When people think of weightlifting and building muscle they usually are thinking of two things, “bulk” and/or “definition.” People will throw around words like I am interested in “building muscle” or — and this is especially true of woman – say things like “I don’t want to get bulky I just want to get toned.”
Further they think bodybuilding is going for “definition and or tone” and weight lifting for “muscle or bulk”. A lot of these terms get misused, even in professional lifting and body building magazines.
The truth is that weight lifting, any kind of weight lifting will do both – grow your muscles and tone your muscles. When most people talk about definition, or what they refer to as “muscle tone,” what they really are talking about are the muscles “you can see,” like six pack abs or bulging pecks. In that case bodybuilders are the ones that are most concerned with showing off a “toned” physique as they weightlift for a visual competition – and they know that the way to get “sculpted” and show those muscles has much less to do with how you weightlift as it is with reducing body fat percentage. No muscles, no matter how “toned,” will show under a layer of fat.
But if you want to “get big” or weight lift for “bulk,” here is the safe and effective way to do it.
Weight Lifting for Bulk
Weight lifting for maximum bulk is all about being able to constantly push your muscles to the point that they will continue to grow to their maximum potential, which ultimately is determined by your genes. It involves a couple of basic principles, details will vary as you tailor a program to your specific goals and body type, but so long as you train smart, eat right, and get the right amount of rest to renew and rebuild – you will bulk up. Period. It’s just that simple.
First, you need to set a baseline. Get a tape measure and measure your biceps, quads, abs, and every area you want to “bulk up.” Also take a picture of yourself. You know all those classic before and after pictures? Follow a program of sensible weightlifting keeping those three basic principles in mind: lift smart, eat right, rest – and you will be that “after guy” (or gal). Set realistic goals for strength or muscle growth. If you can add from a half a pound to a pound of lean muscle mass every week that is good.
A good routine for bulking up means that you should not work any given muscle group more than once a week. The key is to let the body heal and repair — that is how muscle growth occurs. When you start lifting of course you will feel sore for the next day or two. Some suggest that you should go back to work that group soon as the pain is gone, but there has been a lot of fitness and medical pros that have said that healing and repairing of muscle tissue that leads to growth and increased strength doesn’t happen until after the pain has subsided.
The right diet for “bulking up” when lifting should have a ratio of 40% Protein, 40% Carbs, 20% Fat. Stick with complex carbs, avoid sugars and processes carbs, stick with whole grains. As far as fats go, you know the drill, avoid the bad fats — hydrogenated oils, and transfats – and stick with good fats like those found in nuts.
Weightlifting and Definition
“Definition,” ironically is one of the most improperly defined words in weight lifting and fitness. It is the most misunderstood and misused term out there. I have even seen professional fitness and weightlifting magazines throw around the terms “tone” and “definition” indiscriminately and more often than not, incorrectly.
When most people use the term “tone” or “definition” they are using it in opposition to the term “bulk.” Again, they think bodybuilders are “bulky,” but the body types of a gymnast or swimmer, is “toned” and “defined.”
Poppycock! Nothing can be further from the truth. In fact it is the bodybuilder whose ultimate goal is true “definition”. Definition in its purest sense is being able to see clearly “defined” and separated muscle groups. This is exactly what a bodybuilder strives for and competes with.
So, regardless of what you call it, what are the best weight lifting routines to “tone”,” sculpt” or “define” your muscles?
The answer is “all of them.” Weight lifting does one thing and one thing only — by pushing muscles to the point of stress it makes the muscle react to the stress by growing bigger and stronger. And yes bigger and stronger means tighter and firmer, but if you want to see that, or want the person sitting down the bar from you to see that – you must reduce the fat.
Any weightlifting routine has a fat burning component, and muscle in and of itself burns fat. But, if you want to get rid of the fat and be more “defined,” that will come from cardio – bike riding, jogging, swimming etc. It’s that simple.
If you want to feel and look your best, want to be strong and look great in spandex, then weigh tlift to build lean muscle and eat right and do cardio and aerobics to reduce fat.