What does "bulky" even mean?

“I don’t want to get big and bulky”

I hear this all the time.

What does “bulky” even mean?

Being directly in the health & fitness industry I speak to a lot of women that are afraid of lifting heavy weights because they are think they will get too bulky, the actual definition of “bulky” is described differently by each person I talk to, what one women finds bulky, another might find still too slim, or just right, or perhaps perfect.

I love lifting heavy, pushing myself in the gym, having muscles and looking and feeling strong. There is a certain way that I want my body to look, my family are always saying “you look so skinny” or “you’re too muscly”, on the other hand my fitness friends are always encouraging me to gain haha! What I’m trying to say is that my thought of how I would like my body to look is not the same way others want to look, and that’s ok, we all have different body types we would like to achieve.

While it’s true that gaining significant amounts of muscle mass doesn’t happen overnight and women who carry a lot of muscle have likely worked very hard to get that way, some women can gain lean muscle much quicker than others. It will come down to individual’s biochemistry, body type, diet, training history, type of strength training, training frequency etc.

This is the cool part; if you prefer a lightly muscled look, and you feel you have gained enough muscle for your personal preference, you can transition to a maintenance plan with both your training and nutrition that will keep you at the look you love and you won’t get “too big” or “bulky”.

Another important factor to point out that is often missed when talking about getting “bulky” is body fat.

Over my years in the fitness industry I have had a number of female clients that I have put on strength training programs and they’d report to me that the number on the scales isn’t changing, this is where your nutrition plays a huge part, training can increase appetite and if you aren’t careful you can easily over eat.

So think about this; weight training will result in gaining some muscle, and eating in a calorie surplus (more calories than your body is burning) will result in fat gain. Of course you are going to get bigger and the scales are going up. The good thing here is, this is an easy fix, getting on a more structured meal plan, bringing your calories down will eliminate the fat gains.

Sum-up; muscle gain is a hard game trusts me, you won’t get big quick, and you can change up your training once you have your desired body type. Eating to suit your goals is in my opinion the most important part of gaining, losing or maintaining weight.

I have the privilege of talking to the staff and managers of the 32 ASN stores around the country on a daily basis and every day I am blown away by the support and knowledge within the team. Whatever your goal, whether it be big or small, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by going in and asking for help!!

Blogger: Codi Hanson (ASN Coffs Harbour)
Follow me on Instagram for Training, Nutrition & Supp Tips Daily >> @misscodihanson

STICK TO IT: Five Rules For Staying On Your Next Contest Diet!!

Five Rules For Staying On Your Next Contest Diet

You’ve done all the research and your next diet is meticulously planned out. Protein, fat and carbs are calculated down to the gram and you know exactly what to eat and when to eat it.

You wonder how the IFBB Pro League bodybuilders you admire can do this for 12-20 weeks before a contest it seems impossible.

Here To Help: Nutrition Expert Hany Rambod

It’s not impossible for them and it’s not impossible for you. The key is to know the tricks and tools you can use to make your next diet feel like you aren’t missing much at all. We turned to top nutritionist Hany Rambod to find out what he tells his clients to make dieting more comfortable. It seems that everyone who calls on Rambod’s services has success: in 2010 alone, he coached four-time Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler, 2010 Olympia runner-up Phil Heath and two-time Olympia 202 Showdown champion Kevin English.
These fellows are as human as you, and you’d be kidding yourself to think that Rambod hasn’t had to coax each of them through some diet defeats.

#5 Go Ahead And Cheat

As long as you are following your diet plan perfectly, a cheat meal is not just allowed, it’s encouraged. According to Rambod, “It is important to have one [cheat meal] every three or four days so you don’t feel like you are dieting.” The critical point is to have one cheat meal and not a cheat day. And make it the last meal if you have a lot of carbs early in the day, the insulin spike set off by them will lead to all-day cravings.

It will then take about five days to counteract the damage from one day of cheating!

Do This:

Rambod suggests you go to a restaurant. “Get out of the house and break up the monotony of dieting. Going out also allows you to indulge on controlled portions and leave the food there. Then you can return to your safe, controlled environment.” Go with steak and sweet-potato fries or pasta and chicken followed by a small dessert, such as frozen yogurt or a slice of carrot cake.

Red Alert:

Even though you are thinking of it as cheating, the meal must offer some nutritional value, so it needs to contain protein, carbs and fat. Stay away from food that is basically carbs and fat, such as pizza.

