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Thread: Articles on the efficacy of weight training for women? page 4

  1. #31
    eKatherine's Avatar
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    Most of the photoessays on "don't women who lift heavy look sexy!" are profiling women who are in the lowest weight classes. A woman who is lifting in 181 or 198 may get respect for the iron she moves, but she won't get that "women lifters are sexy" bit.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leida View Post
    Athletic look requires the same or lower BF% as the runway model. It is far harder to achieve because you have to train on cross-purposes - for gaining muscle and losing body fat. While men have larger muscle and naturally lower body fat, women have smaller muscle and higher body fat. So, an athletic body, i.e. a body with visible muscle, and no jiggle and bulges, firm, is very hard to achieve for a woman.
    I don't think a woman needs to have a runway-level body fat to look athletic. If you take two women with average body fat and give one more lean body mass (something heavy weights are great for), she will look better and even more defined because her muscles are larger. The problem with this is many women fear numbers and sizes. It's not the muscular butt, it's the fact that you need larger jeans. It's not the muscular torso, it's that you weigh more.

    Ask a typical woman if she would like more strength and lean muscle (you have to say lean because if you just say muscle it will automatically be equated with giant, hairy, testosterone, steroid-driven bodybuilding bulky muscles). She will say "sure". Now say that doing so will make her 20lb heavier. It doesn't matter if it's lean body mass, it will still strike fear because the scale will now read higher.

    Quote Originally Posted by Leida View Post
    It's a fallacy to think that there is on one hand a healthy athletic goddess, and on another - a starved waif with no muscle. They both will need 15% BF or less, and both will be more or less starved depending on their natural appetite level.
    It's also a fallacy to think that looking good means either being rail thin or a full blown athlete. Muscle looks good on everyone, men and women. Men want muscle openly but usually don't attain it. Women are typically afraid of muscle, and think they will easily attain it should they touch a barbell. The point is that making a woman put some muscle on her, without fear of being "bulky", or weighing more, or being a bit larger, will make her, at least certainly in my opinion, look better.

    Let's do a hypothetical. Suppose you have two twin women, they are identical in every way. They both have an average body composition. They decide to improve how they look. One decides to eat a lot less, do a lot of cardio, sit-ups, light weights, etc, i.e. do what the majority of women do. The other decides to lift heavy and eat better, i.e. do "man" exercises, and eat normally but with healthier food, such as the diet advocated here. Give them both a year. Who will look better? Who will be healthier and perform better? Who will have a lifestyle that is indefinitely sustainable? Which would you rather be?

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by eKatherine View Post
    Most of the photoessays on "don't women who lift heavy look sexy!" are profiling women who are in the lowest weight classes. A woman who is lifting in 181 or 198 may get respect for the iron she moves, but she won't get that "women lifters are sexy" bit.
    That applies to both sexes though. What percentage of women find heavyweight bodybuilders sexy? Google Ronnie Coleman, for example, is he sexy? Is a 330lb powerlifter sexy? There's a huge (and sexy) gray area between minimal muscle/no weightlifting, and being a heavy strength athlete.

  4. #34
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    It's also a fallacy to think that looking good means either being rail thin or a full blown athlete. Muscle looks good on everyone, men and women. Men want muscle openly but usually don't attain it. Women are typically afraid of muscle, and think they will easily attain it should they touch a barbell. The point is that making a woman put some muscle on her, without fear of being "bulky", or weighing more, or being a bit larger, will make her, at least certainly in my opinion, look better.
    Since starting to do more with weights- starting 6 months ago, 2 things happened that improved my looks- shoulders got broader with makes your waist look smaller and butt got some lift. Without being ripped or lean, women can use weights to manipulate their body shape and proportions. The women at my CF all have the V shape on their upper bodies and nicely shaped butts. To me, that look is 500x better than 1. the apple of a non fit person or 2. the wiry runner look and for me, more attractive than skinny fat.

    I have some damn stumpy legs and nothing I do is going to make them look like a dancers. But at least I can have them topped with a proportionate ass, broader shoulders and a smaller waist, even if I have more fat than is desirable on that frame.

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  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by quikky View Post
    I don't think a woman needs to have a runway-level body fat to look athletic. If you take two women with average body fat and give one more lean body mass (something heavy weights are great for), she will look better and even more defined because her muscles are larger. The problem with this is many women fear numbers and sizes. It's not the muscular butt, it's the fact that you need larger jeans. It's not the muscular torso, it's that you weigh more.

    Ask a typical woman if she would like more strength and lean muscle (you have to say lean because if you just say muscle it will automatically be equated with giant, hairy, testosterone, steroid-driven bodybuilding bulky muscles). She will say "sure". Now say that doing so will make her 20lb heavier. It doesn't matter if it's lean body mass, it will still strike fear because the scale will now read higher.
    Basically you are saying the same thing twice: that a woman of average body fat will look better if she adds 20 pounds of muscle while maintaining that fat as a constant.

    Body Fat Percentage Pictures of Men & Women - BuiltLean

    Average body fat for women is 25-31%. 20 pounds of muscle added to that is going to be 1-2 dress sizes.

    That's enough padding that if, as your examples say, she adds muscle while keeping her fat layer the same thickness, she will look bulkier, not leaner. It is losing fat that makes one look leaner, not adding muscle while maintaining the fat. She really would end up a larger size.

