Let’s get this out of the way: any exercise you do, any physical activity in which you participate, is good for you. It strengthens the heart and lungs, helps maintain a healthy weight, improves sleep and mood… The benefits are many, and this applies to every body. That said, if you want to achieve specific goals, there are different types of training and exercise (and dietary approaches) that are more appropriate for you. If you’re wondering about the difference between strength training and muscle building, read on. We’ll clear it up and help you take the next steps towards your goal.
The Difference Between Strength Training and Muscle Building
You’re standing in front of the free weights or contemplating popping a few squats. What’s your goal? Do you want to train to build strength or to build muscle? If you’re just starting out, weight training will help you accomplish both. But at some point, you begin to plateau. And it’s then that you need to ask: Do I want to go for strength or size?
You’ll still use the same free weights and dumbbells; you’ll still do many of the same moves. But training volume makes all the difference. That is, how many sets and reps are you doing?
Basically, for strength training, you’re going to use a lower training volume. This means you’ll use a heavier weight with fewer reps per set. Don’t be afraid to lift heavy! You won’t be bulking up, we promise. Remember to take rest periods (but keep moving your feet in a boxer’s shuffle or march-in-place). For muscle building, you’re going to want to decrease the weight and increase the reps per set. This doesn’t mean you’re going to lift light; it means you have to lift lighter because you’re going to be doing more in terms of volume.
Now What Do You Eat?
Healthy food. It’s not rocket science, people! We know what foods to add more of into our diet, and what foods we should limit or eliminate. So, broccoli and kale = great. Fried chicken with a side of double-fudge cake = not so great. (That said, treats are fine! They’re encouraged by many health experts, in fact. But they shouldn’t make a frequent appearance on the menu. Save them for treat days and/or special occasions.)
Protein intake is an important component of both a strength training and muscle building diet. It plays a bigger role when you are trying to add mass, though. It simply takes more protein to build new muscle than it does to sustain it.
For muscle building, aim for 1.2 – 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. (Pull out the old calculator to convert to pounds!) For example, a woman who weighs 150 pounds and wants to gain muscle mass should aim for 81.6 – 115.6 grams of protein a day. For a 170 pound man, it will be about 92.5 – 131 grams a day.
Make sure that you are getting high-quality protein. Great sources include:
- Lean meats
- Cottage cheese
- Greek yogurt
- Brussels sprouts
- FATTY Smoked Meat Sticks
FATTY Smoked Meat Sticks are a food group in and of themselves. High in protein, they are easy to incorporate into your strength training or muscle building diet plan. They’re always ready when you are, whether you’re at work, in the car, in a meeting, at the gym, or craving a little treat at night. With a wide selection of delectable flavors, 100% natural ingredients, and slow smoked goodness, these will be your go-to snack – and they’ll help you stick to your plan so you can meet your goals.