#4 Be Sweet

Artificial sweeteners are modern science’s answer to satisfying a sweet tooth without the calories. These products give the taste of sugar without a significant insulin spike. But like anything good, too much is a bad thing, so practice moderation.

Do This:

Sucralose a main ingredient in Splenda is 600 times sweeter than sugar, so just a few packets a day can go a long way in your oatmeal, rice, etc. There is 1 gram of maltodextrin (a carb that is used as a filler) in each packet. A newer version of Splenda contains a gram of fiber in every teaspoon. Second on the list is stevia, which is actually an herb with up to 300 times the sweetness of sugar. Some brands of stevia have a bitter aftertaste shop around until you find one that agrees with you.

Red Alert:

Taken in excess, aspartame (found in diet sodas and in many varieties of Crystal Light) and saccharin can cause headaches. Those sweeteners also have been known to cause severe intestinal distress that can have you running to the bathroom instead of the gym.

#3 Eat Your Veggies

Fibrous vegetables are saviors for the hungry, dieting bodybuilder. The carb count in them is very low and the fiber fills you up minus the calories.
“The fiber is digested slowly and that keeps you fuller longer,” Rambod says. If that isn’t enough, the fiber is great for digestive health, which is imperative when you are on a low-carb plan and fiber is scarce.

Do This:

Stock up on broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus and bell peppers. Another option is to add a small salad to your meal (lettuce, spinach, cucumber and tomatoes, plus some spices and a few drops of balsamic vinegar) to keep you feeling fuller for longer.

Red Alert:

Avoid carrots, peas and corn for their higher sugar content. If you’re not sure, always check nutritional values first to avoid excess sugar and calories.

#2 Add Flavor

Chicken, fish, rice and oatmeal can be pretty bland, which makes it harder to stay on point, unless you add some zest. Luckily, according to Rambod, “Condiments are OK offseason and precontest. The only difference is the sugar content.” In the offseason, the excess calories from sugary sauces like barbecue or teriyaki are acceptable. When you are trying to get shredded, there are plenty of great options to add flavor without the calories.

Do This:

Rambod recommends mustard (many varieties), horseradish, low-sodium soy sauce and hot sauce. If sauces aren’t your fancy, there are a ton of other spices that provide great flavors. Popular among bodybuilders is Mrs. Dash, a brand of seasoning blends that comes in wide varieties without any sodium. If sodium content isn’t a concern (a hard-dieting bodybuilder needs plenty), then a few shakes of seasoned salt will help make any fish or chicken easier to get down.

Red Alert:

If you pile the spices on your food, you might feel it in your stomach later. Many spices can cause acid reflux or indigestion, so if you start to feel the burn, cut back.
Don’t turn to acid-reducing medications; they create a number of other problems.

#1 Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

You must have a plan. Know where each meal is going to come from long before you need it. A hungry bodybuilder isn’t always a rational animal, so don’t expect to make great food choices when you’re famished. You never have to worry about making a bad choice, as long as you have a plan in place and as long as you follow it to the letter.

Do This:

Most of your meals should be homemade to ensure clean cooking and proper measurement. Some bodybuilders like the idea of cooking all their meals for the week at once, but Rambod has a better idea: “My athletes cook at least twice per week, so the food doesn’t get stale.” Each day that cooked meat sits in a refrigerator, it loses moisture, and if you warm already-stale food in a microwave, it is going to taste more like cardboard.
Rambod explains, “When you have to eat seven or eight meals per day, it’s tough to get dry, stale food down the pipe, so make it easier on yourself.”

Red Alert:

Even if you’re the most dedicated athlete, there will be times when you can’t avoid eating at a restaurant during your contest diet. Never assume that your food will be prepared in the cleanest way. Tell the wait staff exactly what you want speak out, so they can deliver a bodybuilder-friendly meal to your table.

Spice It Up

            Rambod’s favorite spices will add life to otherwise boring
            diet fare and provide a few health benefits to boot.


“Cinnamon extract has been proven to aid in glucose disposal, so it keeps your blood sugar stable. Don’t bother with a cinnamon extract supplement; just add cinnamon extract to your food for flavor and fat loss. You might also think outside the box with cinnamon it works great with a lot of foods you might not expect.”


“This is often found in South Asian and Middle Eastern dishes and it is commonly used in many curries. The active component is curcumin, an antioxidant that has been found to aid joint health, helping to reduce inflammation and heal injured joints.”

Cayenne Pepper

“If you like it hot, then this is the spice for you. A dash will give your food some kick and put your body in fat-burning mode. Capsaicin is the active ingredient in cayenne and it is a proven thermogenic. Cayenne causes a slight rise in body temperature, which means more calorie burning and fat loss not bad for something sitting in your spice rack.
If you aren’t a fan of the dry version, then grab some hot sauce and put a few drops on your chicken or steak.”


