Will Lifting Weights Make You Bulk Up Like a Bodybuilder

I commonly hear people say, “I don’t want to lift weights, I just want to lose weight.” I also hear people say, “I don’t want to lift weights because it will make me bulky like a bodybuilder.”

Both of these statements are incorrect.

Lifting weights will not make you bulky.

Eating too much food and lifting heavy weights is what makes you bulk up like a bodybuilder.

However, if you lift weights and eat like a horse, you will bulk up. You will add muscle to your body and also add fat, which will make you bigger.

If you’re interested in bulking up, I can certainly show you how to lift weights to bulk up and gain muscle. Just let me know in the comment box at the end of this article, and I will show you.

However, I will assume that because you’re reading this, that you are only interested in losing weight.

More specifically, you want to lose fat.

Using Weights to Lose Weight

If you want to lose fat, there are two parts to the equation. You need to eat fewer calories each day, and you need to perform resistance exercises using weights or machines to tone and maintain the muscle mass in your body.

Most women cannot build big bulky muscles. The very small percentage of women who do have muscular bodies are generally professional bodybuilders. These women have unusual amounts of testosterone, have naturally large muscles, perform a great deal of progressive weight lifting exercises with very large weights, and are using lots of steroids.

Will Lifting Weights Make You Bulk Up with Muscle

Unless you are specifically trying to build muscle, resistance training will not cause you to bulk up. You need to be using heavy weights, spend hours in the gym and eat a huge amount of protein and carbohydrate foods.

So why will lifting weights/resistance training help you lose fat?

After the age of 25, the average person begins to lose a percentage of their muscle mass each year. Each pound of muscle burns somewhere around 37.5 calories per day.

As you lose muscle, your body burns less calories.

If you eat the same number of calories each day, but your body burns less calories, you will naturally store more of those calories as fat.

Most people lose even more muscle when they try to lose weight. They try to lose weight by dieting and/or performing cardiovascular exercise (walking, jogging, biking, elliptical trainer, etc.).

If you eat less calories than you burn each day but you are not performing any resistance training to build or maintain muscle, your body will lose weight by burning up fat and muscle.

An Interesting Fact About Cardio Exercises and Diet

When you perform cardio exercise on top of the dieting, your body burns up even more muscle. NOT just fat.

So, while many people do lose weight by dieting and performing cardio exercises, they are also burning up muscle. As the amount of muscle in their body decreases, their metabolism also slows down.

So it gets harder and harder to lose weight as you lose muscle mass.

And if you fall off the dieting wagon and begin to overeat, your body gains fat (not muscle) like never before.

A Better Way to Lose Fat by Using Weights

Let’s look at a much better way to lose fat. Eat slightly less calories than you burn each day and also perform progressive resistance weight training exercises. The progressive resistance exercise forces your body to build or maintain muscle.

Then, if you eat slightly less calories than you burn each day, your body will look for somewhere else to make up those missing calories. The only place that it can find those missing calories is your fat stores.

When you first begin to build muscle, you may actually gain a little weight. This is because muscle is dense and heavy. However, don’t worry about that. Don’t worry about the scale at all. Losing weight is not the goal.

Losing fat is the most important factor here.

As you build muscle, your metabolism speeds up. As your metabolism increases and you eat a healthy diet, your body will start to burn up fat. You may stay the same weight for a while, but your body is changing.

You’re replacing fat with muscle, just by making a few simple changes to your diet and the way you work out.

This is exactly what you want to happen. Then, as the muscle continues to accelerate your metabolism and burn up fat, you will begin to lose weight.

More importantly, your body will begin to look much better and I can guarantee that you will fee much better to.

As your body builds muscle and burns up fat, your body takes on a more toned and athletic shape. This is what we all want. We want to look toned and in great shape. We don’t want to be fat or look thin but flabby and sickly with no muscle tone.

So, let me repeat. BUILDING MUSCLE WILL NOT MAKE YOU LOOK BULKY LIKE A BODYBUILDER. Building muscle and eating a good healthy diet will burn fat without burning up muscle.

The combination of resistance training and good nutrition will improve the shape of your body faster than anything else on earth, I promise you.

About Andy James

Andy's background was in engineering, qualifying as a surveyor at aged twenty. He also had a very early interest in interest in weight training, fitness and nutrition, and started lifting weights at just 16. Now having over thirty five years experience in bodybuilding, resistance training and cardiovascular health, Andy shares his vast knowledge with you on this site hoping that you can take away a minimum of one small idea and put it to use in your own fitness regime and make a huge difference to to it. You can follow him on Twitter, catch up with him on Facebook and also on Google +1. Feel free to leave Andy a comment or question and look up his Facebook page.


  1. Cai Lewis says:

    Thank you so much for this information this is very helpful to me because I did different aerobic exercises for years along with healthy eating in my diet to loose weight but I didn’t get any stronger nor lost anymore weight because as a woman I feared bulking up from lifting weights. This information has gave me courage and hope to try exercises which involve using weights to achieve the body I want.

  2. I want to know what supplement can I use to get bigger when lifting weights and to get energy I am signing up for the gym tomorrow and I want to be bigger then I was when I was 25 I I’ve been alcohol free for 2mos now I want to get my life back on track im 32yrs old nkw please help me email: samuel…….

    • Thanks for your message Samuel. I have replied via email, and I really hope the information I sent you has helped you out.

  3. My Co-worker and I work out in the gym every day working on toning upper body Monday and Wednesday and Abs and lower body Tuesday and Thursday. I keep telling her she needs to lift heavier weights since she is not feeling any difference. She is concerned about looking like a body builder. She eats a healthy diet and also does cardio in the week so I reminded her she really needs to lift heavier. Am I correct?

  4. Hi Andy,
    All good tips but just wondering if you could help me out. I’m 20 yrs old and 6ft4 .Im fairly skinny but have weight on my stomach . Im lookin to bulk up my arms and shoulders mainly and was wondering if you could help and what supplements you think that might be useful.Hopefully hear from you soon.

    • Hi Dan,

      Please accept my apologies for the huge delay responding. First of all, congratulations on taking the first step to being successful in developing your physique, which is asking for help! Not many people do that these days and just ‘wing it’ without really every achieving their potential.
      I’m not sure if you’re new to working out (my guess is that you are), but my first recommendation regarding your diet and supplements would be to forget anything else for the first couple of months apart from getting some good protein down your neck, with a lot of egg whites, chicken, fish and a good protein drink. As you’re tall like me, I would also protect your joints with glucosomine – this is something I really regret not doing when I was younger and I suffer as a result today.
      As for exercises – just by picking up a set of weights for the first time, you are going to gain muscle mass if your calories are high enough (brown rice and oatmeal should be your main carbohydrate in your diet) but I would focus on basic movements like barbell and dumbbell work, forgetting the fancy machines and ‘nifty’ exercises for now!
      I hope this helps Dan, let me know how you get on over the next few months, Ok?

  5. Absolutely. There is a lot of ‘new’ science around about doing lots of light exercises to failure which can give you the same muscle growth, but I disagree. Heavy weights all the way! In your friends case, if she does start to gain too much muscle, then all she needs to do is cut back the heavy weights and her body will adjust accordingly.

    Bodybuilding and working out with weights is a science. When a top competition bodybuilder see’s he/she needs to gain a little more muscle in a certain area, they focus on that area to make the changes.

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