Skip Nav
Workouts
Not Sure What to Do at the Gym? This 30-Minute Dumbbell Workout Is Calling Your Name
Vegan
+25 Delicious and Easy-to-Make Recipes That Are Vegan and Paleo-Approved
Fitness
Fan of Yoga? These Are A Few of the Dubai Classes You Need to Check Out
Bodyweight Exercises
Check Out This Trainer's 6 Favorite Plank Variations For That Oh-So-Good Core Burn
Bodyweight Exercises
Anytime, Anywhere: This 6-Move Workout For Your Legs and Core Requires Absolutely NO Equipment

Will Lifting Weights Make Me Bulk Up?

After Years of Exercising, This Is the Workout That Changed My Body

When I started working out with a trainer a few months ago, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, but if there's one thing I am certain of, a barbell was never part of the equation. Yet here I was, standing in front of one with my trainer off to the side asking me to do deadlifts. I was equal parts perplexed, scared, and thrilled. In all my years of working out, heavy lifting was something I had never done. Like everyone else in my life, I hopped from trendy studio to trendy studio for my workouts, and though there was a weight room at my gym, the idea of picking up a barbell on my own seemed terrifying.

I looked down at the 65-pound steel bar and then looked up at my trainer (a few times actually). With no knowledge of or prior exposure to lifting, I was also dealing with the real fear that I would possibly drop this thing, along with myself, in the process. Sensing my fear, he talked me through the steps repeatedly with the right amount of encouragement, until I grabbed the damn thing and remarkably pulled it off — "with ease and perfect form," he would later tell me. I surprised myself; I was stronger than I gave myself credit for. My trainer added weight to the bar at a quick pace, which I think even surprised him.

Looking back, I am not sure why I stayed away from heavy lifting for so many years. Sure, I wasn't exposed to it, but I also never allowed myself to even explore the idea. When I heard SoulCycle was coming to my city, I was in the very first class. When the new TRX studio moved in down the block, I couldn't wait to try it! But lifting? Nope. Despite my firm belief that women are strong AF, there was a part of me that thought of heavy lifting as a very male-dominated world, or at least the kind of world where you go when you want biceps as big as your head. And if I am being totally honest, huge 'ceps weren't what I was looking for.

Double the deadlifts, double the fun (that's me on the left and Austin, my trainer, on the right).

The kicker here is that lifting heavy has changed my body in a way that I never could have anticipated. I have lost more weight over these last three months than I have in the last few years. I am stronger and faster in just about every other workout in my life. And most recently, during a beach vacation, my partner commented on my butt. It was higher! Perkier! Lifted! Rounded! I went into heavy lifting with the very wrong idea that it would add bulk, yet here I am feeling my absolute best and more confident than I have in a long time. Even more importantly is the understanding that this confidence had less to do with how I look and everything to do with how I feel.

The thrill of doing something new mixed with a real sense of accomplishment has given me an exercise high that I have not felt in a very long time. Instead of being terrified of a barbell, I now give my trainer grief when we aren't lifting. Through heavy lifting, I have come face to face with my physicality in a way that I never have before. There's also a real sense of pride that comes from learning what your body is capable of and seeing more weight being racked up on the bar. But more than anything, the inner confidence that I have built from this latest step in my fitness journey has continued to surprise me on an almost daily basis.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Rima Brindamour
Total-Body Gym Workout For Women
Bodyweight Home Workout For Legs and Abs
Plank Variations From a Trainer
What Exercises Help Get Rid of Lower Back Pain?
How to Do a Lying Leg Raise With a Hip Thrust
Why You Should Know Your Body Fat Percentage
25-Minute Home Workout
Jason Walsh Ab-Strengthening Exercises
Lower-Body Bodyweight Exercises
Beginner Dumbbell Workout For Women
Can You Build Muscle and Lose Weight at the Same Time?
Is Walking in Place Good Exercise?
Latest Fitness
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds