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Fear of bulk!

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Old 07-03-2011, 01:12 AM   #1
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Default Fear of bulk!

I am incredibly muscular :P. Granted, that muscle has been hiding under fat for awhile, but it is beginning to reappear.

My question is, how do I continue to lose weight and continue lifting weights without looking ridiculously muscular? I want a lean look... people have told me that my muscles won't really get bigger unless I'm eating a lottt of protein and pumping huge weights. Is this true? If I want the lean look what should I do? I know weigh lifting is a really great way to lose weight and look toned, but I don't want to look like she-hulk.

Any advice much appreciated!
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Old 07-03-2011, 02:38 AM   #2
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That is so cool! I'm shooting for that too, getting really strong and muscular, but keeping it lean. I want to look like a strong and curvy woman. I have a lot more weight to lose, but my shoulders are starting to look good and I can feel my rock-hard abs under all my fatty tissue.

I work with a really well educated trainer with a lot of experience. This is what she's told me.

You won't get the big muscles, even if you're pumping lots of weight and eating lots of protein, for the simple reason that you're a girl. Those women who are really pumped have been taking something to help make that happen.

To look lean, you need to shred fat. And that's all about cutting calories and continuing to lose weight until you get to a low enough bodyfat percentage to reveal those lovely muscles.

Keep pumping the weights. It'll keep you from losing muscle while you're losing weight. As you lose weight, you lose fat and water. The closer you get to goal, the less water you have to lose. That's why weight loss will slow down.

If you're really concerned about bulk, you might want to cut back a little on pumping weights and doing Pilates in place of it. That type of exercise really strengthens the core and compacts the muscles. Doing both together is a really well-rounded strength training routine.
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Old 07-03-2011, 03:29 PM   #3
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Another thing to keep in mind, muscles don't pop out overnight. Just as with weight loss, the change is gradual and your mirror and your tape measure can help you get the results you want.

It would be just like worrying about starting a diet because you might get too thin. It's really not a logical argument because your eyes and tape measure can be used to tell you if you're seeing a pattern you don't want.

My guess is that you're not going to see any increase at all in "bulk," but even if you do, you can halt or even reverse the process just by changing your routine.
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Old 07-04-2011, 01:29 PM   #4
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If you don't have a workout in place already I highly recommend checking out the New Rules of Lifting for Women. It talks a lot about this subject and also has some great routines to get you started.

Essentially, worrying about bulking up is a mute point because even if you are prone to be muscular that doesn't mean you're going to look like the she-hulk. Most of the time when women think they are "bulked-up" it is a.) because they still have a layer of fat over their muscles so they look bigger than they actually are and b.) immediately after lifting your muscles retain quite a bit of water so they do look HUGE (not that I check out my biceps for fun a lot after workouts or anything ).

Lifting can actually help you maintain/build muscle while losing weight. If you're just cutting calories you're also losing muscle in the process. Muscle is incredibly important because the more muscle you have the more you can eat and maintain your body weight , also you'll find that you might very well start looking slimmer at higher weights. I have pictures of myself at the same weight that I am now years ago when I wasn't lifting. I look WAAAAYYYY fatter in those pictures compared to now simply because of the different in body composition and I even wear a size smaller.
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Old 07-04-2011, 08:45 PM   #5
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Essentially, worrying about bulking up is a mute point because even if you are prone to be muscular that doesn't mean you're going to look like the she-hulk. Most of the time when women think they are "bulked-up" it is a.) because they still have a layer of fat over their muscles so they look bigger than they actually are and b.) immediately after lifting your muscles retain quite a bit of water so they do look HUGE (not that I check out my biceps for fun a lot after workouts or anything ).
I agree with this completely. I'm sure there are genetic exceptions but 99.9% of the time if a woman is actually big and muscular it is because she has taken a large amount of steroids.

Most women who think they are big simply have more fat over their muscles than they think they do.
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Old 07-05-2011, 03:21 PM   #6
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Thank you all for your advice on this subject... you all seem a LOT more knowledgeable about it than I am.

@geo- I have really wanted to find a PT I am just concerned about the price! If what your PT said is true, I should try to shed as much fat as possible in order for my muscles to show... I just want to have a lean body with lean arms and legs, I'm not even looking to be "skinny" per se.

@kaplods- You are definitely right, my fear of getting bulky is pretty ridiculous when you think of it that way. I guess I am more afraid that the fat I still have on my arms will just add to the bulk of the muscle.

@running- I will definitely check that out. I do not have a set work out weight routine in place as of yet. I kind of just go from machine to machine and do my thing. So how do you get that layer of fat off the muscle? I always see women with really defined arms and no fat. I'm not even looking for that I just don't want AS much fat as I currently have on my arms.

