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Females who tend to "bulk up" quickly

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  • Females who tend to "bulk up" quickly

    Hi all!

    So, I'm sure I cannot be the only woman out there with this issue, but I seem to be pretty damn predisposed to put on muscle, and quickly. I don't mind this so much in the lower body, but my upper body? I have a hard time with it. My shoulders are broad enough already!

    Since I started doing LHT workouts once a week (which has done WONDERS for dropping my BF%), I've gained significant definition and "bulk" through my arms and upper back. So while I do want to continue making slight increases in strength, I just don't wish to add significant amounts of muscle mass. The exercises I've been integrating reverse rows (bodyweight), bench presses (45 bls.), and seated military presses (40 bls.), 3 x 10 reps.

    Any suggestions would be very welcome.
    5'6" 27 y/o female, Primal 6 months and counting.

    CW: 160 -- in single-digit dress sizes for the first time in 12 years!

    GW: 150 -- for swimsuit season

  • #2
    Decrease rep range to up to 5? that's usually thrown around as a strength builder but NOT a hypertrophy range.
    I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by darkersolace View Post
      Hi all!

      So, I'm sure I cannot be the only woman out there with this issue, but I seem to be pretty damn predisposed to put on muscle, and quickly. I don't mind this so much in the lower body, but my upper body? I have a hard time with it. My shoulders are broad enough already!

      Since I started doing LHT workouts once a week (which has done WONDERS for dropping my BF%), I've gained significant definition and "bulk" through my arms and upper back. So while I do want to continue making slight increases in strength, I just don't wish to add significant amounts of muscle mass. The exercises I've been integrating reverse rows (bodyweight), bench presses (45 bls.), and seated military presses (40 bls.), 3 x 10 reps.

      Any suggestions would be very welcome.
      I am in the same position - BUT I love having muscular arms and shoulders/back - my problem is that I could get "thunder thighs" - and I'm not willowy to start off with.

      My plan is to stay with the hard work/heavy weigths for my upper body but keep squat/lunges lighter and increase body weight exercises 9and keep up the cardio component and HIIT for that). You could do the opposite and keep upper body weights lighter and more for toning?? Throw in the odd heavier session to increase strength?

      I don't know if this would be "right" and will be happy to see what other advice you get (that I could also potentially use)

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      • #4
        I gain muscle easily just from bodyweight exercises alone. Not too sure what to tell you on this one.
        Georgette

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        • #5
          I'm the same way. I remember someone on this forum saying that "there's no way to gain muscle mass lifting puny weights". Well, all the muscles I have are the result of 11 years of Jazzercise, lifting 6-7lb weights! When I first went to a personal trainer, he marveled at my back muscles and kept telling me I should go into bodybuilding competitions (SO not me!)

          It definitely keeps me from embracing the LHT aspect of primal. I don't mind being a bit muscle-y, but I don't want to look ridiculous.
          Liz.

          Zone diet on and off for several years....worked, but too much focus on exact meal composition
          Primal since July 2010...skinniest I've ever been and the least stressed about food

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          • #6
            I remember the first time I went to a gym and worked out with a trainer, he was handing me 25lb dumbbells for bicep curls and I was doing them with ease. I sometimes wonder if putting muscle on easily has faltered my weightloss attempts in the past.
            Georgette

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            • #7
              I sympathise but can't help I'm afraid.
              I easily build muscle (sadly its covering of fat remains intact!) - but in my case my hormones are a little off-whack. "Free testosterone" is a bit higher than average despite overall testosterone being in normal range.
              FWIW I don't really "work out" - I have a reasonably active job lifting and carrying, and after only 2 or 3 archery lessons my shoulders are noticeably more solid. *shrug*

              I would say "relax, enjoy it" but if someone dismissed me like that I'd want to slap them.

              However, your sig mentions "muscle atrophy" - are you sure you're not getting back to where you "should" be?

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              • #8
                My problem is not only do I gain muscle easily but when I lift heavy, even when eating primal, I cannot stop eating. One can indeed eat too many good calories.

                A couple of things have worked. One is more of a Turbulence Training style that definitely works the muscles, but not as heavily as traditional weight lifting. It fits with Mark's philosophy as well.

