Bigness Q&A

I’ve always heard training “like a bro” is wrong and you should only lift heavy with big, compound lifts. Why the change?

With any new program, you’ll be training with a new stimulus and that will elicit various changes to your body. Hypertrophy training is great for building muscle—both for aesthetics as well as for creating a literal armor of muscle to support and protect your frame. You’ll also gain an increase in body awareness that’s unparalleled in other styles of lifting that, if so desired, will enhance and transfer to other programs. 

“I had never previously had a gym membership so the tempo training has given me the opportunity to take things slow and really “feel” the movements. The way the muscles burn and ache during the tempo-ed sets is almost addictive. It’s definitely a mental high to finish a tough set.” -anonymous, Bigness Early Access Survey

“I’m really getting to grips with tempo and feeling the burn. I can actually see the pump after sessions especially in my arms. Some items of clothing are fitting better which is fantastic. I feel very strong and positive.” -anonymous, Bigness Early Access Survey

I feel like I’m starting to see improvement in my shoulder and I’m finally my glutes and hammies. The Facebook post about the mind/muscle connection was so spot on. I’ve really slowed down mentally to connect with what I’m focused on building for the workout.” -anonymous, Bigness Early Access Survey

Do I need to change how I eat during the program?

It depends on your goals. If you’re looking to gain muscle, you’ll want to make sure you’re eating enough so your body has the capacity to build muscle. We’ve contracted with Renaissance Prioritization (RP) to offer you two different types of eating plans based on your lifestyle if you’re looking to take the guesswork out of eating. You can titrate the plans up or down based on your goals of maintaining, gaining, or losing weight.

Here’s the thing though—I didn’t change my diet (even though I probably should have) and could have gotten even better results if I had. But, since at this point in my life my diet is a bit like being on auto-pilot, I didn’t change anything and still saw my body “recomp.”

Am I going to gain fat with this program?

For a detailed look at the basic physiology, check out this blog post where I connected with RP about the Bigness Plan: If you eat a number of calories roughly equal to how much you need (in terms of energy used), you will gain muscle and likely lose fat. If you eat more calories than you need you will gain muscle and gain fat. And, similarly, if you eat fewer calories than you need you will lose fat and maintain muscle, however if you are significantly under-eating you’ll likely lose muscle as well. The program itself is a muscle building program and your body composition changes can be most affected by nutrition.

How soon can I expect results?

Individual results will always vary, but the first group of people through the Bigness Project noticed significant changes within the first 4 weeks, such as this:

My triceps are POPPING. Went shopping with the husband Saturday night, and while i was waiting for him to try something on, i looked into the big fulll length mirror at the end of the hall of changerooms, and through my cardigan, my tricep was CRAZY visible. I’m starting to look like i actually lift 🙂 !!!!!!” -anonymous, Bigness Early Access Survey

“Curves are coming out in FULL FORCE! I have “ass cleavage” now because my underwear cannot contain my growing booty!” -anonymous, Bigness Early Access Survey

“Loads increased this week for the big muscle movements (back, glutes, quads, hams.) I also noticed an improvement in whole body coordination. (Or maybe it is simply my improved awareness. 🙂 My posture and balance is better both inside and outside the gym.” -anonymous, Bigness Early Access Survey

What if I only care about training for performance?

Great! I love training for strength and performance. Here’s a fact: all else being equal the muscle with greater cross-sectional area is stronger. Simply put, a bigger muscle always has the potential to be stronger than a smaller muscle and can be honed if you choose to go back to strength and performance after hypertrophy. 

If your primary goal is performance you can benefit tremendously from taking a block of time to focus purely on gaining muscle. And, this is especially true if you have been training for performance for a long time without having taken periods of time to specifically build bigger muscles.

And—as our Early Access Coaching Group found—you’re likely going to see direct performance increases anyway:

“I am soo excited that I successfully got my 180# husband over my shoulder in a fireman carry position and walked him up and down the street. Piggyback is pretty easy but this was a whole new kind of success. It. Was. Awesome.” -anonymous, Bigness Early Access Survey

“My ass has my ass skipping up stairs and believing that I can run and bike limitless miles. My day to day mechanics are changed. How I mow the hill in my back yard, how I bend to pick up something up from the floor, how I swing an axe, how I walk! My body feels like a machine again with all the parts working together.” -anonymous, Bigness Early Access Survey

 

Would this program be best as a stand-alone or can I modify and add this to what I’m already doing?

