Many people, particularly women, fear that weight training and eating clean will lead them to get big and bulky. This misconception actually prevents some people from working out and eating well, thus sabotaging their efforts to be lean and fit. The truth is muscle actually takes up 3 times less room than fat. In other words if you were staring at 5 lbs. of lean muscle mass and 5 lbs. of body fat, the muscle would actually be 3 times smaller. Muscle does not weigh more than fat (another huge misconception!). It is just more dense and best of all, muscle is responsible for burning body fat. Every pound of lean muscle mass burns approximately 50 fat calories a day. So the more lean muscle mass you have, the leaner and fitter you will be!
That being said, some people, including some women, have a body type that naturally packs on lean muscle and size. We believe a muscular body is a beautiful one, but for those that are trying to lean out, it can be frustrating. Here’s what you need to know to lean out but still protect your lean muscle mass.
Eating clean should be your number one goal for the reason listed above; it helps you to protect lean muscle which takes up much less room than fat. Most importantly, it helps you to burn fat faster. People who look bulky usually have great lean muscle mass but it is covered up by a layer of fat, thus adding too much “bulk”. Eat clean to reduce your body fat.
Add the right cardio. Make sure that your doing both your red fiber and white fiber training. Not sure of the difference? Check out the exercise section in your online handbook under the Help/Support Tab. Doing the right kind of cardio, the right way will help you to lean out and boost your metabolism. Believe it or not, not all cardio is created equal!
Weight train the right way. Even if your naturally muscular, you still need to have a resistance training routine to keep your metabolism revved up and to burn body fat. The key is working with a personal trainer or expert who can customize a routine specific to keep you lean, not bulk you up. Typically this includes lifting lighter weight with higher repetitions. For example, instead of 3 sets of heavy squats at 10 reps, you may want to do squats on air (lifting only your body weight) on a bosu ball to engage your balancing muscles until fatigue. Applying this principal overall can help you to burn fat, protect muscle and lean out. We also recommend looking into yoga and pilates to stay limber and elongate the muscles.
Lastly, make sure to stretch. Not only does it prevent injury, it also helps to elongate your muscles.
Like we mentioned before, we envy a muscular, fit body! Your goals are your own and if one of them includes leaning out and preventing bulk, the tips above should help you to achieve that. Good luck!