In most people’s mind, weightlifting is synonymous with big bulky muscles. In other words, people who weight lift, especially for a prolonged period of time are meant to end up with hefty muscles. Right? – Wrong!
Contrary to common fallacy, weightlifting and huge muscles don’t necessarily have to go hand in hand. While it’s an undeniable fact that most people choose this activity because it’s the best way to build muscle and strength, one can still weightlift without looking bulky in the long run. Here’s how to achieve this.
Getting Toned – Not Bulky
So, to cut right to the chase, the secret lies in lighter weights and high reps. Using smaller weights (5-10 lbs) during high-rep exercises will help your body burn calories and fat faster, while at the same time it will start building lean muscle. The end result of such a workout routine is lower body fat and a well-toned outlook.
Additionally, a very interesting and useful fact to keep in mind is that lean muscle makes it easier to burn excess fat. To further explain, muscle tissue helps burn more calories, even when you are at rest. What is more, according to Wharton, typically, 50 calories are burned by 10 pounds of muscle during a day of complete rest, while only 20 calories would be burned by the same amount of fat. Continually, a number of people fear the fact that any type of weightlifting exercises will automatically make them bulky, which needless to say, is inaccurate; however, what they fail to consider is that the body actually needs a certain amount of lean muscle, not just to maintain an attractive appearance, but to also ensure one’s overall physical health. In other words, having lean muscle contributes to keeping your body fat levels down, which in turn can help you avoid the “skinny fat” look.
In case you haven’t heard of this term before, “skinny fat” in essence refers to people who at first glance appear slim, however, their body fat heavily outweighs their muscle mass, which naturally, is not the healthiest of scenarios. So, if you’re someone who has been avoiding weightlifting in fear of getting bulky, and have just stuck with cardio, know that’s not the greatest solution.
Combine Cardio with Strength Exercises
Lean, toned but not bulky. If that is your goal, make sure to incorporate a combination of cardio workouts and strength exercises. A cardio routine can involve anything from a few minutes on the elliptical, a stepper, or a stationary bike, while strengthening exercises may include a pull-up station, and of course, weights. However, again, do bear in mind to stick to lighter weights as opposed to heavy ones, if you do in fact want to avoid getting bigger and bulky.
Lifting weights has magnificent health benefits, starting with building necessary lean muscles mass, and according to some research, it can even improve sleep and one’s immune system. The only thing to bear in mind, is to avoid heavy weights if your fitness goals do not include getting large muscles.