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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)
In my nineteen plus years as a fitness trainer I still find myself amazed at what people don’t know about exercising and getting into shape. It seems like… at least once a week someone comes up with some new gadget or makes some unsubstantiated claims about the next end all… be all exercise program or diet.
The truth is it’s not as hard as everyone thinks, yet everybody’s looking for a shortcut. Cheating at getting fit is like tunneling under a bank after hours to make a deposit, when all you have to do is wait until it opens and walk through the front door. Your can waste countless years of your life failing to find the easy way when in less than half that time you could become fit. How many people do you know that own multiple rickety gadgets that they paid just three payments of $19.95 for… “But wait – if you act now we’ll throw in this useless rubber-band that will get you absolutely no results.” So many people invest in cheap gadgets that end up becoming expensive coat racks in their bedroom or junk for the future garage sale. It would be a lot cheaper to go out and buy a few dozen hangers. Sometimes the ridiculous becomes so popular it starts to make sense to us. “Don’t eat bread, don’t eat fruit.” Now how many people do you know of that actually packed on the pounds by eating too much fruit? It was more than likely the THREE six-packs of soda loaded with un-pronounceable ingredients, and that all time favorite High Fructose Corn Syrup, or the so-called “Value Size” meals that they washed down with it.
The morning show comes on… and they announce a segment on something new they have to tell you about getting healthy, and you sit through two thirds of the show to find out that it comes right back around to those two little words everybody hates to hear: “Diet and Exercise.” “Diet” sounds like a challenge, “Exercise” sounds like a lot of work, but when you put them both together, it sounds like you are saying “Mount Everest.” I have never liked the word “Diet”… to me it implies that you’re going to do something temporary to get results… then go back to doing what got you in trouble in the first place. Exercise can be fun, rewarding, energizing, but when done incorrectly can be the most boring counterproductive regime you’ve ever involved yourself in. You can only climb Mount Everest one step at a time, don’t look up and don’t look down, just stay focused on the next step. One of the reasons I started this blog is because some of the stuff we fall for is really funny, but also to let people know that the truth isn’t as bad as they think. Getting healthy and fit is easy, once you decide to just commit, and make a real change in your life. Next time you watch an infomercial that seems to be too good to be true, notice the fine print when they get to the testimonials that says, “Results not typical.” Keep it simple, use common sense, and above all be honest with yourself and you really will get results!