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Getting a "dancer's physique" rather than a CrossFit/weightlifter's one?

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  • Getting a "dancer's physique" rather than a CrossFit/weightlifter's one?

    I have full respect and admiration for CrossFitters, but it's not really something that I'm into or can afford. I'm more interested in the "functional" components/results borne out of good fitness, like the ability to dance well or rock-climb or hike or engage a good game of Ultimate Frisbee (without embarrassing myself) for hours on end, should situations call for that. My question is: if I'm looking more to develop lean muscles and tone rather than lots of muscle mass, how should I go about doing that?

    For example, you see in some of the Success Stories, that some women end up "leaning out" (and not really looking athletic or super muscular), but are still toned, like Jessica: I Wish I Could Shout It from the Rooftops! | Mark's Daily Apple

    CrossFit and lifting weights works wonders with some women, but I'm not really interested in it. It's not that I want to shrivel up and become skinny, either. Any suggestions? In the case of wanting mainly to get lean and toned, is it more a matter of eating Primally rather than exercise? Or?

  • #2
    body weight exercises, PB fitness

    you have to lift a lot of heavy weight to get a built physique, it's not easy and it doesn't just happen if you work out

    (i am excluding those genetically gifted enough to become buff as vintage ahnold by looking at a dumbbell)
    beautiful
    yeah you are

    Baby if you time travel back far enough you can avoid that work because the dust won't be there. You're too pretty to be working that hard.
    lol

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    • #3
      Lift heavy things. Walk. Sleep. Eat well. You won't get bulky because you don't have enough testosterone, among other things. But if you want to look "toned" you absolutely must lift heavy things, be it your body weight or iron.

      I Don’t Want to Get Big and Bulky: Fitness Marketing and its Effect on Women

      http://www.elitefts.com/documents/female_athletes.htm

      How to Get a Body Like Jessica Biel

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      • #4
        Originally posted by fcby9 View Post
        . . . I'm more interested in the "functional" components/results borne out of good fitness, like the ability to dance well or rock-climb or hike or engage a good game of Ultimate Frisbee . . .how should I go about doing that?
        . . .
        Go out and dance, and rock climb, and hike, and play ultimate frisbee. Play, and have fun, and do it as much, and as hard, and as often as you can.
        Last edited by liza; 08-29-2012, 06:56 PM.

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        • #5
          Which dancer look do you like? Ballet, modern or ballroom. I ask you this because depending on what look you are talking about they require different types of training. For the most part they all do some type of ballet training. These women do not typically lift weights or expose themselves to other forms of training unless they have been asked to.

          Believe it or not Pilates is something that is done as part of the conditioning process. There's a lot of focus on strengthtening the core. They dance for hours and its a great cardio burn. These people also have nutritionist to advice them what they should be eating. Anyway for the most part they have low body fat percentage that is why they look really lean.

          It's not about eating primally per se but this way of eating will likely get you to the goal that you want.

          The link you provided; is that the look that you want. No offense to the success story lady but that is really not a dancers body. You can look like that by losing body fat. People naturally tighten up when they lose substantial amount of weight. At this point lift heavy and trust me you will not look like a man. It is very difficult to build muscle as a woman unless you are intentionally doing it. Even that will not turn you into a Ms. Olympia. Essentially your muscles do not tone. You do have some lean muscles but if fat is covering them then you will not see it.
          Last edited by cayla29s; 08-29-2012, 10:00 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by cayla29s View Post
            Which dancer look do you like? Ballet, modern or ballroom. I ask you this because depending on what look you are talking about they require different types of training. For the most part they all do some type of ballet training. These women do not typically lift weights or expose themselves to other forms of training unless they have been asked to.

            Believe it or not Pilates is something that is done as part of the conditioning process. There's a lot of focus on strengthtening the core. They dance for hours and its a great cardio burn. These people also have nutritionist to advice them what they should be eating. Anyway for the most part they have low body fat percentage that is why they look really lean.

            It's not about eating primally per se but this way of eating will likely get you to the goal that you want.

