Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Fear of Getting "Bulky"

Any personal trainer will tell you that strength training is necessary. The problem is women are afraid to get "bulky." Time and time again I have to explain to women that using weights, be it machines or free weights, will not cause bulky muscle. In fact, it will even help to burn more fat than just doing cardio alone, even at rest.
Recently I've come across an article on the Huffington Post that provides even more reason to work out with the intent of building muscle instead of just burning fat. The article is entitled, "More Muscle Could Help You Live Longer" and was published on March 27, 2014 by Sean Kinney. These findings were published online February 20 by The American Journal of Medicine. The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and National Institute on Aging.
The main finding of the study is this: increased muscle mass appeared more closely associated with lower instances of premature death than less body fat.
One doctor says, "“Rather than worrying about weight or body mass index, we should be trying to maximize and maintain muscle mass.”
This study focused on older adults measuring muscle mass as opposed to BMI (body mass index).

The ideal workout will include time for cardio, stretching, and strength training. If you are not including any one of these three, it is time you ask yourself why. If you do not know how to strength train, your best bet is to find a personal trainer who suits you and tell them exactly what you're looking to get out of the session. You've never used the machines before? Or not sure if you're using them correctly? Then that's the first thing you work on. The machines will teach you proper form you can later use with free weights or other exercise equipment. It will also allow you to work out on your own, free of the trainer's supervision. If the trainer refuses to take you on the machines, write out a program for you, or discourages you from working out on your own without his/her supervision, it is time to interview another trainer. Thank them for their time and be on your way. You need someone who will teach you to work out independent of him or her. If they are a good trainer, then they will have plenty of ways to keep you challenged after they've taught you the basics and will encourage you to try new things to keep you motivated and active.

Another thing stopping you might be money. Trainers aren't cheap and there is a good reason for that. Trainers take the time to tailor each workout to your specific needs. They study where you're at and figure out how to get you to your goal as fast as possible without mental burnout or physical injury. So how do you get started when you can't afford a trainer twice or even once a week? Figure out what you can afford. And seriously think about every purchase you make: the daily coffee at your local coffee shop, the lunches you buy instead of preparing the night before, the nights you get take-out for you and your family. Chances are, you are spending money and gaining calories which are both working against your goal. Your trainer can sit down with you and show you how to fix that, but first you have to hire one. Maybe you can only afford twice a month, or even an hour a month. Maybe half that hour is discussing your successes and pitfalls for the month and where you can do better next month. Training is what you make it. It doesn't have to be a drill sergeant yelling at you if you don't want it to be. A good trainer will make you realize your weaknesses and take responsibility for them.

Are you working out now? What do you do for cardio? Are you sure you're doing it correctly? Are you sure you're doing enough? Do the free weights and machines intimidate you? Do you know when to stretch and how often?
If you plan on getting fit this season, these are all questions you will need answers to. And once these are answered, you'll have even more. Working out can be extremely fulfilling and a huge confidence builder. You just have to do it right.

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