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I am stupid about lifting.

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Old 08-09-2012, 12:04 PM   #1
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Default I am stupid about lifting.

Okay, so, I'm trying to get into weight lifting because I want to stop looking fat. However, I'm not trying to have a movie-star body. I don't want that; never cared about having a super-hot bod or wearing bikinis or anything like that. Pretty much all I wanna do is have normal looking arms and a normal looking stomach. I don't really care if people can tell if I'm overweight, but I don't want to look OBESE anymore. I feel like I still look obese, even though I'm really not that far from the "overweight" category. That's probably the best way to put that.

So what do I need to do in order to stop looking obese? Do I need to build muscle, build strength? Does building strength build muscle? Can you build muscle without building strength? And what does "muscular endurance" mean? It's like, I know like certain sets/reps gets you certain results, but then people say "It depends on what your goals are and what you're trying to achieve", but I don't know what will produce the results I want.

Any/all advice is appreciated!

EDIT: I just thought about this: My actual ideal body is that of a plus-size model, like you would see in a Lane Bryant Cacique catalog. That's what I mean when I say I don't care if people know I'm overweight -- I don't mind being thick and having weight on me, but I want it in a sexy way, not a flabby "my body's still gross-looking" kinda way.
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Old 08-09-2012, 01:17 PM   #2
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Building muscle through strength training will definitely help with your body composition. Those who lose weight without exercise and just diet sometimes end up looking 'skinny fat', which is what I think is going on with you right now.

Building strength will build muscles. I don't know if you can just build muscle without the strength and I'm not sure why you would not want any strength. Strength is a good thing to have, being weak isn't. Whoever said they want to be weak?

Do heavy weights with low reps to build muscle, low weights with many reps does nothing for you.

I'm doing the New Rules of Lifting for Women program right now, I've done it before and it really helped with my body composition. I just started looking better, things sat nicer on my body. When your done the program after the 6 months, you can always try getting into weight lifting seriously, it's a great exercise and you feel awesome after. It's a program I consider good for beginners but there is so much more you can do after that.
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Old 08-09-2012, 01:18 PM   #3
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My answers are the best to my knowledge, it's been awhile since I've done strength training so someone else might have more insight. I just got back into it, but when I had done it before I really like what it did for my body.
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Old 08-09-2012, 01:49 PM   #4
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I think that's basically right: you want to gain/maintain muscle and perhaps lose a little fat. You'll gain strength and fitness as well. All good. Weight lifting 2-3x a week using heavy weights and doing compound exercises will do the trick, with the help of a diet that is high in protein.

I'm a big fan of the NROL books--there are 2 newer ones that are really good too. Alternatively, you could put together a pretty basic lifting routine of your own. I've written up examples for people in other threads in this subforum. I like the big lower body movements--squats, deadlifts, lunges--together with a push/pull approach for the upper body. It can be pretty simple and very effective. If you poke through this forum you'll find where I've explained it before.

The nice thing about NROLW or the other NROL books is that they enable you to educate yourself about the basics of weight training and they give you really clear accounts of the latest research. They are worth the read for a new lifter, even if you decide not to do the program.
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Old 08-09-2012, 01:59 PM   #5
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Sorry, im going to have to disagree.
While i enjoy strength training and believe it can do wonders for body composition, i dont think strength training is at ALL conducive to YOUR PERSONAL goals and desired look.
You want to have a softer, curvier, more feminine look. You dont want to look like an athlete. People train to shape the body they desire, and doing the wrong training will produce the wrong results. It sounds like "skinny fat" is the look youre going for (i realize you arent wanting "skinny", its just a phrase) In order to have a curvier, softer feminine look, you WANT to have a slightly higher body fat percentage than what alot of other women are going for.
I dont think strength training is right for you, unless there are other reasons you want to do it. But the cardinal rule for dieting and fat loss and training is to do only what you MUST do to achieve your goals.Dont do more than you "have to". Too many people do far too much, and too much of the wrong stuff. For the look you want, no training is necessary at all (although of course there are health benefits to training). Heavy lifting will make you harder. It will build muscles. It will give you a more athletic look.
Oh, and by the way, you CAN build muscle without building strength, its called hypertrophy, and requires specialized training. And you can build strength, without hypertrophy (both of these, to *some* degree). Muscular endurance is irrelevant. And all of this is pretty much irrelevant anyway, considering you are in a caloric deficit, with the primary goal being fatloss, correct? Of course there is a small amount of newbie gains that can be expected, but its not as much as people would like to believe.