Great question. Bigness Project  is intended to be used as a stand-alone program, plus any cardio you choose to do, if you follow the lifting schedule Kourtney recommends.

To be clear, following that schedule will lead to results closest to what she intended, BUT…life and other lifting happen, in some cases, and that sounds like you. So, I’ll tell you what I’ve been telling other people, and that’s that you can very successfully add a BP boost to your existing program, with the following caveat: Rather than trying to cram all four or five sessions in, stick to closer to two, and you might even pick an upper- or lower-body emphasis.

My friend Angie Brambley-Moyer, director of strength and conditioning at Princeton, did two per week in addition to her Olympic weightlifting program, and here’s what she had to say (I spotted this on her FB page earlier this week):

“I knew it was about time for me to shake up up my Olympic weightlifting training and work on some hypertrophy and muscular endurance, possibly even getting a little stronger from the added stimulus. The results blew my mind! I dropped about 8lbs, increased strength and endurance, AND gained the muscle growth and definition I never could seem to acquire.”

What if I don’t have experience with lifting?

Great! Hypertrophy is a great entry point because of the inherent focus on single joint exercises. As an added benefit, working to hone the mind-muscle connection—that mental focus on the feel of the lifts—is thought by many in the community to directly impact muscle size and to increase body awareness. This will transfer to other activities and build on itself to help you advance in the gym.

“This type of training, first and foremost, has overhauled my hormones. I feel calmer and back to being a very laid-back gal. I’ve got a new coat of stress repellent; stuff is bouncing off. I also feel fulfilled. I am not looking at what else I could be doing or what’s next or what’s more. I am present and able to let go of any thoughts of “more” that make an appearance. I like how I feel. I feel challenged and rewarded. I feel my own potential. I also feel enough. I feel lighter. Holy shit! I feel! Haha I feel grateful for the Bigness Project.” -anonymous, Bigness Early Access Survey

“Loads increased this week for the big muscle movements (back, glutes, quads, hams.) I also noticed an improvement in whole body coordination. (Or maybe it is simply my improved awareness. 🙂 My posture and balance is better both inside and outside the gym.” -anonymous, Bigness Early Access Survey

What if I feel nervous about getting bigger?

Building muscle is hard work; it doesn’t happen overnight, or by accident, so you can “try on” this endeavor, and see how it goes.

There’s also nothing we can tell you until you experience it, except that in our collective experience with those who have gone through The Bigness Project getting bigger very often ends up being a soul-expanding experience.

 

“I just feel that I look strong. I feel confident and I like my body for the first time ever in decades. Its been a miracle for me. No exaggeration.” -anonymous, Bigness Early Access Survey

Am i going to be able to stick to this? I worry about consistency issues.

There’s already been a ton of chatter of people buddying up to work on Bigness together. There’s also huge online community that can be found through searching the hashtags #bignessproject and #ubig.

You’re going to experience a huge personal transformation that is difficult to describe to anyone NOT doing the program so having someone to join you is a huge plus. We’re sure you’re also going to want to have someone you can text “flexies” to.

“LOVING IT! Having a group holding me accountable is really helping with consistency and feeling really good about the workouts.” -anonymous, Bigness Early Access Survey

What does the actual training look like?

Here’s a sample training day:

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It’s become a tradition to put together an outtakes video—Happy Friday!

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Find out when you can get Big again by joining the waitlist for the next round of The Bigness Project, the 14-week muscle-maximizing program by Kourtney Thomas, CSCS, and Jen Sinkler

 

Author:Jen Sinkler

Fitness writer and editor, workout connoisseur, meditator, proponent of spandex, former rugby player; never, ever without lip gloss.
Comments: 11

11 Responses to “Bigness Q&A”

  1. Emili
    January 27, 2017 at 6:28 pm #

    Hi Jen and team,

    I have loved all your emails and instagram posts. So much to be proud of in regards to content and physical results.

    My question with context: I am currently training 5-6 days per week at a CF box with additional coaching added to prep for the open and working toward Rx. Would this program be best as a stand alone or can I modify and add this to what I’m already doing? I love the bigness concept. I don’t want to overcommit and/or burnout.

    I am experiencing FOMO with all your great promotion! You’re incredibly relatable, speaking to us like your girlfriends, and I’d be so excited to work with you!