                Another is circuit training where you mix cardio and weight training. I tend to use lighter weights with higher reps. Not primal, but I did P90X one summer and ended up looking like a starting lineback for the 49ers. So, while I like looking toned and fit, I also like looking like a girl.
                Christine
                Wag more, bark less

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by darkersolace View Post
                  Hi all!

                  So, I'm sure I cannot be the only woman out there with this issue, but I seem to be pretty damn predisposed to put on muscle, and quickly. I don't mind this so much in the lower body, but my upper body? I have a hard time with it. My shoulders are broad enough already!

                  Since I started doing LHT workouts once a week (which has done WONDERS for dropping my BF%), I've gained significant definition and "bulk" through my arms and upper back. So while I do want to continue making slight increases in strength, I just don't wish to add significant amounts of muscle mass. The exercises I've been integrating reverse rows (bodyweight), bench presses (45 bls.), and seated military presses (40 bls.), 3 x 10 reps.

                  Any suggestions would be very welcome.

                  27 y/o Female
                  CW: 162, 16% BF
                  HW: 200
                  LW: 139 (with all the muscle atrophy that comes with CW dieting, yaaay)
                  Don't mean to burst your bubble, but I think your stats may be inaccurate. How are you measuring your body fat percent? Unless you're over six feet tall or getting ready for a bodybuilding contest, I can't fathom how a woman could weigh 162 @ 16% bodyfat. I hope I'm not coming off as harsh or condescending, but you're probably carrying more fat than you realize.

                  Having gotten that outta the way, I have found that bodyweight training has leaned me out a bit, but then again, I switched to a bodyweight centered program around the same time I started eating primal, so it's hard to say.
                  "In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they couldn't be more different."

                  "You can have anything you want, but you can't have everything you want."

                  My blog: http://www.AlKavadlo.com

                  sigpic

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by darkersolace View Post
                    Hi all!
                    Any suggestions would be very welcome.
                    Learn to be comfortable with your genetics?

                    Aesthetics shouldn't be the primary goal of resistance training.

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                    • #11
                      I'm not female and I don't put bulk on quickly, but something that I keep seeing mentioned is that to put on significant muscle mass you need to be in a caloric surplus.

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                      • #12
                        I have to second Al. I think some of the confusion could be in your stats, and it certainly isn't meant to be harsh. You're probably carrying a bit more fat than you realize, as he pointed out a woman at 162 lbs and only 16% bf would be straight out of a bodybuilding comp (they might get a bit leaner....but at that weight not much). So some of your "bulking" could be caused me some intramuscular fat that is making you appear to be a bit bulkier, from a muscular point of view, than you actually are. Again, please don't read that as an attack, just stating.

                        And with that being said....some woman are pre-disposed at gaining muscle easier...just as some men are. At one point I was training to do a competition, one of the things I started off with my training for the comp was understanding what "body-type" I was, in order to attack my natural weak points better. Same rules go for woman. I'd try and stick with the eating to see how your body adapts to some additional weight loss and go from there. I'd also recommend the body weight routines. Not sure if you're a girl that hates lifting weights, but it's an easier way to enjoy them and still get the benefits.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by AndreaReina View Post
                          I'm not female and I don't put bulk on quickly, but something that I keep seeing mentioned is that to put on significant muscle mass you need to be in a caloric surplus.
                          is that true?? I though that if you were eating the right foods, even whilst losing fat you could gain muscle. That to me inmplies a slight deficit or maintenance quantity of food?? I can tie myself in knots though so I could be wrong.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by denise View Post
                            is that true?? I though that if you were eating the right foods, even whilst losing fat you could gain muscle. That to me inmplies a slight deficit or maintenance quantity of food?? I can tie myself in knots though so I could be wrong.
                            That's what I've just read about 5 times in the last 48 hours though i had never come across it before. I'm trying to drop body fat and gain muscle so wouldn't I still need to cut calories to achieve this?
                            In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer. -- Albert Camus

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                            • #15
                              Everything I've read from the likes of Leangains (mostly this), Don Matesz, Lyle McDonald etc says you can lose fat and gain muscle at the same time -- in fact Mark mentions it happens with a lot of his clients, but they then say that past a certain point it becomes difficult to do both. They're vague about when it happens, I imagine it's when BF goes below a certain level and the body stops using fat stores to fuel muscle growth, but just keeps them maintained (last part is pure conjecture on my part). I'm sure people with more experience can chime in with first-hand knowledge.

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