Bulky Muscles and Women – Part Deux

I have been meaning to do a follow-up to my original article for sometime now. The delay was simply because there were other things on my plate I felt were more important. However, nothing puts a fire under you like people talking smack in forums about things they seem to be misunderstanding. I realize I create very polar reactions in people. I honestly find that to be an important trait and am fine with it. For the sake of yourself though, you might want to think twice about skimming and actually read what I write, ask questions if need, and then start getting up in arms (if required). My point is, if you don’t like the work, or even me, at least get it right.

Incoming Links

Everyday I get hundreds of incoming links of people landing on my collective sites. I still get 400-500 people a day to my old site alone. Between all my sites I average 4000+ individual visitors a day. There is a percentage of regulars and the rest find there way through a link or organic search. Meaning they type in something like “body fat pictures” and my blog post about Body Fat Percentage With Pictures pops up.

Every so often, I notice a high flux of incoming traffic (I consider this over 200 visitors from one link) to a post. I can’t help but look at see why this traffic is coming in. Yesterday, I had saw a link come in from popular fitness forum. It started off simple enough, a person posted the link up for conversation about my article (Defining Bulky) and people replied with their opinions of what they think is bulky. Over the past year I randomly get links in from forums, blogs, etc about this article. It is interesting how it will go down depending on the forums. Generally, if it is in a training/fitness forum, they are pissed at me or the people who think that Jessica Biel or Angela Basset are bulky.

If it is a beauty/make-up/”mommy and me” type forum, they always agree and are thankful “someone finally said it.” It’s interesting to say the least.

To Clarify

I want to state a few things that were misunderstood due to people not reading (post and comments) or not asking for an elaboration. Most of this was covered in either the comments or the post itself.  It’s amazing how defensive people get and will jump to conclusions because of the title of a post. If you want to really know how I feel, ask me.

The selection/survey options

I answered this in the comments, so if you had read or asked a question you would have seen it. Here it is again, the response to why I gave the poll I gave.

I did other (smaller) surveys that showed fitness models and elite athletes and the response was overwhelming. They automatically thought that was too much. I do get the point about those being the only available options, but I also choose women that are very often talked about as looking too manly or carrying too much muscle.

There were also write in options and comments that were left. Overwhelmingly women wanted “tone, but with no noticeable definition or muscle.” They just don’t want their skin to jiggle, that is about as deep as it goes for most. I can also speak from working with actresses a lot recently, that it is a technique, it is not a easy one, and is not just based around genetics.

On an additional note: You cannot accidentally achieve the body of a female taking steroids. You can accidentally achieve the arms that are shown below in the following section.

It Wasn’t About My Opinion, But If You Ask…

If you read the article you should notice I state – “What I consider bulky doesn’t matter.” It isn’t about me, it’s about what the client wants. It’s about opening up communication and making things easier for you to get what you want. The truth is any trainer who actually works with the general population (not just athletes) knows this is a constant area of conversation and concern. Articles like this get the conversation started and help to define (the best you can) a base point of what bulky is or isn’t. If I wanted to just “stir the pot” I can assure you I wouldn’t choose this as a topic.

Who Cares Anyway?

Sorry, but nothing expresses insecurity more than how some men and women get about this topic. I could get into a big diatribe about gender roles, women not being objects, etc. The truth is you can look however you want to look within the realm of your own limitations. You can be fat, skinny, muscled, dominate, submissive, sweet, or a jerk. It’s all in your hands. The lifting girls sure are quick to call out the barbies, and that is backwards bulls**t if I ever saw it. Sorry, but some women don’t give a damn about doing a squat and never will. More room in the weight room ladies, and less wait time. Your happy doesn’t have to be others. You hating on women who just want to do yoga and look like Jennifer Aniston is no better than the things you are about to read in the next section.

Eye Of The Beholder

Again, I don’t care but you should know something. When the NY Post runs an article titled “Are Madonna and Kate Working Out Together?” and these are the comments, you need to understand the reality of the average person.

Bulky Female Arms?

100% real comments left about the above picture.

I bet they both bitch-slap their men with those strong arms. No wonder they can’t keep their men!

-The veins on Madonna’s arms and hands are the product of 20+ years of steroid abuse.

-No wonder John left her, she has more muscle than he does!

-HEY! Man arms, just what every women in America wants, to look like a dude in the mirror. Kate needs a NEW DO soooooooooooooooo badly. Bet she wishes she would have stayed insignificant like the rest of us huh?

-Its called growth hormone and is the rage with many stars and wannabe stars.

-Yah they have great arms.
If you wanna be held by a woman with manly arms.

No thanks, not for me.
I like my women to be female.


And you think my poll was skewed to favor what exactly? You don’t get it (when you are in it) and that is the problem. To make sure it’s understood, neither of them have any noticable amount of muscle, it is just lighting, arm positions,  and lower body fat levels. The point isn’t that they are bulky, the point is about the public’s perception.

