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Lifting/Toning and looking manly

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Old 02-01-2014, 04:36 AM   #1
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Default Lifting/Toning and looking manly

Hey y'all!

So I have a few questions, I know this topic has been discussed forever, but I just can't get a grasp on why people keep saying women who lift won't become manly looking.

I saw a girl at the gym the other day, she has made AMAZING progress, I mean 100+ loss, no loose skin (that i can see at least) but thing is when she was overweight, she has a very hourglass like figure, as she lost it was more and more prominent. Personally, as a girl, that's how I would want to keep my figure, and now she has started toning up and her waist is almost the same width as her legs and her shoulders are a bit more pronounced. Not that she looks like a man, but her hourglass figure is gone.

Now my question is, people like Jillian Michaels don't really have a hourglass figure either, don't get me wrong, they are in amazing shape, but how do people weight train without looking square??

I came across these photos and they all look more "bulked" up to me (I hope I'm not being offensive-I know they've gone through tremendous work to look this way)

http://myweightlossrx.com/proof-that...e-women-bulky/

the lady in the "what really happens" right picture, also looks bulky to me

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-sX-bHZOsTf... 2BHappens.jpg

Same here
http://ninja-fitness.com/wp-content/...fore-after.png

Then I see people like Jen Selter, (more of what I wish I could attain) have an hourglass figure while working it out, is it genetic?? Ah I'm just confused, I feel like all the women who work out and have toned arms immediately look more square than the bottom half. I really don't want that, but I want to be healthy too! I feel like all the girls who do squats also shrink their hips a bit (which I know is healthy) but also results in a smaller waist.

I guess I just want to lose weight, without losing my shape, if that is possible. Sorry I hope that makes sense! Also I don't mean to offend anyone who works out this way or anything like that! Thanks
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Old 02-01-2014, 07:33 AM   #2
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I am a guy so this probably won't count. But I am also a guy that went from seeing his weight decline with exercise and weight training to seeing it now gain! So I think I am starting to bulk.

My responses to you are this.

First, and foremost, I would not worry. It does take a long time to build a lot of muscle and in the interim you will tone up nicely. You will also be burning more calories that should help with fat loss.

Secondly, a huge part of this depends on what you do with your diet. If you are on a calorie constrained diet with average protein, you are not going to bulk up. I only started to see significant gains in muscle (and the weights I can lift) when I started to up my calories a bit (I am still under maintenance) and push my protein very high. I now track my protein, fat, calorie and carb intake every day like bodybuilders do.

Thirdly, it depends what exercise you do. Cardio will not make you bulk up. Strength training can but to do this you need to do it often and keep pushing with heavier weights. If you stick to lighter weights with more repetitions on each exercise, you will not bulk just tone. You really need to be lifting the heavy stuff to bulk up, increasing the weight.

Anyway, just my 2 cents based on my experience. I think it very unlikely you will bulk up if you exercise the way you plan to. You need to plan to bulk up. It does not happen by accident.
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Old 02-01-2014, 07:34 AM   #3
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So I think the best explanation I've heard is that many women think that lifting a weight will turn you into a bulky woman, that is like thinking that if you start running, you will turn into Carl Lewis (or pick any legendary runner).

The bulky look is a mix of 3 things, lifting heavy weights for years and a low body fat percentage plus... genetics (very few women can achieve a true bulky look but with a low body fat percentage, their muscles can show)

The first photos you show is obviously of someone who is into body building and has a low body fat percentage, as well as has tanned to let her muscles 'pop' for a competition.

The second photos are from women who have both a low body fat percentage as well as have probably worked out for many years.

So here is the thing... muscle is hard to obtain, easy to lose. Fat is easy to obtain, hard to lose. When you lose weight, you also lose muscle but weight training will help prevent that. If you want to keep your shape, then lose weight, I'd recommend weight training as well. You can gauge where you are at various points and back off on exercises if when you get to a low body fat percentage you aren't happy. I wouldn't worry about it until then.
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Old 02-01-2014, 08:31 AM   #4
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LOL I second everything that's been said! Women especially have a hard time really bulking up. Genetically speaking our bodies are just not meant to be muscular with so little body fat. It requires an extraordinary amount of weight training and a very rigid diet. Even if I wanted to look bulky I would never devote that much time to the gym. I always focus on the lifestyle aspect of eating right and exercise. LOL I don't want to spend more time at the gym, I want to spend a productive yet reasonable amount of time there!
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Old 02-01-2014, 08:44 AM   #5
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Well, kudos on the woman who lost 100lbs at your gym. Believe it or not she's probably pretty happy with herself and isn't looking for affirmation from you on whether or not she looks good. Everyone's perception of beauty is their own.

I think women worry far too much about this sort of thing. In my opinion, you cross that bridge when you get to it. It's like worrying about your college application when you're in 5th grade, focus right now and prepare for that step but no need to lose sleep over that now.

