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Any other women who put on muscle ridiculously easily?

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  • Any other women who put on muscle ridiculously easily?

    It seems like my body LOVES carrying muscle. I don't mind it because of the health benefits (I'll take quads over a muffin top any day), but I'm curious whether anyone else has had the same experience.

    According to my body fat percentage (which could be off a bit because it was bioelectrical impedance analysis), I have lean mass of around 120-125. I'm 5'5". I don't use protein supplements or go out of my way to eat extra protein, though I usually have some kind of high-quality meat once per day. I only do the bodyweight exercises from PBF and stair sprints 1-2 times per week. I've lost over 25 pounds since going Primal, but my calf muscle measurement is higher! Knee boots are not in my future...

    I'm also curious about how hormone levels affect muscle for women. I had tests done a few years ago, and my testosterone was toward the top end of normal and DHEAS was slightly high (though not enough to be indicative of any problems). Everything else was normal. This was without any kind of hormonal contraception or medications.

    Also, just because I find it funny, having 0% bodyfat would still put my BMI at 21. Don't you just love BMI?

    Anyone with the same experience?

    Edit: I apologize if this seems self-congratulatory to any women who have the opposite problem. I often envy women who can be strong without having a bulkier appearance, and it is somewhat frustrating that my body seems to want to live at the end of the bell curve. I hope this doesn't seem condescending because it is not meant to be at all.
    Last edited by happybunny; 02-09-2013, 03:05 PM. Reason: Clarification

  • #2
    You conveniently forgot to mention your bodyfat percentage or how many pounds of fat you carry on your frame. 125 pounds of lean body mass is very impressive if you weigh 150 pounds, not so much if you weigh 300 pounds.
    Yeah, my grammar sucks. Deal with it!


    • #3
      Legitimate point, Kharnath. I started out at over 200 pounds and am down to around 170 (a few pounds more depending on time of day, menstruation, etc.), which puts me at about 27% body fat (give or take a few points for the uncertainty of measurement). Still too high, but weighing 150 would result in about 17% body fat, assuming no muscle loss while attaining that weight, which is definitely not a goal for me (and for some women might result in no menstruation, IIRC). I also have an excellent waist-to-hip ratio (do you need the number for this too?). My goal is more like 23% at this point, which would be 160-162. Some might view that as an unacceptable body fat percentage, but considering where I'm coming from, it's currently a reasonable goal in my opinion, and the fact that it's considered near ideal for fertility makes me think that evolution wouldn't be terribly unhappy with me either.

      Now that I have cured the sin of my lack of full you have anything that actually responds to the questions in my post?


      • #4
        I have a response!

        I was measured at one point for one of those medical weight-loss places (I had a coupon, so it was free and I was curious). According to my height (5'6) and my bone-size as measured at my wrist (medium, I believe) I was supposed to weigh somewhere between 125 and 135#. According to the BMI chart, I should be between 117 and 143#. However, what none of this takes into account is my line-backer shoulders over birthing hips and what we call in my family the "shelf butt." I might have medium bones, but I have a big frame, and it likes to put on muscle.

        The best I've ever looked was freshman year in college at 155#. I was walking several miles a day, doing barn work, riding horses, generally being active. I was also eating pretty close to primally, though I didn't know it at the time. Could I have cut past it down to the high 140s? Yeah, probably. But it would have required a lot of work, and, honestly I don't think I'm put together in a way that "cut" would be flattering on me

        Which is a long way of saying- I hear you. Right now, I'm so far from fit that calculating my lean body mass just seems like an exercise in frustration. I know what my goal is, and it's not what it's "supposed" to be. What looks good on me (5', 155#) is overweight according to BMI. I can make it my goal because I've seen it on me, and I know it's right. I feel bad, though, for the women out there built like us that haven't seen themselves "fit" and don't know that their supposed goal weight is a bunch of bull. My blog exploring the beginning stages of learning how to homestead. With the occasional rant.

        Originally Posted by TheFastCat: Less is more more or less

        And now I have an Etsy store: CattailsandCalendula


        • #5
          I was lucky enough to go a nutritionist when I got my BF percentage measured who pretty much said that BMI is a load of crap and therefore agreed that a goal weight in the 160s was reasonable and that I not worry about BMI "fitness."

          I spent most of my life as someone who gave up on fitness because I couldn't be one of the 110 lb girls. I got mistaken for a college girl in middle school because of my build (butt and know). Then coming in as overweight or obese according to BMI from middle school onward kind of sealed the deal. It's easy to think, "why bother?"

          And I think even on this site, with it's emphasis on health versus thin, it's easy to get the impression that for women, healthy still equals thin. Some women would look very unhealthy at 150-160, but not all of us!

          Also, drssgchic, nice horse pictures on your blog!


          • #6
            I hear ya! It's only fairly recently (and I'm 29) that I really want to own myself. I'm not 110#, and a size zero will fit, like, my thigh, but I'm still pretty badass. I can carry 50# feedbags. Heck, at one point I picked up a 160# male friend and carried him across the room (much to the entertainment of the rest of the guys in the class). I can't do it right now, but the potential is there. I'm starting to kind of like being bigger and stronger than a waif. The drawback being that the bigger and stronger I am, the bigger and stronger I want the guy in my life to be so I still get to be the girl-sized one

            Thanks! I need to get the rest of them up- and post more often!
   My blog exploring the beginning stages of learning how to homestead. With the occasional rant.

