Stop Worrying About Being Too Muscly Strength Without Bulk

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Building Muscle for Your Health

While there are a number of diets and schools of thought when it comes to exercise and nutrition, the focus of building muscle tends to be exclusively either on health or appearance – and the preconception that one might come along with the other couldn’t be further from the truth.

And this has a lot to do with where our notions of bodybuilding for appearance’s sake come from. As a child of the 80’s and 90’s, the media of the day was replete with the rippling muscles of heavyweights like Ah-nold giving selling a vision of what the ideal male form should look like.

But what you have to remember is that the Govenator had a different job in those days. It was his job to lift absurdly large weights and look every bit the peak physical human. Those goals, however, just aren’t relevant to the average person looking for a fitter, healthier life. And the sometimes aggressive methods that athletic celebrities employ may, for us, produce less-than-health results.

Strength train, the right way

Firstly, realize that strength training isn’t just looking at your core. Real strength training looks at all parts of your body, with exercises like squats, deadlifts, and lunges. If you don’t want to put extra bulk on, look at stamina training instead of constantly increasing the weights. Speed lifting and plyometric training are essential kinds of sets to add to your workout routine too. Speed lifting involves shifting the weight as fast as possible, and includes workouts like kettlebells and box squats. Plyometric training is the hopping or jumping exercises you probably see people do, so for example, jump squats. High Intensity Training or High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), are also good programs to follow, and you can find many good classes to put you on the right track.

Eat the right foods

If you do want to bulk up, you’ll need to bump up the amount of calories you consume. However, as it’s unlikely that you’re looking to get big, you just need to eat a sensible diet. Adding protein supplements to your diet is a good way to get the nutrients you need to help your muscles tone up and develop healthily. Otherwise, look at getting it in high protein foods like eggs, nuts, meat and broccoli. You should also make sure that you’re drinking plenty of water. If you embark on a fitness spree but don’t up your water intake, you’ll end up seriously unwell. In addition, if you feel like you need something extra in your diet, try a protein shake immediately after you work out.

Supplement with the right classes

If you don’t want to get too bulky, make sure you stretch a lot, and keep up your cardio. Stretching is important, as it’ll ensure that as your muscles get stronger, they don’t lose their flexibility. It’s easy for this to happen, and you might find yourself getting less flexible the stronger you get. So, make sure you’re still working on your stretching, ideally after a class when your muscles have already warmed up. Static stretching, that is, stretching before you’ve warmed up, can be really damaging for your muscles, so always stick to dynamic stretches after you’ve already exercised. Likewise, carrying on with your cardio classes will reduce the amount of muscle you’re creating, and ensure that your general fitness remains high. However, it can also tighten your muscles, so make sure you’re keeping up a stretching routine alongside it.

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