When I was younger and first saw a picture of a women that looked like this I thought “Nah, that isn’t my thing. Little too much.” When I saw this I thought “That’s some freaky stuff!”

I am pretty much the most open-minded person you will meet. I don’t care if your white, tan, gay, straight, fat, happy, or sad. The things I care about are loyalty, heart, intent, and general good nature. If you have those things, you are alright by me. Everything else is the snowflake you are. I have always had this attitude, but that didn’t mean I was used to seeing women that looked like that. It wasn’t a hate thing, but it was a unusual thing for me.

How did you feel the first time you saw a women with noticeable muscle definition? Can you remember? What about the first time you saw an interracial couple? A woman in pants? Two men kissing? Did I go to far? To some people, women having muscle and looking strong, makes them uncomfortable. In all societies, we like our gender roles and we are uncomfortable when they change.

I remember when I saw Angela Basset beat the s**t out of Laurence Fishburne in the back of that limo in “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” I thought to myself “That is one of the baddest women I have ever seen.” I also thought “Man are those arm jacked!” That was what my untrained, unadjusted eye saw. When I look at her arms now, I think “Hmm, she has a lower body fat and nice (but small) amount of muscle.” She is still a bad ass.

For a lot of you, you have to think there might have been a time you felt a similar way as some of the people in those comments (hopefully minus the blatant ignorance). The more you see defined and strong women, the more your eye adjusts and with it your mind.

The Art Of Flexing

A common argument I get is “these women only look bulky because they are flexing.” I agree, to a degree. For the women who are just really low body fat and also have a lower amount of muscle, it is usually the flexing only that is an issue.

If you don’t carry a pretty low level of body fat and you have a moderate amount of muscle in your arms, you just look thicker. When you take away the flexing the women go from being “too muscled” to being “too fat.” The moment you start adding lifts to your training program as a woman, you are going to alter your look. In the upper arm, for example, when you start “stacking” the front and the back of you arm, you create a top-heavy look. If you don’t intend to get really, really lean (a level most can’t maintain) you might not like it.

You can see an example of what I am talking about below. Even Jamie Eason(2), at pretty low body fat levels, still has larger upper arms. Most women do not want these types of arms. While you may look lean and built flexing, it can look awkward in softer clothing, like a dress. You have to remember the softer aesthetic that is trying to be created by a women in a dress.  The women in the first set are drug-free lifters. The women in the second set of pictures are popular actresses never accused of eat disorders.

Commonly thought as bulkier/thick arms
Commonly more desired arms for females

It isn’t going to be a perfect comparison, but those are varying body fat levels, with varying muscle.

Some People Are Always Going To Feel This Way

Being the majority of the population is attracted to the opposite sex for reasons of classic physical and emotional reasons, you have to realize this isn’t going to change for most people. All cultures have their own gender roles and classic lifestyles. We are used to visually and emotionally seeing physical strength in men. I personally like idea of women with strength physically. I personally think women at higher body fat levels can look great too. It’s different for every person and in the end, it doesn’t matter what I think. The only thing that should matter is what you think.

All unique and beautiful in their own way

If You Don’t Like, It Change It

If you are a trainer or a fitness enthusiast and are tired of women and men having these views, educate them. I hate to break it to you, but most women don’t like to pump iron. Most men don’t want to think about women pumping iron. The majority is ruling, but, it doesn’t have to be that way. I can think of a lot of things the majority has been wrong about.
I know with my work that there are women who have wanted to get stronger and wanted muscle, but didn’t do so because of what others thought. If this is the case for you, that is a problem. If you don’t want it, that is other people’s problem.

You want to play Lara Croft or Sarah Conners in your world, then don’t think twice about lifting up a dumbbell. You think Jessica Biel was badass in Stealth or dig Michelle Rodriquez in Girlfight? Awesome, the more power to you. If you want softness and “tone” then you are going to have to be smart about how you lift. Notice I didn’t say you can’t lift. You just need to know what you are doing. I have you know that I have my “no muscle” girls do heavy deadlifts just like the boys. This is a lot like the stuff I talk about in the Make My Body Hot audio download. You don’t have to be afraid of weights, but you do need to know how to use them if, and only if, this is a concern for you.

So, this is round two. What do you think? What do you want?

If you would like more on this topic, check out The Topics – Even More Bulky Truth on my membership site.

Before starting any new diet and exercise program please check with your doctor and clear any exercise and/or diet changes with them before beginning. I am not a doctor or registered dietitian. I do not claim to cure any cause, condition or disease. I do not provide medical aid or nutrition for the purpose of health or disease and claim to be a doctor or dietitian. This is merely an opinion blog. Read full disclaimer here - http://www.leighpeele.com/disclaimer