People generally want to build muscle for one prevailing reason: to look better. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that as one of the main functions of resistance training is to build muscle. Who wouldn’t want to build muscle in all the right places – booty, chest, shoulders, arms, legs? Biology almost dictates we’re more ‘physically attracted’ to someone with a nice physique (not overly chiseled or massive). A nice physique generally signals health, vitality, strength, and sexual health.
Asides from looking better and attracting more of the ‘type of people’ you like, there are some additional benefits of building muscle:
- You’ll get stronger
- You’ll reduce chances of future injury
- You’ll speed up recovery if you’re injured
- You’ll be more confident
- You’ll look more intimidating and authoritative
The above are the lesser known benefits of building muscle. Many people believe building muscle and getting stronger are mutually exclusive when in reality they support each other very well. If you get stronger, you’ll have more potential for muscle growth and vice versa. While getting stronger is one of the most common goals people have, it’s usually also pretty vague, unless you create metrics. Once clients can see themselves getting stronger, they become extremely empowered.
You’ll reduce changes of injury
Injuries suck. Almost every injury I’ve seen happen to people happen for a few core reasons:
- They’re already fatigued
- They’re not focused
- They’re not ready
If you do get injured, a great way to get back on the road to recovery is to build muscle. Of course this depends on the nature and extent of the injury. When you get injured, one thing that usually happens is something called ‘muscle atrophy’, a process where you actually lose muscle. This happens because of a principle called Use/Disuse. In other words, use it or lose it.
You’ll be more confident
Having a nice physique will boost your confidence for various reasons. How do you feel when you get complimented by someone? Good, right? When someone compliments you with, “dude, you look great. What are you doing?” I’m sure you feel like your hard work is paying off and you become more motivated.
You’ll look more intimidating and authoritative
Obvious question: why do bars and clubs want imposing bouncers? People are less likely to break the rules when they know there’s a 250-pound mountain standing in front of them. While I’m not suggesting you try to look like a bouncer, they do represent the benefit of building muscle: authority.
I don’t have any studies to back this up, so you’ll have to take this with a grain of salt. I’m 93% sure people who look more fit get paid more, land better jobs, are respected more, and are liked more.
I’m a chick and don’t want to gain too much muscle. What do I do?
While this can be a valid concern for women, the ones who can actually build muscle at a rate that’s alarmingly scary is so few and far in between. To me alarmingly scary is based on biometric screen and testing where women can see upwards of 4 pounds of muscle growth per month. Based on my experience working with hundreds of different clients, only 2 have ever fit that bill.
For most women (even the rare ones), you can keep an eye on how you’re developing and growing on a week to week basis. Not even women with the most propensity for muscle growth will blow up overnight – it’ll take months. If you ignore development and not look at yourself for six months, perhaps it’ll feel like you blew up overnight. Otherwise, keep a keen eye on how things are progressing and you can stop the ‘growth’ from getting out of hand, if it ever does.
I know the above list doesn’t represent the end-all, be-all, of muscle building. However, I think we can get started there when it comes to building a better physique. It’s not always about vanity.