Weight Loss Support - trying to burn fat not gain muscle




Harsdottir
04-03-2011, 05:10 PM
For some reason, I haven't been able to figure out how to burn more fat and gain less muscle. :?::?::?:

I have been eating 1400-1600 calories a day and exercising 5 days a week (1 hour cardio usually jogging and stair climbing and 45 minutes heavy lifting, /squats/planks/lunges/lifts/crunches). I regularly do interval training as I was told it improves cardiovascular functioning and burns fat.

I got to 204 in December/January, but in mid January I shot up to 212 again and my weight wasn't moving.I was getting hungrier and hungrier. Needless to say there were days that month where I binged like crazy, however, curiously I didn't gain. I stayed at 212/209.

A friend told me to take a week off from exercise and just maintain calories, which I did. I finally dropped to 197. I managed to stay between 199 and 197 through February and March however, this month (April) I crept back up to 204. People say I look thinner and I notice that my clothing feels more loose, in certain areas, but it appears that my calves, my butt and shoulders have gotten bulky and I am still bulky looking. I want to be THIN not muscular.

Anyone have any suggestions on what to do to become svelte and lose weight, but not bulk up and gain muscle? My weight loss is slow and it appears that I have an easier time doing lifting and building muscle than becoming svelte.

Thanks in advance


niafabo
04-03-2011, 05:22 PM
don't worry once you get rid of a certain amount of fat your body won't want to gain muscle on reduced calories. if you really don't wanna to gain muscle even though it makes you look thinner and keeps your metabolism up then maybe you could cut on the heavy lifting and just do more reps at lower weights once or twice a week to maintain what you have.

JohnP
04-03-2011, 06:28 PM
I'm wondering how accurate your intake is? Do you measure or weigh your food? Maybe you can post a couple days of your food log so we can take a look and possibly trouble shoot?

If you've been lifting heavy since you were 300lbs and you're genetically inclinded it could be that you're quite muscular at this point - how much can you lift? Can you deadlift 300lbs or what do you mean by heavy?

All those weight flucuations you're talking about are surely water balance - not fat or muscle. There is no way you could have those big flucuations with anything but water.


Harsdottir
04-04-2011, 01:13 AM
I'm wondering how accurate your intake is? Do you measure or weigh your food? Maybe you can post a couple days of your food log so we can take a look and possibly trouble shoot?

If you've been lifting heavy since you were 300lbs and you're genetically inclinded it could be that you're quite muscular at this point - how much can you lift? Can you deadlift 300lbs or what do you mean by heavy?

All those weight flucuations you're talking about are surely water balance - not fat or muscle. There is no way you could have those big flucuations with anything but water.

Im pretty anal about calorie counting. I don't eat out and I actually tally splenda, which is included on their website as being ~3 calories per packet. I weigh and measure everything, and have two sets of measuring spoons, one for work so I can measure the milk that goes in my coffee at work.

For breakfast I usually have two slices of whole wheat toast from Trader Joes
with their blue berry fruit spread(30 cals a table spoon, I use one for each slice). I eat two eggs with that and 2 ounces of turkey slices from trader joes which is 50 calories.

For lunch I have 3-4 ounces of some type of protein, either fish or chicken If its Salmon I do 3 ounces, if its Tilapia I do 4 ounces, since I know certain species of fish are more calorie dense than others. I eat two cups of "my vegetable of the day" which can be anything from zucchini to broccoli. I avoid corn, peas, beets and carrots since they seem to raise my GI like crazy. I drink a ton of coffee and I count those too, including the quarter cup or two table spoons of skim milk I put in each cup. I am approximately 3-4 cups.
I eat a snack which is usually Fage yogurt with a fruit, usually a pear or an apple or an orange.Never a banana or Mango or Papaya since they are also high GI for me.

For dinner its 2 ounces of protien a half cup of beans and a cup of vegetables of some sort. For dinner I actually add a teaspoon of olive oil 60 cals to get in some oils. I also do CLA and an Omega three. The CLA label says 30 cals and the Omega says 5 per tablet.

Heavy lifting for me right now is 30 pounds chest presses, 80 pound squat lifts, 125 pound leg presses, 20 pound arm raises, lunges holding 20 pounds, and all my abs are done using body weight.

