When I start a relationship with a new client, they tell me their goals. To some, the avenue to success is perplexing. Whether they want to lose weight or gain weight, my answer is the same…lift weights!
Then the admonishments begin. “Remember, I don’t want to get bigger.” That is probably the number one concern I hear from females and most of my clients who want to lose more than 15 pounds.
Believe me, I understand the concern. We live in a city where, on the street, buff bodies and gyms are more visible than Starbucks. And, in the media, infomercials with the average Joe or talk shows with celebrities pushing the newest lifting fad are on more often than reruns of Law And Order.
But, while the basic answer to everyone’s dilemma (being in better shape) is the same (lifting weights), there’s obviously a lot more to it. When I train a client, the workout is comprised of a specific amount of sets, repetitions (reps.) and intensity for each body part based on the client’s goals.
While it’s true that lifting weights causes micro-damage to muscle tissue and when repaired (with rest and nutrition) muscle forms, in general, to produce hypertrophy (muscle growth) a subject should lift weights where only 10 – 12 reps. can be performed; meaning, that if I asked for 13 reps., it would be impossible.
Also, the majority of workouts I give to my client are total body. The reason for this is to avoid overtraining to one specific body part and increasing its size. The goal is to “damage” each muscle just enough to where it needs energy (nutrition) to repair itself, thus increasing the body’s metabolism, burning more calories and losing fat. This is what most people refer to being “toned”.
However, there is a catch. If a client doesn’t do their part and provides either too much or too little energy (nutrition/calories) to their body, the body will not respond as desired and either plateau or actually get bigger.
Therefore, the next time you’re concerned about getting “bigger”, think about what you’re eating not about how you’re training.