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Female dilemma - getting stronger, and bigger

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  • Female dilemma - getting stronger, and bigger



    So, I've pretty much been the same weight since I started college (10 years ago). It seems that no matter what I do, I don't lose weight on the scale and have actually gotten bigger -- my clothes fit tighter because my shoulders and quads are bigger. I'm female and have been primal for about 9 months and doing Crossfit-style workouts for about 4 years or so (I did gymnastics for 15 years before that). I'm increasing my strength with my workouts and can do more pullups, run faster, jump higher etc. than I could about a year ago.

    As a female, it's tough for me to reconcile my feelings: I love being strong and fit, yet I'd like to be leaner and lose scale weight. Should I workout less? Should I stop lifting heavy things? I currently workout about 5-6 days a week and I truly enjoy it. It energizes me and I feel crappy on the days I don't workout.


  • #2
    1



    jdl409,


    When you say, "leaner" you really have any fat to lose?


    If so, there are a lot of knowledgable people herre who can help you with that, I think.


    If it's just that women's clothes don't fit a muscular body well....that IS a problem. A lot of designers don't seem to understand the non-anorexic female form very well. I have actually found Anne Taylor very good for fitting through the shoulders; bought a couple of her suits for work, and she does casual clothes, as well.


    Please don't be afraid of being strong!

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    • #3
      1



      My body fat (taken with the hand-held devices they have at the gym) is about 17-19%, so I don't think I can get much lower for long periods of time.

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      • #4
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        ...so there ya go. You are as lean as you could be :-)


        I'm just guessing you look fantastic!

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        • #5
          1



          I think if you really want to reduce your overall size, seems like the only way would be to decrease muscle mass. I know we all gain muscle at different rates, and have different maximum (natural) muscle size. I sort of worry about getting too big, too, because I seem to put on muscle very easily. So I imagine if your goal is to become smaller in size, you probably have to stop lifting so heavy and just do less lifting overall. I imagine you will lose strength, and maybe be less happy, since it seems like you really enjoy your workouts. It's all about compromises, so you just need to figure out which of the variables is most important to you. Sucks that sometimes you can't have it all, but I agree with Kuno in that I am sure your body looks absolutely amazing as is!

          Everything in moderation, including moderation.

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          • #6
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            I wouldn't change it.


            Seems like you have excellent results and your body type is just a little stocky... nothing wrong with that.

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            • #7
              1



              Ashtanga Yoga would keep you strong and really fit and might over time lessen the bulk of your muscles while still keeping some real world strength. It's a great workout and would probably give you lots of energy like your crossfit workouts do. It is NOT a lazy yoga!

              PaleoMom's Diet Recovery Journal
              http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread82059.html

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              • #8
                1



                jdl, in the good carb thread there is a lot of info about carbing up and repleting your glycogen stores to prevent the loss of lean mass. Losing muscle seems to be much easier than I thought.

                “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” -Oscar Wilde
                "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." -George Bernard Shaw
                "The trouble with jogging is that the ice falls out of your glass." -Martin Mull

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                • #9
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                  I'm guessing you have a slightly distorted self image of yourself. if your BF% is 17 and you are that physically fit, then I'm guessing you're rather attractive

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                  • #10
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                    Being strong is cool. I would never sacrifice strength to fit into a smaller pair of jeans.

                    Throw the scales out!

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                    • #11
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                      Have you ever seen the image comparing 5 pounds of muscle to 5 pounds of fat?


                      http://www.onemorebite-weightloss.com/images/fat-v-muscle.jpg


                      Muscle is denser and smaller. If you're truly the same weight you used to be, how could you be bigger if you now have more muscle? That doesn't make sense to me.

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                      • #12
                        1



                        You are definitely lean enough but maybe you have put on more muscle than you would like. My trainer, Valerie Waters, believes that women can bulk up more than they might like. She trains Jennifer Garner and a bunch of other action-ladies. She subscribes to a different sort of workout where we actually use lighter weights than I ever used and it has helped me un-bulk somewhat. She has a great little device called the Valslide that helps you get lean and strong without bulking up.


                        I had discovered Val after reading about how she is Jennifer Garner's trainer. If you are looking for that type of lean, strong look I'd check out valslide.com. Great workouts. And it's not just about the looks. I just listened to an interview with a stunt woman who has worked with some of Val's girls and she said Val's gals do almost all of their own stunts because they are so fit and strong.

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                        • #13
                          1



                          Well, that's my problem too. My legs have gotten too big and I have stopped doing heavy squats and dead lifts in an attempt to get them to "shrink". It's very annoying not to be able to wear my favorite jeans because they're too tight in the legs. grrrr.


                          I was just going to post this dilemma!

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                          • #14
                            1



                            Switching training up could affect this. Im not saying you need to or should, but instead of heavy and very low rep training, stay in the 8-12 range. Some days go high rep (will actual make you look leaner) in the 16-30 rep range. Incorporate explosive exercises (plyometric push-ups/pull-ups)...


                            Meaning, go for more intensity over higher weight, and btw human physiology dictates any gain in weight comes with a gain in muscle and fat, and any loss in weight results in a loss of fat and muscle. The ratios are what you can change, but I doubt your going to lose pounds of muscle over switching training.

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                            In Pursuit of Healthiness, Only to Achieve Happiness!: www.livingnotsurviving.com

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                            • #15
                              1



                              I highly recommend the Valslide. You can really work your legs without using any weight or very light weight. Lance Armstrong's strength coach uses them as well. Endurance athletes are trying to build muscular endurance without adding bulky muscle. These are a great tool. I also build muscle fairly easily and these are really helping me change up my old methods. Check out photos of Jennifer Garner during Alias. She was, and still is, very lean and strong but not bulky.

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