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Paula's Story on the Blog: I Feel so Divided!

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  • #46
    I think you need to be more clear about yourself. YOU want to look in YOUR mirror and say "She is buff."

    Not "I want *other people* to look at me and say "she is buff." -- because there are people who are NOT going to say that, no matter how buff, lean, skinny, or whatever you are. and, for FWIW, i really don't care what you look like. I use terms like "She looks great/nice/lovely/etc" or "that doesn't suit her well, or isn't a good fit. (in regards to clothes, bathingsuits, etc)." I never use things like "wow, she looks not fat" or "she looks fat" or "she looks buff."

    With this, 15% is not an "objective standard."

    I consider an objective standard that one would be placing on a population (not oneself) as that which is attainable for many women most of the time with minimal (or, you could say primal) effort. Comfortable amount of exercise (as per PB), comfortable amount of calories from the right sources (as per PB), plenty of rest, etc -- most women *tend* to balance out around 18-20%.

    This could, therefore, be the "objective standard" for the group.

    This is not to say that YOU shouldn't go below if YOU want to, but casting the idea that "at 18-20% a person looks good in clothes, but fat in a bathing suit" is NOT objective. It may be how YOU feel about YOURSELF, but it's kinda mean to cast it onto everyone, particularly when there are A LOT of women here who have worked really hard to get to that point, and feel really proud of where they are.

    For my own part, I am happy to be where I am, because it does take minimal effort, and I like to maintain about 18-19% (since it's not an exact science), and my weight where it is (though i dont' go near scales), and so on.

    again, if you want to be 15% for your own sake, then that's fine. But asserting that it's an "objective standard" (ie, what all women should get to), then that's a bit much.

    and to get there, i recommend heavy lifting -- you might try "hard gainer" style.


    • #47
      So when I saw her before pics I thought, yep that's close to me. Pinching some fat, but healthy looking. Her afters were shocking, not in a good way. When I read that she backed off a bit of her strict eating and added a bit of weight, I felt that would look more natural, fit.


      • #48
        This could, therefore, be the "objective standard" for the group.
        Actually, it agrees with a body weigh classification, that with minor changes is reproduced in a number of places. For example, here at Wiki:

        Essential fat is the level below which physical and physiological health would be negatively affected. Controversy exists as to whether a particular body fat percentage is better for one's health; athletic performance may also be affected. The leanest athletes typically compete at levels of about 6–13% for men or 14–20% for women. Bodybuilders may compete at ranges even lower than these levels. Certified personal trainers will suggest to male bodybuilders that they aim for a body fat percentage between 2–4% by contest time[citation needed]. However it is unclear that such levels are ever actually attained since (a) the means to measure such levels are, as noted below, lacking in principle, and (b) 3% is generally considered a physiological minimum for human males.

        I also read various PT's (such as Jillian Michaels and E-det's PT guru tell that the most noticeable changes happen below 18%, and JM specifically stated that she targets 14-15% range with her female clients for the 'cut' look.

        Yes, 18-22% is the effortless range, and that is why the lament is that the definition doesn't happen below the isostatic comfort. That's why stories like Paula's or Staci's are exceptional.
        My Journal:
        When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.


        • #49
          I think that what you are attempting to say is this:

          I want to look buff.

          According to "experts" in the field, in order to "look buff," women have the most noticeable changes if their BF% is below 18%. JM asserts that she notices it in her clients when they are around 14-15%. Likewise, many female athletes have BF% between 14 to 20%, which appears also to be in a healthy range for "essential fat" wherein physical and psychological health is not affected.

          Thus, I would like to get below 18% body fat in order to get this look.

          From here, you might be asking "what does it take to get to that?"


          Several years ago, before I went primal and what not, I was definitely below 18% body fat.

          I was training for triathlons. I was training olympic distance. I was also doing yoga and weights. I worked out an average of 3 hours every day with swim/bike/run/weights on a rotation. Morning, 45 minutes hard-out of one of those, then a softer 45 minutes in the evening of another. Then 1.5 hrs of power vinyasa yoga, usually in a heated room. Then, the next day, repeat. And so on. 7 days a week. Sometimes only 6, but usually seven.

          I slept 8 hours a night, without fail.

