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Real Life Nutrition Questions Answered

Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

Emma Brown

Janet Aylott

Kelly Marshall
Fitness Consultant


What can I do to avoid this 'muscle bulking' feeling?

Hi There.� I need some advice re the right type of exercise for my body shape please. I am a typical hourglass figure and I tend to gain weight all over. I love exercising and I've tried a lot of different types but yet I never seem to slim down (even when on diet also). While I tone up a lot, I also tend to bulk up. I know girls don't really gain muscle easily but I do seem to e.g. from dancing, kettlebell squats, spinning and shred in the past, my thighs and calves just seem to get bigger and my jeans get tighter :(. Same happens my arms but not as bad as my legs. I want to go back to basics and do some exercise that will allow me to actually slim down. I am currently doing C25K- do you think this will help? Should I stay away from weights for a while? Thanks :)


Our expert says...


If you are concerned about body size change then I would recommend you focus on the C25K and other forms of cardiovascular exercise in the initial stages. If we create a nutritional deficit than increased muscle tone and fat utilisation occurs simultaneously and women shouldn't really experience the feeling of muscle 'growth'. This said, sometimes women can experience and misinterpret the normal response of muscle swelling that makes trained areas appear temporarily bigger as a normal short-term adaptation to training.

I would recommend you train weights but for now perhaps go with lighter weights that allow you to do 20 reps (at the most - should still be a challenge) and combine exercises together in a big, continuous circuit of 4-6 exercises. A circuit-style approach will allow you to optimize the aerobic and calorie burning effect.

One last thing, make sure if you are doing running and high intensity classes like spin and kettlebell work that stretch, foam roll (see article on resources page of website) and get regular MOT sports massage to prevent muscle spasm, shortening and injury (as this too can cause a swollen look in muscles).

Hope this helps,


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