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Will I Get Bulky Muscles from Judo? | Ask The Fitness Nerd

Posted Nov 14 2008 5:48pm

Judo will not make you look fat. Exercise doesn’t necessarily equate to bulky muscles for women. The Fitness Nerd explains why.

Hi Fitness Nerd,

I started taking judo a couple of months ago because I really enjoy doing it rather than using it as a way to keep fit. While I don’t Image of Woman In A Martial Arts Stance mind gaining a bit of muscle tone, I’m worried about bulking up as I’m a very small female who is a good weight and thick chunky muscles would just make me look fat. Is there anyway I can encourage my muscles to remain small but defined rather than grow big through diet? - Sophie

Sophie, you can relax. The chances of you “bulking up” and looking like a female version of Arnold Schwarzenegger are pretty slim. In fact, I’d say they are close to zero. There are three main reasons for this:

1. Women Don’t Have The Hormones for Huge Muscles

First, most women don’t have the hormonal environment necessary to put on massive amounts of muscle.  Adding muscle requires testosterone — and while women do have some testosterone — they typically don’t have enough to build the freaky muscles that you see on most bodybuilders — male or female. Yes, there are exceptions (and typically they involve the use of anabolic steroids or unusual male hormone levels in women ), but these are quite rare. So unless you have an atypical endocrine system for your gender or are on the testosterone patch, I wouldn’t sweat it for one minute.

2. Body Weight Training Doesn’t Maximize Muscle Mass

Second, judo is an activity that doesn’t involve the introduction of non-body-weight resistance. Building muscle requires consistently overloading the muscles with a progressive amount of weight during weight and resistance training.  This process of overloading the muscles is what builds muscle mass. With judo, you are basically training yourself against your own weight (or against someone else’s in some cases)– which more or less is fairly consistent. While this can certainly build strength, balance and co-ordination (and some muscle mass), it’s typically not enough to add lots of muscle. But again, even if you were pumping iron heavy daily, you’d probably be pretty pleased with the results. So maybe you should try it.

What it will do, is challenge a lot of stabilizer muscles that you might not normally use in your everyday activities, as well as burn some extra calories, which can help you strip off body fat. When people experience a “firming” of their muscles, it’s usually do primarily to a loss in body fat. You can have muscle, but if it’s wrapped in fat, it will seem soft and “jiggly.” Lose the fat, and suddely that lean, gorgeous muscle underneath starts to shine.



Tags: Amanda Carrier, Ask The Fitness Nerd, Benefits of Weight Training, BMI, Body Fat, Body Fat Percentage, Body Mass Index, Body Toning, Body Toning Exercises, Body Toning Workout, Body Weight Exercises, Bruce Lee, Bulky Muscles, Elektra, Female Fitness, Female Fitness Muscle, Female Martial Muscle, Female Muscle, Female Muscle Compare, Female Muscle Growth, Female Muscles, Jennifer Garner, Judo, Martial Arts, Muscle Toning, Resistance Training, Specificity, Weight & Resistance Training, weight training for women, Whole Body Toning, Women's Fitness, Womens Judo, Womens Martial Arts

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