          I ate 3 meals a day plus two snacks. I happened to be vegan, but I don't think that this is necessary (in fact, I think it can be a detriment). I think with primal, you'd likely put on muscle faster.

          I don't think Paula/Staci are exceptional. They stated in their thingies that they work out hard -- and it's likely that they DO work out 3 hrs a day to maintain (or that paula would, had she chosen to maintain it).

          It takes a lot to get down to that body fat percentage, and you have to keep doing it in order to maintain that body fat percentage. "It is what it is." It is not unique, it is not exceptional, it is not special.

          You eat right, you work out hard a lot, and you get enough sleep.


          That being said, I am happy at 18-19% and I do not think that i "look fat" in a bathing suit.

          At this body fat percentage, I dont' have to calorie count, and I can fit workouts in that are effective and healthful around my busy schedule of house holding, running my own business, and taking care of my 3 yr old (we use no chlid care, just DH and myself, and then kindy for 5 hrs each week). This means, on average 20 minute bursts once a day, and twice if i'm lucky, plus two roller skating practices a week (derby) that are about an hour, plus 20 minutes of yoga per day. So, 40-60 minutes of exercise daily. It's about all that I can manage, or something goes astray and out of balance.

          i think that if you have the time to dedicate to the work, and you want that look, then go for it.


          • #50
            I absolutely do not get the point of this thread...Leida, you initially started the thread stating you feel "confused" and other women (like Zoebird and myself) gave you some words of encouragement and tried to uplift you in explaining that we, at 17-19% body fat donīt feel THAT ugly and flabby and fat...But you insist (I (myself) won`t give in. I look great. I donīt care if you think that a woman at currently 17% body fat can`t look "buff". I feel "buff", though it is not a word I like to dscribe myself). So GO AHEAD! Make it your primary goal to lean out. Be dedicated. Work hard. You areobviously not looking for encouragement or a discussion about body-image. You like to get extra-lean to feel good in your skin so do it, discussing the value of personal, private goals here seems to be pointless!


            • #51
              I did not say at 17%, I said at 18%-22% (average 'easy' BF). I believe the changes are significant. I have never been 17% BF in my life, let alone 15%

              Unfortunately, what you were doing Zoebird did not work for me when I did have time to do it. I had training times close to 3 hours a day 6 days a week, the best I could do, intervals, running, swimming, ate like 8 meals a day CW, but once I started going under 18%, I could not sleep ( I woke up at 2 am starving and it took about two hours to get over it, and by that time I had to be up and doing all 3 20 min segments of the 30 Day Shred), my upper body got emaciated while the fat did not dissapear from the lower body, and I could not function in life because of debilitating hunger ( iliteraly could not do anything for about 2 hours a day in the early afternoons) & I was continously under-recovered. I was dizzy lifting myself off the couch.

              Right now I can only put about 1.5 hours a day into doing workouts, because I need to mainatin split schedule to pick and drop off my 5 yo to Kindergarden and classes and yada-yada-yada, unless I cut down on sleep, which is a no-no. I am also trying to recover appropriately. So, can you recover, which means you cannot workout every day for 3 hours, and still go down? That BBS guy will tell ya you can lift once a week, but honestly, that's just doesn't seem right. And, if you are working out like that (high intensity, lotsa hours), how do you keep sane for the want of food? Didn't you have delusional episodes (I had a vision of a yummy orange peel in the trash can)? How do you sleep if you keep food consumption down via shear force of will?

              I tried cyclic ketonic diet dropping carbs to 30 g a day thinking hunger was carbs/insulin, but both times after 2 months I went into pre-faint and blurry vision state without weight loss.

              I am trying longer IF, but a week after I extended fasts, my old odd reaction to prolongued period without food (back pain) came back and I was in the 'keep myself from screaming when people talk to me' mode for 4 hours yesterday.... bugger. So, I assume I cannot fast for extended periods of time, unless I start developping mental disorder that makes one enjoy pain.

              Basically, I want to know if ladies did go to 15% without experiencing the same bad things that I did? Honestly, did they experience it and just powered through it? Somehow? Hard work I can take, but going mad, I just can't! I am scared. I just don't think that gotta hurt *that* much ???Or am I being a big baby? Are my reactions to losing body fat more severe than for an average person? Is that because my athletic aptitude is lower than average (been kicked out out of swimming at 12, struggled with the Physical fitness standards throughout school and University?)
              Last edited by Leida; 09-28-2011, 02:53 AM.
              My Journal:
              When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.


