October 25, 2021

Don’t Worry, You Won’t Bulk Up*

This is not the Hulk. It is a green doll.
*unless you really want to

Some people think that if you do too much exercise that you’ll bulk up. Sometimes, I wish it were so.

It generally takes a special combination of diet and exercise to bulk up. Especially if you want to look like an Arnold Schwarzenegger (Schwarzenegger is in my spell checker. LOL. That gives you an idea of how much he has permeated our society. ) But the exercises I recommend doing are geared toward longevity. People who are generally slim and muscular tend to live longer and healthier lives.

There are several things that determine if you’ll bulk up:

  • Are you big already? I mean are you naturally muscular? And I don’t mean obese;
  • Are you taking steroids or drinking a gallon of milk per day? These are the kind of things that cause you to put on lots of muscle;
  • Are you lifting really heavy weights, i.e., doing squats with 2-3 times your bodyweight.
  • Are you a bodybuilder? If so, why are you here? LOL.
  • Are you spending hours in the gym?

If you answered “no” to these questions, then no, you’re not going to bulk up. You see there are two opposing forces going on when you exercise: As you get fitter, your body fat should decrease, but you may still weigh the same. You’ll lose fat and gain muscle. Muscle is denser than fat and so 1lb of muscle takes up less space than 1lb of fat.

If you follow one of the relatively short exercise routines I suggest, you will tend to thin down and your muscle definition will improve. You’ll look fitter.

Muscle mass is usually gained by doing fewer heavier repetitions of an exercise. Fitness is achieved by doing more repetitions with lighter weights. That’s why I tend to emphasize bodyweight exercises, i.e., pull-ups, push-ups, lunges, etc.

Although, I do recommend doing deadlifts with weights. You can do these with a barbell or dumbbells. They are probably the best overall body workout.