            The link you provided; is that the look that you want. No offense to the success story lady but that is really not a dancers body. You can look like that by losing body fat. People naturally tighten up when they lose substantial amount of weight. At this point lift heavy and trust me you will not look like a man. It is very difficult to build muscle as a woman unless you are intentionally doing it. Even that will not turn you into a Ms. Olympia. Essentially your muscles do not tone. You do have some lean muscles but if fat is covering them then you will not see it.
            You make some good nuances, Cayla. I think what I'm trying to get at, even more so than a "dancer's physique", is the lean, taut, agile appearance of a gymnast. I suppose that's "thin," but a healthy thin. What I'm trying to do is first lose body fat, and then maybe on some muscle (which will happen in the process, I guess).

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            • #7
              Originally posted by jfreaksho View Post
              Lift heavy things. Walk. Sleep. Eat well. You won't get bulky because you don't have enough testosterone, among other things. But if you want to look "toned" you absolutely must lift heavy things, be it your body weight or iron.

              I Don’t Want to Get Big and Bulky: Fitness Marketing and its Effect on Women

              http://www.elitefts.com/documents/female_athletes.htm

              How to Get a Body Like Jessica Biel

              Thanks for links. Great reads!

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              • #8
                A lot also depends upon your body type. But, yes, working out in a specific style (ie, ballet/pilates) will give you that "look" more or less.

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                • #9
                  It depends on your bodytype and hormonal profile, of course, but generally for women lifting weights or doing any kind of workouts that require heavy resistance training does not mean bulking up - our testosterone levels are more than 10 times lower than those of men and we cannot build muscle as effectively. What you see on olympians and bodybuilders is a result of strict selection, ridiculous amount of training and often testosterone shots and/or steroids (especially in bodybuilding).
                  I have been lifting really seriously 4 times a week for 2 years (my PT is a trainee of Charles Poliquin, so the programmes he gives me are mental for an average gym goer). During this time my muscle mass has increased by 2 kg or so - miserable really. In the meantime I have gone down to 15% bodyfat and recently someone was shocked to hear that I was a "weightlifter". "But you look like a runner" they said. I didn't know whether to take it as a compliment or an insult I have never done much chronic cardio in my life, never will.
                  So don't be afraid of lifting, it's the straightest way to a lean, healthy physique. And you can always incorporate some of it in other workouts, if you really don't like lifting as such.
                  Last edited by inesenite; 08-30-2012, 01:26 AM.

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                  • #10
                    ^+1. It takes some pretty major lifestyle changes beyond just lifting weights for a woman to bulk up - not just training, but diet and supplements, all have to be targeted around that goal.

                    For me, yoga and pilates on their own don't have enough of a calorie-burning impact to get me to the body I want (I am about 15lbs away from my goal weight). I do resistance training three times a week but also play netball, paddleboard and swim to get some movement in there too. I also find yoga immeasurably boring - but that's just me!

                    I stumbled across this blog post yesterday - Don't Train Like a Guy - it's a bit old but what I liked is the emphasis on training right. I see so many girls at the gym who stick to teeny-weeny weights and have terrible form - not only are they not going to see the changes they're looking for, but they might actually hurt themselves.

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                    • #11
                      You have to be born with it - you gotta have the shape and the even fat deposition pattern rather rare in women. Then any exercise that challenges your muscle will do as you reduce fat overall through diet (if you think you can lose fat through exercise - the answer is no; diet is a reducer, exercise is a builder).

                      It is a fallacy to think that a dancing workout will make you look like a dancer, that you will turn into a gazelle if you run, and that you will out-do Schwarzenegger if you lift heavy. It doesn't work that way, not for a woman. Your final body shape will be determined by the shape of your muscle, the ability of the muscle to take on pump (water), body fat deposition pattern etc. You will have to try different things to see how your body responds to load and to cardio.

                      Most women make a mistake of confusing what they truly want (firm) with thin. Bootcamps/Interval style training with light weights/high rep is particularly bad recommendation for most women, since for a most common body shape (pear/hourglass) it doesn't make a 'dancer' body; it leaves her looking concentration camp skinny up top (even though she can lift 8 lbs dumbells over her head 1000 times while doing jumping jacks), her face looking like a dry fish, and her thighs sporting ripples of fat basically unchanged from where she started (and, commonly love handles as well). Which makes her look unhealthy and FATTER than in the beginning. Her significant other will likely start complaining at some point about the sticking ribs and share fond memories of the Breasts That Were....

