I have taken measurements (had the neighbor next door do it for me) and my arms have increased while everything else is decreasing. It's so weird !! I don't really do weight leg exercises except for deadlifts and the weight amount on that isn't a lot. I don't do weight abs (though I've heard you really shouldn't anyways since it can make you look a little thicker), So it is mostly my upper body that I lift weights on (biceps, triceps, back, shoulders, chest). Everything else is bodyweight type exercises for legs, butt and abs. It's mostly my arms and shoulders that have seen this weird shift in being so muscularly. And I have seen girls that lift some weights and are not figure/fitness models/trainers and they tend to have noticeable muscles in the arms, shoulders and back. Some people may find that desirable but I do not. That's why I wonder if I should cut back on arm training for a while..IDK, I will see what happens in a month with my current routine. Thanks for your reply
5/23/13 9:31 A
Thanks everyone for your responses. I will give it another month of doing what I am doing now and then assess what is really happening. I still want to lose more body fat so maybe when I drop down I will not look a little leaner? I won't take progress pics again until next week. I have been taking them once a month at the end of each month for 6 months. I will then compare last month and this month.
From 2007-2008, I lost 70lbs...from 188 to 118. Then I lost an additional 8 lbs in 2009. I stayed at 110 from 2009-2011 then ended up gaining weight to balloon up to 128lbs after that horrible car accident (which I know people would say isn't that bad of a weight), but being as small as I am, just a few pounds overweight makes me look pregnant and very chubby, not to mention none of my clothes will fit me and my feet swell so my shoes won't fit as well.
I am going back to my pre-accident weight and look. I was so happy and full of energy. I feel so blah right now. I hate it. Yeah we should all love our bodies no matter the weight but it's not easy when you actually obtained the body you want after so much time and effort just to lose it and have to start over. Such an adjustment and so frustrating ! That's why I am happy I befriended my neighbor. He is a gym rat (well home gym rat) and so it helps that he works with me. I cannot afford any new equipment or a gym membership.
Hopefully this will be the last time I have to do this yo-yo thing. I want to coast at a bodyweight that is good for me and makes me happy. I have yo-yoed all my life and can't do it anymore. I don't deprive myself of stuff though. I cook and bake a lot (I sell cakes and stuff in my free time). I indulge a little bit but still keep my portions and calories in check. I finally perfected red velvet cake and spicy shrimp tacos over the Mother's Day weekend :)
Thanks for the encouragement and good luck to everyone on their journey !
Angel - have you actually taken measurements of the areas you're concerned about? As others have mentioned, it's really difficult to add noticeable muscle mass, especially if you're running and eating at a deficit. You might be one of those genetic "outliers", but most of us just can't do it. If you don't want the muscle showing, you'll have to keep your body fat percentage up there, right about where you are now. On the flip side, you may not be able to get rid of the tummy and other areas you talk about in a later post.
Those pictures seem to be all of fitness models/competitive body builders. I wouldn't really want to look like some of those pictures, but then again I don't have all day to spent at the gym and tanning salon either. It's a balancing act, and everyone's solution will be different.
It is actually very difficult for anyone (man or woman) to add a lot of muscle mass (in the sense of the red fibery stuff) while running a calorie deficit to lose weight - the body tends to burn protein for energy, rather than creating new muscle tissue. Most of the increases in strength come from improved muscle quality, rather than increased muscle mass.
What is more common is for muscles to retain water after a workout, which can lead to some swelling. It is most likely this that you are seeing, rather than true muscle mass. This is particularly pronounced a few hours after a work - many bodybuilders pump out a few reps immediately before a competition to get this effect to appear more defined. Judging your appearance based on how you appear immediately after a workout (and I assume this is what your neighbor is seeing) is not representative of how you look the rest of the time.
I might add that steroid use is rife amongst the bodybuilding community, and many of the bodybuilding photos that you see that look unnatural are the result of umm, chemical assistance, rather than strength training alone.
Strength training IS a very effective fat burner, and you should be strength training with heavier weights to get the maximum fat burning effect. If you want to look lean, you SHOULD strength train.
not sure what advice to give you............but nice work on what you have done. I would love to have the muscle definition that you are getting. That is my goal... I would ask on bodybuilding.com as I am sure they can help you. And Bob keep your negative comments to yourself............it's not needed here.............! Get it.........!
Wow! Honestly, I can't give you any advice on this topic, I'm really just astonished at how RUDE some people can be on here (lookin at you BOB).
Not sure why people like that would even participate on a site like this if they have no genuine interest in helping/communicating/interacting with people who are all here for a common goal!
I commend you Angelzbabe on your tasteful reply!
5/22/13 9:59 P
Thanks Dragonchilde. Problem is I HAD the body I want but when I got depressed after my friend died, I fell back into old eating habits and because I was injured for a year, I couldn't workout. It wasn't until 6 months ago that I was finally given the A-OK to workout.
I was at 27% and now at 22%. I weigh 115lbs at 5' 3'' and 25 years. I run 4-6 miles a day 3-4 days a week and full body strength training 2-4 days a week for however long it takes me to complete that..usually 45-60 minutes. I am tight on time and cannot train a lot. All my workouts are in the early AM and the cardio and weights are on alternating days. When my body is tired I will take a day break.
I stagger my calories between 1250-1900 so that I am not eating the same amount everyday. And getting the benefit of low calorie, maintenance and a few higher calorie days.
