weight, but I would remind them that muscle weighs more than fat, and not to worry about scale weight since they were losing inches and re-shaping their bodies.

    Great article!
    Penny McDaniel recently posted…In the Desert of DoubtMy Profile

    • Exactly Penny!
      I’m creating a follow on-post to this as well… As discussed with Andrea in our discussion.

      Muscle is much more compact and dense versus fat, pound for pound they ‘weigh’ the same but a pound of fat is larger in volume than a pound of muscle.

      This is why when a person has muscle they may not way less but they look smaller in size. 😉

      Like you, I use lighter weight and higher reps!

      As always, Thank you for commenting!!

      Healthy blessings!
      Gena 🙂 xxxx

  5. Dear Gena.

    I know this to be very true. I did a lot of weight training when I was younger. Many hours in the gym every day lifting very heavy weights and I never bulked up.

    I do however believe that all of the training in my youth helped me to maintain a normal weight range for years and years.


    Kathy Hadley recently posted…Own Your Decisions – They Create Your LifeMy Profile

    • Hello Kathy,
      It’s true that if a person does a lot of resistance exercise and then stops for a while they will lose muscle.
      However, if a person starts resistance training again, they gain the lost muscle or strength within a few weeks – as if the muscle remembers where you left off. Our muscles actually have memory.

      Since muscle burns more calories than fat — even while at rest — the more muscles you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate, which means the more calories your body will be burning just to sustain you.

      Healthy blessings,
      Gena 🙂

  6. this was a informative read, which i shared with my wife. this is a common myth though. thanks for nicely explaining it.
    Amar Naik recently posted…Krrish 3 – Review of a Bollywood Movie Made with Hollywood StuntsMy Profile

    • Hi Amar!
      Thank you for sharing this information with your wife! 🙂

      Healthy blessings,

  7. Gena
    I enjoyed reading your article on do you get bulky lifting weights.
    “Resistance exercise is about improving muscle strength and muscle tone”
    When we first first met over four years ago I could hardly walk 1/2 a block without pain. I had no muscle and my shape of my upper body was totally different than today.
    Adding resistance exercise, Lifting dumbbell weights, adding slowly to my routine each week changed my body. I don’t feel bulky- I feel stronger and love my new muscles. I have become leaner and lighter as your article points out.
    Resistance exercise is also great for being empowered and confident…
    Thanks for sharing your wisdom and being an inspiration.
    bonnie recently posted…Begin NOW to Create a Wealth Plan that Will Guide You to Financial Well-BeingMy Profile

    • Hello Bonnie,
      Thank you for commenting today and reading my article.
      Resistance exercise is, in fact, the best way to build strength, confidence and muscle tone.
      This isn’t accomplished by lifting heavy weights, it’s accomplished by being faithful and consistent with your practice. Just like all things in life, consistency and perseverance is key.

      Health blessings,

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