Sometimes I have the uncontrollable urge to snicker when I hear the world’s tiniest women voice concerns about bulking up. Some women avoid weight training like most guys avoid an all day shopping spree at boutiques in the local mall. For the vast majority of women there isn’t much to be concerned about. The fact is… it‘s difficult to add a significant amount of muscle mass to your body, unless you are a VERY VERY heavy lifter on a high calorie diet. Your body type and genetics play a role in it as well. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen some women that I wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley, but generally speaking, if you don’t have the genetic blueprint of Bigfoot’s wife, it’s not gonna happen. Some people actually believe that you can develop gigantic muscles from moving a five pound weight around. We would all look like Popeye after a can of spinach, if our biceps instantly grew from picking up a weight lighter than the average grocery bag! For the majority of people, bulking up usually requires eating like a horse, and lifting the equivalent of grandma’s piano on a regular basis. Without an over abundance of testosterone, i.e. pharmaceutical enhancements, the amount of muscle the average person can put on in a short period of time is prone to major exaggeration. Only a handful of women aspire to be lumberjacks, most people are going to end up with a more toned and shapely look as the final result.
Jack Lalanne was not a big guy, yet at 60 he swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf handcuffed, shackled and towing a 1,000-pound boat. At 70, handcuffed and shackled again, he towed 70 boats, carrying a total of 70 people, a mile and a half through Long Beach Harbor. He was a living example of what a normal person, exercising regularly will achieve… wait a minute, did I say normal?… never mind. Anyway, It didn’t bulk him up!
Strength Training is one of the most important things you can do in terms of being healthy and fit. The kind of results that you achieve also have to do with the type of program you are engaged in… the amount of sets and repetitions you’re doing, the exercise intensity, how often you do it, and whether you’re splitting up muscle groups or doing a total body program. If you’re naturally stocky, or want to lose weight, keep the number of repetitions high, between 15-20, and do total body circuit training. If you’re lean and want to tone up, go for 10-12 repetitions. Always use a weight that you can control and lift with proper form.
Some of the health benefits of Strength Training include:
- Reduced body fat, and a more toned appearance
- Up to a 15% increase in your metabolic rate, (helps permanent weight loss)
- Fights muscle loss that occurs with dieting and age
- Increases your energy level
- Improves bone density, (helps prevent osteoporosis)