“I Don’t Want to Get Too Big”

“I Don’t Want to Get Too Big”
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(Please be forewarned of an impending rant!)

As someone who has spent 15 years of her life working as personal trainer, the phrase I detest the most is “I don’t want to get too big“. It never fails new clients, mostly females, think that obtaining a bodybuilder or even fitness model physique is easy. Total beginners that can barely bench press an empty bar for 3 reps express concern they don’t want to get “too big”. Sure, thinking that at first is fine, but months and months of insisting to me they will “get big” while I try and explain and they completely ignore me (a trained professional) frustrated me to no end. They would insist on using nothing over 5lb dumbells since they “didnt want to get big

To me – this is on the same wavelength as someone going to a swimming lesson learning how to doggy paddle then informing the swim instructor they don’t want to be an Olympic swimmer. Seriously. People don’t think going for a swim will turn them into Michael Phelps, why do people think lifting a weight will turn them into Iris Kyle?

And, yes, this is not polite to say – but in my years of experience the irony is most the women that say this – are huge anyway! It never failed some 250lb overweight lady would inform me “she didn’t want to get big like those female bodybuilders from lifting weights“. For many years I shut up in the interest of keeping my job and paying my mortgage, but in later years once I was self employed I lost control and would point out with an insipid fake smile that “actually no female bodybuilder in history has ever competed at the weight you are now. You are 100lbs heavier then the average female bodybuilder“. This was a surefire way to get them to stop.

It even extended to fitness model physiques, and I have always wondered why people feel it is acceptable? If fitness models and bodybuilders were to start telling people they found them fat, sloppy and digusting it would be an uproar – but somehow the general public seems to feel it’s polite to tell physique competitors this. Thinking what you want is fine, why verbalize this and insult others unasked?

Now granted, there are cases of females looking bad from steroid abuse – but even someone like Monica Brant can be scorned at times.

I am inflicting this rant on femalemuscle.com readers due to an event this morning. A sometime training partner of mine is my new wallpaper. She is an IFBB pro and just sent me some new pics of her and I thought she looked great so I made her my desktop for motivation. Someone had occasion to see my screen and said “eww, she looks horrible all huge“. I pointed out she was a close friend of mine and figured that would shut them up.

No – it didn’t. They continued to insult, so finally I pointed out – “actually she weighs 125lbs, I can see you weigh nothing under 220lbs so actually you are huge not her“. Then of course the person became butt hurt by me insulting their weight – after freely insulting my friend.

Is it just me? Any other personal trainers out there hate this phrase?

Lori Braun

Lori Braun

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17 Responses to "“I Don’t Want to Get Too Big”"

  1. jenni  February 5, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    Hi Patricia i have read your article and thought that everything you said was very true,my partner is a personal trainer and he hates when women go on saying they dont want to be to big?! what is that all about? I am Currently myself a beginner in the female body building world,but find these women absolutely gorgeous,it takes hard training and dedication to do what they do,and it has nothing to do with anyone eles how they wish to be,if you started saying errr how discusting is that fat person they would be an up roar,and i think Monica Brant looks unbelievably amazing,she is my screne saver on my mobile phone,she is my insperation,love Jenni x

  2. Patricia  February 5, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    Thanks Jenni, I feel much better to know its not just me. Give your partner my sympathies lol, I know how it is. Good luck with your goals :-)

  3. Joseph  February 6, 2009 at 11:41 am

    it’s jealously turned to scorn. I’m a runner and sometimes I hear women look at female runners and say they’re too skinny or anorexic and I think “why? because they don’t have 20 lbs of flab hanging off of each ass cheek?”

  4. Patricia  February 6, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    Joseph, like you point out, it seems to go all ways. Quite annoying, my father is a runner and I’ve heard that as well. Again, normally from people not in great shape themselves lol.

  5. jenni  February 10, 2009 at 8:39 am

    Your welcome,i have my weight and exercise plans ready now,and my diet consists of plenty of fresh fruit,veg,and lots of protein,i am so excited to achieve my goals and dont care what people say or think,they may not like female body builders but they are (to quote Joseph) jelious and have not got the disaplin or cannot be bothered to achieve a healthy well balanced diet,i have always had a saying look after your body and your body will look after you,thankyou for your input Joseph,female body builders are fantastic in my eyes and always will be,will keep you up to date on how i am going thanks for the support patricia :) x

  6. Patricia  February 13, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    Great Jenni! Go for it. I compete as well, and it is very personally satisfying. I learned a long time ago to ignore folks, and do things for me.

  7. jenni  February 15, 2009 at 5:59 am

    Thats great patricia,any tips that you have about diet would be much appreciated x

  8. Patricia  February 19, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    Jenni, it’s all like 80% consistency really. If you follow any type of good plan, and stick to it like crazy – it will work. Boring as that it at times lol.

