The HUGE misconception about working out and bulking up!

Filed under :Exercise

Working in the fitness industry I get a lot of questions about “bulking up”.  People are afraid to work out because they think that they will gain muscle weight and look “big”.  I figured out one effective way to show those concerned individuals the answer to their worries.  I just say: “look around the fitness center, how many people you see here that are big and buff?” (Usually no one is, besides possibly a few men where their goal and workout plan is to bulk up).  After I make this comment the individual will usually look around the room and agree with me. 

There is a HUGE misconception about working out and bulking up, especially for women.  I can’t stress enough how hard it is for women to bulk up: it requires a lot of hard work, many hours at the gym, and the right diet.  As a matter of fact, it’s so hard that women that do try to build muscle weight will turn to ergogenic aids, or in worse case, illegal supplements. 

So, why is the general population so concerned and confused about the matter? Same reason we are confused and mislead about everything else that we may see in the media.  The fitness magazine buffed cover girls, or the commercials that sell fitness equipment.  I can guarantee you that they did not get to look the way they do by “using an ab-chair for 10 minutes a day”! It took them many hours of hard work and training with professionals to get the look. 

As a fitness professional, I see it as part of my job to address this concern and to try and fix what the media has ruined.  Exercise is good for you in so many ways besides “building muscle”. Do not use the excuse of “I will bulk up if I exercise,” or blame your lack of weight loss on “building muscle underneath the fat” – I’ve heard that too many times!

Try to get at least one hour of cardio three days a week and at least two days of resistance training. I can guarantee you that you will not bulk up, but will get in great shape!


Why Do People Run & Continue Running?

Filed under :Exercise, Health promoting, Run Club

“I run because it makes me feel refreshed and gives me a sense of accomplishment.”  This is the answer I give when someone asks me “Why do you run to exhaustion?” and “Why go through the agony of long distance running?”

I believe that we are all runners by nature (check out my previous post ).  Some of us were lucky enough to discover this at one point in our lives.  The other group of “non-runners” (for now) didn’t have the opportunity to experience the thrill of long distance running and therefore may not be as understanding and, even worse, may criticize the runners.  This may be due to ignorance, lack of understanding, or lack of experience.

Before I started my “running journey” I couldn’t understand runners myself.  I didn’t criticize; I was just unfamiliar with the experience and maybe even a bit jealous of the runners out there.  I was too afraid to try it.  Back then, I didn’t discover yet the fact that we are born to run.  Then, one day I ran and I understood it (just like that!).  Today, I try to help others understand what I did.  I love motivating others to run and help people realize their true running potentials. 

It doesn’t matter if you run 1/2 mile or 10 miles – you still accomplish something great.  If you ask an endurance runner for the reason they run they will have more than one answer for you.  People that do not yet grasp the reason for running, criticize running, or want to get inspired to start running need to begin understanding the concept of running and realize that it’s more than just going outside and getting a workout.  Almost like in yoga – you need to deepen your practice and this may come with time.

It can take a few runs, or maybe a few years to find that feeling that pushes you to run, that makes you forget the “exhaustion and agony of running”, that makes you go further and makes you want to participate in running and racing events and just makes you want run for yourself.

Once you realize your running potential and experience the exhilaration of the sport – you will be a changed person. Next time somebody asks you with a shocking expression, “Why would you run a marathon? That’s crazy!” you will have an answer and a smile on your face.

I asked around a few runners for their reason to run over and over again:

“I run because it makes me feel young and happy.”

“…Reduce stress and stay in great shape.”

“…For the thrill and accomplishment.”

“I participate in running events to help raise money for charities and cross that finish line.”

“I used to have bad lifestyle habits, I needed the discipline and a new addiction, running was the answer and I’ve never looked back.”

Feel free to share your reason for running and help inspire others!