@JohnP- Thanks for responding! I have heard that it would be really difficult for me to bulk up a lot naturally, so I am holding onto the hope that I don't get bulky.
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Old 07-05-2011, 04:49 PM   #7
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@running- I will definitely check that out. I do not have a set work out weight routine in place as of yet. I kind of just go from machine to machine and do my thing. So how do you get that layer of fat off the muscle? I always see women with really defined arms and no fat. I'm not even looking for that I just don't want AS much fat as I currently have on my arms.

I really love the book and you can check out the weight lifting section on 3FC for more information/questions there are many other people on here doing it too.

Weight lifting is definitely a great place to start, when you lift you're building muscle. Muscles actually burn more calories than fat so it's easier to create a calorie deficit. Also, weight lifting allows your body to burn more calories AFTER your workout so again it helps with a calorie deficit to add in fat loss. As long and your eating less calories than you're burning you're going to lose weight over time. Obviously, the bigger the deficit, the bigger the loss. Now, you also have to consider that you need enough calories to get basic nutrients and maintain your muscles.

For me the easiest way to feel full on less food is eat a diet high in protein and natural fats. I also try to eat primarily whole foods and little to no sugar. However, the best diet is really one that you can stick to.
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Old 07-08-2011, 04:39 PM   #8
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also keep in mind you are prob carrying around a significant amount of muscle mass under your fat anyway... considering you have approx 100 pounds to lose.... carrying that much extra weight every single day builds muscle... you may very well find that when you lose the fat you have more muscle than you would like.......

ALSO keep in mind you really arent going to "build" muscle while in a caloric DEFICIT...... your body needs EXCESS cals to "build" and deficient cals to "burn"
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Old 07-08-2011, 04:52 PM   #9
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I don't think you have to worry about looking like a bodybuilder guy or anything like that b/c women just don't have the muscle mass or levels of testertone to get thick like they do. I would love to be more muscular but I was told b/c I'm smaller-boned and have small wrists that I could get lean/toned but not really, really muscular. Oh well. I have noticed that since lifting 15 lb. kettlebells above my head with the swing movement that my teeny tiny biceps are starting to show, lol. My brother-in-law squeezed my upper arm the other day and half-jokingly said, "you might be kind of small but you're pretty strong." I just grinned.

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Old 07-08-2011, 04:54 PM   #10
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I'm also naturally muscular. I used to power lift in HS. I never got so buff that it looked crazy, even when I was weight training every day for hours. Like John said, it pretty much takes steroids for a woman to bulk up like a man would.

Pilates is really helpful in getting that lean muscular look, too . It lengthens things and keeps muscles from being bulky and tight.
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Old 07-08-2011, 04:59 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geoblewis View Post
That is so cool! I'm shooting for that too, getting really strong and muscular, but keeping it lean. I want to look like a strong and curvy woman. I have a lot more weight to lose, but my shoulders are starting to look good and I can feel my rock-hard abs under all my fatty tissue.

I work with a really well educated trainer with a lot of experience. This is what she's told me.

You won't get the big muscles, even if you're pumping lots of weight and eating lots of protein, for the simple reason that you're a girl. Those women who are really pumped have been taking something to help make that happen.

To look lean, you need to shred fat. And that's all about cutting calories and continuing to lose weight until you get to a low enough bodyfat percentage to reveal those lovely muscles.

Keep pumping the weights. It'll keep you from losing muscle while you're losing weight. As you lose weight, you lose fat and water. The closer you get to goal, the less water you have to lose. That's why weight loss will slow down.

If you're really concerned about bulk, you might want to cut back a little on pumping weights and doing Pilates in place of it. That type of exercise really strengthens the core and compacts the muscles. Doing both together is a really well-rounded strength training routine.
Georgia is correct. Pilates gives you a dancers body, long, lean & muscular.
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Old 07-08-2011, 05:16 PM   #12
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So does yoga and Tracy Anderson's metamorphosis.
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Old 07-10-2011, 01:07 AM   #13
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Most women who think they are big simply have more fat over their muscles than they think they do.
This statement is spot on
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Old 07-10-2011, 10:09 AM   #14
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This statement is spot on
So true! I've seen plenty of women who avoid weights because they're "so bulky already," but they have so much body fat that you can barely see the musculature underneath.

Dons't be afraid, weight are a girl's best friend!
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Old 07-10-2011, 10:21 AM   #15
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Well many women forget the fat that is also in between their muscles. So they may even see little fat over their muscles and think that their muscles have bulked up when they can also have fat in between their muscles.

And many people like pilates but the long lean muscle thing is a myth. Muscle is muscle and your body type determines what you look like when you build muscle. The reasons dancers have the long, lean look is because of calorie restriction and genetics. I belonged to a gym that emphasized heavy lifting and I was amazed at many of the women that were extremely tiny but could lift hundreds of pounds. I didn't see any bulky girls there other than fat bulk of those like myself.
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