How to Look Good Without the Bulk

How to Look Good Without the Bulk

It’s a common misconception that you will get big and bulky from lifting weights. I am here to tell you lifting heavy weights is not all that goes into a “bulk.” It’s actually much tougher to build a muscular and “jacked” physique than you may think–believe me, I try!

Strength training is imperative and beneficial no matter your goals. If you’re an athlete, it’s going to make you stronger, faster, more agile and less accident prone.

If your goal is weight loss, strength training will build lean muscle mass, which will increase your metabolism and burn calories faster.

If your goal is in fact to “get big,” you can make that happen too! Step up the volume of your training and eat, eat, EAT!

How to Build Muscle: 

Now that we’ve discussed who should be strength training, let’s talk about what a program should look like…

Spending your whole day in the gym isn’t necessary. Weight training for 30-45 minutes, 3-4 times a week is enough to see results. You should try to target all your major muscle groups at least twice throughout your weekly workouts.

While you may not see results right away, even a single strength training session can help promote muscle growth. Exercise stimulates what’s called protein synthesis in the 2 to 4 hours after you finish your workout. Your levels may stay elevated for up to a whole day.

How exactly can you tell if your muscles are growing? You may be able to see more muscle definition. If not, you’ll certainly be able to lift heavier weights with more ease over time.

Strength training activities include:

body weight exercises, like pushups, squats, and lunges

resistance band movements

workouts with free weights

workouts with stationary weight machines, like a leg curl machine

Volume: 

When you are starting out, you should try to do between 8 and 15 repetitions in a row. That’s one set. Wait 30 seconds to a minute in between sets to rest. Then complete another set of the same length. Take approximately 3 seconds to lift or push your weight into place. Then hold that position for a full second and take another slow 3 seconds to lower the weight. At the beginning, plan to do 3 sets of each exercise.

Rest: 

I have had so many clients who are all in from the get-go, which I appreciate, but always advise them to start out with 2 rest days per week. If you don’t give those muscles time to recover, they become overworked and you will hit a plateau where you can’t make any definition or strength gains.

Cardio: 

Yes you should do it in conjunction with a well-designed weight lifting program. Shoot for 4-5 days per week of 30-45 minutes with your heart rate between 70-80% of your heart rate max. Cardio is going to help with cardiovascular function and endurance, plus it burns calories!

Diet:  

I could make the entire post about what your diet should look like for different types of training, but I will keep it short and just focus on protein. Protein is not what gets you “jacked”–even someone who lays in bed all day and doesn’t move needs protein to stay alive. How much protein you need is dependent upon your activity level however. I use the formula 0.8 to 2.0 x bodyweight (kg) = protein (g). So, I am 120 pounds and will divide this by 2.2 to find my weight in kilograms. This is 54.5kg, and because I am super active and train 6 days per week, I will be at the top end of this scale, so 54.5 x 2.0 = 109.1g protein per day. Then I calculate the rest of my macros (carbs and fats) depending on what I want my body composition to be.

Source: MJ Fitnatic

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