| | Women and Bulking

Author / Leah Kay

To most women, Bulk is a 4-letter word and conjures images of spray-tanned bodybuilders with bulging muscles in too tiny, bedazzled bikinis. But what if I could tell you that a controlled bulk, coupled with a smart training protocol could produce some amazing results? This new functional tissue can not only contribute to increased performance in the gym, it also brings with it health benefits.


It still makes me laugh sometimes when I walk into the grocery store post-workout in my tank top and shorts and I garner stares from most of the other shoppers. I suppose seeing a woman with muscles is still a bit of an oddity, though it shouldn’t be. As I unload my cart at check out, I can’t help but freeze in front of the glossy magazine racks touting the latest and greatest, new workout routine to help you “tone up” or “lose that last 10lbs” and a thought runs through my mind…Fuck this bullshit!

I’m sick of the fitness industry feeding us lies. Tone your legs, arms and booty with this 10 minute workout. Get-Your-Dream-Butt Workout. Please! The ONLY way to get the body that you want is to lift heavy-ass weights.

Luckily WE know this. Power Athlete Women know that the key to the body you want can be found under a heavy barbell. But how many of us are actually EATING in a way to take advantage of all that lifting? My suspicion is that even the most enlightened of us, could benefit from beefing up our diet.

women and Bulking Health

The goal of any bulk is to add layers of kick ass muscle to your frame. An increase in lean muscle mass means an increase in your basal metabolic rate. In other words an increase in the amount of calories you burn while doing NOTHING! This basal metabolic rate (or BMR) is responsible for the majority of all the calories you expend for your entire day.

Now I don’t want to oversimplify it because there’s a lot of factors that affect your individual BMR, but the amount of lean body mass that you have is a major player. A pound of muscle burns about 6 calories per day while a pound of fat only burns 2. That’s 3 times less! This is another reason why scale weight can be so deceiving. And a higher metabolic rate means less body fat in the end as your body will slowly begin to eat away at your fat stores to help keep your muscles full and happy. So focusing on building muscle in the end will contribute to your overall fat loss. Score!


Nutrition is the Bul-key!

But building muscle is tough especially for women and while many of us are training in a way to build muscle mass, if we don’t provide the essential building blocks via our diet, we won’t get very far. Bulking diets and fat loss diets differ in many ways, but the biggest factor is total caloric intake. We have to be eating a surplus of calories to build functional mass.

Great, so more food + picking up heavy shit = a killer bod! Hate to break it to you, but we can’t just go shoving everything that looks good down our throats. There is definitely a method to this madness and food quality is going to be a big part of that. Tracking your macronutrients is going to be essential in this process.

There are programs out there that would like you to think that any extra calories in any form are still going to lead you to your end goal but we know that you need to focus on the good stuff if you want that extra mass to be fit not fat. If you’ve never tackled a bulk before, I’d highly recommend some nutritional 1-on-1 with one of our Power Athlete nutrition coaches. Our custom Meal Planning program will take all the guesswork out of it.


So ladies, the next time you’re in the gym grinding out your last heavy set of back squats, take a second to really think if you’re doing all you can to make the most of it?

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Leah Kay

Former collegiate volleyball player and 7 year competitive CrossFitter. 6x CF regional qualifier and 1x CF Games qualifier. Began coaching CrossFit in 2009 while working towards a Bachelor's in Nursing. Studied functional medicine through the American Academy of Anti-Aging in 2013 with specific emphasis on nutrition and hormone regulation. Continues to blend love of coaching and wellness as Head Trainer and Co-Owner of CrossFit Katy and Functional Nutritionist at Specialty Healthcare and Wellness in Houston, TX.

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