In any event, i believe you should just focus on the deficit, and losing the fat. No specific training is necessary. Walk, or whatever you like to do. But the deficit is king. And as you get closer to goal, you may find that all the years spent being significantly overweight have given you more muscle than youd really like to have anyway, which will become evident as the fat continues to come off.

Also, im not just spouting entirely off at the mouth. Check out Leigh Peele's "Make my Body Hot" audio podcast. She goes into depth talking about how to achieve various looks that individuals are after, and discusses in length why training might not be a great idea for someone with goals like yours.
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Old 08-09-2012, 02:40 PM   #6
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Hmm. You might be right. OTOH, when she says she doesn't mind being biggish but wants not to look 'fat', I read that as wanting some muscle tone to stop her arms and shoulders from being all fat. On people who are carrying a decent amount of body fat, having the muscle tone just kinda pulls it all together and takes the edge off.

Lauren, what is it that you are really wanting? Tone or no tone? (Bearing in mind that muscularity looks very different depending on the amount of body fat).

As an aside, I did a google image search for plus size fitness models so that I could compare to the models in Cacique that Lauren mentioned. I'm not really finding any though. Can that be?!
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Old 08-09-2012, 03:00 PM   #7
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I think that adding some weightlifting could be really beneficial, even for the look you are going for. Adding some muscle underneath a layer of fat will not make you look toned or overly muscular- it will just tighten things up a bit, but that's just my two cents ;-)

I think 3 days of weightlifting per week would be a good place to start (NROWL is AWESOME- again- my two cents).

If you start feeling like you look too muscular, you can just back off the training. It's lot easier to lose muscle than build it.

That said- you absolutely don't HAVE to do any kind of training program at all to be healthy. A 30-60 minute walk most days seems to be the general accepted "enough" exercise for an average person, and wont change your muscle shape very much- it just may help with general weight loss. But- of you want to change your body shape- in going to say that some lifting and possibly losing more body fat is your best bet.

Wow that was long-winded, I hope I helped even a little! ;-) good luck!!
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Old 08-09-2012, 03:16 PM   #8
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http://www.pinupgirlclothing.com/dix...rd-velvet.html

That's kind of the look I'm going for. Soft, feminine curves and right, I don't want to look like an athlete. Pin-up girl, curvy-type is what I'm going for, haha.
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Old 08-09-2012, 07:01 PM   #9
Losing the baby weight
 
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Because you are at a heavier weight, and wanting to stay at a plus sized weight but just 'look good', that's why I think weight training would be beneficial. Strengthening the muscle underneath will help the top layer look better.

If you were 40 or more lbs lighter I wouldn't recommend strength training for this goal because you would already be quite small and may not get the desired effects.

When I started strength training I was about 165 lbs (this is in 2010 before I got pregnant), and it changed the way my body looked a lot. My stomach didn't pouch out a lot, my arms weren't flabby looking, etc. I stuck with it for awhile though because my goal was to lose 20 or so more lbs. I agree with the above who says to give it a shot, losing muscle is easier than gaining it so if you don't like the look it won't really stay without some maintenance.
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Old 08-09-2012, 07:11 PM   #10
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And by the look of the shoulders of the girl in that photo, it looks like she has muscle tone under there.
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Old 08-09-2012, 07:57 PM   #11
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Exercise is about more than just losing weight or becoming stronger. It is about bone density, bone strength, hormone manufacture, blood cell count, and even mental health. People who exercise regularly have better body counts in all departments, as well as less depression or anxiety. So regardless of whether a person wants to lose weight or not, exercise is good for you.
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Old 08-09-2012, 08:48 PM   #12
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I agree with mkroyer: if that's the look you want to go for, then you're better off not doing strength training. (Mind you, that's not what I recommend for long-term health, just these specific aesthetics.)

