Tips for Exercising Without Getting Huge!

Hey Davey,

I’m really on again off again about my fitness. It’s because I gain muscle SO quickly. I’ll work out really solidly for about 3 months and then start looking like a man and back off.

What should I do to prevent myself from turning into a body builder, but still keeping my muffin top on the shelf and off my tummy?


Hey Sarah,

You’re not alone – and your desire to tone without looking like a bodybuilder is one that knows no gender. Many guys are in the same boat. The desire to be healthy and fit without becoming overly developed or huge is both common and achievable.

In general, I advise concerned clients to fear not – and that it actually takes a lot of deliberate and intense training to develop the muscular build of a bodybuilder. It doesn’t happen by accident, and it’s especially challenging for women due to hormonal differences.

In your email, you mentioned that you gain muscle quickly. To prevent this, you can simply change the way you train; your body will respond differently.

Training for muscle growth usually involves a low number of repetitions (10 or under) at high levels of resistance. The last repetition should result in muscle failure – that is, you’d be unable to do one more rep. Moreover, someone looking to build muscle would constantly progress to higher levels of resistance.

Since you don’t want muscle growth, modify your routine to train for definition and strength. Perform a high number of repetitions (10 or more – try 15!). Since you’re doing more reps, you’ll obviously need a lighter weight. If you’re satisfied with the amount of muscle on your body, then there is no need to progress to heavier weights or higher levels of resistance. And because you’ll be staying at one set level of resistance, you’ll probably find that you’re not reaching muscle failure on your last rep – and that’s fine.

You can also shift more of your workout to cardio, and/or spend a bit less time in the weight room.

So fear not! You can enjoy the benefits of exercise without worrying about bulking up.

I hope this helps!


About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.


  1. GeoRG!e says:

    I’d been waiting to hear this! I’d asked before but never got an answer myself, thanks Sarah!

  2. Hi, I’m Bruno from Brazil. Thanks for your tip, Davey. It’s very useful.

  3. FiniteKosmos says:

    Hi guys,

    I actually find that Cycling is the best method for preventing massive growth. I combine a 2 hour cycle with a 1 hour free weights session every other day and find this to be a good way of maintaining a light atheletic build which is preferable to me as a distance cyclist as big muscles require a lot more oxygen and energy than I can afford over long distances..

    Keep up the great site Davey!


  4. “It’s because I gain muscle SO quickly.” YOU’RE LUCKY! I envy you 🙂


  1. […] While most women get plenty of cardio, they often shy away from the weight room. Beyond the intimidation factor of working with free weights, most women avoid strength training because they don’t want to become bulky or overly muscular. […]