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Bulking up? I know it is not supposed to happen...

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Old 09-30-2008, 07:50 AM   #1
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Question Bulking up? I know it is not supposed to happen...

Experts say that bulking up when strength-training is not possible to women simply due to lack of testosterone. Well, I don't know what is wrong with me, but I do seem to bulk up rather easily. For example, after lifting weights regularly for three months I noticed that I had actually developed some visible biceps and shoulder muscles. I got scared because I definitely do not aim at big, defined muscles, and decided to bring down the amount of strength-training in my exercise program. It is a pity, though, because strength-training is what I like the most.

At the moment I feel like trusting my own feelings and perceptions more than experts' sayings, but it is still puzzling. Am I having abnormal levels of testosterone (would be rather surprising as I am not unusually hairy and my body shape is very feminine) or what? Could it affect that I began strength-training already at the age of 12?
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Old 09-30-2008, 08:44 AM   #2
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Everybody is different and we all having varying levels of hormones.
If strength training is making you bulky and you don't want to get bulky, then don't do it.
I *want* to have nice arms and shoulders, and have to work pretty hard at it. I wish I had your problem-lol!!

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Old 09-30-2008, 09:19 AM   #3
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Are we talking Ah-nold bulky here, or are you just seeing some nice muscle definition? Being that you started lifting at 12, you probably know the difference. I get bulky at first when I start a weight training routine and then I level off and just maintain tone. I think it's because my muscles aren't used to being trained so there's a boost at first. I would lighten your weights to those that are effective, but not lifting to failure so that you tone rather than build.
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Old 09-30-2008, 11:53 AM   #4
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In general, you can't bulk up but that doesn't mean you wouldn't be able to see your muscles. Do you not want muscle definition at all?
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Old 09-30-2008, 12:11 PM   #5
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I would like to point out that some medical conditions (or just strong genetic factors) can make women produce more androgens than typical. In this case, it IS possible for women to "bulk up" in more male-type patterns. I have PCOS and one of the hormones that was ridiculously out of whack in my system was, essentially, an anabolic steroid. So, naturally, I was building muscle like I was on steroids. I went on birth control and the hormones leveled out, and I lost some of that bulk.

Bulkiness is different, though, than just plain ol' visible muscle. Muscular women generally just have normal amounts of muscle and low body fat..the combination means visible muscles.
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Old 09-30-2008, 12:31 PM   #6
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What Mandalinn and Nelie and owlmonkey said.

There's a HUGE difference between "bulking up" and having visible defined muscle. I hope to have lots of visible, defined muscle as I continue to lose more fat.

It is possible that you might have some kind of hormonal issue, as Mandalinn pointed out ... but based on what you're describing, it sounds like you're just building standard muscle development.

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Old 10-01-2008, 09:31 AM   #7
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Thanks for the replies! I am not talking about just muscle definition, but really a bulk-up, the kind that men have - well, my muscles are definitely not that big, but the bulk-up is similar. I may sound a bit confusing but I don't know how else to describe this...

I do have hormonal issues, that's true. I have two autoimmune diseases, diabetes type 1 and hypothyroidism, but I don't think they have the effect... Or could they affect?
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Old 10-01-2008, 09:41 AM   #8
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While reading this thread, my overwelming impression is that perception can be deceptive.

What do you think of ddc's arm in her avatar?
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Old 10-01-2008, 10:03 AM   #9
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So you have a definite size increase? Like your arms gained size? I don't know metric system very well but if you measured your arms before lifting heavy, then lifted heavy, the size difference would be substantial?
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Old 10-01-2008, 10:18 AM   #10
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Moonlit - Susan's comments make me wonder as well. Can you find images online of what you consider "bulky" vs. what you consider "normal". Or photos of what you'd like to look like?

For example, for me (and I posted this just recently) Shellie Blanks has an amazing body and I'd love to look like her - especially that middle image where her arms have such great definition. To me she still looks feminine, but in amazing shape.


OTOH, *this* is "bulked" to me and something that I don't want to achieve.

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Old 10-01-2008, 10:29 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moonlit View Post
I do have hormonal issues, that's true. I have two autoimmune diseases, diabetes type 1 and hypothyroidism, but I don't think they have the effect... Or could they affect?
This is something I'll be interested to find out too as I also have both of these. I do notice my muscles are more defined which I'm perfectly happy with but I'm still holding onto the bulk fear.
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Old 10-01-2008, 10:31 AM   #12
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Honestly, I don't think anyone should fear bulk. If true muscle bulk happens, then it is easy to lose bulk. You have to do a lot of lifting, with the right hormones in order to achieve true muscle bulk. I had a friend who 'bulked up' due to lifting. Well it wasn't muscle bulk, but she was eating too many calories and started gaining fat instead which made her look bulky. Once she adjusted her calories, she was fine.
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Old 10-01-2008, 10:37 AM   #13
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I think you've greatly put my mind at risk nelie. But it does scare me because as much as I've tried, the burning fat/gaining muscles/burning calories just doesn't make sense to me. Maybe further into weight lifting I'll get it.
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Last edited by Spoz : 10-01-2008 at 10:38 AM.
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Old 10-01-2008, 10:45 AM   #14
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Spoz - Well our muscles have the ability to gain incredible amount of strength without gaining bulk. So you have muscles and if you put those muscles to work. The muscles start going to their full potential. They also start burning more calories because muscle that is active needs calories. The calories have to come from somewhere so they come from your body fat and the foods you eat.

IF you happen to have the right type of hormones and you have been lifting very heavy for a very long period of time, your muscles can increase in size to accommodate for the increased weight load. This is where you can get bulk. If you stop lifting heavy, your muscle will atrophy, stop burning as many calories and decrease in size. Very bulky men and women (with the right hormones) work out hours every day to achieve the size that they do and they do it for many years.

Edited to add - I also just thought of a good comparison. When you watch an olympic athlete (gymastics for example), you don't think that if you went outside and attempted a couple flips that you'd be ready to compete in the olympics would you? Why do women think that picking up a 5lb dumbbell will make them look like a competitive weight lifter overnight?
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Last edited by nelie : 10-01-2008 at 10:53 AM.
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Old 10-02-2008, 09:18 AM   #15
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Surely I do not think that the size of my muscles could be compared to those of true athletes, that was not my point (otherwise I would suffer from a serious body dysmorphia). What I meant was that knowing my own body, I know when my muscles are growing at a rate that I don't want them to be growing. I'm just comparing the bulk with my own body, before and after.
See, the facts are that my weight has dropped a little but my arms are considerably larger than they were before (several inches). Wouldn't that mean that I have gained muscles in them, especially as I have lost inches form my waist and hips? I have lost some weight and inches from allover except from my arms, and I believe that is because of the bulk.
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