Should “getting too big” stop you from lifting weights?
In years of personal training I’ve heard many fears and doubts about getting into lifting weights and strength training in general. I want to shed some light on one specific concern that I’ve heard many times from both men and women of all ages.
Before starting their training routine one of the sentences I’ve heard the most, especially from women, was “I don’t want to get too big or too bulky”.
Let’s start by saying that even if you’ll see a considerable increase in lean mass when you start strength training for the first time, this development of muscle tissue will slow down as you get more experience in the gym.
Putting on muscle mass won’t be as quick and, you will have to adopt specific nutrition and training plans to keep growing (which obviously you won’t do once you’re happy with your size).
Strength training to lose fat
In my opinion, getting stronger should be your main focus. Period.
If you want to lose some undesired fat getting stronger will get you some muscles that will need to be maintained and the body will start “using” more calories to maintain said muscles.
Your daily calories expenditure will go up and, if you eat the same food you eating right now, you’ll lose some fat.
Obviously, you have to take in consideration that as you grow muscles, and your body uses up more calories it will probably tend to ask for more food.
If you can keep a stable diet as you grow stronger you will see changes in your body composition for a fitter look and a more “toned” body.
Risk of avoiding strength training
Perhaps we should replace the fear of getting “bulky” with a healthy concern for losing muscle. After age 30, we lose about 3 to 8% of muscle mass per decade, and this rate of loss is even higher after the age of 60. Less muscle increases the risk of falls and injury, especially as you age, which is another reason why strength training is so important, as it helps you maintain muscle mass and strength.
This is to say that the more you wait the more you’re going to need to train to get in an optimal position.
Of course, If you start before your body starts to drop muscle mass, you’ll have a much better time in the gym rather than working your first months or even years, trying to get back to where you were in your 20s.
If you’re wondering, YES, you can look better than you did in your 20s in your 30s, 40s or even 50s.
Is getting too bulky a thing than?
You can’t get too bulky because you can decide when you’re big or small enough and adapt your training and nutrition accordingly to maintain that body shape and composition.
The takeaway here is that strength training is an important component in human nature, and everybody should do it consistently to live their best life.