I was always under the impression that the more cardio I did, the more in shape I would be. Other than lifting light weights on occasion, serious weight-training never crossed my mind because I didn’t want to look muscular, like a body-builder. I wanted to look lean and toned. I recently sat down with Brad of Bradley Fitness to talk about the importance of weight-training because since we started training in January, it’s 90% of what we actually do together.
Liz: SO Brad, if I lift weights, will I get bulky? I don’t want to look like a body builder, I want to look lean and toned.
Brad: Laughs, and reads me a quote, “Not lifting weights because you are afraid of looking like a body builder is like not driving your car because you fear becoming a Nascar driver”. This is probably the most common and difficult question to answer as a trainer, thanks for the intro Liz.
The simple answer is no, however this question is highly subjective.
The definition of bulky is different for everyone. For our purposes, your fear of “bulky” is by definition gaining muscle underneath your layer of body fat but not losing the body fat. From my 7 years of training, 90% of the time people will look bulky from weight-lifting is not because of the actual muscle gain, but because they aren’t losing the body fat covering their growing muscles, and that comes down to their diet and lifestyle. For instance, you start weight training 2-3 times per week, you half-ass your diet, you’re only sleeping 5-6 hours night and you go out drinking 3 times a week. You’re going to gain muscle quickly, especially as a beginner, but that body fat is not going to budge and you’re going to gain inches.
Let’s talk about what toned is. Lean muscle and low body fat. Muscles can do three things; get smaller (shrink in size), stay the same, or grow larger. You can’t actually change the shape of your muscles, but you can change the size. Also, you cannot lengthen your muscles, although some trendy classes will use “lengthen” in their marketing. If people are appearing longer and leaner, what’s most likely happening is they’re losing body fat and their posture is improving, making them stand taller.
Here is why weight training is so important to achieve your goals, and the goals of many others, to look lean and toned. The more muscle you have the higher your caloric expenditure will be, so you’ll burn more calories even while sitting at your desk or “Netflix and chillin'”. More muscle in the right areas can improve posture. Lifting increases bone density which gets more important as we age. Most people gain a lot of confidence when they get stronger, and you won’t get stronger without weight training. Muscle is much denser than fat, so let’s say you gain 5 lbs. of muscle and lost 5 lbs. of body fat. Your weight has stayed the same but you’re now much leaner, and your muscles are showing through.
Brad and I train 2 times per week and I recently started doing some boot camp and body sculpting classes at our gym, the results are crazy and I enjoy weight-training SO MUCH MORE than cardio, I despise cardio.
Don’t know where to begin with weight-training? Contact Brad here.