Exercise! - Question about Body fat and toning up

04-12-2007, 04:32 PM
Hi everyone:). I hope someone can help me figure this out. I'm 5'8(and 1/2 if that counts) and 130 pounds. I do cardio and strength training regularly. My highest weight was 180, but that was when I was 12 years old. Anyways, I know that if you have too much fat, you're not going to see any definition no matter how many crunches you do. So I've been assuming that I just have too much bodyfat. My stomach and legs really don't have any definition, which I don't understand because I don't slack off on my workouts. My stomach is flat, and I don't appear to have excess fat, but there's no sign of muscle. Do I really just have too much fat to see the definition? Sorry this is so long, I'm really at a loss though...I have no idea what I'm doing wrong. Are there any particular exercises you would recommend?

04-12-2007, 05:19 PM
I'm wondering if you just don't have enough muscle? What kind of strength training are you doing? Have you ever had your body fat % measured?

04-12-2007, 05:47 PM
I haven't had my bodyfat measured in almost two years. I don't remember the exact percent, just that it was somewhere in the teens. I was 5-10 pounds heavier at the time. I don't think it was very accurate though, it was just this little thing my teacher had lying around. For strength training, I do several different exercises for my arms with 10 pound weights, and lift at a friends house because they have a weight bench. I also do body weight exercises like push-ups, squats, and lunges. I do squats with and without weights. I do ab exercises every other day, and I try to do a variety. For cardio I use the elliptical, and I do taebo. Just from my cardio I was thinking that I would develop muscle tone in my legs, but it hasn't happened. Until 3 years ago, I was in ballet. Even then, I was thin but not toned. I wouldn't go as far as to say I'm 'skinny fat' because I don't see love handles or flabbiness, just absolutely no definition :( ...I watch my calorie intake, but don't pay much attention to how much of it is fat/carbs/protein...perhaps I should start keeping track.

I forgot to add that I do have some definition in my arms...that's about the only place I see it.

04-12-2007, 08:42 PM
Are you getting enough protien?

Maybe try lifting heavier.

04-12-2007, 09:04 PM
Since I don't actually count how much protein I'm getting, I don't know for sure if I'm getting enough. I guess I just assumed that I am because I try to include some each time I eat. I eat a lot of chicken, turkey, and cottage cheese. Those are my main sources for protein. It just seems weird that I have no muscle after all the exercise I do. My mom doesn't even work out, but she has muscular legs.

04-12-2007, 09:12 PM
How old are you? The younger you are, the more fat is stored closer to the skin. If your body fat% is really in the teens, you should be able to see muscle definition, and at your weight and height, probably ribs and hip bones!

If you want a really defined look, you need to lift heavier and gow more muscle. Since you certainly aren't fat, that may mean the scale is going to go up a little bit even though YOU may get smaller ;)


04-13-2007, 01:39 AM

As of today, I'm 20-so maybe my fat is close to my skin? I thought about that before, but didn't know if it was possible or if I was making excuses for myself. I don't know if my body fat is really in the teens since I don't know how accurate that machine was. I guess I will start lifting heavier. Thanks for the advice everyone :). I will work harder-I'm gonna see some definition eventually:D

04-13-2007, 09:17 AM
Sometime during the night when I should have been sleeping, this thread reminded me of the ebook Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle. Is it Tom Venuto? There's some threads around somewhere, Tiffany. It might be worth checking out in your case.
And probably Krista addresses this at stumpuous.com as well.

04-13-2007, 06:36 PM
Thanks Susan :). I just checked out stumptuous.com, and it looked really informative. I'm going to read more on it later. This might be a really stupid question, but I've wondered about it for a long time. When people complain that they're doing their crunches and eating right but they're not seeing results they're told to strength train. When strength training, I feel the workout in my arms, legs, butt, etc., but how does that affect your abs? I've always wondered how lifting has anything to do with how your stomach looks.

04-13-2007, 06:52 PM
I'm not sure what context you are speaking. If you are talking about losing fat in order to see your abs, strength training and cardio both help with that.

If you are talking about making your abs stronger and defined, quite a few strength exercies will work your core muscles because you are stabalizing yourself. I've seen some amazing pictures of people who claim to do no ab work specifically but do weight training and they have amazing abs.

04-13-2007, 08:26 PM
Um ... I can feel abs during a leg press, leg extensions
Seated crunches with a cable or a band looped over something taller than me.
I do weighted leg lifts, they're my favourites.

What do you call a squat if you push right up to having the bar over your head?

04-13-2007, 08:42 PM
Now I really confused by your questions :dizzy:

What exactly do you mean that you "aren't seeing results" ? What kind of results do you want? What is your goal body? From what you've posted, I'm guessing that you want to see really defined abs. The ONLY way to do that is to lift fairly heavy, do a lot of core work, and eat a very clean diet. All the time. Seeing a defined six pack is not normal for a woman. If you are looking a pictures of fitness or figure models, these women usually have clauses in their contracts that give them around 8 weeks notice before a photo shoot so they can diet down temporarily for a photo session or contest which may last two days. If you are looking in magazines, you may also be looking at photoshopped images.

