Muscle… two little syllables which scare a lot of female trainees half to death!
You’ve seen the female bodybuilders in all the muscle mags or on the internet, or worse, you’ve caught a documentary about the latest Ms Olympia on some obscure cable channel while TV surfing one night… and you don’t want to look like them. Quite rightly too, but to do so, you avoid resistance based exercise at all cost, and avoid all the good, result producing exercises as a result.
This is not true of all women, but due to miss-information sees a large portion of women trying all sorts of diets and weight loss ‘techniques’, which produce very little, if any, results.
So let’s first of all make one thing clear – Building muscle does not mean becoming a bodybuilder!
If you know me or are a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know one of my personal goals in life is getting women to do proper push-ups. Not the girly ‘on your knees’ type (box push-ups) but the real deal. And do you know the biggest reason you avoid doing them?
Not because they’re too hard, but because you’ve been conditioned to think that by doing them you’ll get pecs like big Arnie!
Not going to happen.
Firstly, believe it or not, a resistance based routine is not only the most time efficient training programme you could follow, but it’s your best ally in ditching the wobbly stuff. Resistance training doesn’t necessarily mean throwing around big weights, it can be push ups, squats, pull ups…
If nothing else, all other things being equal, those people doing a proper resistance training programme can lose up to 25% more bodyfat.
25%. Think about that for a minute.
If you could lose 20lbs of fat when the people around you are losing 15, wouldn’t you be all over that like a cheap suit?
Secondly, most women, without using performance enhancing drugs or in the case of today’s muscle-clad amazons, male hormones, can never build huge amounts of muscle because women’s bodies produce hardly any of the muscle building hormone, Testosterone. Men, as a rule, have plenty of the “T” and still have to sweat blood and tears for several years lifting weights the size of a small hatchback just to gain enough muscle to look ‘above average’…
Yet despite this, you’ve been given the impression that you so much as have to look at a dumbbell and overnight you’ll swell to the size of a Gorilla on steroids!
Well let’s set the record straight now. Here’s 5 reasons you want more muscle, and why getting it won’t blow you up like the Michellin man…
- Every pound of muscle you gain can burn up to 100 extra calories per day…
So that means if you gained just 1lb of the lean stuff, you’re now walking around burning up to 700 extra calories per week without doing anything different!The official figures here vary from around 25 calories per day upwards, but when you consider a pound of fat burns only 2 calories per day sitting there, it’s a bit of a no-brainer which pound you want on your body!
Plus it works both ways… Lose a pound of muscle, and that’s up to 100 calories less you can eat each day just to maintain your current bodyweight.
- Muscle weighs around twice as much as fat…
So 5lbs of muscle takes up half the space on your body as the same 5lbs if it was made up of fat. What’s better is that unlike fat, those 5lbs won’t make it difficult to pull up your favourite pair of skinny jeans… it will make you look more sleek and toned than not having them.
And don’t worry, to look like any of the scary dayglo-orange woman-behemoths who have biceps like watermelons and a backside like a pin-cushion, putting 5-10lbs of lean, body firming muscle isn’t going to do it. You’d need to gain about 50! And God knows, that isn’t going to happen.
- You can’t spot reduce fat…
And by that I mean no matter how many ab cruches you do, you won’t burn fat off of your stomach. But you can spot produce muscle!
Muscle, unlike fat, doesn’t just hang on your skeleton like an oversized, lard filled potato sack. Muscle is effectively like sculptor’s clay. You can put how much you want wherever you want it to sculpt your ideal physique a little bit at a time.
- Muscle makes you stronger…
Well duh! But past the obvious images conjured up when you think about getting stronger, stronger muscles protect your joints fending off pain ranging from back pain through to mild arthritis in knees or wrists.And of course it does also mean real strength. For example, I was once training a mother and daughter who I train together when their new fridge got delivered during the session. We stopped while they popped out to take delivery, and I went out to help, only to find the didn’t need me as they marched past me carrying the 90 odd kg white appliance like it was a tissue box.
“We couldn’t have done that 6 months ago!”
- Bottom line, embracing the “M” word has been making women look amazing for decades… In fact here’s a few women not afraid of building a little muscle: Angelina Jolie didn’t shy away from a little muscle building when she was whipped into shape to play the I.T department’s favourite pin-up, Lara Croft.Marilyn Monroe was one of the earliest women to go on record as using resistance training as a staple for sculpting her iconic curves.A lot of us grew up with Linda Carter looking amazing as Wonder Woman, and to this day, at 59, still looks incredible with regular resistance training in her routine.
Actress Hilary Swank reportedly gained 10lbs of muscle for her Oscar winning role in recent box office hit Million Dollar Baby. Certainly did her head-turning figure no harm.
Take a tip from these ladies. Don’t fear the “M” word! Believe me when I say you’ll never build enough of it to scare small children, but what you can and should build will be enough to give you a lean, toned, beautiful figure that will turn enough heads to cause a whiplash epidemic!