              • #52
                i didn't have any delusional episodes or problems when i was working out that way, and I never felt that i was keeping calories down by force of will. as now, i ate when i was hungry, and didn't eat when i wasn't. I also slept really well (and still do).

                we did have some on PB when we were not getting enough protien (dizzy spells when standing up, feeling very tired, waking up hungry), but increasing the amount of protein (but not calories) made a big difference for both DH and myself.

                I would say that if I worked out slightly more than I do now, and used hard-gainer method (which is essentially low rep, high weight 1-2 times a week for 30-45 minutes), i would put on muscle, and I would need more carbohydrates (eg, my husband has a sweet potato after his work out on his work-out days). I might also need 100-150 or so more calories (possibly more, because i'm currently around 1600 calories when eating in my natural way, which is to say eating when hungry) to be evened out around my ratios of fat/protein/carbohydrate.

                I can't say that this would get me to 15%, but it would very likely get me below 18% after 6-8 weeks (probably).

                And i don't think it would cause weird episodes like you are talking about. i've never had those.


                • #53
                  to be even more clear, this is the split i did with my tri-training.

                  I would do

                  bench press
                  overhead press
                  weighted crunches
                  back extensions

                  on day one.

                  then about 3-6 days later, when my muscles recovered, I would do

                  rows (weighted)
                  chins (weighted -- once you can do chins)
                  weighted side bends
                  back extensions

                  on day two.

                  Each work out took 30-45 minutes. the first "warm up" set was 3-5 reps at 1/3 the top weight that I would move that day. The second set -- or the first real set -- would be 10-15 reps. Trying to get to 15. The third set -- or second real set -- was to failure or 15. It would be the highest weight that I could move, and then if the third set got to 15, then i needed to move up in weight.

                  I have done stints of just this and minimal cardio (sprints once a week, daily long walks of 5-7 miles at a comfortable pace) and gotten leaner than I am now -- so I would assume under 18% then. I did this as a vegan, a vegetarian, and an omnivore.

                  since we are looking at building a home gym to allow DH to work out this way, I might take it up again to see what happens. But only if i can easily fit the workouts into my days.


                  • #54
                    I went as high as 1.5 LBM protein before with no difference to muscule gain or sleep patterns, what do you figure are you averaging? Right now the daily walking time is the problem, I can either train or walk - so I catch up the hours on the weekends, trying to put in a few hours over the weekends, to get ~ 1 hr daily on average. I lift 3x a week, 45 to 1 hour, depending on support, and in a 5x5 Madcow protocol (start with ~ 50% of max, goes to 5 reps of max with some deviations on the 5 basic lifts, 3 lifts per session). I also do pull-ups and chin-ups, deltoid raises with dumbells and a few KB excersises for explosive strength & hamstring target. I manage ~ 1 HIIT a week.
                    My Journal:
                    When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.


                    • #55
                      Paula looked better before she got so lean, I think. Sometimes too lean is too much.


                      • #56
                        Originally posted by dado View Post
                        Paula looked better before she got so lean, I think. Sometimes too lean is too much.
                        That was a competition shape, she's not that lean year-round. She looked flabby in the before pic, especially for someone who was so much into fitness.


                        • #57
                          I bet her 14-15% that she went up to will look just right! Okay, I think I am going give it another shot. After all, I am doing good with quitting nuts, adding more O3 fats, and with winter coming seasonal fruit will switch from divine apples to grapefruits, maybe that will make a difference.
                          My Journal:
                          When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.