If this is something that's really got you worried then you should find out what your natural body shape is. Here is a starting point for you http://youlookfab.com/2006/04/18/the...-act%E2%80%9D/

My dominant shape is hour-glass with a bit of pear shape. No matter how much weight I lose, my waist will always be small, but my hips will always be curvy. Because that's my true shape.

Some women are apple shapes, if you're an apple shape your legs will always be thin and your waist will always be a problem area. If you're an inverted triangle your shoulders and back can bulk up pretty quickly and your hips will never put on an ounce. Body shape is very important to understand.

Cameron Diaz for example, if she were to gain weight she'd gain it all on her upper body, her legs would be skinny and her waist is about the same size of her hips anyway, because she's a rectangle shape.

So if the lady at the top of your post who lost 100lbs doesn't look the way you think she should, think again. Perhaps her true body shape has been revealed. And that's ok too, there is no such thing as the wrong body shape. Besides, you never have to get that thin if you don't want to, but no need to criticize if someone else does.
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Old 02-01-2014, 11:36 AM   #6
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what wannabeskinny said. ....seriously not something to be worried about. And IF and when you get there, your opinion/ideas might be completely changed. i've been lifting, running, cycling, walking, and practicing hot-yoga regularly for going on 4 years (train at least 6hrs/week in the winter) now and look athletic and have quite a bit of muscle definition, but am also still VERY curvy, especially in the hips and butt. Will I ever look like the figure-competition girls? no. Do I want to look like them? no. Even if I did, the amount of additional work that I would have to do over and above what I'm already doing would be A LOT.

I'm heavier than some girls my height, but a lot leaner than them as lift in addition to cardio. i love being strong in addition to being able to run for what seems like forever!
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Old 02-01-2014, 02:37 PM   #7
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Oh gosh, I wasn't trying to offend the girl at my gym, I think she looks that way because she wants to, she's always at the gym, and plus she's healthier now than she has ever been. I would never say anything about her looks as I know how hard she has worked to get to her goal, and honestly I would rather look like her now than I do now, she's in great shape!

I've seen her for probably the last 7 years I've been at the gym, she started off with weight watchers, and after 2-3 years She gained a lot of weight and has been working it off at the gym ever since. I've seen her before she was chubby, overweight, and now I would have to say fit. When she wasn't fat she had an hourglass shape so I though after weightloss/toning up she would keep it, that's why I was wondering.

I was just trying to see if there a middle ground from being skinny fat and too toned, if that makes sense.

So if you keep using a 15 lb kettle bell and do exercises, does that increase muscle mass? I was told by the personal trainer at my gym that I need to increase my weights in order to increase muscle. I clearly know nothing about muscle/weight lifting. I swear the PT's at my gym are trying shove protein shakes down my throat more than anything, but is there another resource that is a credible? I keep reading articles, the comments start bashing the author about what he's written.
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Old 02-01-2014, 04:32 PM   #8
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Hi sparklesgirl007; if I'm understanding you correctly, you're concerned about losing your shape if you start to weight train. More specifically, you're worried about losing your waist?

Several other posters have already made some great points, about respecting your body type and the time/effort/specificity needed to really put on obvious muscle. The short answer to your question is; women have a lower 'genetic ceiling' in terms of muscle development. Effectively, our hormones/genes will let us put on a certain amount of musculature, and then stop (waaaaay sooner than men). And while womens' lower body muscle can/will grow at the same rate as mens' given similar training parameters, IN GENERAL it takes more work for women to really bulk up naturally. In short, unless you're taking steroids and aiming at low body fat (ie. 15% or lower for women), you're not likely to start looking like a dude.

There are, however, some exercises that will develop your obliques/abdominal muscles to point of increasing your waist circumference. Sometimes this is a natural byproduct of just becoming a bit stronger, but many women also have a habit of overworking their 'core' with the idea that they can 'spot reduce' belly fat. Here are a few links about specifically developing a workout routine for women in order to add curves, not take them away (sorry for the scantily clad photos, this time at least the authors are trying to prove a point ):

http://www.t-nation.com/readArticle.do?id=1305014

http://bretcontreras.com/how-to-atta...a-zoe-saldana/

In specific to wanting to look like 'Jen Selter' (had to google that, had no idea who you were talking about ), I'd actually suggest you START resistance training. Unless you are naturally inclined to store your fat in your backside, it's not likely you'll hit that shape exactly. But if you work to GROW your glute muscles (which, in this case, is desirable) then at least you can add some shape to the whole thing. Hip thrusts/glute bridges/kettlebell swings are a few fun exercises to start with, I find. But I will echo our fellow forum posters here; accept that some of it is genetics, and you may/may not have the same body shape when you lose a bit of fat.

The trainers might be pushing you to buy protein shakes for the commission, or because they're genuinely trying to help you; I have no idea. But eating/drinking a bit of protein/carbs after a workout makes a big difference in recovery - which is important, because it means you stay healthy and can workout more often, thus losing fat faster!

If you're curious about building muscle, there's another thread in the weight lifting forum titled 'Muscle Questions' where a few of us are chatting about it.

