The first answer to the question would be; body pump will bulk you up, but only if you are already fat or have extra pounds. However if you are not fat, Body Pump will make you look healthy and fit.
I have noticed at my gym that none of the Body Pump women instructors are bulked up. They are leaner than Yoga and Pilates teachers, and they have unbelievable waistlines. Seeing the live result on my teacher’s body encouraged me to adopt Body Pump over all other exercises.
When I started doing the Body Pump exercises twice a week I used to ask myself the same question: “Am I going to look fatter? Or is it going to make my arms and legs look thinner?” In fact Body Pump changed my entire body shape, or to be more exact it made me look like I used to look in my 20’s: svelte and firm.
Let me first tell you about my experience: I am 43 years old and I started exercising 2 years ago. I am not fat, neither overweight but I would look definitely better if I would lose 10 pounds.
When I started exercising it was for the only purpose of losing weight. We all know that the only way to lose weight is to burn calories and to do so you have to do cardio exercises, which mean elevating your heart rate, and the most efficient cardio in my opinion is running. (I am saying that to emphasize on the fact that Body Pump alone will not make you lose weight.)
I started running to lose weight. I liked it so much that I decided to improve my speed by building better leg muscles to prevent injuries, and to build muscles I decided to do Yoga, Pilates and Body Pump.
After 3 months of doing Pilates, Yoga and Body Pump, I have noticed that even though Pilates and Yoga are very efficient and relaxing, Body Pump gave me immediate results: my arm got stronger so did my legs. I have noticed that it was easier to carry grocery bags, and I haven’t had a back pain or a neck pain for two years now. The best was when I started being able to increase the speed when I am running, without cramping or limping.
To go back to our question: “Will Body Pump bulk me up?” the answer is: yes and no.
Let me explain to you how fat and muscle work: From reading a few books about fitness I learned that fat tissues and muscle tissues are two different tissues. The bad news is that fat will never turn into muscle, and the good news is muscle will not turn into fat if you stop lifting weight.
So when you build muscle, the fat tissues will remain where they are under (or over) the muscle tissues, and this is what makes you look bulked up. Because you will have two layers instead of one: the muscle layer and the fat layer. When you lift weight you increase your muscle size and add them to the fat tissues.
Haven’t you ever noticed the fat football players during the games? They are fit and overweight at the same time.
You can be overweight but have muscle.
So when you already have fat in your body and you do Body Pump, you are going to look bulked up, but not because of the muscles you are building but because of the layers of fat underneath or over the muscles.
However, if you do Body Pump you are half way to losing the fat in your body, but how? When you build muscles your energy level increases and you will burn more calories with every movement you make, which help burning the fat tissues faster than when you don’t have muscles. So on the long run, by increasing the muscle tissues you will be investing in a strong body that will burn your fat even when you are resting.
It is like having a small car versus a sports car, which one burns more fuel?
If you lift weights, you become a sports car and with time (especially if you don’t keep eating fat) your muscles will wipe out your fat.
Building muscle has benefit beyond looking good; strong muscles will delay osteoporosis for example. Muscles are a priceless investment. Some old people, who lost their muscles, cannot move out of their bed without help, because they cannot hold themselves on their hands or on their feet.
And finally if you don’t want to think too much ahead about getting old, just think of having the first lady’s arms it is not too bad, right?