As a personal trainer in Dallas, I see this in gyms quite often not to mention being asked this probably once a month. When you spend a lot of time training people in a gym, you tend to see the same people and what their training consists of. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone getting on cardio equipment for an hour and sometimes longer going at the same monotonous pace like a robot. I’ll save you the anticipation and just get to my point: cardio machines aren’t going to build you muscle. The people I jokingly refer to as “cardio machine connoisseurs” look exactly the same when I first saw them. Most of them have very little muscle tone and many times are quite flabby. I don’t want any one to think I am knocking these people in any way and I do realize there are many other variables that are going on other than me just watching their routine while they’re in the gym. My point here is that if you want to look like you visit the gym it’s a simple fact that you are going to have to strength train with weights in order to achieve that.
This applies whether you are a male trying to put on 15 pounds of muscle or whether you are a female just trying to tone up and bring out your natural muscle definition. A lot of women tell me that they’re afraid to lift weights because they fear it is going to “make them look bulky”. I am here to tell you that is a complete myth and utterly false. There are many modes or methods to strength training and each training regimen depends on your specific goals. A female body builder is obviously going to have different goals than a female who just wants to tone up and bring out her natural definition. These two training regimens would be completely different in terms of reps and sets but both routines would still be centered on strength training with weights.
I am often quite perplexed when people ask me if they’re going to get bulky if they lift weights. I simply don’t think your average person realizes how long it takes to put on a significant amount of muscle mass and for one to actually attain that “bulky” look no matter what your version of “bulky”is. If you are a female and strength train, you are not going to wake up one morning and look in the mirror and see this huge ripped monster it doesn’t work like that. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve seen females in their 20’s with an hour and a half cardio only routine and they quite frankly look like they do absolutely nothing in terms of training. If you want to increase your metabolism over time you’re going to have to strength train. If you want to build stronger bones, tendons, ligaments your going to have to strength train.
Have you ever noticed those fitness commercials that are advertising a piece of cardio equipment like a treadmill or elliptical machine and the fitness model on the machine is in pretty good shape with abs and good muscle definition whether it’s a female or male model? They didn’t get like that from the piece of cardio equipment they’re on they got that way from strength training. Please don’t confuse my message as saying that cardio machines don’t have their place because they do; but when your training routine only involves cardio equipment your probably not going to get the results your after. If your just doing a cardio only routine next time you hit the gym try incorporating strength training into your routine I guarantee you’ll see the results come quicker.