I can agree that there may be water weight issues as I have fibroid issues and TERRIBLE periods, with bloating nausea and headaches.

what is bothering me is that I noticed that my calves have basically become hard rather than thin and long. My butt rather than becoming smaller and flatter looks more ball like and extended. my shoulders look wider and I am noticing a thickening of my neck.

I want that ballerina shape, not the square that I am beginning to resemble.
Im trying to figure out how to work out in a way to be more long and lithe rather than squat and rangy

Harsdottir
04-04-2011, 01:20 AM
don't worry once you get rid of a certain amount of fat your body won't want to gain muscle on reduced calories. if you really don't wanna to gain muscle even though it makes you look thinner and keeps your metabolism up then maybe you could cut on the heavy lifting and just do more reps at lower weights once or twice a week to maintain what you have.

reducing calories has a way of making me feel faint and super tired. I am thinking, since I can't afford a nutritionist and my insurance won't pay for one that I am going to tweak my diet on my own until I can hit upon something. Right now I am considering eating the same amount of calories but just much lower carbs and more atkins like. I tend to feel better on protein and I notice the carbs especially the toast was beginning o affect me in a way where I would feel a spike then a plummet in energy. I am wondering if I have some PCOS metabolic thing going. I notice that since I have hit 200 my weight loss is EXTREMELY SLOW and I am tired all the time. I know diabetes runs in my family.

mandalinn82
04-04-2011, 01:28 AM
It may not be what you want to hear, but not every body can get to that "ballerina" look. I have a body that absolutely could not be that without resorting to unhealthy behaviors. I am just too muscular and athletic to get the long and lean look. So while you can definitely lose weight, you may have to reset your expectations a bit on what you'll look like at goal. I know it can be hard if you have a certain aesthetic in mind, but you will look beautiful at whatever shape is healthy for YOUR body, even if it's not exactly a "ballerina" shape.

That said, have you tried exercises like pilates or yoga? Both purport to help the muscles look "long and lean" by stretching them while strengthening. It can't hurt, right?

Lori Bell
04-04-2011, 08:45 AM
I've been at my goal weight for 22 months and my calves are just starting to look normal. They were the last to go in the slimming process, and still not "slim", but better. I think the fact that I heavy lifted 333 pounds for years really piled on the muscle. They HAD to be strong to support my weight. Every time I stood up it was like doing 300 pound leg presses.

IMO the only thing that will help is time at a normal weight. Congrats on your loss.

runningfromfat
04-04-2011, 08:53 AM
I've been at my goal weight for 22 months and my calves are just starting to look normal. They where the last to go in the slimming process, and still not "slim", but better. I think the fact that I heavy lifted 333 pounds for years really piled on the muscle. They HAD to be strong to support my weight. Every time I stood up it was like doing 300 pound leg presses.

IMO the only thing that will help is time at a normal weight. Congrats on your loss.

:yes: I currently look like a fridge. :p I also lift and am someone who tends to put on muscle fairly easily (college athlete, have lots of athletes on one side of the family, even one who qualified for the Olympics). However, I was at a healthy BMI for years and looked great then. Yeah, I definitely had the athlete build but looking back at pictures I also looked thin and was always complimented on my appearance.

Our BMI's aren't that far off and I can tell you it's really the fat that makes you look more squarish than lean. Once you get down to your goal even if you have a more athletic build you'll still look great. ;)

As for why you're not dropping... I really can't say. I get that you can't afford a nutritionist but have you gone to your doctor to get a checkup. Can you get your thyroid checked or anything else? If you're really eating that few calories and exercising that much and the weight's not coming off it seems strange. :?:

fitness4life
04-04-2011, 09:31 AM
It's genetics and your height. At 5'4", your muscles will be bigger than mine at 5'almost 10". Possibly, as was already said, you need to adjust your goal. You can't be a ballerina size any more than I can be 5'4".

There's more to body fat than what is under the skin. Obese people have gained fat inside, too. Inside their body cavity, inside their organs! I saw proof of this at a museum display of real cadaver slices.

I know that 1600 calories is a tiny amount, however, what you listed is almost twice the amount of food I normally eat. I'm weird, tho. I eat like a bird. I concentrate on mostly protein as I lift weights and limit my carbs. I'm wondering then, is the amount of food you eat really only 1600 calories? Double check.

You seem to have a terrific amount of knowledge - way more than me - and I can understand your frustration.

Focus on the positive and keep on keeping on. You're doing great! I liked the comment about maintaining muscle 1-2 x a week weight training will do that. Muscle burns more than fat (higher metabolism) so please don't stop lifting.