    • January 27, 2017 at 7:02 pm #

      Emili, hello back! I’m so happy you’re into the stuff we’ve been sharing. We’re having a blast creating it.

      And, great question (you just inspired me to add it to the q’s above, actually, since it’s a common one I just straight missed here—so thanks!). Bigness Project (henceforth known as BP) is intended to be used as a stand-alone program, plus any cardio you choose to do, if you follow the lifting schedule Kourtney recommends.

      To be clear, following that schedule will lead to results closest to what she intended, BUT…life and other lifting happen in some cases, and that sounds like you. So, I’ll tell you what I’ve been telling other people, and that’s that you can very successfully add a BP boost to your existing program. Rather than cramming all 4-5 sessions in, stick to closer to two, and you might even pick an upper- or lower-body emphasis.

      My friend Angie Brambley-Moyer, director of strength and conditioning at Princeton, did two a week in addition to her Olympic weightlifting program, and here’s what she had to say (I spotted this on her FB page earlier this week):

      “I knew it was about time for me to shake-up up my Olympic weightlifting training and work on some hypertrophy and muscular endurance, possibly even getting a little stronger from the added stimulus. The results blew my mind! I dropped about 8lbs, increased strength and endurance, AND gained the muscle growth and definition I never could seem to acquire.”

      If you join us, welcome to #ClubBigness!

  2. January 27, 2017 at 9:21 pm #

    Hi Jen,
    I’m very interested in The Bigness Project! I’m 51 years old and am in perimenopause. I’ve read that due to shifting hormonal balances, women my age should limit heavy exercise to about 4 days per week, 20-30 minutes per session. My understanding is that doing much more than that will set the menopausal body up for high cortisol levels and (potentially) the accompanying dreaded belly fat. Do you have any thoughts on this? Would I still see gains if I limited my workouts to a half hour or so?

    Thanks so much. I love what you do!

    • BeesMakeHoney
      February 4, 2017 at 8:03 am #

      Carolyn,

      I am not Jen, but I am a 55 year old women who has been lifting for about 20 years. Some of my sessions run about 1 hour total.

      I am not sure if I am currently in perimenopause, but heavy lifting has never spiked my cortisol levels.
      We are all different of course, but I would go ahead and give it a try without limiting it to 20-30 minute sessions, to see how it affects you. I think you will love it,
      Regards.
      Linda

    • Julie Read
      February 6, 2017 at 7:58 pm #

      Hi Carolyn,

      Julie here from Team Sinkler! We love your enthusiasm for The Bigness Project! Our recommendation is to talk to your doc about what’s best for you. There are many factors at play and we want what’s the best for your specific case, so start there and see. We will say, though, that lifting weights has been shown to have health benefits for those in any stage of life!

    • April 17, 2017 at 12:54 pm #

      Hi Carolyn,

      I think they are doing another group in less than a month. You may want to look into supporting your body with adaptogenic herbs and vitamin C will help keep your cortisol in check. Making sure you get good recovery time, quality sleep, and self-care will also help to mitigate cortisol issues.

      Best to you! 🙂

  3. Cheryl
    January 29, 2017 at 3:33 am #

    I didn’t know there was a deadline for purchasing the program. I’m so disappointed.

    • Julie Read
      February 6, 2017 at 8:28 pm #

      Hi Cheryl,

      The days fly by during launch week and we’re so sorry you missed the sale. We’ll be offering it again in May. You can sign up here to be the first to know when the sale opens!

  4. Jennifer O'Brien
    February 4, 2017 at 6:27 am #

    I also didn’t realize there was a deadline. I own my own business, and have such limited time to look at personal email…I saw the Bigness Project in my inbox, and meant to get to it, but now it’s too late! The next one isn’t until May?

    • Julie Read
      February 6, 2017 at 8:18 pm #

      Hi Jennifer –

      We’re so sorry you missed it! If you go here, you can add your name and be the first to hear about the next time it’s launched!

  5. April 17, 2017 at 12:51 pm #

    I have been and am still healing from adrenal issues. I am able to walk each day and I’m currently lifting one time per week, thinking of trying twice per week to see how I respond. Do you think the program would be too much for someone with my current health issues? Would I get good results if I did the workouts low and slow? Or should I just wait until I regain full health?

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