Bookmark Website  | Free Registration  | The Team
The Lounge  | Champions  | The Wire |  Schedule |  Audio  |  Arcade  |  The Top Ten  |  Historical  |  Email  |  Video

But I Dont Want Muscles! Part 1: What Muscle is, and how to Build (or Avoid) It


One of the common comments I hear from my female clients is, "Please don't give me any weights work - I don't want any muscle, I just want to tone." The reasons differ from client to client, but it most often they seem to be based on a misunderstanding of what muscle is, how we build it, what it has to do with weight loss - or some combination of the above. There's a lot of misinformation outside of the fitness world about muscles and what they do, so I'd like to spend the next two articles exploring the realities behind the myths.

WHAT IS MUSCLE?

When I was younger, I'd never really thought about what the 'stuff' between my skin and my bones was made of. I understood that muscles were what bodybuilders had, and fat was something that made you fat, and that I had some of each. I think, though, that I believed that they existed inside some kind of other substance that filled the space between my skin and my bones. Then, in secondary school, I learned that, in a healthy person, most of this magical substance was just muscle. In fact, I learned that, aside from my body's networks of organs, blood vessels and nerves, and my skeleton there isn't really much under my skin except for muscle and fat.

I learned that muscles were an incredible network of fibres that allowed me to move my limbs, to stay sitting or standing upright, to talk, breathe, and pretty much to translate any thought I had into action of some kind. I learned that if I didn't use them, muscles would shrink and weaken, and if I did, they'd grow stronger. And I learned that as my muscles grew stronger, so did I.

All of this was quite a revelation for me at the time, so I can understand the initial confusion that exists amongst so many of my clients - why they want to tone without building muscles. The truth though, is that muscle is the only thing under their skin that can be toned, and that 'toning' often simply means that muscles become slightly more visible (which then makes the whole body look smoother and firmer). So without enough muscle to start with, there's nothing there that can be toned.

BULIDING THE RIGHT SIZED MUSCLES

Often, the clients I speak to don't have a problem with the idea of a little muscle. The problem is that many don't realise it isn't an 'all or nothing' thing. Unfortunately, because of the lack of clear information out there in the media, the only image they have to associate 'women' with 'muscle' is one of a female bodybuilder at the peak of her competition physique. Not that there's anything wrong with wanting such a physique if that's a client's aim, but for most of the women I speak to, the possibility of developing such large, defined muscles is really quite scary!

Those kinds of muscles, however, don't happen quickly or easily. Really large muscles require long, intense workouts over a period of time, and a base level of testosterone - a hormone most women don't have in sufficient quantities (without the use of steroids, anyway) for size to become a problem. Granted, there are women with naturally high testosterone levels (and I'm one!), who will put on muscle more quickly. But even for me, muscles don't suddenly appear, fully-formed overnight. So if I notice I'm gradually building size in an area I don't want it, it's not difficult for me to change my training in that body area to gradually reduce the size again.

Also, many people believe any kind of weights work will automatically increase muscle size. The truth is that not all training produces size increases. There are a number of variables you can play with in strength training - the heaviness of the weight, the number of repetitions of the movement, and the time you allow yourself to rest between groups of repetitions (or sets). Very generally speaking, training with a heavy weight and low repetitions in each set will increase strength; training with a medium-to-heavy weight and medium repetitions will increase muscle size; and training with a lighter weight with high repetitions per set will increase endurance.

In practice, it's not actually quite this simple, and there are other factors to consider. The important point is that not all training will increase muscle size, that some muscle is necessary if you want to tone, and that working with a competent trainer will help ensure you get only the results that you want from your training.

In Part 2 of the article (http://optimumlife.co.nz/Fitness%20Articles/Muscle/Muscle2.htm), we look at why muscle is so important for weight management and long- term health.

Copyright 2005 Tanja Gardner

Optimum Life's Tanja Gardner is a Personal Trainer and Stress Management Coach whose articles on holistic health and relaxation have appeared in various media since 1999. Optimum Life is dedicated to providing fitness and stress management services to help clients all over the world achieve their optimum lives.

To read more articles like this one, please subscribe to Optimum Fitness News at http://optimumlife.co.nz/Newsletter%20Signup.htm.

To find out more about how you could benefit from online personal training, please visit http://www.trainerforce.com/optimumlife/.

To find out more about holistic fitness and stress management please visit http://optimumlife.co.nz, or contact Tanja on tanja@optimumlife.co.nz.


MORE RESOURCES:

WatertownDailyTimes.com

Total Nutrition in Watertown offers supplements to build muscle, lose weight
WatertownDailyTimes.com
“We can help people build muscle in 45 to 90 days,” said the Alabama native, who completed a two-month training course at a Total Nutrition store in Columbus, Ga., before opening the Watertown location. The business is leasing the space in the multi ...



WTTV CBS4Indy

New Energy Wellness Program helps senior citizens strength train, build muscle
WTTV CBS4Indy
(July 1, 2015) – Mary Shambaugh is 78 years young and wants to enjoy every bit of her life. So she joined the New Energy Wellness Program through American Senior Living. “I was getting older and felt that I did not have the energy that I used to have.



Luxoft Primed To Build Muscle In Tech Services
Nasdaq
W hen it comes to providing software development and IT solutions, Luxoft Holding doesn't always move with the rest of the pack.Luxoft ( LXFT ) is a developer of software and next-generation IT solutions to a global client base of mainly large ...

and more »


The Cheat Sheet

Hate the Gym? Build Muscle With 5 Moves You Can Do at Home
The Cheat Sheet
Staying active is one of the best ways you can live a longer, healthier life. Sounds easy enough, but most adults spend a good chunk of time sitting each day while at work. The New York Times reported results from a study that revealed those who sit a ...



Mstarz

Build Muscle Fast with a Full Body Workout for That Sexy Summer Bikini Body ...
Mstarz
Let's cut through all the lies and be honest. In 2015, we want things NOW. That includes our sexy summer bikini bodies, right? Well, you might be in luck, folks, because it's being reported that there's a full-body workout that can get you to build ...



Bustle

6 Foods That Help You Build Muscle, Because Nutrition And Exercise Go Hand ...
Bustle
When trying to build muscle and tone your body, working out is just half the battle. On top of your daily squats and bicycle crunches, you also need to make sure you're eating the right foods. After you exercise, your muscles need the right balance of ...



Build muscle the sure way
Doctor Tipster
When you're trying to build muscle, you should listen to your body and look for the signs and symptoms it is showing. If you want to achieve the results you want to achieve, then you need to understand and listen to your body. Your body may not be ...

and more »


Same BMI, Very Different Beach Body
New York Times
This is a crucial shortcoming as some research now suggests that body fat percentage and body composition are more important indicators of health than weight alone. That puts the emphasis on exercises that don't just burn calories, but also build muscle.

and more »


Daily Mail

Health and fitness myths busted from morning sit-ups to carbs after 6pm
Daily Mail
Have you been avoiding carbs after dark, busting your gut doing sit-ups and spending hours on the treadmill but still aren't reaching your weightloss goals? According to personal trainer and lead fitness vlogger, Aj Odudu, being time-poor and drowning ...



The Cheat Sheet

4 of the Best Crossfit Moves to Work Into Your Exercise Routine
The Cheat Sheet
Muscles that make up the core are found in your upper and lower back, hips, buttocks, and abs. Deadlifts do everything from build muscle to work your cardiovascular system. They are intense and involve using your entire body, so it is important to warm ...


Google News


Advertisement



Section Site Map - Submit News - Feedback - Comments - Advertise with Us

Copyright © 2006 Luminati Inc. All rights reserved.