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Getting Lean, Not Bulky, Muscles - Page 2

Here's another thing you should consider, and it's probably one of the main reasons you are not getting results: your diet. It sounds like you are gaining muscle mass but not necessarily losing a significant amount of fat mass. Since the fat continues to sit over your muscles, that could be why your clothes are getting too tight. You need to watch your caloric intake - too little is just as bad as too much. Balance is important. You should be also eating a wholesome diet of whole grains, protein, vegetables and fruit, with just an occasional treat. If you're eating a lot of empty calories, your body is not getting proper nutrition. Poor nutrition, too many or too few calories - any of this could cause you to retain fat. Since you said you are trying to lose weight I haven't mentioned the other possibility - that your muscles could be filling out what was a skinny frame. If you have no muscles and little fat, weight training will also add inches. On thin people, however, the extra mass is generally added in the right places, creating a more toned, shapely figure - this is something that should be desired! In any case, these trainers should have discussed nutrition with you, since that is an important aspect of any weight training program. If the subject never came up, that is a lack on their part. But no matter - you can figure out a reasonable meal plan on your own. While it's always a good idea to meet with a nutritionist, it's not rocket science to create a menu of healthy food with a good balance of lean protein and carbs. Most people do well with 20% protein, 20-30% fat and 50-60% carbohydrates. The percentages don't have to be exact. Just make sure that what you eat is mostly fresh and unprocessed. And make this a life change, not a temporary one. Learn to eat better for good.

(Article continued below.)

Now lets get down to exercise. A good exercise program for you would probably involve a blend of cardio and light weight training, perhaps with some Pilates mixed in. Maybe do two or three days of half cardio (running, bike, or aerobic dance), half weight training and one or two days of Pilates. You don't need a gym for any of this. You can do all this at home with some inexpensive weights and a step bench. Like a healthy diet, weight training is not rocket science. A book like Kathy Smith's excellent Lift Weights to Lose Weight is a great learning tool. There are also weight training videos for beginners, like Shaping Up With Weights for Dummies that show exercises in action. We also have a beginner's article about weight training on the site. Follow good form (did those trainers teach you about form? If not, Smith's book is a good reference). For cardio, you can run, walk briskly, bike (either stationary or out of doors), or do aerobic dance (we have loads of video reviews for you to check out). Pilates strengthens your abs and back, enhances flexibility and creates longer, learner muscles, so you may want to take a serious look into it (you'll still need some weight training for the upper body, though, as Pilates does not give emphasis to the arms and chest muscles). Pilates classes are easy to find these days - maybe there's one at your gym, or at a nearby Yoga studio. And, of course, there are videos and DVDs available. A varied routine like this should give you muscle tone with out a lot of bulk. Good luck!

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