“How do I tone my arms, not bulk up too much, I’m 62, women?”

Sometimes I get search terms that inspire me instead of killing my hopes for the human race, and this is one of them! How do you tone your arms and not bulk up too much, 62-year-old woman? Or any woman, for that matter? Here are The Simple And Easy Ten-Step Directions:

1. Strike the word “tone” from your vocabulary. There is no “tone.” There is only muscle gain and fat loss. You cannot “tone” a muscle without increasing its size, e.g., adding bulk. Lose your fear of size by recognizing that this fear is culturally created by a jillion dollars’ worth of advertising dedicated to ensmallening women in every possible way.

2. Understand that muscle is hard to build. The biggest men you see at the gym have to fight for every ounce of muscle they gain; the biggest women you see fight twice as hard. After the age of 30, the average woman loses a half-pound of muscle per year. See where this is headed?

3. Realize that the kind of female “bulk” you’re probably thinking of — eye-popping, striated mass — is the result of anabolic steroids.

4. Do not take anabolic steroids.

5. Invite your muscles to increase in size by eating at least one gram of lean protein per pound of body weight per day, in addition to piles of colorful vegetables and a judicious amount of complex carbohydrates.

6. Processed foods and things in crinkly bags must not be chewed, but eschewed. Dumping the junk, combined with exercise and sufficient rest/recovery, will result in fat loss, thereby making your muscles more visible.

7. Accept your genetics. You know how, say, Siamese cats tend to have parents who were themselves Siamese cats? We’re no different. Look at your parents. These are your physical ingredients. Bake with these ingredients what you can. If you are a lemon bar, stop wishing you were an oatmeal cookie or whatever. Be the best lemon bar you can be.

8. Un-invest the word “bulk” with negativity. De-program yourself. Say the word “bulk” out loud to yourself 100 times; more if needed, until it loses all meaning and becomes a mere dull thud of a sound. Bulk bulk bulk bulk bulk bulk bulk bulk bulk bulk. See?

9. Lift something heavy. Put it down.

10. Lift it again.

5 thoughts on ““How do I tone my arms, not bulk up too much, I’m 62, women?”

  1. I wish women would stop believing if they lift something heavier than 8lbs they will sprout Schwarzenegger muscles. I wish trainers and the media would stop perpetuating the myth (not all trainers do; good ones don’t, but some celeb ones do).

    That aside, from a teenager on I have always admired muscled women. I always wanted to get muscled myself (chronic health stuff can throw a wrench in your plans). And lifting heavy stuff increases or at least preserves your bone density, which is especially important for women! And the more muscle mass you have the more organ reserve you have, and that protects you in a lot of ways. Muscle is such an awesome thing.

  2. Good practical advice. Thank you! Especially that measuring protein is also important and I’ve never done that. I do know that, by tradition, women were often fed less protein than men in the past as a part of keeping them weak and men strong. Yet menstruating women need iron, found in red meat especially.

    Do you mean animal protein or things like legumes, or both?

  3. Protein is protein…I eat a lot of organic chicken, beef, and eggs, but veggie proteins like legumes are great if you like them. I am the only lesbian I know of who hates lentils.

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