"You'll Get Bulky"
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Health and Wellness

"You'll Get Bulky"

They're not thunder thighs, they're toned muscles

"You'll Get Bulky"
Muscle & Fitness

I have been a distance runner for about five years now and I never imagined I would be walking into the gym everyday to pick up a barbell. As much as I love my long runs and speed workouts I found a new sense of power and strength behind weight lifting. Training strictly as a runner, I knew the importance of strength training, but I never considered it in terms of picking up a pair of dumbbells. I stuck to basic core excises or small movements that would maybe use ten pound dumbbells on a good day. I got into weight training after my first cross country season in college. Coming off of an injury to my quad I became aggravated sticking to biking or the elliptical all day. It wasn't until I got the email informing us on the program, we had to use to begin lifting for track. I phoned a friend not knowing a hang clean from a deadlift and he was more than willing to help considering I was in desperate need. It wasn't until after break I noticed a change in my body and the power I felt. But along with this power there was a constant nagging, "Be careful you don't get bigger."

Why. What is wrong if I get bigger, aren't I just getting stronger? I was never worried about getting bigger, as a matter of fact, it never crossed my mind. I felt like I was being told don't lift too heavy you'll get too big. However, I didn't notice a change in size, I noticed a change in the definition my muscles. And my quad that was injured, now on days I would run, no pain. Lifting only made my quads stronger, which in the end healed my injury. After a few months I realized I can lift, however much I feel capable of doing. I wasn't going to get huge, or bulky. I wasn't going to have thunder thighs. I was going to develop muscular thighs. My legs are toned and strong. After more research I found it's not just lifting weights it's what you eat that can give you the "bulky" look. After turning to lifting, but continuing to run I feel more confident and stronger than in my five years as just a runner.

I would run to keep my mileage up in the afternoon and then lift every now and then at night. But lifting helped me learn about my body, what muscles I'm using, how they are affected in each exercise. I would be excited during the day just because I would get to lift at night. Eventually, after learning how my body works I was able to get creative an add and change workouts to fit my preference for that day. For me the gym is mental and physical escape. When I'm in the gym it's my time. I can focus on what I want to do for myself and my body. The gym has turned into a safe haven for me -- a place where I go to let go of all my worries and focus on bettering myself.

I will always continue to run and running has a special place in my heart. But when I became frustrated and impatient, I found something that healed me physically and mentally. I love seeing my progress every week. And maybe I have gotten bulky, but it's muscle and I'm more confident than ever.

If you are a woman who fears picking up the dumbbells or looking "bulky" I challenge you to test yourself. Try lifting, it's amazing the feeling of power and strength it brings. I hope lifting makes you feel strong again, I hope the gym gives you a place to escape, and helps you achieve goals you didn't know were possible.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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