First off let me just clarify what I mean by toning and bulking. When I say bulk I am talking about putting on lean muscle and adding muscle mass. There are some opinions out there about bulking that just entails eating whatever you want in order to put on weight then cutting to define your muscles, I do NOT think that is the way you should add muscle mass but that’s another post. Toning is wanting to have a more defined muscle look, without necessarily looking bigger.
So I have been asked many times by people who do not want to bulk or gain mass if they should lift heavy because they are worried that if they lift heavy, they will get bulky. First off, this is not going to happen. I know because the first two years of working out I solely lifted heavy and while I got some definition I never put on any mass or “bulkiness”. The reason for this is because diet is the defining aspect when it comes to toning or bulking.
If you are lifting heavy but only eating enough calories to either maintain or lose weight, then you will get some muscle growth and definition, but you will not gain mass or bulk up, because there is nothing for your muscles to take in the terms of proteins or nutrients to actually get larger. In addition, if you are looking to “tone” or lose weight, when you lift weights you will gain some muscle which will in turn increase the amount of calories you are burning which will aid in weight loss.
Now if you are wanting to gain mass, the key difference here is you have to eat for it. So figure out what weight you want to be at, and then using a calorie calculator, determine how many calories you should be eating a day to put on weight. By eating this way and eating clean calories (not just eating junk to hit your calorie mark) and lifting heavy you will start to gain muscle mass and bulk.
If you are looking for more information check out Bones to Bulk
. Also if you are not plugged into a community, I highly recommend this and you can do so at my Facebook Community.