While men are often pressured to bulk up, women frequently experience pressure to get as thin as possible. While all workouts build muscle to some degree, some workouts are better for getting thin without bulking up. An exercise routine that burns lots of calories without targeting individual muscle groups for bulking up is an ideal choice if you're seeking a sleek, slim body. These workouts will help you look toned all over without building lots of muscle.
Cardiovascular exercise is exercise that works several groups of muscles or your entire body. It gets your heart pumping to supply blood and oxygen to your muscles as they work, and burns more calories than calisthenics or weight training. While cardio will strengthen your muscles, it won't cause you to bulk up. Try exercises such as running, jumping on a trampoline, walking on an incline or bicycling. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 75 minutes of vigorous cardio each week, or 150 minutes of moderately intense cardio. Regular cardio is the reason that runners tend to have slim bodies compared to athletes who engage in regular weight training.
Muscle Strength Importance
Even if you're prioritizing thinness over muscle building, muscle training is still important for your health. The CDC recommends that adults should do muscle-strengthening activities two days per week. One way to get muscle-building exercise without bulking up is to do interval training as part of your regular cardio routine. Simply alternate between high intensity and moderate intensity cardio. For example, try jumping rope at close to your maximum speed for one minute, then slowing down for a minute, then speeding up again.
Healthy Weight Loss
Many people are surprised at how long it takes to lose even a few pounds, but healthy weight loss is a slow process. You might lose more weight in the first few weeks and then, as your body adjusts, experience a slow-down. Most people can expect to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week. If you're shedding much more than this, it can harm your body, and many people lose even less than this, particularly if they're not also dieting.
To maximize your calorie-shedding potential, it's a good idea to cut calories from your diet as you begin training. A pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories, and most people can only lose weight when they reduce their caloric intake in addition to exercising. Focus on eliminating unhealthy and empty calories such as sodas, sugary snacks and items with lots of salt.
- Forbes: How to Exercise Right for Your Body Type
- High Intensity Interval Training Explained; James Driver
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity Do You Need?
- MayoClinic.com: Weight-Loss Basics
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.