Updated: Feb 25, 2019
It’s the old classic, “I don’t want to lift weights, because I don’t want to get too big.” Oh, if only it were that simple. Take it from someone who has been lifting weights for well over a decade now, and getting in an appropriate amount of protein every day, it really isn’t that easy to put on a significant amount of muscle. Certainly not what most people would consider “too big”, which I imagine is an Arnold Schwarzenegger size. And I’m pretty sure, that if you’re doing it naturally, and even if you’re not, you’re going to notice way before you get anywhere near that size.
It’s particularly painful to hear this mostly coming from women. The media has seemed to paint this picture of small weights, bodyweight exercises, being the only way to a toned, lean body, and heavier weights being the way to look like the Hulk. And a fair number of these TV personal trainers seem to exacerbate this train of thought, with their “workouts for women”. But it’s simply not true. For your muscles to develop, there needs to be an increase in load on them. You can do this with a lower weight, it’ll just take much longer, and it focuses more on burning calories, than actually building lean muscle. More challenging weights burn those calories, whilst building good muscle. Just look at female sports stars, most of them are doing proper weights to develop those bodies.
From a scientific point of view, stay with me, on average, men can only put on about two pounds of muscle every month. That’s not a whole lot really, certainly not enough to warrant any concern of suddenly waking up one day, and not being able to fit through your bedroom door! And you know all those women that are worried about it, halve that amount. One pound of muscle every month. You see, one of men’s most important hormones is testosterone, which is more of a muscle building hormone. Whereas one of women’s most important hormones is oestrogen, which is more of a fat storage hormone. Sorry, but women are generally built to house more than just themselves, which makes it harder for them to put on all this scary muscle. So, even if they wanted to be that big, it’s that much harder for them to reach that level. There’s a reason why you don’t see female bodybuilders who are anywhere near as big as the male bodybuilders. It’s just not physically possible.
And, when people say “too big,” they’re probably talking about these bodybuilders. Well brace yourselves, because here’s a shocker for you, 99.9% of those bodybuilders, both male and female, are taking supplements. And I’m not talking about the little bit of extra protein, or Vitamin D kind of supplements. We’re talking about steroids, performance enhancing drugs. And that’s the reality of it, especially when they’re competing. Not only is there so much competition, but most of these people pretty much defy the laws of genetics. The human body is really only physically capable of so much, even those who have superior genetics, and if you want to go beyond that, well you have to use the cheat code. So, that’s where steroids come in.
Honestly, the extent to which you have to change your life to even get close to being what people consider “big” is way beyond most people’s capabilities and desires. It becomes your entire life. Picking up a few weights, three times a week, isn’t going to cut it. You really don’t have to worry about that, and there are so many important benefits of weight training, that it should really be a big part of most people’s fitness regimes. Give it a go, and even if by some miracle you start to get “big”, you can stop. But you won’t get big, you’ll get fit and lean. See you next week.