Muscle vs. Definition: There Is A Difference

AshleyMilillo.MuscleIs it just us, or has anyone else noticed the gender divide that exists in the fitness centers? What’s up with ladies only on the ellipticals and men in the weight room?

As women, why are we so anxious to enter the land of free weights and weight machines?  One common misconception is that the use of weights will cause us to gain weight and grow bulky muscles, rather than tone. But is that even true?

That’s why Valley sat down with PSU Fitness Supervisor Shawn Fix to get some straight answers.

According to Fix’s experience working with women, the first thing women fear about strength training is gaining big, bulky muscles like female body-builders.

“A lot of that [bulkiness] comes down to their genetics and what type of nutrition supplements they may be taking,” says Fix.  “The reality is that the majority of females don’t genetically have the capability to get that big.”

So, we’re not going to get huge after all. But the truth is that in order to acquire that defined looked, muscle is required. And boy, do we love the benefits.

“Adding muscle to your body is a good thing because it’s active tissue,” says Fix. “So you’re going to burn more calories sitting on the couch, verses your friend next to you who doesn’t have a whole lot of muscle.”

Fix suggests beginning strength training by doing a circuit exercise. A 12 to 15 rep-range per exercise with a minute rest period in between will not only give the strength aspect of a workout, but also cardio. Try to incorporate multiple muscle groups in your workout, so your muscles are constantly working.

But, we mustn’t forget about diet, too. In order to have definition, eating right is a must.

“I tell people you burn roughly 100 calories when you run a mile,” says Fix. “Which would be easier, running that mile or not eating a 100 calorie cookie? I try to get them to understand that diet is a huge factor, along with exercise.”

Fix ensures that a well-balanced strength training paired with cardio and a balanced diet will produce the best results.

As one final piece of advice, Fix says not to worry about what the person next to you is doing, whether guy or girl. Worry about improving what you’re doing, and you will reap the benefits.

Ladies, it’s time we cross that line.

Photo by Ashley Melillo


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