How to Get Lean Muscle Without Bulking Up [2021 Women’s Guide]

Are you a woman? Have you ever wondered how to get lean muscle without bulking up? Bit by bit, more women start to venture into the weight training area of ​​gyms. However, it is still a territory to conquer. Many women fear lifting a pair of dumbbells or a barbell due to a false belief that they will look like Arnold Schwarzenegger overnight.

Far from true, this is a common mistake many women fall into. Lifting weight does not mean gaining a tremendous amount of muscle that will make you look bulky. In fact, it is a quite complex process that requires a lot of hard work. So, don’t be afraid to make some gains.

In today’s article, we’ll see why you won’t get bulky if you lift weights and why you should start lifting ASAP!

Where Does The Fear Of Getting Bulky Come From?

how to get lean muscle without bulking up

To begin with, generally, there are many men in the weight zone in gyms. So, women may feel uncomfortable in that area. Therefore, they turn to group classes or the cardio section.


The fear of feeling intimidated and looking at big muscular men makes them think that they’ll look like them if they train like them. But if you go and ask the biggest man in your gym how long it took him to look like that, you’d be surprised.


Gaining muscle mass is very difficult for both women and men, especially for us. It requires a lot of time and effort. Not only you need to train super hard and consistently for years, but you also need to adjust your nutrition, increase your calories and protein intake. Therefore, the fear of sudden gains is not only unrealistic but also incoherent.


But that is not all. Building muscle is far more complex than it looks. Your training regime must be adapted to hypertrophy (building muscle), and other conditions need to be in check for a person to look really big.


Here’s why a woman will not look manly lifting weights

woman exercising who is not afraid of looking bulky or manly

Surely, you’ve seen female athletes that do look bulky. But, what you probably don’t know is: A) They lift REALLY heavy; take a look, for instance, at Stefi Cohen, one of the strongest female athletes out there. However, Stefi can lift three times her body weight. That is a lot, and it takes YEARS of professional training to get there, as well as genetics. So, don’t be scared, you won’t look like her, even if you tried hard.


And B) Many female athletes hat look too bulky consume testosterone and anabolics.


Women’s Body Types

lift heavy

Yet another very significant determining factor for building muscle that even affects some men. We are all different, especially between sexes. But we all have different body types:


  • Ectomorphs: Naturally slim-looking. These are people that can eat all they want and hardly gain any weight. The same occurs with their muscle mass capacity. Since their bone structure is smaller, they cannot naturally hold on to extra weight and mass, whether that is muscle or fat. These individuals look very athletic when they lift weights, yet they don’t look bulky.
  • Mesomorphs: Naturally athletic looking, mesomorphs don’t gain much fat, but their skeleton allows them to put on a good amount of muscle, yet they can look very lean.
  • Endomorphs: Naturally bigger frames, they gain fat more easily than mesomorphs. These individuals can significantly benefit from lifting weight as it speeds their metabolism. Therefore, it is easier for them to lose weight and control the weight.




Our hormones play a massive role in building muscle. Have you ever wondered why men have an easier time building muscle than women? This is due to the levels of testosterone in the blood, an androgen steroid hormone.


Testosterone is responsible for increasing muscle mass. We all have testosterone, even us women, but in different amounts. Testosterone production occurs in the male and female gonads (testicles and ovaries, respectively) and to a lesser extent in the adrenal glands.


So, even if we train hard is very difficult for women to gain as much muscle as men because we produce much less testosterone than men do. For instance, compare these values. Men produce 300 – 1000 ng/dl (nanograms per deciliter of blood of testosterone), while women only produce 15 – 70 ng/dl.


Does this mean that women cannot gain muscle? No, of course, we can, but not at the level that men do. In fact, increasing our muscle mass, far from making us look masculine, accentuates the female body: the booty, an hourglass shape, and it helps lift our boobs.


In addition, the greater the muscle mass, the faster our metabolism will be. This means you can eat more and look leaner at the same time. Thus, facilitating fat burning and maintenance.


How to get lean muscle without bulking up & not just lose fat

You surely heard the term “tone,” and that’s what we all want, right? But do you know what exactly toning is?


Toning means building muscle and burning fat. So if you want to look toned, get rid of cellulite, and look fit and shredded, then you need to pump some iron! There’s no other way, girl.


Now you have a reason to lift weights and no excuses because now you know you won’t look like Hulk. You’ll look like a bikini model if you train like them.




If you want a big booty and a small waist, trust me, weights are your ticket to your desired body. Besides, you’ll become stronger and healthier, so there’s nothing to lose! Girls, don’t be afraid to lift; your body will thank you! And if you don’t know where to start, you can always follow my online fitness coaching for women.

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