About a year ago I bought some DvDs by Jillian Michaels and started to work out sporadically hoping I would be able to tone my body a bit and to fit into my old denims again which became too stubborn to fit over my hips.
After a few weeks, instead of toning down however, like they promised, my thighs didn’t fit into my current denims anymore and it freaked me the hell out! I stopped immediately, convinced I was bulking up and adding muscles.
Let me tell you right now that this is complete bullshit.
- The female physiology doesn’t allow muscle gain as easy as for males. In order to really increase your muscle size you need to not only eat much more then you are used to you also will have to work much harder then your male counterparts. But the most important factor is that testosterone is the main hormone being used by our bodies to build muscles and you are probably well aware that testosterone is a male hormone. Even though ovaries produce testosterone as well the amount is significantly lower then that of our male counterparts and this logically also limits not only the speed but also the actual max growth of a woman’s muscle.
- The fact that your thighs are bigger comes from the fact that during strength/resistance training you are damaging the muscle fibers slightly so they increase in strength once they’ve been repaired from those little injuries. Now during this process the body retains water in the muscle to speed up recovery. This is specially true during the first few days or week of a program you might not be used to and it’s the main reason for the muscles to “swell”. This is completely normal and will go away after a few days. Now add the fact that this happens within a few days while you won’t have worked off any kind of fat layer in this time since to add injury to insult, those areas tend to be the most stubborn ones for us girls, and you end up with the size gain that freaks most of us out at the start.
That’s all there is to it. No need to be alarmed or even worse, throw the towel! I went through the same again during the first month of P90X but eventually everything was back to normal and not only did I tone down I also am fitting in my skinny denims again!
So, don’t freak out about a bit of size gain at the start of any kind of fitness program incorporating resistance training. Even if you have been doing workouts for a long time your muscles might still swell slightly for a few hours. That means you might want to be careful about doing any kind of specific leg training before a date night out in town if you still fancy those skinny denims 😉