    The normal old 4/6 small meals a day, higher protein, chicken, fish, turkey, salads etc. I am partial to a lower carb diet myself and I am a huge fan of fish oils. I also think a multivitamin is very important, people want to run off and buy all these fancy supps spending a fortune – while they forget one of the staples – a multi.

    I also could not live withouit sugar free jello. It’s my lifesaver for late nights lol. 10 calories a serving, zero carb and fat hehe. Thats me though, I have a real sweet tooth.

    You’ll do great, the mind always creates the body. If your mind is ready – the body will follow.

  9. PowerMuscleChick  August 23, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    WOW, this article NAILED IT. I can’t even believe how much this is actually said in the real world. In fact, I’m a person of getting my point out on T-shirts, so maybe i’ll put my physique in a nice t-shirt and have it say EXACTLY THAT…”I don’t wanna get TOO BIG” Hahahahaha.
    THUMBS UP!!!

  10. Tonia Moore  August 24, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    I totally agree with all that you are saying here in this write up…it’s not just you babe. Your points made here are so RIGHT ON!! Thanks again for another great article.


  11. malissa  August 29, 2010 at 11:33 am

    I recently lost 50lbs and competed for the 1st time as a LW bodybuilder, I was down to 110lbs on my small 5ft 1 frame….I was so HAPPY w/ my accomplishment, but it didn’t stop people from saying oh my you sure are getting skinny and look a little sucked up in the face!! Well people thats what happens when you diet, water deplete and do 3hrs of cardio a day!!!! I really wanted to say to these people, you sure look FAT today, but I would never dare insult someone….why they felt it okay to insult me for all my hard work I will never know!!! As you said in article it is THE HUGE OVERWEIGHT person who usually says this and should take a look in the mirror before saying such comments….as my mother always told me “if you don’t have something nice to say, say nothing at all!!”

  12. Michelle  April 6, 2011 at 11:59 am

    This is so true, I have heard this by many women!!! Who ever think the women who do no feed themselves looks great then they sadly have no idea what those women put their bodies into… It is torture… Why would anyone want to starve their bodies to be thin!?! And personally they are skinny fat anyways…
    I think muscles on a woman is absolutely gorgeous!!!

  13. Kevin Q.  April 6, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Female bodybuilders are the most gorgeous women on earth!
    I wish I had a girlfriend who is muscular.

  14. Angie  May 17, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    “no female bodybuilder in history has ever competed at the weight you are now”

    Ha! I scared my cat I laughed so hard. Must find where I put my spine… I just realized I need assertiveness lessons!

  15. Angie  May 17, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    In all seriousness, you’re right, this phrase is the most nonsensical one I have ever heard about fitness, it never fails to perplex me. In my opinion the question of “how muscular” a woman should get is a matter of personal will and choice. Competition judging is another issue. But fear of muscles is beyond my ken.

    It’s entirely social. All animals develop muscles. Female lions are no less dangerous than males, more so with cubs. Maybe one thing that separates us from animals is this absurd notion that women should be weak, and somehow magically skinny without any muscles or exercise to fuel their metabolism. I’m of the opinion that muscles are natural on everyone. I sweat, I don’t perspire, it’s the way I should be.

    If someone doesn’t want to train, ok, don’t, it’s your life. But it’s magical thinking to imagine that you’re going to lose weight without having to lift a finger. And you shouldn’t go to a trainer and then tell them you don’t want to get any results. Maybe a good way to deal with this is to ask for positive statements.

    OK you don’t want to bulk up. Tell me what you do want.

    1. Walk up and down stairs, no huffing

    2. Open jars yourself

    3. Clean your own house, stop paying $75/week to have a stranger do it badly

    4. Wear a bikini again


  16. Freeman  May 22, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    I have commented on this subject before, just in the wrong area.
    I have been in personal training over 20 years and it never ends. Most women, no matter how hard you try to get them to not say it, also respond with, “I don’t wan to get to big.” Yes it’s frustrating and irritating each time they say it. Especially when you didn’t ask them if that’s what they want. I always ask what is your goal? And they still respond the same way. I tell them they will never look like a bodybuilder. And ask do they know what it takes to get that way? I know that it’s ignorance on their part, but it still irritates.
    For some reason most women think you just pick up a weight and bam, you have muscles. Women need to be educated and some men, before going to a gym and getting a trainer. Otherwise, it will continue.

  17. Nasim Shamlou-Juhola  July 16, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    I can totally relate to what you have written. I think everyone is entitled to their opinions and it’s a good thing that there will always be enough people in the world caring for every kind of body shape and size. But my husband and I also don’t get why many people think it’s ok to express negative opinions about bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts but it can’t work the other way, otherwise there will be an uproar as you said.

    I always remember this: When people told Arnold “We never want to look like you” Arnold replied “Don’t worry, you never will”


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