Editor’s Note: Julie Read and I met a few years ago at the gym when she was working at a friend’s gym. After several hangouts at industry events, I was eager to get to know her better. (She’s always saying funny shit quietly, so if you’re not paying attention, you’ll miss it.) Julie is a talented massage therapist, personal trainer, writer, artist, and Snapchat enthusiast based in Philly. When we’re not training together, you can find us chatting about life over some good ole’ snacks. 


I’m probably one of the laziest fit people you know: I sit between sets, I work hard to be as efficient as possible so I don’t have to move 45-pound plates more than necessary, and more often than not, I drive to the gym despite being within a 20-minute walk (don’t judge). So, it came as no surprise to my training partner, Jen Sinkler, that one of my favorite things about The Bigness Project was that I didn’t have to load and unload a heavy barbell that’s on the floor. And, that’s how this list was born.

Below I’ve compiled my other favorite things about The Bigness Project — I like to think of these as bonuses on top of all of the other benefits of, you know, a striking degree of muscle growth, enjoyable training sessions, and better overall health.

Without further adieu, here’s your list of bonus bennies:

  1. If you, too, are a lazy lifter, you’ll be thrilled that you don’t have to load and unload a heavy barbell that’s on the floor. Less fumbling around with heavy plates, but still getting jacked? Top notch.
  2. You won’t need sleeves anymore because you gotta show off your guns.
  3. If you’re coming from an Olympic weightlifting background, as I was, your calluses will shrink and your hands will have a chance to return to baby-soft skin. Plus, your grip strength will increase to hulk-like standards from all of the dumbbell volume.
  4. During hypertrophy training, you’re actually encouraged to look in the mirror when you lift.
  5. You might need to invest in a a pair or two of new pants because your old ones can’t contain your new quads, glutes, and hammies (true story). I’ll never turn down quad definition.
  6. You get to eat more protein. YUM! #gainz
  7. Bicep curls are part of the plan. FULL STOP.
  8. Your cardio is intended to be at a conversational pace.
  9. The pump: that swollen effect that let’s you know you’re pumping iron the way it’s intended—nuff said.
  10. The looks you’ll get when you do things like limbo squats; you’ve gotta see them to believe ’em!
  11. BONUS! Limbo squats: the fiercest quad burn I’ve ever experienced.


If you’re looking for more applicable realizations, I wrote about three more serious insights I had from The Bigness Project here. I found that hypertrophy training (like no other training I’ve experienced before) helped me to understand what kind of stimulus my body needs during times of high stress, and, guess what? My body welcomes high physiological changes (read: hypertrophy!) during those times. Knowing this is gonna help me to define my training in the future.

The mind-muscle connection was something that was new to me, too, enabling me become more in tune with my muscles and more intentional in movement. Finally, as a former strength snob, I had a bias towards training for absolute strength. For that reason, I had (erroneously) avoided a strict hypertrophy phase, and wow was I misinformed. I love that the gains I made building muscle can be honed to increase my absolute strength.

We can joke about hypertrophy all day long. And, don’t get me wrong, I tried to, but at the end of the day I’ve found a new style of lifting that I’ll keep elements of…especially when I’m looking to update my wardrobe!

The Bigness Project is a bestselling hypertrophy-training program built to get you muscular. Written by Kourtney Thomas, a strength and conditioning coach who has spent years focused on the small details that will get you big results, this program—or “brogram,” as she refers to it in the most gender-neutral of ways—delivers on the promise of bigger arms and a bigger life. Join the The Bigness Project waitlist now!

Unapologetically Strong’s founder, Jen Sinkler, is an award-winning writer, editor, publisher, and personal trainer who has been working in the fitness realm since 2003. Her goal is to foster a fitness space that allows people to explore a variety of fitness pursuits, connect in ways that honor all aspects of their identities, and generally flourish as their strongest selves.