Again, what you've listed, I think you're amazing.

souvenirdarling
04-04-2011, 10:46 AM
Plans like 'Paleo' and 'Primal Blueprint' recommend cutting out grains and carbs and eating high portions of protein. People on this plan eat a high percentage of fat, the protein and a very low percentage of carbs, always under 200 g usually much less. The idea is that the body will burn fat for fuel instead of carbs and sugars. Exercising at low-moderate intensity frequently is recommended, and the very occasional solid sprint at max ability. (From primal Blueprint Fitness.)

I'm giving it a try for a month. I was curious because I always noticed that I lost weight best without carbs, but I stalled when I was very active. I'm at the two week mark - I've eaten fattier foods, eaten around 1800 - 2000 calories daily. It's scary territory. I've also lost a 4 pounds while being hardly active - a lot of walking and a few pushups and planks. It's an interesting experiment - I'm waiting for some kind of fallout...

I'd like to add that I never feel faint that reducing my carbohydrate intake has changed my appetite, changed the frequency with which i need to eat...

pnkrckpixikat
04-04-2011, 11:44 AM
what others have said is truez you may never get that ballerina lookz you are talking about girls that typically started classes including muscle stretching exercises at very young ages while their bodies were still pliable.

Your best chance is to focus your energies on things like pilates and yoga, start stretching every day. You can google dancer stretches or gymnastic stretchs to find ones that will lengthen your muscles.

I wasnt a dancer, but i was a gymnast for years as a child and early teen so took my fair share of dance classes, those girls all have a ton of muscle, they are like rocks, its not that you dont want to build muscle you just need to do the work to strecth the muscle so it has the long lean look

JohnP
04-04-2011, 01:14 PM
The good news is that I can safely say you're not bulking up your muscles. The weights you are calling heavy are not even remotely heavy.

The bad news is that as people have mentioned you really can't do much about the general shape you have. Losing weight is going to make you a smaller version of what you see now.

My guess is that you're water is jumping all over the place due to water flucuations. As to why you're not losing on your current calories I really don't know. My suggestion would be to try going low carb for a while and see if that improves the situation.

nelie
04-04-2011, 01:48 PM
Have you been measuring yourself? We have fat that is in our muscles and while you have excess fat, you may see bulk when really it is fat. Another option is that while parts of you are slimming down, the parts that are working on slimming down may appear to be bigger. It is an illusion though. Taking measurements can help you determine what is going on.

fitness4life
04-04-2011, 02:40 PM
what others have said is truez you may never get that ballerina lookz you are talking about girls that typically started classes including muscle stretching exercises at very young ages while their bodies were still pliable.

Your best chance is to focus your energies on things like pilates and yoga, start stretching every day. You can google dancer stretches or gymnastic stretchs to find ones that will lengthen your muscles.

I wasnt a dancer, but i was a gymnast for years as a child and early teen so took my fair share of dance classes, those girls all have a ton of muscle, they are like rocks, its not that you dont want to build muscle you just need to do the work to strecth the muscle so it has the long lean look

It is a myth that you can lengthen your muscles. I know that yoga and pilates say their poses "lengthen" but that is just another word for "stretch". When you stretch a muscle, it goes back to it's original shape. FYI :)

JohnP
04-04-2011, 02:56 PM
Have you been measuring yourself? We have fat that is in our muscles and while you have excess fat, you may see bulk when really it is fat. Another option is that while parts of you are slimming down, the parts that are working on slimming down may appear to be bigger. It is an illusion though. Taking measurements can help you determine what is going on.

Most excellent point!:bravo:

Harsdottir
04-04-2011, 10:21 PM
It's genetics and your height. At 5'4", your muscles will be bigger than mine at 5'almost 10". Possibly, as was already said, you need to adjust your goal. You can't be a ballerina size any more than I can be 5'4".

There's more to body fat than what is under the skin. Obese people have gained fat inside, too. Inside their body cavity, inside their organs! I saw proof of this at a museum display of real cadaver slices.

I know that 1600 calories is a tiny amount, however, what you listed is almost twice the amount of food I normally eat. I'm weird, tho. I eat like a bird. I concentrate on mostly protein as I lift weights and limit my carbs. I'm wondering then, is the amount of food you eat really only 1600 calories? Double check.

