Avoid Muscle Bulk With These Gym Tips
For many women, one of the greatest fears they have of starting a resistance training program is developing muscle ‘bulk’. They want that thin, svelte look that shows they’re fit, but doesn’t look muscular at all.
The first thing to know in this is that being a female, you will never develop great muscle bulk quickly because you simply don’t possess the testosterone necessary to do so.
This said, there are certain things that you can do with your program to help ensure that you are still getting stronger, but don’t see much gain in muscle size. Let’s go over what these are so that you can apply them to your plan if you wish.
Don’t Go Into A Calorie Surplus
The first thing you must do is avoid a calorie surplus. This means eating more calories than you body burns each and every day. If you do this and are strength training at the same time, there is a good chance that you will start to build muscle bulk. The body has an excess of energy and with the stimulus of resistance exercise, muscle gain along with some fat gain is inevitable.
If you keep your calories at maintenance or slightly lower (for fat loss purposes), that will help you avoid building muscle size. Just remember that going too low is also detrimental and could actually cause you to gain body fat over time.
A moderate calorie intake is just where you want to be.
Keep The Rep Range Low Or Quite High
Next, with the rep ranges that you do, you’ll either want to keep the weight very high and do lower rep ranges of five to eight reps to build strength or keep the weight much lighter and do reps of 15-20.
Moving into the 8-15 rep range is the hypertrophy zone and can lead to muscle size increases. If you stay much lower (strength) or higher (endurance), you’re less likely to see size gains.
It’s a good idea to get both ends of the spectrum in your program so that you develop a well-balanced fitness level.
Avoid Too Much Volume
In addition to monitoring your reps, also consider how much volume you’re doing as well. Too much volume can also lead to muscle size increases, so that’s another thing you’ll want to be careful about.
Aim for around 2-3 sets of each exercise you do, not going much higher. That will keep the volume reasonable and less likely to promote growth.
Keep Up Your Cardio Training
Finally, last but not least, make sure that you do have some cardio training in your program. I’m not saying to go do 6 hours of cardio each week, but a few times a week, get interval training or just your moderate paced cardio into the program. This will help build up your cardiovascular fitness while helping to balance out the strength training that you’re doing.
So there you have the four tips to remember about building muscle without size. If you can keep these in mind, you can get that lean, strong, and fit body you desire.