-Codi Hanson, ASN Coffs Harbour.
Source: Simply Shredded
Author: Sean Andros
COPYRIGHT 2011 Weider Publications
COPYRIGHT 2011 Gale Group

WBFF Pro Ashley Nocera Full Training Routine!!


Full Routine:

There are no shortcuts. You’ve got to put in the work to get results.

Monday: Lower Body

  • Squats 5 x 6-8

  • Dumbbell Lunges 3 x 20

  • Straight Leg Deadlifts 4 x 10-12

  • Barbell Good Mornings 4 x 10-12

  • Leg Curl 4 x 10-12

Tuesday: Arms/Abs

  • Dumbbell Curl 3 x 10

  • Hammer Curl 3 x 10

  • Skull Crusher 3 x 10

  • Tricep Pushdown 3 x 10

  • Dips 3 x Failure

  • Russian Twists 3 x 20

  • Cable Chops 3 x 15

Wednesday: Lower Body

  • Cable Kickbacks 4 x 15

  • Hip Thrust 3 x 15

  • Box Jump 4 x 10

  • Step Up 3 x 10

  • Adduction Machine 3 x 15

  • Standing Calf Raise 3 x 20

Thursday: Shoulders/Back/Abs

  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press 3 x 10

  • Dumbbell Front Raise 3 x 10

  • Pull-Ups 3 x Failure

  • Cable Pullover 3 x 10

  • Seated Cable Row 3 x 12

  • Weighted Decline Crunches 4 x 15

  • Hanging Leg Raise 4 x 15

Friday: Lower Body

  • Squats 5 x 8

  • Deadlifts 4 x 8

  • Leg Press 4 x 12

  • Leg Extension 3 x 12

  • Barbell Lunges 3 x 20

  • Abduction Machine 3 x 15

Saturday: Cardio

  • 20 Minutes Stairmaster

  • 15 Minutes Treadmill

Sunday: Rest

  • Recovery


-Codi Hanson, ASN Coffs Harbour.

Source: Simply Shredded





The six pack. No I’m not talking about Budweiser, I mean the one thing that most bodybuilders crave above all else. Having ripped and striated abs are perhaps one of the most desired features of a defined body. It’s the centerpiece that brings everything together. But before you run to the gym and start working your stomach, take a look at the misconceptions of getting the abs of your dreams. We’ve been on a somewhat of a myth busting role lately – so let’s jump right into it.


Perhaps the biggest misconception of all is that crunches will get you the six pack you so desire. The truth of the matter is that ab exercises are great for building strength in the abdomen. It may even help in carving out the muscle group somewhat, but ultimately it’s not going to give you that shredded appearance you seek. But by no means, don’t slack on your crunches.


A low carb diet isn’t essential to building up your abs. Carbs are needed to give you fuel and get you pushing past your limits during your gym sessions. There’s a difference between fast digesting carbs that keep on body fat and slow digesting carbs like oats, whole grain breads, pasta, fruits, and vegetables that provide great energy without packing on the body fat.



A high cardio program is great for building stamina for sure. That doesn’t have anything to do with getting you ripped abs. High cardio can burn away body fat, but it’s not going to get your abs to show. It takes a combination of exercises to develop the muscles in the stomach.


People have a tendency to believe that the harder you work out the more likely your abs are going to come in looking shredded. The truth of the matter is that while exercise is definitely important, it’s your diet that’s really going to make a difference in getting your six pack to show.



We’d like to tell you that getting a six pack is all about hard work and dedication to a training program and strict diet, but then we’d be lying to you. If it’s one thing we strive for, it’s the truth. And the sad reality is that genetics play a big role in whether you can obtain a six pack or not. It doesn’t mean you can’t get a great set of abs – it’s just that there’s no guarantees that you’ll have abs like a superhero based purely on your biology.

Seems like following a strict diet is the key to getting that lean and defined look you seek for your abs. Watch what you put in you mouth and be sure to hit the gym hard and you’ll get the results you seek. 

Pop into a store near you and let us help you get on the right path with your health and fitness journey! Our friendly team will give you all the information you need to achieve your goals and get you that 6 pack you've always wanted!! 

-Codi Hanson, ASN Coffs.

Source: DoYouEven

Are your muscles eating themselves?

Here's what you need to know...