    Women can be convinced that strength exercise will make them leaner and stronger. But stronger and bulkier is going to be a real hard sell. What you're arguing is not what you think you are saying.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by eKatherine View Post
    Basically you are saying the same thing twice: that a woman of average body fat will look better if she adds 20 pounds of muscle while maintaining that fat as a constant.
    I am not sure I follow you. What am I saying twice?

    Quote Originally Posted by eKatherine View Post
    That's enough padding that if, as your examples say, she adds muscle while keeping her fat layer the same thickness, she will look bulkier, not leaner. It is losing fat that makes one look leaner, not adding muscle while maintaining the fat. She really would end up a larger size.
    I disagree. More muscle with the same body fat percentage will produce a leaner look. Consider the body of a sprinter vs a supermodel, which looks leaner? The body fat is low in both cases but because the sprinter is more muscular, there is more muscle definition, thus creating a leaner look.

    Quote Originally Posted by eKatherine View Post
    Women can be convinced that strength exercise will make them leaner and stronger. But stronger and bulkier is going to be a real hard sell. What you're arguing is not what you think you are saying.
    You're underlining my point precisely. Dress sizes and scales will ultimately determine the training, not actual looks or results. Bulkier woman from muscle is a different body shape than a bulkier woman from just fat gain.

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by quikky View Post
    I am not sure I follow you. What am I saying twice?
    You are saying that a woman who is average in body fat (25-31%) who adds 20 pounds of muscle, a whole lot of muscle for a woman to add, is going to look leaner. That is your opinion, and it is pure conjecture that her body fat will not be mostly obscuring those attractive muscles.

    I disagree. More muscle with the same body fat percentage will produce a leaner look. Consider the body of a sprinter vs a supermodel, which looks leaner? The body fat is low in both cases but because the sprinter is more muscular, there is more muscle definition, thus creating a leaner look.
    Here you are switching from average body fat, which you have been using as in illustration, to sprinter/supermodel level of body fat. I would dispute that a supermodel is as lean as a sprinter. But in any case, your illustration is irrelevant to women of average body fat levels.

    You're underlining my point precisely. Dress sizes and scales will ultimately determine the training, not actual looks or results. Bulkier woman from muscle is a different body shape than a bulkier woman from just fat gain.
    We're not talking about adding fat to an average woman. Again, you are changing your argument. For you to say that a woman of average body fat, probably size 14-16, should be willing to add 2 dress sizes in order to meet your arbitrary standards of strength and beauty (standards which I would doubt you actually use yourself when choosing who to ogle) is nothing short of bizarre.

    Women who already have a thick layer of body fat (= average) will not appear leaner if they pack on a whole lot of muscle, unlike supermodels.

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by eKatherine View Post
    You are saying that a woman who is average in body fat (25-31%) who adds 20 pounds of muscle, a whole lot of muscle for a woman to add, is going to look leaner. That is your opinion, and it is pure conjecture that her body fat will not be mostly obscuring those attractive muscles.
    Bigger muscles are more visible given the same body fat. This isn't conjecture, this is a simple fact. Of course two women with 25% body fat are equally lean, but the more muscular one will have more muscle definition, i.e. will look leaner.

    Quote Originally Posted by eKatherine View Post
    Here you are switching from average body fat, which you have been using as in illustration, to sprinter/supermodel level of body fat. I would dispute that a supermodel is as lean as a sprinter. But in any case, your illustration is irrelevant to women of average body fat levels.
    The illustration is very relevant because it presents a more sharp contrast when discussing muscles and body fat. Say two people have a 1/2" of fat on top of their abdominal muscles. One has small muscles that don't pop forward, the other has larger ones that do, which one will have a more defined look? Wrap the same fat and skin around a bigger muscle and it will be more visible.

    Quote Originally Posted by eKatherine View Post
    We're not talking about adding fat to an average woman. Again, you are changing your argument. For you to say that a woman of average body fat, probably size 14-16, should be willing to add 2 dress sizes in order to meet your arbitrary standards of strength and beauty (standards which I would doubt you actually use yourself when choosing who to ogle) is nothing short of bizarre.
    I don't know what argument I am making that I am also changing. Apparently, I also have "standards of strength and beauty" that women must meet. I wasn't aware I had them, to be honest, maybe you can elaborate on what they are.

    My point is that to me, muscle looks good on women, and they shouldn't be afraid of gaining it.

  9. #39
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    I think he's basically talking about this

    What the female body looks like at different body fat percentages

    15% vs 15% picture particularly.

    Really I encourage my wife to lift some weights cause lean mass is healthy and it promotes metabolic fitness. No other reason needed for me.

  10. #40
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    [QUOTE=quikky;1169131]Bigger muscles are more visible given the same body fat. This isn't conjecture, this is a simple fact. Of course two women with 25% body fat are equally lean, but the more muscular one will have more muscle definition, i.e. will look leaner.

    No this isn't true. If two people have the same 25% BF, the one with more muscle will not look leaner in fact she will look bulkier. If we are using the 25% picture on leangains depending on the height of the person and body composition the more muscular person almost always look thicker. Just take a look at gymnast, they certainly carry quite a bit of muscle mass but if you put them at 25% BF, then they look really bulky.

    I know this to be true for myself. I have enough muscle mass for my liking. I would classify myself in the 20-22% BF and if I were 10 lbs heavier, I look really thick especially my thighs and arms. One needs to shed the excess BF in order to see muscle definition and this goes for both men and women.

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