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TOPIC: Weight training without adding bulk

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June 22, 2012 5:56 AM
I am a 5'2 female and I build muscle far too easily for my liking. I know it's really important to do strength training and I try to incorporate it into my routine. I do kettle bells and have recently been trying out the trx things. I have only been back at the gym a few weeks and already I look too masculine - I am one of those rare females that has the capacity to build muscle, seriously, if I had the inclination I think I could be a body builder!

My problem is I have a layer of fat covering my muscles making me look fatter than I am and I want to lose the excess weight. I'm 126lbs at the moment and would like any advice on what I should be doing to get thinner and leaner, not too ripped.

Also, I have been counting my calories and have noticed I eat too many carbs in relation to protein. Is this part of the problem? Should I try protein shakes as I struggle to eat enough or just change my diet? Or will protein bulk me up even more?

Many thanks for any advice
  7379032
June 22, 2012 6:35 AM
The simplest thing is probably to keep exercising as you are and eat at a deficit to lose the weight. I take it the underlying muscle is from the kettle bells not just the few weeks back at the gym?

By the way, brace yourself, you're going to get some sarcasm about worrying about having too much muscle and how lucky you are to gain muscle so quickly. I'd just say don't be scared of a little muscle - it probably looks nicer than you think.
  11180573
June 22, 2012 6:43 AM
Think about the long term. Go ahead and strengthen those muscles. It will make losing that fat a little easier.
June 22, 2012 6:52 AM
The most important thing is to eat a reasonable calorie deficit. You are actually going to lose both fat and muscle while losing weight. Strength training and eating adequate protein help to spare some lean muscle in your weight loss. What usually creates "bulk" is the fat over the muscles and the swelling you get from starting to work out again. The small gains you may see initially aren't sustainable meaning they won't continue unless you start eating over maintenance. If you are gaining weight after a month or so of consistently watching calories and working out, make sure that you are accurately tracking calories. Even genetically gifted guys don't add real muscle mass unless they eat a surplus, because you need something out of which to build the muscle.

If you don't know your body fat, you might want to have it measured so you really know how much fat you have to lose and how much lean mass you are working with. It will also give a more realistic view of your progress as you track it.
  19937828
June 22, 2012 7:05 AM
oops i picked up a weight now i'm so bulky. seen this thread 10000times
June 22, 2012 12:21 PM
I should have clarified earlier. I am an ex gymnast and have been muscular since I was a child. I have always been self conscious about it.

Thank you to those that gave constructive advice, I will keep going and hopefully get over my insecurities whilst I lose weight.
  7379032
June 22, 2012 12:26 PM
You don't add bulk on calorie deficit.

A.C.E. Certified Personal/Group FitnessTrainer
IDEA Fitness member
Kickboxing Certified Instructor
Been in fitness for 28+ years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition
  9285851
June 22, 2012 12:30 PM
QUOTE:

I should have clarified earlier. I am an ex gymnast and have been muscular since I was a child. I have always been self conscious about it.

Thank you to those that gave constructive advice, I will keep going and hopefully get over my insecurities whilst I lose weight.


Muscles are nothing to feel insecure about. Are you saying that you increase muscle size before you increase muscle density? It's true, all bodies are different, but I would say just keep working out and don't worry about it. You'll lose the fat and harden up the muscles you have, and you'll probably look great. A little definition never hurt anyone, and it's unlikely that you'll have 16 inch biceps before you've reached the body fat percentage that you're looking for. (And yes, up your protein if you're weight training)

Best of luck!
  2433308
June 22, 2012 12:31 PM
If you build muscle easily ( I do, too so I know what you are talking about. I can get definition with just liftng a laundry basket full of clothes:))

Don't lift heavy. Use lighter weights.

Also add in cardio to burn calories to help you lose weight. Also, try pilates or ballet moves to strengthen and tighten.

as to food...if you are going to add in cardio, than you will need carbs for "fuel", but if you aren't going to do cardio I would add in more lean protein, less carbs, adding in more protein won't make you bulkier, if that was the case all everyone would have to do is eat protein to get muscles...
June 22, 2012 12:45 PM
QUOTE:

I should have clarified earlier. I am an ex gymnast and have been muscular since I was a child. I have always been self conscious about it.

Thank you to those that gave constructive advice, I will keep going and hopefully get over my insecurities whilst I lose weight.


No clarification needed...this has been an on-going debate recently. Apparently any person here who wants to be super-muscular or who finds super-muscular females attractive is aghast at the thought that some of us are OK not being as defined.

Imagine, right?

I second the idea of doing exercises to build muscle endurance, lighter weights for more reps instead of heavy weights for shorter reps, and eating at a reasonable deficit.
  8345011
June 22, 2012 12:49 PM
QUOTE:

You don't add bulk on calorie deficit.

A.C.E. Certified Personal/Group FitnessTrainer
IDEA Fitness member
Kickboxing Certified Instructor
Been in fitness for 28+ years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition



Exactly! So tired of reading how people gain all this muscle while eating at a deficit and lifting light weight.
June 22, 2012 12:53 PM
These women who "build muscle so easily" must start writing some books, as I'm sure the millions of body builders around that struggle to put on muscle mass even though they have all the genetic advantages over a female would love to know how to do it so easily. huh
Edited by tigersword On June 22, 2012 12:54 PM
June 22, 2012 1:10 PM
Unless you are talking about a pretty small amount of muscle if you are new to lifting or very overweight, you cannot gain new muscle on a deficit. That is especially true for women who have 1/16 of the testosterone men have.

That being said, what you can do by weight lifting is make the existing muscle a little bigger by using it. There will be temporary gains due to water retention in the muscle and also small actual 'gains' of the existing muscle.

