“I don’t want to get bulky”

As a strength and conditioning coach, one of the most common things that I hear from women that I interview to train is “I don’t want to get bulky!”  This phrase is usually stated immediately after I reach for a set of dumbbells 10 lbs. or more.

“I simply want to tone my arms and firm up,” she says.  The belief is that by doing several steady pace cardio session, body weight squats and curling a 3lbs. dumbbells, they can affectively change their body in their desired time frame.

To avoid obtaining the “bulky” look, gym members are resorting to everything possible to avoid lifting weights. Kickboxing, hot yoga, trendy cardio based classes, cardio bar classes and just about anything OTHER than lifting weights. Frustration occurs when you have tried just about everything (other than weight training) and none of those things actually work.

So, let’s squash the myth once and for all!  LIFTING WEIGHTS WILL NOT MAKE YOU BULKY.

1. There is no such thing as “toned” muscles. There is muscle and then there is no muscle. By trying to not develop your muscles through exercise, you are actually not changing anything.

2. The lighter you lift, the weaker you get.  Changing your muscular development requires you to lift more than 30 reps with a 2 lbs. dumbbell. The only thing that is being accomplished by doing this overtime is weakening the muscle further.  You must lift within the range of achieving muscular failure, lifting no more than 12-15 reps per set.

3, “Lean” and “bulky” actually has more to do with body fat than it does with muscle. There are bodybuilders that have similar amounts of musculature but one can appear lean and the other can appear bulky. Too much body fat can cover hard earned muscle and less amounts of body fat can reveal beautifully developed muscle groups.

4. Fat does not turn into muscle.  You can eliminate fat or you can add to it, but you cannot moved fat around and transform it into muscle. But, you can burn lots of fat during a workout by lifting heavy weights.

5. “Female body builder and some fitness models appear bulky.” Body builder and fitness models go through a very rigorous weight training program and dieting phases that I would never suggest as healthy to anyone. In order to appear as they do on camera and during shows, they have to make significant sacrifices in their lifestyles.  I can assure you that they are not working out for 45 minutes every third days and eating healthy alone to achieve that look.

You can burn fat and change muscle during the same workout by using strength and conditioning exercises. Perhaps more than any other exercise program, weight lifting can achieve both goals within the same workout.  I conduct strength & conditioning exercises in Orange County, CA and would love to help anyone looking to change their bodies for the better.