• Getting Swole: Men vs Women

    Building big muscles is difficult. Unless you are a genetic anomaly who can grow muscle simply by thinking about it, it is going to take a lot of hard work get those big muscles - this applies to everyone even the likes of Lou Ferrigno, the man (not the myth). Just ask any guy or girl who has really put in the time to gain that size, and they will tell you it isn't easy and at times it is frustratingly slow.

    There is this idea out there that if you simply start lifting weights, you're going to get big. As a personal trainer for 15 years, I usually hear this concern from women. And I always respond the same way saying, " If it were that easy, then almost every guy who goes to the gym would have those big muscles he wants. And that's just not the case." Building big, lean muscles is the result of heavy, consistent resistance training over a long period of time.

    You have to lift specifically for hypertrophy of the muscles, and you have to have a plan.photo courtesy of Rikard ElofssonIf you DO want to get big, you're going to have a much easier time if you're a man. It's your levels of testosterone that facilitate this. Without this, you're just not going to get big. Women, your estrogen will take care of avoiding size.

    Guys, if you want to get big, you need to get educated. You need to know what you're doing. In the past, I have also heard this concern from women, "Well, when I lifted in the past, I just started getting big, I didn't like it, so I stopped." Here is what really happened: you started lifting weights, your body wasn't used to it, and it responded by increasing blood supply to your muscles.

    Essentially, you became swollen, temporarily, with blood. Since you stopped, you did not have a chance to see what the end result would have been. After some time, with a proper diet, you would lose the fat surrounding your muscles. Those muscles would get leaner and stronger. You'd thin out. You might even weigh more than you look because you're more dense, but you'd still look slim - not big. When we talk about increasing muscle mass, in men or women, in order to maximize fat burn, this is the kind of "growth" we're talking about.

    The Bottom Line

    Please. Don't freak out when incorporating resistance training into your exercise regime. Your muscles will only get big if you lift really, really heavy weights in order to achieve that goal. And when I say heavy, I mean way heavier then you think, so don't worry about it.


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