Like I said, I put on weight so easily and fast. I seem to also have a problem with muscle definition showing a little to much as well even when I drop a few inches. Didn't have that problem when I lost the weight the first time. My rear is starting to become firm and higher. I noticed I lose all the weight in my face and upper body before it goes from my stomach and thighs. My arms though. Ugh. I wear long sleeves because they are starting to get muscular. I wonder if just not really working out the biceps/triceps a lot or with much weight would work.
I'm very small boned and tend to look petite regardless. Right now I am I guess "skinny fat" where I have fat on my stomach, thighs and triceps (like most women). I know I cannot spot reduce and it will fall off when it does. I've done this thing before. But when I took the advice of people to lift heavy and fewer reps, it's changed things from being nice and feminine. I know some people get thick in the ab area when they train their abs too much and others get bulky or thick thighs/legs when they work them too much, which is why minus squats, lunges and deadlifts, I do not do a lot of leg exercises since I run. My legs are starting to slim down though which is good.
So mostly it is my upper body, specifically arms and back. They are just looking so muscularly. Any advice on that would be appreciated.
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5/22/13 9:47 P
I have been exercising since 1994. Gained weight over time then lost it, hope I never ever find it. Once your reach the point where you need to be then exercising more for toning, along with exercising with good form motion and the right amount of resistance. An example is doing behind the neck press. I use light weights. it's to the point where I exercise for my posture which leads me into doing other things such as bike riding and swimming
Fitness Minutes: (15,905)
9,717 5/22/13 9:02 P
You can't change genetics, and that's what you're working with.
There's no evidence at all that "high reps, low weights" will give you the smaller muscles you're looking at. If you want less definition, the short of it is that you need more body fat to cover the muscles you have already built.
The problem is, you can't get a body your body isn't already capable of doing. Comparing yourself to others and obsessing over what you don't want isn't going to change what you have.
You mention being down 5%, but not what your actual body fat percentage is.
In order to look like a body builder, you're going to have train like one. It doesn't happen by accident. So you may be one of those who tends to have certain areas that are larger than others; we all have them. In my case, I generally have a strong back, and great legs. Unless you train like they do, you aren't going to bulk out like the women on that page you linked have. If you look, many of them have the telltale bulging veins of chronic steroid abusers. Additionally, you're looking at the end result of a deliberate attempt to make their muscles stand out as much as possible; I guarantee you that 99% of those women don't look like that ALL the time. They cut for competition, pump themselves up, and use oil and lighting to emphasize that look as much as possible.
If you want less definition, you need less strength training, and more body fat. Contrary to popular belief, exercises like yoga don't promote a certain kind of muscle. (You hear the long/lean muscle thing a lot... it's not true.) Yoga's good for flexibility, but isn't a bit strength builder past a certain point.
If you'd be willing to share what you're actually doing, those of us here with more experience can help you tweak your program, but you will need to understand that you can't have a body ideal that your body isn't capable of achieving. The body you have IS natural, or it wouldn't be happening for you!
Here's a good place to start for understanding the difference between toning and bulking up:
It won't really help you achieve what you're going for, but it's a good place to start for how things work. The short answer to the question is basically that you don't train "for women" - men and women benefit from the same strength training.
Edited by: DRAGONCHILDE at: 5/22/2013 (21:33)
5/22/13 6:47 P
Not really the helpful information or past experiences I was talking about but okay thanks for your help. I do not eat junk food, haven't since my high school days. I am trying to figure out how to adjust my workout to ensure I am moving toward the goal I want of a naturally feminine body without the huge definition of muscles. Muscles like that look good on people who are competing or needing it for the job/passion/hobbies, but not something that will look good on everyone
Fitness Minutes: (1,285)
5/22/13 6:43 P
that's what you don't want.. ??????????..............................
Eat pizza.. watch tv... you'll get there......
Edited by: BOB240 at: 5/22/2013 (18:43)
5/22/13 6:14 P
So over the past few months, I have got my diet in check, kept up my running schedule of 3-5 days a week and strength training 2-4 days a week. I went to my doctor and had my weight and body fat measured, and I am down 4lbs and 5% body fat. My gym rat neighbor has me working out in his garage where he has a gym set up (it's unreal the amount of equipment/machines at various weight levels he has...someone has money to spend!) He had me doing heavy weights and low reps, as a lot of people seem to say whether you are a man or woman.
Problem is, I apparently figured out that even in my caloric deficit, my arms, shoulders and back are looking "manly". I know people claim women cannot put on mass or muscle like men, but I seem to be genetically able to gain weight without much effort (just a lil bit over my calorie needs and I start packing on the pounds) and I guess I am able to be a little more muscular without meaning to.
I've seen pics of fitness models/trainers like Jamie Eason and those who follow their diet/fitness routines. I find that too much muscle and not something I want to achieve. Granted, they are probably at a body fat percent that I would never want to get to. I want my body to look more natural and lean.
So now I am debating about going back to what I was originally doing a few years ago. 10-15lb weights, moderate amount of reps and a bunch of pilates/yoga/medicine ball/bodyweight exercises with less focus on biceps and areas where I tend to gain size with little effort. I was looking at some of the women online that lift weights and though they do not look like those women who compete on stage with bulging muscle, their muscles are pronounced in their arms/back/legs, etc. It really isn't the look I am going for. I want a more natural, slight muscle definition, womanly body.
Has any woman on here come across that problem where you seem to put showing your muscles and looking "thicker" while you are dieting, doing cardio and lifting weights? Even my neighbor said it was weird that my muscles were becoming sooo pronounced. Sorry for the long post. Been a long day :(
Oh and here is a link to what I don't want. Yeah, they might have shapely rears and stuff, but I think it is too much muscle on areas that shouldn't have that much muscle on women. maybe 1-2 of them are okay