Why Women Should Embrace the Bigness

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Or, to make things a bit more click baity maybe an alternative title of this post should be: “Why Women Should Train for Gainz.”


I mean, why do words such as “mass, size, gain, muscular, bulk, and bigness” need only apply to men?

While the tides have changed in recent years – in no small part to places like Cressey Sports Performance, MBSC, I-FAST, AMP Fitness, Tuff Girl Fitness, War Horse Barbell Club, SVPT Fitness, Mark Fisher Fitness, Legacy Strength, and Beyond Strength Performance, to name a few, not to mention the popularity of CrossFit1 – it’s still readily apparent walking past any magazine rack or watching any infomercial, the overall message directed towards women with regards to fitness is still one rife with less than stellar connotations.







Women tend to be inundated with these sort of words all….the….time. Actually, more like punched in the mouth 24/7, seven days a week.

Being smaller, or less of what they currently are is the reverberating theme. And I don’t like it. I don’t like it one iota.

NOTE: Please don’t interpret this as me saying any one woman has to look or strive to look any one way. It’s your prerogative to look how you want to look – small, big, twight (<– said with Goldfinger’s accent from Austin Powers), rotund, I don’t care. Be you. However, I think it’s a fair assessment that the majority of the mainstream media nudges women into thinking that adding, or being more, is less than desirable.

And with that, here are some reasons why women getting their diesel on is a GOOD thing.

1. Purpose

This bodes well for anything – whether it’s to add size, lose fat, train for a competition, or squat King Kong. Having a goal in mind, any goal, gives your training a little oomph, or purpose.

It’s amazing what happens to one’s mindset and approach in heading to the gym when there’s a plan in place. Rather than haphazardly “showing up” and doing a little of this and little of that, training under the guise of adding muscle provides a kick in the pants like nothing other.

To steal some insight from Julie Read:

“You see, a hypertrophy program helps you build the size of your muscles, the cross-sectional size…the girth. I really like how Nick Tumminello puts it “unlike strength training, the goal of training for size is more physiological than it is neurological. It’s about upgrading your body’s hardware, like bones, connective tissues, and muscles. You literally build your body, forcing the tissues to develop and grow stronger.”

And, while it leaves me feeling fatigued, it does so at the muscular level versus in the Central Nervous System (CNS).”

Which is a nice segue to…

2. It’s a Nice Break

I like getting people strong. That’s what I do best. Many of the women who train with me operate underneath the same umbrella. It’s like they’re my own personal army of deadlifting fembots.

Ohhhhh, snap. Austin Powers reference #2!

I can’t deny, though, that training for strength – at least long-term – can be a bit of a drain. Both physically and mentally. Taking a bit of a break and dedicating a macrocycle (or two2) towards aesthetics (namely, muscle growth), and using sub-maximal weight, is a fantastic way to approach things when you’re feeling drained and need an opportunity to reenergize.

Speaking of aesthetics…

3. Aesthetics

Far be it from me to attempt to explain or pontificate on what looks good and what doesn’t. I’m not here to sway anyone’s beliefs or preferences on the topic.

That said, I’d be remiss not to mention the aesthetic benefits of adding muscle to one’s frame. Muscle is what adds shape and contour to the body. What’s more, assuming one’s diet is in check, and there’s less fat covering the muscle, the more those shapes and contours can be shown off or accentuated.

You can’t do this trudging away on the elliptical machine for hours on end and performing endless repetitions of whateverthefuck with pink dumbbells.

Copyright: ammentorp / 123RF Stock Photo

There’s a saying out there a lot of misinformed people like to spout out in defiance of women strength training and training for size.

Muscle weighs more than fat.”

This is often used as a scare-tactic – mostly by people trying to sell their shady products – to deter women from lifting (appreciable) weights.

Um, no. 1 lb of muscle is the same as 1 lb of fat. A pound is a pound.

You see, muscle actually takes up less space than fat. Which is why, often, when many women begin to lift weights they may only set a net difference of a few lbs. of total bodyweight lost, however look as if they lost much more.

Obligatory “lifting weights won’t make you big-n-bulky” diatribe.

“It’s hard to put on muscle. Real effing hard. 100% of guys wish they could add muscle as fast as many women “think” is possible.”

You won’t turn into He-Man in a week. Or a month, or a year for that matter.

This is still my favorite video ever on the topic:


4. Confidence

I think this one is self-explanatory. I LOVE when I witness the switch flip with many of the women I train, from delicate flower to Xena beast mode deadlift warrior.

The key to programs like The Bigness Project is to always, at all times, demonstrate success. The idea should be to showcase to women that they can do stuff, and not revert to lame semantics where the message is “oh, you’re a girl, you should do this instead.”

