I’m a big fan of weight training to help people achieve their fitness goals. It’s good for getting strong, it’s good for losing body-fat, it’s good for looking buff, and it’s good for staying healthy and active into old age.
But sometimes it’s hard to convince people to share my love of iron. One of the biggest reasons people don’t want to get into weight-lifting is that they don’t want to become too muscle-bound. This is usually a fear that women have – they don’t want to look too butch – but also I often hear men say that they don’t want to get overly muscular.
Here’s why that’s ridiculous: it takes an insane amount of work to build that much muscle, you are not going to get ‘big’ by accident. Those people you see, men and women, who have large, well defined muscles, put an awful lot of time and effort into looking that way. It takes years of dedication, regular training and strictly controlled diet to achieve that kind of body.
You are never going to get too muscular. If you work hard and diet correctly, you’ll notice that within 6 months your body will look pretty good – the muscles will start to take on a nice shape and grow a little bigger, and your body fat will drop to the point that it will be easier to see those muscles. You’ll start to look ‘fit’ but you won’t be anything close to too muscular.
The people who work hard to build huge muscles are called body-builders, and to them it’s an art form which requires a lot of dedication. Not only do they spend years building up all of the muscles in their body, they also diet hard to get their body fat down to very low levels. This is good for showing off the muscles, but for most ordinary it’s unsustainable to carry that little body fat because it means they have very little energy. It’s actually pretty unhealthy to have so little body fat for too long – fat is an essential part of the human body, it can’t be entirely eliminated, you’re literally starving yourself to death.
Serious body-builders cut as much fat as possible before a competition, but most of the time they are “bulking” – which means they are eating a lot of calories needed to grow muscles while they train, so they carry more body fat.
Don’t look at a body-builder and assume that’s what you’re going to look like if you do weight training – it’s simply not going to happen unless you put in the same kind of work that they do.
And the bottom line is that if you ever look at yourself in the mirror and feel like you’re getting too muscular, all you have to do is scale back your training until your body looks how you’d like it to.