Heavy lifting, cardio and very clean nutrition will give you muscle definition.

What does your goal body look like? Maybe we can help you cheive it if we knew what you wanted.


04-14-2007, 05:29 AM
Sorry I wasn't very clear in my last post. Anyways, here's a quick snapshot of me...it's dark and crappy, but you'll get an idea of where I'm at now


and I'd much rather have a body like Gisele Bundchen or Adriana Lima, not really muscular, but they at least have a little visible muscle tone. I know that means I have to lose more weight too, so I'm staying on track and if all goes well, I'll look good in a swimsuit this summer:D!

04-14-2007, 02:32 PM
You might like this blog


I kind of find it a bit sexist (the assumtion that the prime motivator for fitness it "looking hot") However there is nothing wrong with wanting to look hot and get good muscle definition for purely aesthetic reasons.

And the info seems to be pretty sound.

04-14-2007, 03:08 PM

Mel or someone can probably tell you how to build muscle better than I--though obviously you need to lift heavier weights and do 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps, and if you're not seeing abs, you'll need to figure out how to work them a bit harder. I just want to say that I looked at your photo and you look really great--with or without defined abs you're going to look gorgeous in your bathing suit. I also looked up your BMI--at 5'8 and 130lb, your BMI is 19.8, which is nice and low. My point here is that you don't need to lose any pounds. By all means, eat healthily and exercise regularly, but your goal shouldn't be weight-loss because you're already very thin. If you're not showing muscle definition, at your height and weight, it is because you're not working your muscles effectively or with enough intensity, NOT because you have too much body fat.

Perhaps you could arrange to meet with a trainer at your gym, explain your goals and then get advice on weight training and a new program to follow. You might just be making mistakes in your form, or not pushing yourself as hard as you think you are. Just please don't diet to eliminate imaginary body fat!!!

04-14-2007, 03:13 PM
Hikerchick, thank you very much for the link, it's quite helpful. I think that I'm doing too much cardio, and not focusing enough on strength training. Actually, I know that I'm doing too much cardio, because even after my workout, I often do cardio again later on because I really enjoy it-it calms me down if I'm stressed out, and if I'm bored it gives me something to do. The stomach of the 40 year old mom on that site looks great-I guess that's pretty much how I'd like mine to look. Thank you all-you're very helpful, I don't feel so discouraged now:D

Baffled, I think you're right about me probably not pushing as hard as I think I am. I'm going to get into heavier lifting for sure. I think the reason I feel that I should lose more weight is because I've been assuming that since I don't have any defined muscles, they must all be covered in lots of fat. I think I'm way too critical of myself, even if I get a complement-I always respond with something like, "thanks, but I still have to work on this and this etc."

Thank you all for your help, I don't feel so discouraged now. I do a lot of reading on this site, and I definitely plan on posting often. You've helped me a lot, so I hope to do the same for someone else:D

04-14-2007, 03:22 PM
Good I am glad you liked it. And I did want to add that you do look great now. When I first posted I kind of assumed that it was obvious that you are looking good but then I remembered that no woman can be told that enough.

Good luck with your workouts! Go get yourself some muscle!!!

04-14-2007, 03:30 PM
When I first posted I kind of assumed that it was obvious that you are looking good but then I remembered that no woman can be told that enough.

Ain't that the truth! Now if we could only get our men to understand this subtle point of female psychology... :)

04-14-2007, 05:25 PM
Ain't that the truth! Now if we could only get our men to understand this subtle point of female psychology... :)

LOL! Yeah right, like THAT'LL ever happen! They have to practically lose us before they even apreciate us in the first place, and that doesn't evenlast long.

04-14-2007, 10:11 PM
Good I am glad you liked it. And I did want to add that you do look great now. When I first posted I kind of assumed that it was obvious that you are looking good but then I remembered that no woman can be told that enough.

That's so true. I've yet to hear someone say, "I've had too many compliments today, please save it for some other time." :D

04-14-2007, 11:51 PM
Interesting you had mentioned doing ballet bc that's what you reminded me of when I saw the pic....a dancer's body. You look like you've done pilates or something - no fat, just long and lean, with maybe longer muscles rather than plump muscles (if there is any such thing!)

Can't believe you went from being 180 at 12 to looking like this. You've been the miserable curse of childhood obesity! Congrats!

04-16-2007, 01:23 AM
I just had to say that I've upped my strength training since the other day, and I sure am feeling it:strong:...hopefully I'll be seeing the results soon enough. I guess I'll try to be patient, not that I have any choice :D