Bulking Up Fear: Exercise Misconceptions
A lot of people avoid strength training because they are afraid of bulking up. However, the results they fear the most have little to do with actual strength training. There are many physiological factors that go into the results of strength training. Chances are, adding strength training into your exercise routine will not cause a huge increase in muscle mass.
Strength Training and Women
The fear of bulking up is often seen in women. They prefer a more toned look to huge muscles. However, physiological differences in women mean that they won’t necessarily bulk up after starting strength training. First off, females have a higher percentage of slow-twitch muscle fibers than men. These types of muscle fibers do not have as much potential to increase in size than fast-twitch muscles. Additionally, women have lower testosterone levels which also can affect muscle mass. Another reason women should not fear bulking up is because they have a higher percentage of body fat, which can mask the effects of strength training. More than this, what may appear to be an increase in muscle mass could just be a decrease in body fat.
The fear of bulking up is also commonly seen in runners or other endurance athletes. A huge increase in muscle mass could mean a decrease in speed. Therefore, they solely focus on cardio when it comes to their training regimen. However, numerous studies have shown that adding strength training into their routine can greatly increase performance of endurance athletes. Additionally, strength training plays a huge role in injury prevention. The key to not bulking up is focusing on intensity. Endurance athletes do not need to spend hours in the gym to see results. Just adding high intensity strength training two times a week can greatly improve their training.
This is true even for non-competitive athletes. The recreational runner can see improvements with strength training as well. It helps to increase endurance. Adding strength training twice a week will not cause someone to gain huge amounts of muscle mass.
Why You Should Start Strength Training
Bulking up does not come with strength training alone. In fact, strength training is important for a healthy lifestyle. You do not need to be a serious athlete to benefit from it. Most people who start strength training find they are able to go about their daily lives feeling better. They can perform everyday activities with ease. Don’t let the fear of bulking up stop you from experiencing the benefits of strength training.