You seem to have a terrific amount of knowledge - way more than me - and I can understand your frustration.

Focus on the positive and keep on keeping on. You're doing great! I liked the comment about maintaining muscle 1-2 x a week weight training will do that. Muscle burns more than fat (higher metabolism) so please don't stop lifting.

Again, what you've listed, I think you're amazing.

I gave a general plan of what I eat, not what I eat in one day. This is a typical day plan:

breakfast
two pieces of trader joes whole wheat toast = 140 calories
two table spoons of Trader Joes blue berry Fruit Spread= 60 calories
2 medium boiled eggs (I always buy medium eggs) = 140 calories
trader joes applegate farms 2 oz lean turkey organic breast cold cut = 50 calories

lunch
3 ounces of skinless chicken breast tenders Purdue is 130 calories
2 cups of spinach = 80 calories
or 2 cups of broccoli 60 calories (birdseye frozen broccoli cuts)
1 teaspoon of olive oil =60 calories

4 cups of coffee = 5 calories each= 20 calories
12 packets of splenda = 36 calories
1 cup of skim milk= 100
(divided between the 4 cups of coffee)

snack
fage yogurt plain 0 fat =90 calories
small apple or pear= 120
(i weigh them and they and if they are over 4 ounces then i divide them and save the other half for tomorrow)

dinner
4 ounces of tilapia =150
2 servings green giant giant broccoli/cauliflower medley (6 ounces combined)= 70 calories
1/2 goya beans (black) = 90 calories


This sounds like a lot, but when you visually see it they are very small meals. When you look at the calorie total its approximately 1400. I always stay between 1400 and 1600.

I am reading a book on PCOS and low fat diets. I am convinced that i may need to add more fat and protein. My body is not budging, however when I started binging for two weeks in January I didn't gain either. I get awful headaches and wierd dizzy spells, then after I eat I get very sleepy. I am taking your advice and going to the doctor to see if I have some sort of glycemic condition/ metabolic syndrome think

here is a NOW image:http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5055/5590424819_8c42a7f8f3_m.jpg

previous harp pic:http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5307/5591028062_aa82da1ed7_m.jpg

the way back when machine:http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5301/5590457777_b544a8090e_m.jpg

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5189/5590466283_d0627bce6a_m.jpg

hmmm photo resizing seems to make it hard to see. Is there a way to make photos bigger?

Harsdottir
04-04-2011, 10:23 PM
It may not be what you want to hear, but not every body can get to that "ballerina" look. I have a body that absolutely could not be that without resorting to unhealthy behaviors. I am just too muscular and athletic to get the long and lean look. So while you can definitely lose weight, you may have to reset your expectations a bit on what you'll look like at goal. I know it can be hard if you have a certain aesthetic in mind, but you will look beautiful at whatever shape is healthy for YOUR body, even if it's not exactly a "ballerina" shape.

That said, have you tried exercises like pilates or yoga? Both purport to help the muscles look "long and lean" by stretching them while strengthening. It can't hurt, right?

I want to try Pilates. Thanks for the suggestion. Will I hurt myself doing it? Do you have to be really small or limber?

Harsdottir
04-04-2011, 10:26 PM
I've been at my goal weight for 22 months and my calves are just starting to look normal. They were the last to go in the slimming process, and still not "slim", but better. I think the fact that I heavy lifted 333 pounds for years really piled on the muscle. They HAD to be strong to support my weight. Every time I stood up it was like doing 300 pound leg presses.

IMO the only thing that will help is time at a normal weight. Congrats on your loss.


Thanks Lori Bell. Someone mentioned to me that I should do more running and less lifting, if I want to look leaner. I just want to make sure I build enough muscle to handle any slip ups I may have. I still love chocolate and want to indulge every once and awhile. Power lifting apparently makes huge calves. Im wondering if inline skating does too. I want to buy inline skates.