The easiest examples would be the idea behind “girl push-ups” and/or the idea that women can’t perform pull-ups/chin-ups.


Good programs, programs that work, are ones that build people up and help to make their participants autonomous.

And they also, not coincidentally enough, make people work.

Both hard and intelligently. And that begets confidence. And that’s priceless.

5. Because, Why the Heck Not?

*Also, because my wife is obsessed with Jen Sinkler.3

In my wife’s eyes Jen can do no wrong. Everything from her funny daily anecdotes to her choice of eye liner, my wife is on board with. And when Jen made her big reveal the other week after completing The Bigness Project….

…….all I heard over my shoulder was “daaaaaaaaaaaaayum.”

I think she was referring to both the biceps and leg warmers.

Suffice it to say, Lisa was impressed and is already chomping at the bit to give this program a go once she has the “all clear” from her doctor. She’s 40 weeks pregnant (our little guy is due any minute now), and she’s amped to get started. How cool is that?

I mean, it’s no secret many women struggle with feeling “too big” during and post-pregnancy. The fact my wife is salivating over a program squarely focused on “Bigness” is very cool and a radical notion.

The Bigness Project

Is on sale NOW. However TODAY will be your last chance to get in on the action before it’s taken away.

That’s right, if someone wants to get a copy of The Bigness Project they’ll need to do it between now and end of day today (1/27), or wait until the project is offered again at a future date to get in. If you’re interested, even remotely, THIS is your last chance to get in.

Do it. DO IT.

Did what you just read make your day? Ruin it? Either way, you should share it with your friends and/or comment below.

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Plus, get a copy of Tony’s Pick Things Up, a quick-tip guide to everything deadlift-related. See his butt? Yeah. It’s good. You should probably listen to him if you have any hope of getting a butt that good.

I don’t share email information. Ever. Because I’m not a jerk.
  1. I also can’t deny the immense help it’s been to have coaches like Ben Bruno showcasing videos of famous female clients lifting heavy shit on his Instagram account. When I can revert to videos of Kate Upton, Chelsea Handler, and various Victoria Secret models performing deadlifts, squats, and 500+ lb sled pushes to hesitant female clients it’s priceless. Also, kudos to Bret Contreras for making the world gaga over glute training. Oh, and Girls Gone Strong for being a beacon of encouragement and empowerment for women to embrace the iron. Shit, also Artemis Scantalides for all her work; especially her I Am Not Afraid to Lift workshops (which I have attended, as a dude) Honestly, I could go on forever about a ton of people. My bad for not including everyone I know. I love you.

  2. Or 14

  3. In a good way. Not in some creepy, internet stalker way.

Comments for This Entry

  • Melanie Rutigliano

    I love reading your blog! So much great info. I've learned so much from your videos as well. I'm now deadlifting 90lbs (I'm 106lbs & 48 years old!) I've been trying out the front squat recently from the squat blog you had recently posted, I was told I had good form. I love how you support and encourage woman to be whatever they choose to be! Keep blogging! Also, congratulations on the upcoming birth of your baby. It's such a special time?

    January 27, 2017 at 4:34 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Louben Repke, RN, BSN, CPT

    Love this blog! I had a client in the past (female) who acted like EVERYTHING would get her bulky. She literally never wanted to do any arms. Since it was her money on the line this was the one time where I let the client sort of tailored the workout some. She loves cardio, abs and glutes/legs but no matter what I did I could not get her to do any arms/upper body exercises. Great read, I will forward her this article link in an email. haha. Louben,

    January 28, 2017 at 7:35 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Clem Nihill

    Love that Stevie P video. Also, cannot get the image of a personal army of deadlifting fembots out of my head. Great read Tony.

    February 1, 2017 at 7:45 am | Reply to this comment

  • Eleanor Le Fevre

    Loved this one. Had a massage client ask me how my training was going for my next PL meet and also ask "Where does all the muscle go when you're done?" and "Aren't you worried that you'll look like one of those muscly body builders." As my elbow was doing some serious deep work on her quad at that time I said "Trust me, you don't want me to start getting weaker, and if this training made me look like that just by lifting and eating the food with no "artificial" help I'd be fucking stoked." Love all your articles Tony!!

    February 2, 2017 at 1:02 pm | Reply to this comment

    • TonyGentilcore

      Next time you receive a comment like that, revert to a recent gem I heard Ben Bruno say to a female client when she asked if doing 3 sets of squats would make her legs look bulky? Ben's response......"will eating 3 salads make you thin? Change takes time."

      February 6, 2017 at 9:00 am | Reply to this comment

  • Sport- und Fitnessblogs am Sonntag, 29. Januar 2017 – Eigenerweg

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