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Muscle Building: Strength or Size?
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Richard Black
Richard Black helps people design their own weight lifting program at his website about weight lifting programs for beginners
 
By Richard Black
Published on 12/10/2008
 
More often than not, when someone thinks about muscle building they picture some giant man or woman with rippling abdominal muscles and biceps that are on the covers of numerous magazines all about working out and lifting weights. They picture people with such immense size that if you bumped into them in a crowded area you expect to fly backwards as though you were hit by a car.

Muscle Building: Strength or Size?
More often than not, when someone thinks about muscle building they picture some giant man or woman with rippling abdominal muscles and biceps that are on the covers of numerous magazines all about working out and lifting weights. They picture people with such immense size that if you bumped into them in a crowded area you expect to fly backwards as though you were hit by a car.

However, this is not necessarily muscle building. That is what is known as "bodybuilding" where the purpose of workout out is not to make your muscles stronger, but to make your body larger.

While they have a lot in common, obviously, since many involve the same types of workouts, they are not the same thing and thus should not be treated as though they are equals. That is why if you decide you want to start working out you should figure out what your goal is first. Is your goal to make your muscles visually larger, or is your goal simply to improve your strength?

Differences

There are some significant differences between those two choices. Those people that just want to improve their strength do not need to go through the same intensive courses as bodybuilders do because they do not care about whether or not the size of their muscles increases.

While it is still beneficial to workout at roughly the same pace, if you decide you are looking for strength rather than size than you can lessen the amount of resistance training you need to put yourself through and instead increase the number of repetitions with a lighter weight. Bodybuilders need to make sure they have extreme amounts of resistance if they hope to increase the size of their muscles.

In addition, however, the primary difference between the two is what happens after the workout. Those that want to increase the visual size of their muscles need to eat a great deal of protein rich foods immediately (as soon as possible) after a workout - and lots of them. In fact, they need to be eating a lot more all of the time, because if they do not then their muscles will start to shrink again and possibly turn into fat.

People looking only to increase their muscle mass can go about their day as usual. And while having protein is still important for the health of your muscles, you can limit the amount of protein that you need to take in favor of only a small amount of protein that you can get from simply drinking milk or eating a few beans.

Deciding Ahead of Time

If you want to be a bodybuilder, you should know this ahead of time so that you can commit to the diet and resistance necessary to build your muscle size. If you simply want to increase your strength, you do not have to have nearly as much as a commitment, but you may not see the visual results that you may have been hoping to see.