It is scientifically proven that there is no training regimen, lifting method, or tool that will change the shape of a muscle. Our genetics determine the shape and size of our muscles. Some of us are round, squared, plump, thin. But who’s to blame? Your parents, not your coach.
DIET: Most of us are concerned about our body fat and how lean and toned we look. A healthy diet consists of low sugar, high protein, a substantial amount of fat (if you are training 5-6 hours a week) and enough carbohydrates to maintain a good level of energy. Eating fast foods, not eating enough, eating on the fly, eating while stressed or anxious will not give us the results we envision. Protein is key for our muscle building strategy; protein guarantees that our muscles will be getting the adequate dose of amino acids for the maintenance and repair of muscle tissue. Your body shape is what it is; best bet is to watch what you eat.
BULKING: Getting “too big” is a common “side effect” of lifting heavy weight according to most women. In order for our muscles to grow in size, we must be aware of protein turnover (the breakdown of damaged muscle proteins and creation of new stronger ones). Protein turnover, NOT body weight, is what controls the size of our muscles over TIME. The protein turnover rate occurs approximately every 6 months and with an exceptional training and diet regimen we are only capable of gaining 1 pound of muscle per week! Common wisdom in the exercise world says “one pound equates to 3,500 calories,” yes, if you are looking to gain 1 pound of fat, not muscle. Studies have found the number of muscle cells we are born with is all we will ever have, and the splitting is not new fibers but damage to existing fibers. Increased training will result in an increase in the size of cells, while the number of cells stays the same, this means we can only grow so much, LADIES! All in all, it is not the muscle that is making you big, it is the food we are eating.
STRESS: Heavy lifting causes the body to undergo stress and the defense mechanism against stress is the release of hormones, mainly Testosterone, Human Growth Hormone (HGH) and even Lactic Acid, to name a few. The previously stated are considered fat-burning hormones unlike the hormone Cortisol, which is considered the “belly fat” hormone, released when performing high repetitions at low weight. In order to burn an adequate amount of fat during our weightlifting session we must lose our breath, our muscles should burn (Lactic Acid build-up) and we better lift heavy to the point of almost dropping that last rep! When we lift to the point of muscle failure, our bodies release Testosterone (more potent in men than in women). Testosterone is said to increase naturally in women through weightlifting. A mathematical equation for lifting heavy weights is as follows: Olympic lifting = release of Testosterone + HGH = FAT LOSS
AESTHETICS vs. PERFORMANCE: Why must we always separate the two? When we focus on pursuing our athletic performance, are consistent and allow our body time to adapt, our aesthetic goals will arrive quicker than imaginable. Placing unnecessary stress on how we want our abs to look or how heavy we are on the scale will only cause more physical STRESS (hint – Cortisol) and psychological STRESS (low self-esteem).
“Not everything is a competition. Actually, only competitions are competitions. Fitness can and should be fun. There’s a difference between training, testing and competing. Know the difference. Take a deload day or week. Smile. Have fun. And don’t forget to dance.”
– Denis Suarez