                      The only thing that makes a *significant* difference is if you workout on land or in the water. The very different principles apply and muscle/body fat deposition does develop a different profile. I wouldn't overdo swimming either though, even if it is a far less damaging and far better thing than running (Okay, I was wrong; there is a worse thing than the daily Bootcamp training for women who want to 'tone up'. It is a Dream To Run a Marathon. And the word 'toning'. Grr.). At the very least triathlon fins are a must, and limiting sessions in length plus doing sprints....
                      Last edited by Leida; 08-30-2012, 07:49 AM.
                      My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread57916.html
                      When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

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                      • #12
                        I will also say that the best and fastest way to what you are looking for is a good weight training program. Nothing else will come even close.

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                        • #13
                          Yeah, I think it's sort of a misunderstanding about what getting a "dancer's body" entails. Ballet dancers do lots of squats (plies) and a lot of "body-weight" exercising (jete's, anyone?). And holding one's arms in second for a half-hour straight builds a lot of chest/back strength. But the tall & lean dancers, yeah, they're genetically selected, for the most part. The top dance companies select for a certain body composition.

                          I think pilates can be a good exercise, but remember that it was, in fact, designed by a guy to be used by guys, and then normally bed-ridden guys. I like it for teaching body-awareness and increasing joint flexibility, but it won't make you very strong anywhere outside your core. There are some workout DVD's that combine pilates with free-weights and body-weight exercise, as long as you quickly increase your dumbell weight I think these can be a good all-around workout, especially for someone new to any sort of exercising.

                          I did a lot of dance and gymnastics classes when I was younger, so I find using weight machines or just lifting to be boring, boring, boring. Just using one muscle at a time? yaaawwn....

                          If you really are interested in dance and have an agreeable partner, then you could sign up for some ballroom dancing sessions. Learning those steps also exercises the brain.

                          I've never done cross-fit, though I do think it looks like a good workout, and probably won't turn anyone into she-woman (unless her hormones are way out of whack to begin with), but I think everyone should exercise in whatever way they feel is most fun.

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                          • #14
                            I did a lot of dance and gymnastics classes when I was younger, so I find using weight machines or just lifting to be boring, boring, boring. Just using one muscle at a time? yaaawwn....
                            The isolation work is not exactly a routine for a beginner. The large compound is what builds up the body. Squat, Deadlift, Overhead press, Bar-bell row and a Bench Press to a lesser degree. Squat is the king of lifting, because it challenges absolutely every muscle there is, apart maybe from that little nutter bicep brahialis. Heck, even a walk-out and a lift off gives you a new appreciation of your body. Once you get over your body weight on the bar boredom is unlikely because you are alternating between the maximum effort and the recovery.

                            But, then again, I am zero on musicality and choreography, so aerobics is not my thing. I do love Zumba because it free-form and has good up-beat music. I am not going for the workout though, but for the party, because I am a nerd who never really went to disco when she was young.
                            My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread57916.html
                            When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

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                            • #15
                              WEIGHTS WON'T MAKE YOU BULKY! Let me repeat that. WEIGHTS WON'T MAKE YOU BULKY. Read what all the others have said. You'd hafta have an enormous amount of testosterone for the average female to even think about being bulky. I can respect wanting to be lithe and catlike, but weights won't make you bulky.
                              That said, for what you want, IF your body type allows for that look (and to be honest, if you're going for top dance company aesthetic, you're more than likely SOL unless you've got those genes), go for compound exercises. When they get too easy as body weight, either modify them or add weight. Play your games, run like a madman, do all that stuff you're wanting to do and not look a fool. Then do some more of it. Over time, your body will develop what you need for that and (usually) drop at least a little fat in the process, if that is necessary.
                              Point blank: You can't force a square into a round hole. You can't become bulky without targeting it and you can't become a long, lithe, all-arms- and- legs ballerina body if you don't have the genetics for it. What you target playing and working out is what becomes stronger and lays better on your body.
                              Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, steak in one hand, chocolate in the other, yelling "Holy F***, What a Ride!"
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