  1. The nutrition you consume around your workout can greatly increase your rate of progress.

  2. Pre-workout and intra-workout nutrition is just as important that post-workout nutrition.

  3. By ingesting protein before and during a workout, you spare muscle protein, negate protein degradation, and set the muscle up for regeneration and remodeling.

  4. If intra-workout insulin is low, glucagon robs muscles of amino acids so it can convert them to glucose. Low insulin makes it possible for catabolic hormones to "steal" your gains.

  5. Muscles need carbs to do work, but they also need protein. During a workout, amino acid requirements go up 500%.

  6. Loading protein and carbs before and again during the workout also leads to fat oxidation that continues long after the workout.

  7. Post-workout nutrition is still important, but it needs pre-workout and intra-workout nutrition in order for it to succeed.

The Most Important Thing

Pre-workout nutrition and during-workout nutrition are the most important things you can do to make any kind of progress in the gym.

In fact, pre-workout and intra-workout nutrition is just as important as post-workout nutrition.

Real Progress in the Gym, Finally

A few years ago, before we knew any better, pre-workout nutrition usually consisted of simply having a meal a couple of hours before a workout. Then, in more recent times, pre-workout nutrition transitioned to maybe sipping a whey protein shake an hour before going to the gym.

And the idea of intra-workout nutrition? It didn't even exist.

Then came a golden age of enlightenment where lifters accepted the science of true pre-workout and intra-workout nutrition. They began drinking measured amounts of protein and carbohydrates before a workout and continued to do so during the entirety of their workouts.

For the first time ever, lifters pretty much universally made progress.
Skinny Guy

Newbies and Nutrition-Deniers

But then something happened: a new generation of lifters came along. Rather than accept the tried-and-true pre-workout nutrition principles of the enlightened lifters, they reverted back to the primitive.

Some went back to ignoring pre-workout nutrition entirely while others went back to drinking simple whey protein shakes, energy drinks, or worst of all, nothing before hitting the gym.

It's almost as if they decided to throw out science altogether, or to embrace contrary anecdotal research that disguised itself as science.

It's time to bring enlightenment back.

Timing is Everything

When it comes to building muscle, building strength, recovery, and even body composition, when you eat is as important, maybe even more important than what you eat.

You could eat a mountain of protein but it would be largely wasted unless you ate it when your muscle cells were receptive to it, which is before a workout, during a workout, and to a lesser but still important degree, right after your workout.

Let's look at it another way. Even a high quality protein drink consumed a few hours after a workout may result in 85% lessprotein synthesis than drinking a crappy protein drink during your workout.

Anabolic Insulin vs. Catabolic Hormones

Regardless of the quality of the protein you're ingesting, you still need insulin to make muscle cells receptive to that protein gift.

The old-time lifters who used to eat a meal a couple of hours before a workout were kinda-sorta on the right track, but they didn't know what we know today.

Sure, their big meal would introduce protein and carbs into the bloodstream, simultaneously eliciting a surge of insulin. And those recently digested nutrients would hop on insulin's back and ride the currents of blood until they trickled into the capillaries that fed muscle cells.

Thus fortified, the lifter would head to the gym to attack his workout. The problem? His timing was off.

By the time he got to the gym, an hour or two after his pre-workout meal, levels of insulin would already be on the wane. Protein and carbs were still floating around the bloodstream, but there wasn't enough insulin around to carry the nutrients home.

Not only that, but the lack of insulin would have left the muscle cells largely unresponsive to the protein.

It's like a coach who's just given the rip-roaringest half-time pep talk in history. He's got the players so amped up that they're banging on lockers and butting helmeted heads... only someone locked the door and they can't get on the field to play.

And things only get worse for our molecular players. Since insulin is fading, the insulin antagonist glucagon shows up and starts to rob muscles of amino acids so it can convert them to the glucose that muscles need for fuel.

Epinephrine and cortisol, two other catabolic hormones, also enter the scene, the former robbing the liver of glycogen to fuel the muscles and the latter robbing energy from wherever it can – from fat, carbs, or from protein itself.

All that fuel, energy, and building blocks should be going to the muscles, but instead they're being pilfered by catabolic hormones.

It's too bad that insulin is in such short supply, because it would offset the collective efforts of all those catabolic fuel/energy/amino-acid robbing hormones.

But even if insulin levels were high or higher, there wouldn't be many amino acids to transport to muscle cells because the lifter swallowed his last bit of protein an hour or two ago!
Biotest Gym

No Muscle Glycogen, No Muscle Growth

Consider also that muscle glycogen is reduced by as much as 12% after just one set of 10 biceps curls, and muscle glycogen is what fuels ATP, the energy currency of muscle.

