I’m not Jewish, but hearing that makes me sigh out “Oy vey” and start Googling around to find the most suitable facepalm meme to properly get my frustration across.
Sarcastic humor aside, the reason for the frustration here is compound. Most bodybuilders (figure/bikini gals, I’m including you in this conversation as well) know that getting big isn’t easy. It is hard work. It is not something that is going to happen because you picked up the 15’s instead of the 10’s for a week. There are a lot of people who spend a lot of money, time, and effort trying to get ‘too big’ who fail all the time. It’s just doesn’t happen accidentally.
Now specifically for the ladies – please, step into my office. I’ll spare you a super-long lecture involving whiteboards and overheads, but let’s just say the human body’s endocrine system is a complex beast. The hormone primarily responsible for muscle growth – testosterone – is something you lack in large quantities. Typically you’re at about 1/15th to 1/20th the testosterone levels of an average male. So you see that guy in the gym over there – the one who’s in here 5 days a week, busting his butt for 1-2 hours each day, who weighs about a buck seventy soaking wet and makes no visible progress that you can see? He has a significant biological advantage over you. So seriously, any concerns you have about bulking up rapidly are unfounded.
Which is not to say there’s no hope for building muscle. This should, after all, be your goal. If your diet is in order, you lift heavy, and you do those things consistently, you can take your body to some great new heights. That guy in the last paragraph? His diet probably sucks. You need to pick up some heavy weights, but that alone isn’t going to get the job done.
So if you do all that and you have fantastic genetics, what’s the ceiling? This obviously has a huge degree of variability (that whole genetics thing), but check out Nicole Wilkins, 2-time Figure Olympia winner:
Reality check: if she’s too big, just close the browser window now and forget you were ever here. No hard feelings. Seriously.
So, how does one build a body like that? It doesn’t happen without a strength routine at the core of the program. That means lifting weights that might make you sweat, or God forbid make a grunting noise from time to time.
Supporting that weight program is a solid diet of real, minimally processed foods. Depending on your genetics (there they are again, dammit) you may have to be very meticulous with portion control and timing or you may be able to get away with a being a little less OCD.
And what’s that? Supplements? Yeah, I guess – probably about the last 5% or so would be pills and powders and such. Don’t waste your money until you get steps 1 and 2 firmly under control.
So where to start? Pick up a good book (I’d recommend The New Rules of Lifting for Women) or hire a trainer (ask me, I might know a guy) to help design a program and make sure you’re doing things safely. Clean out your kitchen and stick to the perimeter of the grocery store when it’s time to re-stock it. And track everything. Log your weight, meals, workouts, cardio, and take pictures. If you do that, you will know when something is working and when something isn’t and can change things accordingly.
It all starts now. Get to it!