Weight Training Won’t Bulk You Up – Unless You Want It To

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Stop running from the weight bench and put down those girly pink dumbbells! Weight exercises are good for you and won’t turn you into the Hulk. Weight exercises won’t make your muscles bulky unless your goal is to bulk up and build bulging biceps. Weight exercises will help tone and firm your muscles, increase your ability to burn fat and improve your bone health. So, grab some weights and get strong. There is a difference between weight training to get stronger and weight training to build bulky muscles. To get stronger without building big muscles, lift light weights for many repetitions, roughly 12 to 15 repetitions. Build bulky muscles by lifting heavier weights for fewer repetitions. By changing the way you work out when doing weight exercises, you can target different types of muscle fibers. Heavy weight with few repetitions targets your type II muscle fibers for bulk, while lighter weights with more repetitions targets your type I muscles fibers for muscular endurance.

Weight exercises benefit your body, even if you aren’t trying to build muscle. Lifting weights, doing bodyweight exercises, such as push-ups, and resistance exercises help reduce the risk and symptoms of chronic illness and disease, including osteoporosis, arthritis and diabetes. Strong muscles, especially in your back and core, help improve your balance to prevent falls. Post-menopausal women are at risk for weakened bones due to loss of bone mass. Weight training can help reduce bone loss and can even improve bone mass. Muscle tissue is very efficient at using glucose for fuel to help keep your blood sugar levels under control and reduce your risk of diabetes.

You will have to spend hours in the gym, take supplements and eat high protein diet if you want to build bulky muscles. It’s difficult for women to build huge muscles like men because women lack sufficient testosterone to build muscle mass. Your lack of testosterone along with your DNA determine how you build muscles. Mesomorphs, or muscular body types, are more likely to build bulky muscles than endomorphs, or those with rounder, curvy bodies. Ectomorph body types are slimmer and leaner than either mesomorphs or endomorphs. No matter what your body type, you will benefit from weight training by becoming stronger.

In addition to exercise, your nutrition and body type will help determine whether you build muscle and how big your muscles will grow. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (eatright.org), you should eat 1.4 to 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day when lifting weights if you want to build muscle. This amounts to up to 20 percent of your daily caloric intake. Eating more protein won’t build bigger muscles. Even if you don’t want bulky muscles, your body still needs protein to repair and build new muscle after a workout.

Overcoming Gym-Phobia

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The Centers for Disease Control declared obesity is a national epidemic. Many factors contribute to obesity, including unhealthy diet and a sedentary lifestyle. Diet and exercise fads seem to be on the increase, perhaps to take financial advantage by selling lose-weight-quick programs and pills. Turn on late night television and you will probably see a few infomercials featuring diet pills or the latest fat-busting exercise DVD. Losing weight can be difficult. Some people need guidance and support to succeed. A gym is a place where those who need some help can meet others who are supportive. Staff and personal trainers can offer instruction to prevent injury and motivation to keep you going. Home exercise programs are a fantastic way to lose weight and get fit, but they don’t work for everyone. It’s too easy to put off getting started or lose motivation to exercise at home when the television and sofa beckon. Some people may avoid joining a gym because they are embarrassed about their physical appearance or feel like they won’t fit in. If you are anxious or reluctant to join a gym because you’ve never been to one, there are some things you can do to prepare for your first trip to the gym. 
Define your fitness goals and discover what motivates you to achieve your goals. Do you want to lose 15 pounds or even 30 pounds? Do you want to get a flatter stomach or firmer arms? Maybe you are motivated to lose weight and get fit because there is an important event coming up, like a wedding or family reunion. Perhaps you are motivated to get fit before your 20 year class reunion. Whatever your motivation to get started, the important thing is you are motivated. Once you get started exercising and eating a healthier diet, you will look better and feel better.
Avoid setting yourself up for failure. You may not be able to just walk into a gym and start exercising. People who have not exercised in years should prepare for the gym by building up their endurance. Walking is a great way to build endurance. Make a commitment to walk 10 minutes every day for one week. Walk for 20 minutes every day for the next week. By the third week, you should be able to walk for 30 minutes and more confident that you can do 20 to 30 minutes of exercising on a gym treadmill or elliptical machine. After your first successful treadmill or elliptical workout, you will come away from the gym feeling confident and motivated. 
Many gyms offer trial periods. Take advantage of the trial period to find a gym that works for you. A good gym will provide an orientation program designed to not only familiarize you with the gym equipment and policies, but also inquire about your current level of fitness, health issues and goals. A personal trainer at a gym offers personal instruction and can help you develop a realistic plan so that you meet and even exceed your fitness goals. 

Plyometric Training

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Plyometric training is a form of exercise where the muscles are stretched and then contracted. The movements of plyometric training can be intense and high impact, so preparation and training are important to help avoid injury. Those who want to begin a plyometric training regime must exhibit both strength and endurance. Jumping, hopping and quick movements around and through obstacles are part of an effective plyometric exercise program. Exercises that take advantage of the elasticity of the muscles and the stretching reflex helps to build strength, flexibility, speed and endurance of the muscles. Quickly contracting and relaxing the muscles involved in a particular activity, such as jumping or pushing, can help an athlete perform better and ordinary people go through a busy day without becoming fatigued. 
Begin any plyometric exercise routine with a thorough stretching of all the muscles of the body. Stretch your arms, legs, chest, back and shoulders. Be sure to stretch your muscles prior to exercises because many of the explosive movements, such as pushing upward with great force in a jumping motion, can result in injury if your muscles are not ready for the exertion. Invest in a good pair of athletic shoes that will provide support for your foot arch and absorb shock from jumping and landing hard. Some plyometric exercises are high impact, so it’s important to protect your feet. You will get more benefit and avoid injury if you perform jumping exercises on any surface other than concrete. Hardwood floors like those found in gymnasiums or cushioned tile floors are best. 

Plyometric training is tough on your joints as well as your muscles. Don’t begin any high-impact exercise program without consulting your doctor, especially if you suffer form joint conditions such as arthritis or gout, or if you have bone loss due to aging or vitamin deficiencies. Gradually increase the power and intensity of your exercise over time. An easy way to incorporate plyometric training into your daily fitness routine is to do some interval training. For example, if you walk for 30 minutes each day, insert 5 minutes of a quick sprint or fast jog for every 5 minutes of walking. When performing squats, insert a squat jump by pushing upward and jumping with power from every third or fourth squat. Incorporate a burst of high intensity exercise for 5 minutes after each 10 minutes of regular exercise. Perform some high energy jumping jack exercises following 10 minutes of push-ups or crunches.