Are You Training To Become Muscle Ripped, Or Muscle Fit?

Posted by Beth Hartman

I’m a big fan of all the new Marvel movies. One of my favorites is the Captain America films and the ones he is in with the Avengers. Watching those movies kind of makes everyone daydreams a little about how they would look if they were in the same shape as these superheroes. But if you look at their physique’s while they are definitely in great shape, none, except maybe the Hulk has an over-abundance of muscles rippling as they toss around those villains. So why are looking to get those large oversized muscles, when in doing so, most people later find that being muscle bound does not provide them with the overall endurance and for the most part strength to go the distance in a long, hard-fought athletic game. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m a firm believer in strength training but I’ve also found that you need to find a balance in almost everything and training to be fit, strong and able to keep going, to me is a lot better than having your shirt stretched tight over large pecs and biceps!

After if you think about it, in watching most athletic games, most of these athletes and I mean the most successful ones look like they’ve never set foot in a gym. While large muscles provide the power needed to perform work, even those with bulging biceps find it difficult to perform work over time. Muscular endurance can be a far more valuable fitness trait than pure strength, especially for those who play sports that require sustained effort for the duration of a game. The best way to build muscular endurance is simple: lower the intensity and increase the frequency.

It's a given that one of the reasons that weight training for building muscles for strength appeals to so many people is that it takes less of a time commitment. After all, you do a series of squats, some deadlifting and bench presses three times a week and you call it a good session. But muscular endurance requires more commitment to your workout routines. Like a good cardio workout, there’s no minimum for calling it a day. The more frequently you push your body and the muscles under that skin the more your body will be able to power through whatever you're demanding of it!

Keeping track of how well your performing is also key to being successful at your training. To do this right you need to monitor just how well you're doing at each phase of your workout. A good Activity Monitor can keep your workouts honest when you may be tempted to let a few things slide because you’re a bit tired today. Tracking your workouts via that Activity Monitor, and it's ability to supply you with data every time it syncs with Garmin Connect™, can go a long way to allowing you to view just how well your actually doing. A tracker like the Garmin Vivosport GPS Sport & Activity Tracker can provide automatic uploads to the online Garmin community, where you can see your personalized data on detailed graphs.  It can provide the ability to let you join like-groups so that you can compete in weekly challenges and connect with other fitness enthusiasts. This way you're really not ever alone in your quest for building up your endurance while still creating a toned, muscular body, that will stand the test of time, (sports time that is!). And while the Vivosport monitors key aspects of your fitness, because it also monitors your heart rate, with help from Elevate 24/7, it’s a wrist-based heart rate monitoring feature, specific to Garmin. With the heart rate data it collects, Vívosport is able to estimate your VO2 Max and Fitness Age, 2 indicators of physical fitness that can improve over time with regular exercise. It also tracks your HRV (heart rate variability), which is used to calculate and display your stress level.

Keep in mind that those who hit the gym two or three days a week might have lukewarm muscular endurance, but those who add just one additional workout day, a week, begin to exact a bigger demand on your body, by pushing it a little farther than it's usual exercise regimen. Especially if you change up your routine with some cardio and maybe a HIIT session where you're pushing your routines faster with less resting time between reps. or sessions.

Now, while we’re not talking about building your body, so it looks like it can take on a tank, we still are a firm believer in using weights to get in shape, just not using hundreds of pounds as a goal in seeing just how much you can lift, One-Time! After all, you can't develop much muscular endurance by squatting 300-400 pounds and walk away thinking you've done your best. But if you lower the weight by say half, your actually putting new stress on the twitch muscle fibers (those that first fire in a workout) rather than on the muscular cell mass. This allows your body to develop these fibers and reduces the stress on any given workout. After all, by using less weight and increasing the number of reps, your muscular mass will stay the same but at the same time it becomes more elastic and can maintain that strength for longer periods of time. This results in your ability to have more endurance during an activity or physical work.

Overall, endurance workouts should aim for 10 to fifteen reps per set, which is twice as much as muscular strength builders do.

You know your body and it’s up to you to keep track of how much weight you need, in order to perform these extra reps. And naturally, as the session becomes easier, increase the number of reps, but gradually so you don't lessen the reps that you've already worked towards. Then after a time, increase the amount of weight with the extra reps. In this way, you are continuously pushing yourself each time your peak, so that your body does not grow used to a stale exercise regimen and will continue to grow muscle mass and in turn become well toned.

Bottom line, this is YOUR call, but again, don't go to extremes with adding more and more weight, add more reps instead!

In about 8 weeks of using this new method, you’re going to be able to see that you have quite a bit more strength that can sustain you through the other aspects of your training workouts. And you may be pleasantly surprised that you're also getting a leaner sculpted look to your overall body mass.

From your gym buddies here at



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