Brains and Brawn… Too big

Published 2:56 pm Friday, June 11, 2021


Can you imagine walking up to an Olympic swimmer like Michael Phelps and saying, “I like swimming, but I am afraid if I swim a few too many laps I will be as good as you are.”

Ridiculous, right? Who would think they could get to an elite level in a sport by accident? Well, this happens a lot in weightlifting. Many times, I have heard a person express hesitancy about lifting weights vigorously because they do not want to get “too big.”

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Allow me to clear up any confusion in this matter. You will not get “too big” by accident.

If you begin weight training and follow a plan carefully, your body will change, but the change will be subtle and will be good for your body. You will not instantly become a very muscular person.

This is akin to believing swimming a few laps can turn you into Michael Phelps.

A very muscular body is difficult to achieve. That type of physique takes years of dedicated training, and not just any training, but special exercises and programming designed specifically to gain muscle mass.

The notion that going into the gym a couple of times a week and doing curls then machine work can result in being “too big” is not accurate.

Also, most, if not all, of the extremely muscular men and women in sports, movies, and on YouTube are on performance-enhancing drugs. The hyper muscularity they exhibit is not a natural occurrence and simply would not be possible without those drugs.

So, no amount of conventional training will have that result.

Another problem I was frequently warned about as a young man getting into weightlifting was that being “too big” would result in all sorts of issues.

Being “muscle-bound” was one of these. This was the idea that you will have a hard time doing everyday tasks and have little or no flexibility with a lot of muscle.

I was also told that lifting too much and too vigorously would result in serious joint and mobility issues. Many times, I was told something to the effect of, “You will regret all that lifting later. You won’t be able to move.”

Many of these folks had an anecdote about someone they knew that had lifted too much as a young person and was broken down as a result.

These bits of conventional wisdom have proven false in my case. Here I am, 26 years into heavy weight training, and I have none of these issues. I think this is due to taking great care in the gym while lifting to be safe.

There are a few disadvantages to gaining a bunch of muscle, of course, but the advantages are much greater in my opinion.

You will not get “too big” by accident, and if you choose to train to the point where you have a great deal of muscle mass, you will not suffer from it.

Every day of my life, I benefit from the physical and mental gains I have achieved through weightlifting.

So, work out and improve your body without being afraid of becoming “too big.”