I'd recommend as least giving weight lifting a try; see if it's something you enjoy. Then if you start to put on too much muscle, you can reevaluate. But keep asking questions, doing research, and figure out what works for YOU!. And have fun. 'Cause that's important.

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Old 02-01-2014, 05:28 PM   #9
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Women who exercise, lift heavy weights and eat to look big, look bulky. She's as strong as an ox (I wouldn't discount steroid or growth hormones in extreme cases though):



Women who exercise, lift heavy weights and eat to look lean and muscular, look lean and muscular:



NORMAL women who exercise, lift weights and eat to look lean and healthy, look lean and healthy with great shape:



No woman should believe the "bulking up" myth or fear looking like Arnold unless they are specifically designing their diets and lifestyles to look that way. I was a gym rat from age 19 through to my late 20's and I never bulked up or looked as ripped as some of those hardcore weight lifting women.

My 2 cents

Edited to add: How we shape up also depends on our bodies, genes, eating habits etc...two women who do the same workout can look completely different after the same amount of exercise.

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Old 02-01-2014, 08:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chardonnay View Post
Women who exercise, lift heavy weights and eat to look big, look bulky. She's as strong as an ox (I wouldn't discount steroid or growth hormones in extreme cases though):



Women who exercise, lift heavy weights and eat to look lean and muscular, look lean and muscular:



NORMAL women who exercise, lift weights and eat to look lean and healthy, look lean and healthy with great shape:



No woman should believe the "bulking up" myth or fear looking like Arnold unless they are specifically designing their diets and lifestyles to look that way. I was a gym rat from age 19 through to my late 20's and I never bulked up or looked as ripped as some of those hardcore weight lifting women.

My 2 cents

Edited to add: How we shape up also depends on our bodies, genes, eating habits etc...two women who do the same workout can look completely different after the same amount of exercise.

This exactly. Just don't get your body fat percentage too low and you'll be fine... IF...the hourglass is YOUR predominant shape. If it is not, there's nothing you can do about it but i do understand your question and it is something that comes up in the middle of your journey of losing weight and getting in shape--i had those same fears and i ended up with a body that parts i do love and parts i don't...the same as everyone else. If you want to retain a more "feminine" shape (ie softer) then just don't cut up but i wouldn't sweat the strength training part at all unless you're one of those women who put on muscle easily.
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Old 02-02-2014, 10:55 AM   #11
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....to end up looking like a figure model (Jen Selter) or a body builder you have to keep in mind that those girls work EXTREMELY hard to achieve their look. We're talking countless hours of training, SUPER clean diets and depending on where they are in their training cycle, they're probably pretty darn rigid too (egg-whites, sweet potato, oatmeal, chicken breast, broccoli, whey, rinse, repeat).

I'd be willing to bet that unless you're actively working to achieve one of these "looks" (figure/builder) one wouldn't just 'accidentally' end up looking this way because they go to the gym 3 or 4 times a week to get a decent work out in. A well rounded, functional fitness regime includes a combination of strength, flexibility, and endurance.
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Old 02-03-2014, 02:33 AM   #12
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If you think judging other women's shapes for working out is acceptable then you can't complain when women look at you and list of the reasons you are unattractive!!

If you don't like like sculpted arms then take it easy on that section.
If you don't like a firm body, then stick to cardio!
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Old 02-03-2014, 07:53 AM   #13
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If you think judging other women's shapes for working out is acceptable then you can't complain when women look at you and list of the reasons you are unattractive!!
This is true on such a psychological level, women are incredibly harsh on other women. Even the most powerful women on earth, as soon as they appear on television the first thing we do is scrutinize their appearance. It's true that if we start being kinder to each other and to ourselves that we will eventually become happier with ourselves and our appearance. Does it really matter what Hilary Clinton's hair looks like, after all hasn't she accomplished some things that override her appearance?
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Old 02-03-2014, 03:20 PM   #14
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it's genetics. i have a friend who can deadlift 400 pounds at a weight of around 130, and she has an hourglass shape.

you store bodyfat in individual ways. you don't really have a choice in the matter. there are some exercises that thicken the waist, but really? you only have to worry about that being an issue after a few years of dedicated weight training.
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Old 02-03-2014, 03:24 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wannabeskinny View Post
This is true on such a psychological level, women are incredibly harsh on other women. Even the most powerful women on earth, as soon as they appear on television the first thing we do is scrutinize their appearance. It's true that if we start being kinder to each other and to ourselves that we will eventually become happier with ourselves and our appearance. Does it really matter what Hilary Clinton's hair looks like, after all hasn't she accomplished some things that override her appearance?


so much this.

and personally, i couldn't care less what i end up looking like. my body will do what it does. i just want to FEEL better. but... i am in my mid 40's, married, and past the whole display for courtship thing. it's a very natural thing to care about one's particular shape, so i am not sassing this thread, but i am very thankful i am over it, at the same time.
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