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9/4/13 1:51 P

At your height and weight, I think that you are fine (not too much different from me). Weight lifting won't make you bigger unless you are trying to gain muscle mass but eating lots of extra protein and carbs. If you shorts from last year don't fit is might also be that your body shape is changing a little as you get older. I noticed that I carried my little bit of "extra" differently at 25 than I did at 18 or 19. Weight lifting has actually helped balanced me out a little bit since I carry more of my weight in my hips and legs, so building a little bit of shoulder and back muscles make my waist look even better. Don't beat yourself up.

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,456
9/4/13 6:48 A


While 21 is definitely on the lower side in terms of BFP, even within that, there is potential for a wide range of fat distribution.

Different people tend to store fat in different places. And it sounds like your body tends to store fat in the lower body. So even at 21%, it is still possible that most of the lower body bulk is still fat.


9/3/13 12:20 P

Skin fold measurements are reasonable accurate if the tester is well trained but I personally recommend my female clients do two things, use measurements taken with a tape measure and full front and full side photos in minimal clothing to assess progress and appearance.

As I remind by partner when she whines about getting into a pair of jeans from time to time, your cycle will cause water retention and "change" your size.

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
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9/3/13 8:36 A

You require a calorie surplus to really "bulk up" especially as a woman. You can't build muscle from nothing. That's what men do to get bigger... they eat more, often much more than is required to maintain their current weight and they gain weight and yes testosterone plays a role as well but as the previous poster pointed out, the type of muscle women vs. men have more of.

ML is spot on. Muscle takes up less room than fat per pound, the more muscle you have vs. fat... the smaller you are at the same weight.

At 18-21% body fat, you can still expect to have some "problem areas"... I much prefer to call them curves. Some fat is nice and healthy on a woman. Where this fat is typically stored depends on your body shape. Many women store excess fat in their lower body... some of us poor saps, in our stomach.

You were likely an even lower body fat percentage in high school. That would account for the difference you're seeing now. Even though the 21-24% range may be considered lean for an adult woman, teenagers carry even less fat and a lean teen girl would be 17-22%. You cannot compare your body to the one you had last year or when you were younger because you don't know what your body fat % was then, it was likely lower than it is now.

I'm around 19% body fat (thanks to lifting weights)... I still have fat on my abs, I still have fat on my inner thighs that I didn't have in high school or in my early 20's... likely because I was around 16-17% body fat then.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 9/3/2013 (09:28)
OUT_OF_MY_TOWER SparkPoints: (403)
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9/3/13 7:33 A

omg average is not 21-30% holy crap - that's BMI you are thinking of!!!!!!!!! jesus christ. Thats like saying most women weigh between 100 and 200 pounds.

just 1% is a LOT and takes forever to lose once you are in the athlete stages.

Athletes 14–20%
Fitness 21–24%
Average 25–31%
Obese 32%+

everything motivated@last said is correct.

It isnt about testosterone so much as that there are two types of muscle fibers and our genders have different percentages of each of the two types. Whereas guys how abvout half endurance muscle and half power muscle - women have mostly endurance muscle.

which is why, since the 70s, everyone was like- omg you have mostly endurance muscle, that means that chicks should do cardio always for all their whole lives and just go longer and go farther, the end.

And only recently have scientists and coaches been able to get the message out that we dont have to work out different because our bodies are put together differently, we need to workout the same and Because our bodies are diffferent, the results will be different.

ANother reason that someone wont get bulky just because they start lifting weights- you have to be eating at a SERIOUS surplus to get there, consistently made mostly of protein and fats, and even then it will take years.

Girls are worried that if they lift heavy, they will get all veiny and gross. But that isnt the weights - thats nutrition. Want sexy arms and muscles but dont want thin skin and veiny big muscles? fine - sp keep your body fat percentage between 19 and 21 and dont go below. Want big rippling abs? ok - then go ahead and aim for 17-18%.

Body fat behind a lot more than people realize, but they choose to think of it as an all emcompassing mysterious buzz word instead of understanding it :(

Edited by: OUT_OF_MY_TOWER at: 9/3/2013 (07:41)
HANSIE123 SparkPoints: (0)
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9/3/13 7:16 A

Hi everyone,

Thanks for the replies. Lots of food for thought, I appreciate your input.

M@L, I'm fairly certain that fat isn't the culprit, given my low body fat percentage (I've only done a little bit of research into it but what I have done has indicated that the average for women is between 21 - 30%).

I just find it interesting that I keep hearing that I won't bulk up if I do weights, because I'm a woman. Yet isn't that the reason guys do weights? To bulk up? Is it because men have more testosterone than women?

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,456
9/3/13 6:44 A

Firstly, if you are worried about size, then almost certainly it is fat that is the culprit. Fat is considerably bulkier than muscle - check
for a great photo of this.

Exercising is NOT making you large. And stopping exercise is making the problem worse, not better.

Strength training is a very effective fat burner, and should be part of any exercise program. And the thighs muscles are the largest and strongest muscles in the body - that is where you are going to get the most for your exercise buck. Squats will not make your legs bigger, or smaller, but you should definitely be doing them.


ALBERTJON SparkPoints: (3,133)
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9/3/13 2:48 A

HANSIE123: I think you are trying to manufacture some negative about yourself that does not exist. From what you stated, you are fit and healthy. Count yourself among the minority of people on this planet.

From what you wrote, I can't see any reason for you to lose any weight. Also, I think whatever you did to get fit and healthy must have been a good plan of attack. I definitely don't think you need to lower your body fat %.

Good job! Stay fit and healthy and pat yourself on the back.

UNIDENT Posts: 33,498
9/3/13 1:55 A

Why do you want to be "leaner"? What do you feel that will gain you?

You're "fit and active". Making yourself "skinny" is going to disrupt that lifestyle and make it harder for you to keep up your fitness and fun activities.

You are already on the low end for bodyfat percent, so you're not "fat". Could you be too critical? Do you really need to lose any more inches?

If your muscles are bulking up a bit and making you bigger that's a good thing! You're never going to look like a body builder unless you try really hard (and even they really don't, off season and not on stage). So enjoy your healthy fit body! :)

HANSIE123 SparkPoints: (0)
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9/2/13 11:31 P

Hi! I'm a 25 year old woman who is very fit and active. I have a strong interest in nutrition and I eat a balanced diet.

I recently had a skinfold test which shows that I have 20.3% body fat. This is great, but I still feel that I'm quite 'big'. I'm 6ft tall but was always very thin growing up. I weigh now weigh 73kg (which I'm happy with). I do a lot of exercise (basketball, running, boxing, yoga) but I was wondering what the best exercise is to become leaner. I am reasonably happy with my body shape, but sometimes my jeans are a little tight or I'm not fitting into shorts that I could wear last summer. I feel like by working out so often, my muscles are getting bigger and my body is getting bigger. This isn't an ideal situation! If I'm working out all the time it's not so that I can look bigger!

Can anybody suggest what approach I should take? I'm mainly focusing on my thighs - should I stop running? Is that making them bigger? I used to do Body Pump but stopped that about two months ago. Should I do it again or will squats make my thighs even bigger? Is it diet related? Or should I just accept that I'm going to be 'big'?


Edited by: HANSIE123 at: 9/2/2013 (23:31)
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