T Nation

Girlfriend Doesn't Want To Get 'Big'


Hey guys I started working out with a new girlfriend with some of the workouts I learned on T-Nation.

Before she just did the treadmill and yogo BS at the gym so I got her onto some weight routines. She is thin, maybe 5'6" 110-115 pounds. She could probably stand to add a bit of muscle.

It's going pretty well (and I'm sure you know where this is going) but she saw some female figure competitor magazines and doesn't want to be 'big' like them. It's kind of silly because she seems to think that after doing 15 pound curls for a few weeks she is going to suddenly get ripped and look unfeminine.

She says things like 'I don't want my arms to get bigger than they are now'. 'I don't want to look like THAT'

Also the workouts we do together are HIIT type stuff from a Waterbury article so it's not even designed to bulk up. Is there an article link about how to deal with this or something I could show her? Advice?

I'd like to know 'Jamie' from the figure competitor's section's workout. Because I'm sure it includes some dead lifting and heavy upper body work. I don't think any woman would mind looking like her.


Maybe, something like this would help:




tell her the girls in those magazines can bench 300 pounds.


4 Things Your Girlfriend Should Know


Search for Busy, Hectic, and Hot by Jen Heath, also 10 Keys to the Lean and Sexy Look
Optimized Figure Training by Thibs and also Waterbury's Diet and Training GUide for Women
Chris Shugart also did an interview with Jamie Eason entitled, The Jamie Eason Experience.


This is Gea Johnson, former Olympic weightlifter. That means it was essentially her job to lift extremely heavy weights, and to do so repeatedly throughout her career.


This is also Gea Johnson. In addition to being an Olympic weightlifter, she's had a successful modeling career. She does not look terribly huge nor does she look manly, by any stretch of the imagination.

I agree with the others who've suggested some reading material. Try to get your girlfriend to checkout http://www.musclewithattitude.com

The gals there are all about incorporating weight training to build a feminine physique. Also, remind your gal of a quote I once heard from Shugart: "Lifting weights makes men big. It makes women firm."

Best of luck to her. Keep us in the loop, and toss us any other questions.


All women think they will gain muscles like crazy, despite lifting small and eating small.


You are thinking way too logically. She is trying to tell you that she doesn't like lifting weights. She wants to go back the the treadmill and yoga.

Let her. Stop trying to justify your position. It won't help. Be happy that she is lean and trying to keep it that way.

If you keep pushing your position, she'll be doing yoga with some other dude and you'll be telling your hand how right you were.


OP, this fellow here could be onto something.

Personally if she cannot be up front and honest about her reasons for complaining though, I might reconsider the relationship; doubly so considering she may not be able to be a logical person.


Or you could just tell her that giving you several sessions of fellatio per week (2-3x daily for best results) will help offset unwanted hypertrophy.

Throw that on the wall and see if it sticks.


I think this pretty much hit the nail on the head. Her not wanting to get big = her really not wanting to lift weights or train in the same style that you do. Let her do her thing and be happy that she is active. Potentially put some good reading material her way and she may change her mind/views down the road.


Why don't you just measure her arm and leg circumference? Then in 2-4 weeks when they are smaller because she lifted with heavy weights, you can give her a strawberry shortcake (punch her in the face to give her a bloody, broken nose and jizz on her face); then yell, "SEE, I TOLD YOU, YOU STUPID WHORE!"

P.S. - I don't think she's a whore, but it's better than the mundane "I told you so."

P.P.S - This strategy has worked for me in the past, true story. And sure, my gf stabbed me shortly thereafter, but I had proven my point and held my head high on the way to the emergency room.


show her jamie or whoever was one of the featured figure competitors... she looks amazing.


Strawberry shortcake? Dude that's gross.

Jamie is hot.

I'm not forcing her to do anything. She wants to workout with me. Maybe because she's afraid of me talking to other women in the gym. But she also likes to complain.

So I told her in my Arnold from 'Pumping Iron' voice that she is welcome workout with me, but there will be no complaining, because I can't have all this negativity seeping into mein verkouts.


I agree, show her pictures of beautiful women who lift weights & are not huge. Say how attractive you find that look & how they glow with health. Women like to glow.

Remember, she's been looking at pictures in women's fashion & workout magazines for years at models who are bony-skinny & being presented as the ideal. I used to think I was supposed to look like that, too. Now I just want to look like Jen Heath.

Also, so she'll know you're a good sport, offer to go to a yoga class with her. It won't kill you, & she'll enjoy showing you a thing or two for once, which should make her more willing to listen to you.


This guy is pretty solid:


His post today just happens to be about the lovely Ms. Biel:

Here's another about LeAnn Rimes, who is able to bench her own bodyweight:

He writes pretty regularly on the "lifting will make you hot, not manly" topic, and uses a lot of real-word examples. Good stuff.


This concern is easily assuaged by reminding her that no matter how hard she works out or how strong she becomes she cannot gain any weight unless she supplies a caloric surplus.

In other words working out has never put weight on anybody unless they also increased their eating. Controlling her diet is absolutely effective at preventing size gains.


I know we all get hard on the girls for this, but we gotta realize that they are watching US, and all they see is that we weight train and that we get bigger... which they dont want.

I'm assuming most of our girls dont sit around all day watching us eat and drink all of our meals... So they might be missing that piece to the puzzle.

I think most women will still avoid stuff like squats and deadlifts like the plague because they seem so "manly" for some reason. I dont know that I've ever seen a woman do either at a gym (I know they exist...I've just NEVER seen it).

Its a hard sell for sure, ease weights in slowly.