Beyond that, though, my extra two cents: I think you may be chasing after something that's unattainable. Plus-size models are photoshopped, too, and photographed in misleadingly flattering poses and lighting. They're also chosen to be models because they are genetically gifted individuals who look better than most of the rest of us. When I look at pictures of plus-size models, I rarely see lumps, bumps, rolls, cellulite, or anything other than almost otherworldly-smooth contours. I'd never have a chance of looking like one of those women; if I have a higher body fat percentage, I am lumps, bumps, and rolls everywhere. YMMV.
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Old 08-09-2012, 10:13 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by sumire View Post
I agree with mkroyer: if that's the look you want to go for, then you're better off not doing strength training. (Mind you, that's not what I recommend for long-term health, just these specific aesthetics.)

Beyond that, though, my extra two cents: I think you may be chasing after something that's unattainable. Plus-size models are photoshopped, too, and photographed in misleadingly flattering poses and lighting. They're also chosen to be models because they are genetically gifted individuals who look better than most of the rest of us. When I look at pictures of plus-size models, I rarely see lumps, bumps, rolls, cellulite, or anything other than almost otherworldly-smooth contours. I'd never have a chance of looking like one of those women; if I have a higher body fat percentage, I am lumps, bumps, and rolls everywhere. YMMV.
This! Mimsy, I notice that in several of your posts you express concern about your arms. hanging skin, and not feeling like you have made progress because you don't see it when you look in the mirror. I suspect others who have seen your progress feel quite differently and you're being overly critical as well as potentially sabotaging yourself by having an "ideal" body that might not be realistic based on genetics and the fact these model pictures are all air brushed. There are a couple books, "The Body Sacred" by Deanne Sylvan and "When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair" by Geneen Roth that I found very helpful in developing body acceptance. The books don't encourage you to be overweight but they offer positive feedback/affirmations, revealing stories, and discuss techniques for dealing with critical talk. Even when I got down to a size 4, I was unhappy and critical of my body (Hello, I wanted J-Lo or Beyonce). Now I'm a size 8 and although I want to lose a few pounds, I'm in such a better place with how I look and feel about my body. Now I just want to reach my goal and show off my before/after pics on 3FC. I no longer have any desire to look like someone else.
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Old 08-09-2012, 10:23 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mimsyborogoves View Post
http://www.pinupgirlclothing.com/dix...rd-velvet.html

That's kind of the look I'm going for. Soft, feminine curves and right, I don't want to look like an athlete. Pin-up girl, curvy-type is what I'm going for, haha.
That's kind of my build (although sadly I do not have her behind.). I'm 5'9" and 180. I bike a lot and have good shape to my legs, since there's great muscle tone beneath the fat. I lift 15 pound dumbbells a few times a week and my arms have good tone to them too, with a little smooth fat over them. But it takes work. If I didn't lift, I'd just have fat flabby loose bat wing arms. I dont' have arms like Valrock and the other lifter girls, but that's ok with me.

I'm an athlete if you consider all the bike/run/swim training I do, but I don't look like one. I look more like soft curvy girl.

Just start lifting. Or doing push ups or get some dumbbells to have at home. It will help your body health-wise, not just look wise.
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Old 08-10-2012, 08:28 AM   #15
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I will say this, of course I have to be realistic -- I realize even plus-size models are air-brushed to look "perfect", and I know I probably won't ever look "perfect". However, I can make what I got look better. I think just a little bit of muscle tone is what I'm looking for, to tighten the skin just enough to where I look soft, not flabby. (I am aware of the difference!) And I'm not trying to get out of exercising; I know it's healthy. But I'm also not trying to be something I'm not, which the hard-bodied athlete. That person just isn't me.

I think I have the curves to achieve the look, but I'm gonna need the fat on top of them to go away so it looks like sexy curves and not fat curves, lol. I do appreciate y'all's advice! It's really helpful!
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