Just three sets of biceps curls results in a reduction of about 35%, and if you do another few sets you're at a 40% reduction in glycogen.

To remedy this, you need constant fuel.

Are Your Muscles Eating Themselves?

You can see the importance of ingesting carbs before and during a workout, but ingesting protein is equally important.

Muscles need carbs to do work, but they also need protein. In that way, they're cannibalistic.

During a workout, amino acids, including branched chain amino acids (BCAA), supply up to 15% of a muscle's energy needs. And this use of BCAAs can go up by 500%, depending on the intensity and the duration of exercise.

But by ingesting the right type of protein before and during a workout, you minimize the cannibalism. You spare muscle protein, negate protein degradation, and set the muscle up for regeneration and remodeling, otherwise known as growth.

Less Fat, Less Soreness, More Muscle

Consuming the right types of protein and carbs during the workout is important for many of the same reasons that it's important to consume them before the workout.

Insulin levels are kept high and levels of catabolic hormones are kept low, as well as ensuring that the muscles are getting a steady supply of nutrients and building blocks.

The protein and carbs ultimately keeps protein breakdown low, and the carbs that are still being ingested are fuelling the ATP/creatine phosphate pathway, ensuring higher reps and more intense contractions.

Likewise, fat is being oxidized at a much greater rate than otherwise possible, and this fat oxidation (fueled by proper nutrient timing) continues long after the workout.

If you were to actually weigh the muscles of a lifter who followed proper peri-workout nutrition after his workout, he'd literally be heavier than he would be if he'd followed the old time approach because he'd be filled with muscle-cell regenerating nutrients.

In short, everything would be perfect for muscle growth and recovery. The lifter, by ingesting a mixture of carbs and protein before and during his workout, has done everything to stack the muscle-building odds in his favor.

In addition, he won't be as sore the next day so he can train just as hard again.
Jelena Plazma

Benefits of Proper Workout Nutrition

Here are the benefits of properly loading the muscles before training and then continuing to fuel them throughout the workout:

  • Insulin levels are kept high, thus ensuring that nutrients can be carried directly to muscle cells.

  • High insulin levels keep levels of catabolic hormones like glucagon, epinephrine, and cortisol low.

  • Protein synthesis is kept high.

  • Furnace-like fat oxidation ensues.

  • Protein breakdown is halted.

  • ATP and creatine levels are maintained.

  • Free radicals and muscle damage in general are minimized.

  • Inflammation is minimized, facilitating quicker and more efficient recovery.

  • Muscle growth is maximized.

What About Post-Workout Nutrition?

Post-workout nutrition isn't really dead and it's not my intent to minimize its importance. It's just that pre- and intra-workout nutrition is even more important than post-workout nutrition.

You need to continue to nourish the muscles in the hour or so after a workout because the muscle cells are still keenly sensitive to protein.

However, unless the lifter had followed proper nutrition requirements before and during the workout, he's in for a world of hurt. He can drink his post-workout protein shake, but his muscle cells won't be as sensitive to any rise in insulin from the shake he just drank.

Insulin can/will carry the amino acids to the muscle cells, but they'll just pull the covers over their head and ignore it. These "homeless" glucose molecules will likely go into storage as glycogen or fat.

While it's not likely the protein will be stored as fat, much of it will end up in the liver, which is where amino acids go for storage.

Catabolic hormones will still be elevated and the rate of protein breakdown will still exceed protein synthesis.

The net result is very little anabolic stimulus and resultant muscle growth, some strength increases from neurological stimuli, and a lot of storage of amino acids in the liver.

Clearly, post-workout nutrition needs pre-workout and intra-workout nutrition in order for it to succeed.



  1. Cribb, Paul J, Hayes, Alan, "Effects of Supplement-Timing and Resistance Exercise on Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy." Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 38(11). Pp. 1918-1925. ISSN 0195-9131, 1530-0315.

  2. Haff, et al, "The effects of supplemental carbohydrate ingestion on intermittent isokinetic leg exercise, J Sports Med Phys Fitness, 2001, Jun:41(2): 216-22.

  3. Ivy, John, and Portman, Robert, Nutrient Timing, The Future of Sports Nutrition, Basic Health Publications, Laguna Beach, 2004.

  4. Tipton, et al, "Timing of amino-acid carbohydrate ingestion alters anabolic response of muscle to resistance exercise." American Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism, 1 August 2001, Vol, 281 no.2, E197-E206 DOI: