I don’t have the energy or the patience to write an article about the folly of women being scared to “bulk up” through diet and exercise. There are a million articles on the Internets already written about this. Suffice it to say that you, being on some scale of “an average woman”, simply don’t have the ability to become hugely muscular and masculine looking. Chances are, if you’re working out and getting that “bulky” look you don’t like, it’s due to the fat over your muscles, not the muscles themselves, and sadly, this is largely to do with diet and can only be helped so much by exercise. This sucks, I know.
So, it’s time to rant about some women’s attitudes toward a protein-rich, muscle building diet.
Many women think that to eat a protein-rich, muscle-building diet, you must eat your weight in steak everyday. And, upon doing this, you will immediately gain pounds and become a hulking, terrifying she-beast. Again, sorry to break it to you, but you just don’t have the—literal—cojones for this feat. Trust me, I’ve been trying for years to reach Gaston/Pump Dragon/Muscle Barn levels of jackedness, and I’ve only reached a moderate degree of Thunder Beast.
If you want to get rid of any lingering skinny-fatness (ie, you look fine but have no discernable muscle tone) you might want to consider ditching your three-ounce couscous salads, or at least adding some protein to them. Eat protein with every meal: eggs with your breakfast, chicken with your salad at lunch, a protein shake after you work out, and maybe some fish or steak at dinner. Protein feeds your muscles like no other macronutrient, and will (without changing caloric intake or even your workout intensity) strengthen and increase muscle tone, which is attractive. And also, you know, functional and good for you—don’t you want to do pushups or be able to lift a heavy box from the ground without help? Oh, another great thing about protein—it’s incredibly filling. So while I could eat an entire box of cereal for breakfast and be hungry again by 10 am, a couple eggs with my morning oatmeal sets me straight until lunch, no problem. If your stomach, like mine, is a terrifying bottomless pit reminiscent of the Sarlacc creature from Star Wars, you should consider feeding it some protein.
Healthy, filling, muscle-building. WOMEN: EAT MORE PROTEIN. There are lots of fun ways to do this, too: some of my favourites being adding a scoop of chocolate protein to your steel-cut oats in the morning with a dash of almond milk, making your oatmeal taste like a gooey macaroon. Or, pick up some of this protein PB from your local GNC: with added flax seeds and whey protein, a couple tablespoons of this on your toast (or straight into your mouth via spoon, my preferred method) will get you protein without even thinking about it. If you don’t eat animals, well, I feel sorry for you, but there are still plenty of ways to fortify your diet. So, next time you open your mouth to complain about getting bulky or whine about why you’re still so soft despite HOURS on the treadmill (ahem), fill your pie hole with some nourishing, muscle-building protein instead. Please.