                          • #58
                            I'm at around 11-12% right now and refuse to try to go any lower. Not only is it a pain (primal man did not measure food!), but getting much lower I start getting really gaunt in the face and start looking alot older. I figure I'll stick with eating enough to fuel my workouts and still ENJOY food. If you are around 10-15% for a man or 18-22% for a woman, you are probably lower than 95% of the general population.
                            "Suffer no guilt yee who wield this in the name of Crom"
                            Quote on the Father's Sword


                            • #59
                              Originally posted by Leida View Post
                              My medical numbers were just fine all my life, and I can do chin-ups and pull-ups. 15% BF sounds like an independent objective measure. Being a strongwoman is not my wet dream. Having slender, muscular body with a balanced upper and lower body is. I want people take one look at me, and think: Oh, she is buff! rather than, Okay, she is not (that) fat.
                              I just skimmed this thread quickly and don't believe you've posted your workouts. Focus on the "big movements" and cap your reps at 5, lift weight that makes that 5th rep pretty challenging, and do 2-3 sets of that (what I'm saying is, seek out the 'starting strength' protocol and do it) Don't do too much else, and only do it as prescribed.... and shut up. Just train. Eat, walk, be happy, etc.

                              You also mention not wanting to limit fruit, okay, fine, realize though that this may be stopping you. Replace fruits with potatoes, especially post-workout with some lean-ish protein. You are "wishing" things will happen without you having to change your reality too much. If this were possible, well, this forum wouldn't exist. Combine Starting Strength with Leangains (ie: workout fasted, eat a heavy carb meal post-workout, taper carbs off after or fore-go carbs all-together) visit Intermittent fasting diet for fat loss, muscle gain and health and read the newest post about "fuckarounditis" which many of us suffer from, myself most definitely included but making changes. Keep it simple: lift heavy, eat right, track your progress. Reading that last night was a big reality check for me.

                              Lastly, I too used to find js290's posting style to be beyond annoying. "Why can't this dick-head just write out his thoughts?" then I bothered to actually watch the videos or read the literature and I realized a potential reason why: somebody else (McGuff, mostly) has already said it better. js290 is like if you were to go find yourself at a CW forum and some poster is like "I don't get it, I eat whole-grains and blah blah and I'm not losing. I'm doing everything right! what gives?!" and you replying with a link to Mark's "PB 101" or "definitive guide to grains" with nothing else, just the link, and you do this in most threads you visit, and people give you shit for it, but why try to distill what can be difficult information when you can point people to a more eloquent source? I used to try to tell people about primal in my own words, then I realized, I can't stand side by side with Sisson. I need to get the fuck out of the way and send them directly to the man with the proper information and a good way to present it. Instead of spewing my possibly moronic interpretation of the same.
                              I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.


                              • #60
                                Yes, i started with 5x5 in February 2010, then progressed to 3x5 after about a year, and finally started Madcow 5x5 23 weeks ago (second cycle now). One interruption for 2 months, early on. Other than that, all dedicated 3x a week lifting as per schedules, like a clockwork. I deloaded, microloaded etc. to always have a progressive overload. Lifts increased ~ 2x since I started.

                                I lift 3x a week, 45 to 1 hour, depending on support, and in a 5x5 Madcow protocol (start with ~ 50% of max, goes to 5 reps of max with some deviations on the 5 basic lifts, 3 lifts per session). I also do pull-ups and chin-ups, deltoid raises with dumbells and a few KB excersises for explosive strength & hamstring target. I manage ~ 1 HIIT a week.

                                I workout fasted 1 day a week and with a small meal 2 other days (and used to have all 3 workouts fasted till this Spt) because that's how my schedule is right now, fast 17 hours a day, trying to extend to 20 hours a day now on non-workout days and I use LeanGain protocol (high fat/lower carb on non-workout and high carb/low fat post workout meals.

                                Still 19% BF, my traps are an inch larger, and my quads are bursting out of my pants. My waist is still there, and my upper body is only visible when flexed. So, I likely look fatter than before.

                                I have seen it before, all of it, what is in js's videos in Sterngth Training for Women, Lift Like a Man, Look Like a Godess, Jillian Michaels, and, heck even e-Diets. And, delivered by someone who is, like, a woman, so, like knows from her own experience.

                                And, yep, I lift heavy, limit carb as much as sanity allows me (cut out dairy, cut out nuts, let alone grain; try to chock fat down too lately), and carb-up post-workout, and cut down cardio to practically nothing, and it's all HIIT. No, I don't do machines, and heck, this site's principals and ideas are contrary to using the machines.
                                Last edited by Leida; 09-28-2011, 09:15 AM.
                                My Journal:
                                When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.