Archive for September, 2011

Long Lean Muscles for Women

If you haven’t said it, I’m certain you’ve at least heard it, “I want long lean muscles.” or “This workout program will give you long lean muscles.” What is the scoop on making muscles longer and leaner? Can you?

Well, let’s start with the easy one, leaner. I don’t think there’s any doubt in anyone’s mind about this. Leaner is decreasing the subcutaneous fat (the fat between the muscle and the skin). Getting leaner is a combination of the right diet and exercise and is something that everyone can achieve.

What about making muscles longer? Muscles span a distance from one bone to another. The muscle attaches to the bone by tendons. Because the distance from bone to bone stays the same, the length of the muscles cannot get longer without having the tendon get shorter and that doesn’t happen. The muscle length is genetically determined. From one person to next you may see differences in muscle/tendon lengths, but you’re stuck with what you were born with.

So what can you control? Beyond how lean you are, you can choose the level of development of the muscle or how big (thick) the muscle is. Female bodybuilders’ muscles only differ from yours by size and that’s determined by the intensity and volume of their workout as well as how long they’ve been training. And muscle size doesn’t sneak up on you. You won’t wake up one morning and say, “Darn! I’m huge!” You can train exactly as bodybuilders do (or other athletes)and simply change your program to a maintenance one once you reach your desired level of development. The whole idea of getting “long and lean” or “toned” is losing fat and gaining a little muscle.

So don’t get sucked into the idea that one workout makes you bulky and another makes you long and lean. You need to have the proper diet and you need to exercise with enough intensity to stimulate muscle growth and increase your resting metabolism.


09/27/2011 at 1:33 PM Leave a comment

Create a Personal Diet Menu

One of the most difficult parts of watching your diet is trying to plan on and eat the appropriate foods each day. Too few choices that you like (or too many) makes it a real chore to stay on track. One way of getting a handle on your diet is to create your own personal diet menu.

Diets must take calories into account, so let’s start there. Either have a fitness or nutrition professional calculate your daily caloric needs or you can go to a website like and use their calorie calculator. Take the resulting caloric amount and divide it into your daily meals (for best results you should plan on eating every 2-3 hours). So let’s say we have 3 main meals and 3 snacks per day. If my caloric needs for weight loss equal 2300 calories per day. I may allot myself  520 calories/main meal and 246 calories per snack.

So let’s start mapping out our menu. We have the possible categories of Breakfast, Mid-morning Snack, Lunch, Mid-afternoon Snack, Dinner, After-dinner Snack (or you could simply group all snacks together). On a separate list, start writing in all of the foods that you like. Make this an ongoing list so you can update the menu. How do these foods fit into your caloric allotment. For lunch, maybe I like a Subway 6″ Veggie Delight sandwich (230 calories), a cup of skim milk (91 calories), a medium banana (105 calories), and 15 almonds (90 calories) = 516 calories. There’s one lunch combo. Can you come up with 5-6 variations? The more you come up with, the less likely you are to get tired of the food choices. Can you do this for each meal and snack?

Have some fun with this. You can actually create a menu like the one shown to give it a more light-hearted feel. I hope you will give this a try and let me know how it works for you.

Best wishes, Mark

Note: You can also use the menu to create your shopping list for the week.

09/08/2011 at 5:49 PM 1 comment

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