No, Weight Training Won’t “Make You Bulky”: Breaking Down Lifting Myths


When you walk through the door at Swell, you’ve got access to our four dedicated weight rooms. From multi-functional racks, bars, and plates to your choice of free weights, we’ve got you covered. So what’s keeping you from putting in the reps?

Even though weight training makes us stronger, boosts our metabolisms, and can improve all sorts of athletic performance, there’s a lot of stigma around it. Luckily, we’re here to bust some of the lifting myths and show the benefits of adding some weight to your workouts. 

Myth #1: Muscle turns to fat as soon as you stop weight training

That’s about as plausible as sugar turning to salt, a cat becoming a dog, or oil turning to water. Muscle cells and fat cells are entirely different on a molecular level. One can’t become the other. 

So what really happens when you stop weight lifting? The muscles you’ve tightened and strengthened will begin to weaken. Eventually, your muscle mass will shrink, leading to less definition and tone. And then the fat creeps in, right? Well, not necessarily. As professional bodybuilder Ronnie Coleman notes, you won’t magically develop more fat—unless you suddenly begin consuming more calories than you burn. 

Myth #2: Weight training will turn you into the Hulk

This is going to be good news for some of you, and bad news for others: weight lifting alone is not enough to “Hulk out.” Just ask a professional bodybuilder about their routine. It takes an incredible amount of discipline, time, and effort to get significant muscle gains. Unless you’re planning on eating, sleeping, and training like a bodybuilder, you don’t have to worry about accidentally becoming the next Mr. Olympia when you step up to the squat rack. 

Myth #3: Low weight, high reps for “toned” muscles

So you want to lift, but you don’t want to bulk up. Great! You can just grab a set of 5-pound weights and crank out a couple dozen sets. Or so the myth goes. This one is so widespread that many trainers call it the myth of the pink dumbbell, and it relies on a fundamental misconception about how muscles respond to exercise. Please don’t get us wrong. High rep sets have their place in the gym. They’re great for building muscular endurance

Spoiler alert: this myth works both ways. Heavy weights aren’t the best way to build big muscles. But they are the best way to hurt yourself, especially if you don’t work up to them. To improve strength, avoid injury, and build lean muscle, you’ll want to find your muscular fatigue point—a weight that lets you do a certain number of reps and no more.

Step up to the rack

Ready to add weight training to your routine, but not sure where to start? Our personal trainers can help you safely add weights to your workouts. They’ll also keep an eye on your form, so you get the most out of your training sesh. And don’t forget that on weight days, just like every day, the Swell team is here to support you.