We´ve talked a lot about the importance of resistance exercise for optimal health, longevity and quality of life but you may be afraid of getting huge and big. If this is you, then continue reading.
If every time someone mention resistance training or weight lifting you think about bodybuilders or strongest men then the first point we need to talk about is that bodybuilders use drugs to get that big and they both eat a lot. For the rest of us is not possible to get that big because we´re not using drugs. Now, another point to consider is that it takes a lot of time to build lean muscle mass, fat loss is easier and quicker, but muscle growth takes a lot more time.
There are some points we need to make clear first, to get really big there need to be a lot of things going on and working together including the right type of training, frequency, volume and recovery, the amount and type of cardio also play an important role; then we also need to consider the diet, you need to be eating more and be really careful of the macros and calories if you want to gain muscle without gaining too much fat or if you want more freedom you can bulk which leads to fat and muscle gain.
In order to gain muscle you need to eat more, get the right amount of volume, resistance, frequency and recovery on your workout program. You can gain a considerably amount of muscle without using any drugs if all the variables are working in harmony, but it´s not necessary. Our goal is to improve body composition meaning having the right amount of muscle mass and body fat in most cases this is low body fat with a good amount of muscle mass which makes you look lean and toned but not big.
We need to mention that how hard or easy it is for you to gain muscle and get big also depends of your body, for some people it´s easier to gain muscle and start looking big than for others and some exercises can have a greater impact on your physique than others.
For most people who want to build that lean body and especially for girls lifting lighter weight for higher reps is the way to go, lifting heavy weight for low reps and adding more weight or reps every couple weeks which is called progressive overload lead to muscle gain so for most people who want to stay lean then lighter weights is the way to go. You can do squats, bench press, shoulder press, overhead triceps extensions, bicep curls all of them with lighter weights. You can also use resistance bands but stay with light resistance. Another point you need to consider is to not train to failure in any exercise, if you´ve gone to a gym you may have seen people training to failure which means they can´t do another rep, this is one technique for muscle growth so avoid it.
For cardio, boxing and kickboxing work great for most people who want to stay lean, they are great for toning your muscles. Some types of cardio like bicycle are not the best option for some people because they can end with bigger legs than what they´re looking for. Crossfit can also be a problem for some because it can make you big.
Now we can´t forget that to get big you need to eat more in most cases, there might be some exceptions but you need to keep in mind and also be really aware of any change in your body, if you´re getting big, are you gaining muscle or fat? Are you paying attention to your diet?
For most people especially girls lifting lighter weights for higher reps without going to failure will give them the results they want, a lean and toned body and adding some boxing or walking for cardio is also beneficial.
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