Think of it like balloons. You have a certain amount to start with - and being en ex athlete, you may have more than others. But unless you use them, they are a little deflated. When you start to use them more, they will become a bit more inflated so can look a little bigger (I think of this as looking more 'defined'). However, to get any 'bulk' you need more/new balloons that you just will not get if you are on a deficit.

So it is a bit of a balancing act between the advantages of strength training (bone density etc etc) and having your 'balloons' blown up a bit more (that sounds lude...not intended - I really need to work on that part of the analogy!).
  18358448
June 22, 2012 1:18 PM
QUOTE:

If you build muscle easily ( I do, too so I know what you are talking about. I can get definition with just liftng a laundry basket full of clothes:))

Don't lift heavy. Use lighter weights.

Also add in cardio to burn calories to help you lose weight. Also, try pilates or ballet moves to strengthen and tighten.

as to food...if you are going to add in cardio, than you will need carbs for "fuel", but if you aren't going to do cardio I would add in more lean protein, less carbs, adding in more protein won't make you bulkier, if that was the case all everyone would have to do is eat protein to get muscles...


You still need carbs when you're doing resistance training - without the carbs, the body can't metabolize the protein, and you just vent it instead of utilizing it.

And what's with all you people who build muscle so easily?
Edited by MoveTheMountain On June 22, 2012 1:20 PM
  2433308
June 22, 2012 1:18 PM
Your layer of fat makes you look fatter than you are?
  22370417
June 22, 2012 1:19 PM
^^^even my wife doesn't get this

QUOTE:

My problem is I have a layer of fat covering my muscles making me look fatter than I am


I had to come back I've been trying to wrap my hear around this statement all day.
Edited by McBully4 On June 22, 2012 1:20 PM
June 22, 2012 1:20 PM
I know it's hard for some to believe but YES there are women out there that are naturally muscular and bulky due to genetics, they were born that way. Example - the shape I always refer to as the tasmanian devil. Big bulky wide shoulders. They are looking for a work out more tailored to their body type and goals...not ridicule "oh i picked up a weight now i'm bulky" Just like some men out there that are naturally more muscular then other men...this is the case for women too, just not as predominately.

I can understand if a stocky woman (not you OP you look great BTW), maybe someone like me with 'man calves' had concerns that strength training would only make certain body parts look even more manly. Not all of us are as knowledgable...offer your expertise not your ridicule "oh i picked up a weight now I'm bulky". HAHA sorry had to quote that once again grumble
  5951508
June 22, 2012 1:21 PM
QUOTE:

Your layer of fat makes you look fatter than you are?


My layer of fat makes me look just as fat as I am. Maybe I'm just lucky that way.
  2433308
June 22, 2012 1:23 PM
Good luck to you for starting this thread.
  12837362
June 22, 2012 1:23 PM
QUOTE:

You don't add bulk on calorie deficit.

A.C.E. Certified Personal/Group FitnessTrainer
IDEA Fitness member
Kickboxing Certified Instructor
Been in fitness for 28+ years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition



here we go again eh? :) this dude!
June 22, 2012 1:25 PM
sticks fist in mouth
  5133274
June 22, 2012 1:26 PM
QUOTE:

I know it's hard for some to believe but YES there are women out there that are naturally muscular and bulky due to genetics, they were born that way. Example - the shape I always refer to as the tasmanian devil. Big bulky wide shoulders. They are looking for a work out more tailored to their body type and goals...not ridicule "oh i picked up a weight now i'm bulky" Just like some men out there that are naturally more muscular then other men...this is the case for women too, just not as predominately.

I can understand if a stocky woman (not you OP you look great BTW), maybe someone like me with 'man calves' had concerns that strength training would only make certain body parts look even more manly. Not all of us are as knowledgable...offer your expertise not your ridicule "oh i picked up a weight now I'm bulky". HAHA sorry had to quote that once again grumble


There are only 2 ways to be bulky: lots of muscle or lots of fat. Yes, a person can have a big skeleton, but small muscles and low body fat on a big skeleton isn't bulky. And for most of us (myself included), being bulky has way more to do with how much fat we have than how much muscle we have.

Unless a person has some weird condition (necessary disclaimer since I suppose anything is possible), they won't hold on to muscle for no reason, and they won't gain muscle without work. The body tries to be efficient, and it will shed excess muscle as soon as it thinks it can get away with it. I think people just really understimate how much of their size comes from fat.
  2433308
June 22, 2012 1:26 PM
if you keep lifting, it will help with the exact problem you're concerned about. I promise. At first you may feel bigger for awhile, but thats temporary.
  5133274
June 22, 2012 1:28 PM
QUOTE:

There are only 2 ways to be bulky: lots of muscle or lots of fat. Yes, a person can have a big skeleton, but small muscles and low body fat on a big skeleton isn't bulky. And for most of us (myself included), being bulky has way more to do with how much fat we have than how much muscle we have.

Unless a person has some weird condition (necessary disclaimer since I suppose anything is possible), they won't hold on to muscle for no reason, and they won't gain muscle without work. The body tries to be efficient, and it will shed excess muscle as soon as it thinks it can get away with it. I think people just really understimate how much of their size comes from fat.


^
  5133274
June 22, 2012 1:28 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

You don't add bulk on calorie deficit.

A.C.E. Certified Personal/Group FitnessTrainer
IDEA Fitness member
Kickboxing Certified Instructor
Been in fitness for 28+ years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition



Exactly! So tired of reading how people gain all this muscle while eating at a deficit and lifting light weight.


Actually, it is possible for obese people or even those with quite a bit of excess body fat, eating below BMR to increase lean mass while also reducing body fat %.

This is even more so if you are a beginning or intermediate lifter.

It is documented in medical studies, just lazy to go back and find my sources ( I never bookmarked them)

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