            Originally Posted by TheFastCat: Less is more more or less

            And now I have an Etsy store: CattailsandCalendula


            • #7
              I don't think I'm particularly gifted at building muscle, but I do think I put on muscle more easily than what is described over and over on various websites. I do not think I am in any way at risk of becoming "big and bulky", but I lift weights, puny weights that demonstrate a deficit of strength, and yet I'm seeing pretty dramatic results in the muscle building department compared to what I have been told to expect.
              Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.


              • #8
                That's sounds similar to me. I'm never going to look like a bodybuilder (thankfully, from my perspective, no offense to those who want the look), but it seems like even doing a rather moderate exercise program makes a significant difference for me.


                • #9
                  BMI is a load of ****.
                  What they dont tell you is that originally there were 3(?) separate BMI charts based on bone structure. Apparently that was to complicated so they got rid of two so they could screw with more peoples self esteem....

                  Im 5' 9-10" and am currently about 205 lb. Heavy bone structure (my wrist is so wide most bracelets will not fit around it, & its not fat.) I doubt I could get under 170 without problems... 180 is probably closer to a good weight for me cause im solid.. lots of muscle, linebacker shoulders, calves that no boots will fit (very annoying!) can chuck 50lb haybales around like there pillows & can easily lift a 100lb dog without help.

                  I always liked looking like I could kick @ss though so im happy with what ive got. Muscle is good
                  Last edited by DinoHunter; 02-10-2013, 05:59 AM.
                  Every time I hear the dirty word 'exercise', I wash my mouth out with chocolate.



                  • #10
                    I hear you! I was a soccer player in college. Nearly all of us had the issue of thighs being so big that we couldn't find jeans to fit them and our waist. I lost a lot of that muscle mass while on bed rest during my first pregnancy. And I'm still trying to lose the baby weight. But, I know that I'll likely never get into a normal BMI because I just have too much muscle. Even with all this extra fat I can deadlift 155 5 times and am squatting and benching 110+ 3 sets of 5. Looking forward to getting rid of the fat around my middle when I have more days each week to lift.


                    • #11
                      I'm of Baltic-Slavic heritage which, whilst it's a small amount of my gene-pool, is VERY dominant. As a result, my legs, for example, are 21-22 inches at the widest point (if I don't tense and squeeze the measuring tape a bit), with NO pinch-able fat on the quad (probably 4-10% over that muscle, and very well-attached with no give) and most inner-thigh fat restricted to the upper inside. Additionally, even when relaxed the quads are too hard to deform when you poke. I'm about 23% body-fat (miscalculated last time, so I'm getting calipers for more accurate future measurements, but, right now, it's 23%) and, if it weren't for that, almost my WHOLE body would be a mass of rock-hard muscle. As it stands, some loose skin on my upper arms masks how dense and large my biceps are and my belly-fat makes the abs less visible (though, despite the fat covering them, when they're active the fat takes the shape of the muscle underneath, which is weird as ****, but oh well).
                      When I get down to 20% body-fat, though, my body will probably still look about the same size as now, but with more muscle.

                      Not a curse, but a gift, I'd say.
                      Perfection is entirely individual. Any philosophy or pursuit that encourages individuality has merit in that it frees people. Any that encourages shackles only has merit in that it shows you how wrong and desperate the human mind can get in its pursuit of truth.

                      I get blunter and more narcissistic by the day.
                      I'd apologize, but...


                      • #12
                        Congrats on the baby, teach. I agree with you on the never getting to a "normal" BMI. It might be fun to see myself with 17% body fat, but I don't think it will ever happen

                        I've never heard about the multiple BMI charts, DinoHunter. Somehow I doubt they're enough to fix the BMI's deficiencies, but they would be a start!

                        I'm seeing a trend of farm work from a few of you... Wouldn't you know, I grew up on a farm, too!


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Kharnath View Post
                          You conveniently forgot to mention your bodyfat percentage
                          This guy is a real charmer

                          Anyway - yes! I've got a reasonably light frame but I put on muscle without a whole lot of exercise. If I eat well (no junk, and around 1,800 - 2000 cals a day) and do an hour of Yoga a day I quickly drop to around 19% body fat with nice muscle definition and two abs My problem is inconsistency and too much of a liking for ice cream...
                          "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

                          In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

                          - Ray Peat


                          • #14
                            Isn't he, though? Seems like he was confused about his gender, too :P

                            19%! Impressive. This might sound a little weird, but I wish some of you had hormone levels to see if our small sample size shows a correlation between testosterone and ease of gaining muscle.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by YogaBare View Post
                              This guy is a real charmer
                              I can do better:

                              Strength standards for men and women

                              Where do you girls rank on those lists? Advanced? Elite? No, probably not. In fact, I bet you struggle to fit into the untrained category. That's because you're not strong and muscular. You're just big. And you're delusional if you think you can put on lean body mass ridiculously easily, when males - with vastly superior testosterone levels and training intensity - are barely able to put on any muscle without gaining at least some amount of bodyfat in the process.

                              Let the flaming commence.

                              (by the way, I tend to get very "big boned" and "muscular" around my hips and ass during the winter)
                              Yeah, my grammar sucks. Deal with it!