The Myths Of Weightlifting: PART 2 w/ Ilan Cumberbirch

By Yard Athletics – 

Based on the great feedback we received on the first installment of this series, Ilan is back to debunk all those pesky fitness myths!

As we left off last time, the questions was something along the lines of “I don’t want to get a big neck, legs and shoulders; I just want to tone my arms, shrink my waist and have a Kim Kardashian backside”. Well Yard family, do we have the answer you’ve been eagerly anticipating… see below!


Q: “I don’t want to get a big neck, legs and shoulders, I just want to ‘tone’ my arms, shrink my waist and have a Kim Kardashian backside”

Ilan: Last time I checked, the majority of the population is not walking around at 240lbs with 6% body fat. There are obviously outliers such as professional athletes, competitive weightlifters, Crossfitters, bodybuilders, and celebrity actors, but we should keep in mind that these people spend a lot of time and money to look this way. Big biceps don’t grow after a week of doing curls…

For all of the above groups of people, their physical capabilities and aesthetic are what keep their bank accounts flush and their stomachs full. It is after all, their job! This group of individuals invest countless hours in the gym and the competitive arena over many years. This also comes with a high price tag, which for most, is unrealistic.

Essentially what I am trying to say is that, unless you are capable of investing 2-3 hours a day, 6-7 days per week in order to perfect a “Statue of David-esque” physique, worries about “bulking” up are not something you should be concerned about.

We haven’t even spoken about the nutritional requirements necessary to “bulk” up. In order to pack on slabs of lean muscle mass, it requires a comprehensive, long-term program, as well as diligence with your nutrition. Ensuring that you remain in a hypo-caloric state, with enough fuel to feed your glycogen depleted musculature and provide the building blocks necessary to remain anabolic, means eating 4-5 protein dominant meals in a day.

That being said, many people can get under the misconceived notion that after a “hard” training session they have therefore earned a burger and fries. With strength training, sometimes it’s the exact opposite effect. Remaining in a slight caloric deficit or maintaining caloric equilibrium will ensure that fat is burned, and lean muscle mass is maintained or gradually increased.

Yes, resistance and strength training will exert a hormonal response, leading to spikes in testosterone and growth hormone specifically. More than anything, these slight increases post exercise will result in better mood, increased libido, and increased insulin sensitivity. Subsequently, these will result in burning more fat and achieving that lean physique, and increased muscular definition you are pursuing.

However, the big elephant in the room when it comes to getting “toned” arms and a skinny waist is ultimately Body Mass Index (BMI), or simply overall body fat composition. Those muscles are hiding in there somewhere!. Burning fat while still gaining muscle can take time, but with a proper nutrition plan and high intensity weight training, these goals are 100% achievable.

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