Unless you’re a power lifter, offensive lineman, or other human being who needs to be freakishly massive and/or strong, there’s absolutely no reason to get big and bulky when you lift weights. Without knowing you, I know why you are lifting weights. You want to get ripped, toned, strong, jacked, whatever word you want to use…Basically, you want to look like the girl in the picture above. Nonetheless, the common fear for many of us (mostly women) when they hit the weights at the gym, is that they’ll start looking like some of the female Olympic power lifters we saw last week. This is foolish on so many levels, but it is an obstacle that has perpetuated weight rooms for years. Today’s post is my attempt to convince you to get this mistaken idea out of your head and convince you why you need to start lifting serious weights NOW.
Who Gets Big and Bulky?
There are two types of people who get big and bulky from weight lifting. Those who are eating massive amounts of calories because their profession or sport requires it, and those who have a supple layer of fat covering their muscles. The first group is likely trying to get as big and/or strong as possible. We know muscle doesn’t just grow out of thin air; it requires fuel. Further, it requires massive amounts of fuel if you want to reach the strength and size levels of power lifters, bodybuilders, etc. There is a reason these individuals eat 4, 5, 6,000+ calories a day. Ask yourself…are you eating that many calories a day? Again, huge, bulging muscles don’t just grow from nothing. They require lots of calories to form new tissue. If you’re maintaining a healthy 1,400-2,000 calorie diet, you don’t need to worry about looking like people who are eating 3-4 times what you are.
The other group who look big and bulky is much more common. This group includes people who mistakenly believe that lifting weights has made them bulky. They couldn’t be further from the truth. What has made them bulky is the layer of fat covering their muscles. If not for the fat, they’d be extremely defined and lean looking. They have the muscle, they just don’t have the definition due to the fat. For these people the best training practice is to build and burn. Build and burn means perform exercises/workouts that adequately fatigue the muscles enough to build muscle, while elevating your heart rate enough to burn fat. Complex workouts are great for building muscle and burning fat. HIIT cardio is also great for building explosively lean muscle mass while burning tons of calories. Forget the standard back/bi, chest/tri, etc. split weight training schedules. You need something that is going to combine two powerful forces (muscle building/fat burning) in one awesome workout. Lucky for you, this is what we are Share It Fitness specialize in. Browse around and check out some plans that might help you reach your goals.
Whether you want to get lean, athletic, and ripped, or you’re a power lifter looking to get big, massive, and yes, bulky…you need to remember, it doesn’t happen over night. If you start a new weight training routine, you’re not going to wake up the next morning and instantly have big and bulky thighs. It just doesn’t happen like that. There is always time to back off of any plan and re-evaluate. The biggest mistake fearful exercisers make is they give a new plan a week or two, feel themselves building muscle, get scared, and stop doing what they’re doing. In reality, all they have to do is burn the fat over their muscles and they’d look exactly the way they wanted….but sadly, they never get that far. They repeat the same lift/build muscle/get scared/stop lifting cycle over, and over, and over again.
Break the Cycle
It’s time to break the cycle. Let this information sink in. You’re not getting big and bulky; you’re building lean muscle mass. You feel/look big and bulky because you have a layer of fat covering your lean muscle mass. Maybe you need to work harder on the cardio or maybe you need to clean up your diet…whatever it is, you’ve got to do something to burn the fat covering your muscles. Remember, build and burn. You cannot honestly assess the quality of your workouts after only a few weeks. Give your body a chance to respond to things and don’t allow that knee jerk reaction to throw your off course. Give it some time and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with how you progress.
The Benefits of Muscle
Muscle is awesome. Aside from making us stronger and improving our physique it has some real physiological benefits that cannot be ignored. Added muscle mass is going to provide your metabolism with a shot in the arm. Want to burn more calories (and fat) throughout the day? Add muscle to your frame. The addition of muscle will help you burn fat, and burning fat through HIIT cardio will help you build muscle. See? Not all cycles are negative. Use this positive cycle to help you achieve the body you’ve always thought to be out of reach.
Achieving That Fitness Model Body
There aren’t certain exercises that make one big and bulky, while others deliver a fitness model body. Developing a lean, athletic, and defined body is the result of breaking down muscle, allowing the muscle to repair itself through proper rest/nutrition, and doing ample amounts of cardio to burn fat. That’s all it is. The internet is littered with pictures of perfect 10 models flexing and showing off their bodies. While good genetics plays a role in their physique, they didn’t get to where they are without a lot of hard work. The work that goes in to looking this way is pretty much the same, regardless of gender, age, or other factors. Build muscle, burn fat, eat right, and learn patience…that’s all you need to do to achieve a great physique.
The men and women you look at with great envy all performed exercises/workouts that you think will make your body “big and bulky”. They simply progressed past the point that you typically stop at, burnt the fat covering their muscles, and achieved their body. There isn’t a secret formula to getting yourself from an average body to an awesome body. Patience, persistence, hard work, and a well-designed plan are all that is needed. For once, believe in the science behind all of this…keep going even when you think your workouts are making you big and bulky, go hard on your cardio, and above all else, avoid that knee jerk reaction that has prevented you from achieving your goals this entire time. Once you learn to overcome the misguided thoughts in your head you will FINALLY be able to unlock your true potential.
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