JustJ280
04-04-2011, 11:23 PM
What's 'heavy' for one person won't be the same for another. And for a man, that may not seem like much, but that's actually starting to move up for a woman. Here's the thing -- I'm a 31yr. old woman with PCOS and I had MANY of the symptoms you described. I now live a low carb lifestyle and it's been the ONLY way for me to lose. When you have PCOS, your body naturally has a MUCH MUCH MUCH higher level of testosterone than a normal woman which will cause you to 'bulk' even if you're not trying. Been there, done that! If you're reading up on it and seeing similarities between the symptoms and yourself, you should go and get checked out. You may have that, you may have a thyroid issue, and there are a couple of other things out there. OR, you could try changing up your diet for 30 days to a lower carb one and see what happens. You will have to up your cals because you will need the fat. But nothing drastic. After about a week or so, your cals will drop back down because with added fat, you need less food to feel satisfied. Continue your awesome food journal (I love food tracking! :D), and just see where it goes? I mean, LC gets a bad wrap, but what's so bad about good proteins, lots of veg, and healthy fats? Nada. And you may find that the weight starts to come off. Once you get to the weight you want to right before goal, you will be able to slowly add in a few things to see what amount of carbs your body can handle before you start to gain.

Back to the exercise thing, cutting BACK on exercise is what it sounds like you need to do. Light, repetitive weight is more than enough to build muscle, and there really is no need for more than half an hour of good cardio per day. And to get that 'long and lean' look, the light weights and cardio will tone you better than anything. Yoga, though, is great for tension relief and to take out some of that 'swollen' look from weight lifting.

Hopefully by tweaking and looking back on what you've done, you will be able to find what works for you now in this next phase of your weightloss! I have to say, so far you have done FANTASTIC and your photos are AMAZING! Just don't give up -- there will be a breakthrough at some point!

geoblewis
04-04-2011, 11:47 PM
I want to try Pilates. Thanks for the suggestion. Will I hurt myself doing it? Do you have to be really small or limber?

I'm 5'11" and weigh 310 lbs. I've been doing Pilates for a year and I love it! I didn't get big muscles. I didn't lose much weight. But I've dropped nearly two sizes!

The modern ballet dancer's workout includes elements of Pilates. Joseph Pilates built a lot of his movements as therapeutic exercises for athletes such as dancers and acrobats. All those wonderful athletes who work at Cirque du Soleil do Pilates.

Pilates is different from weight training, but a work out is a work out. To get a really good workout, it's best to work with a good trainer who will teach you how to do it properly. If you're doing Pilates on your own and you think it's too easy or you're not getting anything out of it, you're probably doing it wrong.

Harsdottir
04-05-2011, 01:18 PM
Have you been measuring yourself? We have fat that is in our muscles and while you have excess fat, you may see bulk when really it is fat. Another option is that while parts of you are slimming down, the parts that are working on slimming down may appear to be bigger. It is an illusion though. Taking measurements can help you determine what is going on.

Please see my original post. I mentioned that my clothes were loser, and others who see me in person have noticed that I am smaller. I just look funny. I am thinking now as if I am in this weird indeterminate space, where some body parts have gotten really small fast (my breasts) and others haven't even begun to budge, so I look odd and square.

I am wondering if I can do something with exercise to even out the weight loss in all areas.

Harsdottir
04-05-2011, 01:27 PM
The good news is that I can safely say you're not bulking up your muscles. The weights you are calling heavy are not even remotely heavy.

The bad news is that as people have mentioned you really can't do much about the general shape you have. Losing weight is going to make you a smaller version of what you see now.

My guess is that you're water is jumping all over the place due to water flucuations. As to why you're not losing on your current calories I really don't know. My suggestion would be to try going low carb for a while and see if that improves the situation.

The good news is that I appeared to get very good and specific help from other responders to my post.

Opinions on what's remotely heavy are like A------, everyone has one. Apparently I have been told by personal trainers who are certified that 20 and 30 pound arm raises for many females is quite heavy.

Vague suggestions on lowering carbs, after asking me specifically for my meal plan????

I will take the time and thank people who actually made specific suggestions worth considering like trying pilates or yoga, or checking with my doctor about PCOS

I don't need the snark on what is remotely heavy. I think I came here for honest well intentioned advice on what to DO

Thanks to all the other respondents

Watercolor
04-05-2011, 01:32 PM
I also have PCOS.

The first thing they tell you is that you will lose weight much much slower than everyone else.
The secord thing they tell you is that your risk of diabetes is extremely high.
The third thing they tell you is that if someone with PCOS wants to lose weight, they should eat less carbs and more protein. Go down to 1 piece of toast, for example.

