Updated: Mar 4, 2020
As a female personal trainer one of the most common statements I hear from female clients is, "I just want to get toned, you know, not bulky though."
As I try to not outwardly express my inner eye roll, I generally nod and say, "Sure, I know what you mean."
Here's the truth ladies; you will not get "bulky" from lifting weights. Bodybuilders spend decades putting in hours at the gym (and some, god knows what into their bodies) in order to "get big". It is difficult. You have to train a LOT. And eat even more. It is a long, difficult, strenuous process that requires consistency and discipline.
I lift weights generally six days a week. The only time I have ever felt "bulky" was years ago, when I didn't lift weights, 'cause I was fat. Fat is bulky.
When I was "bulky" I avoided pictures, and beaches, and summer clothes, and mirrors at all costs. Now, I love feeling myself get stronger and seeing those results in the mirror. Yes, we bodybuilders are the kings and queens of the douchey gym mirror selfie. Some misinterpret this as narcissism; but this is how we measure our results and see the payoff for all of those hours at the gym. You can't hide a lack of discipline from the mirror. The mirror reflects the work you put in.
My personal goal, at this moment, is to grow, not to shrink. I am trying my hardest to increase muscle mass, and I need to make some changes to my diet if I want that muscle mass to be visible and defined. Your results will depend on your commitment to a program that is tailored to your goals. There is no one-size-fits-all workout; you can watch every YouTube video on the planet and use every fitness app available, but unless you have guidance on what works for your body, and the types and appropriate intensity and reps of resistance exercises you should be doing to reach your personal goals, you will not see any results, let alone, get "bulky".
Toning is for printers ladies. Get strong.