Many PCOSers are put on a med called Metformin by their doctors. It is used normally for diabetics, but PCOSers are so similar in hormonal make-up to diabetics that it helps them as well. I lost 15 lbs and have kept it off by taking it.

geoblewis
04-05-2011, 02:30 PM
I looked at your diet. Gosh, that's pretty marvelous! If you are inclined to do further tweaking, and you are dealing with the PCOS, then I agree with Watercolor and drop the second piece of toast in the morning. Also cut the blueberry spread in half. And additionally, switch the Splenda and non-fat milk to real half-and-half. I know it doesn't make sense, but there are more carbs in non-fat milk than half and half, and your body treats Splenda like a sugar because your tongue is telling it to. Also, throw in some more vegetable fat, like half an avocado or some raw almonds. Don't be afraid of the healthy fats. You might also want to switch your fish to wild-caught trout or salmon, or sardines. Tilapia, while nice and light and sweet tasting, isn't a good source for the Omega fats. You really need those fats.

You mentioned coffee, but I recall if you mentioned what else you drink. Forgive me if you're already doing this, but...water, water, water, water! Not soda, even 0 calorie soda. Even that will prevent weight loss when you get further along on your path.

I've recently started taking some nutritional supplements to support my pancrease and liver, the two organs that process the carbs and the fats in the human body. When I started taking those, I started losing again, after a nearly three-year-plateau. You might want to do some research on that. I'm taking ProBeta (http://pharmaterra.com/pages/ProBeta%C2%AE.html)to manage my blood glucose levels, as well as NOW Ceylon Cinnamon capsules. I'm taking a liver support product with milk thistle because I want to help my liver more efficiently process the fat that I'm losing.

You might also want to take a look at the sticky (http://www.3fatchicks.com/forum/pcos-insulin-resistance-support/145982-useful-supplements-pcos.html)in the PCOS support section on supplements. Very good information there.

Our bodies lose weight where they want to lose weight, and we have no control over that. There is no spot reduction. I am really quite disappointed with that. My breasts never, ever got bigger as I gained (the only cleavage you'll find on me is 'round back!) and as I lose weight, well, I have to shop for bras with smaller and smaller cup sizes and link a lot of bra extenders because my back hasn't been keeping up. My forearms are shrinking, but the kimono arms between shoulder and elbow are refusing to shed an ounce. I began to wonder if I was going to go completely flat chested with toothpick forearms before I ever dropped a pant size. Fortunately, my body has stopped shredding fat from the girls and I have dropped two pants and shirt sizes. Now I'm worried about the deflated extra chin that's starting to form.

It's frustrating when we do all the right things to get healthy but it doesn't seem to be enough. I was recently quite shocked to discover that as I was losing weight, the person underneath all the layers of fat had also aged right along with the rest of me! Dang! I was hoping that formerly svelt 19-year-old was going to appear! Alas, it's only the 50-year-old, heck-of-a-lot-smarter, wise-crackin' Diva. Well, at least she's more fun and sure of herself than the 19-year-old was.

JohnP
04-05-2011, 02:53 PM
Thanks to all the other respondents

I agree I could have been more specific in my advice and I apologize if my tone came off as snarky it wasn't intended that way. I think the only thing you need is patience which I should have mentioned because to me your current plan looks pretty good. Having said that here are more specifics and I wish you the best of luck.

Diet. Keep your carbs under 50g per day. Fill the balance of your day with protein and fats. If you want to lose weight faster, drop your calories more. I'd suggest you drop to 1,200 calories a day and see how your hunger goes. Eat lots of veggies. Continue eating chocolate in moderation as it fits into your low carb plan.

Exercise. Do cardio only for lower body. Do the following compound exercises only for upper body. Chest press, lat pull downs with your palms facing you. Read this so you know what proper form is. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/training/lat-pulldown-technique.html) Do 2 sets of 12 reps and continue adding weight until you no longer can and then just stay at that weight. You should struggle a bit to finish the 12th rep. For your core do planks and work your way up to 3 sets of 2 minutes each. This will hit all your major muscle groups and go light on your shoulders.

Heavy lifting for me right now is 30 pounds chest presses, 80 pound squat lifts, 125 pound leg presses, 20 pound arm raises, lunges holding 20 pounds, and all my abs are done using body weight.

30 lb arm raises actually are fairly impressive for a female if done with proper form assuming you're talking about a lateral raise but that is also 50% more than you claimed intially. The rest of those lifts are simply not heavy by any standard I can think of. Like you say ... opinions can vary. Why your trainer has you doing isolation work such as arm raises I have no idea ... did you tell him you wanted to bulk up your shoulders?:?: