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  1. #1
    Registered User tadpole25's Avatar
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    Should women have to worry about bulking?

    I know a bit about nutrition and bodybuilding, but not a lot.

    A female friend of mine is overweight and having difficulty with her metabolism. She feared that gaining muscle would make her look bulk and less feminine. I responded to her that women don't bulk easily and they would have to exercise like professional bodybuilders to have masculine looking arms.

    Was I wrong?
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  2. #2
    BrahmaMama mrshester's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by tadpole25 View Post
    I know a bit about nutrition and bodybuilding, but not a lot.

    A female friend of mine is overweight and having difficulty with her metabolism. She feared that gaining muscle would make her look bulk and less feminine. I responded to her that women don't bulk easily and they would have to exercise like professional bodybuilders to have masculine looking arms.

    Was I wrong?
    No, and she would do well to listen to you. I mean, what does she really have to lose, besides fat? I continue to add weight to my exercises (same kind that men do) and I keep getting more "trim". My butt looks better than it has in several years
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  3. #3
    Training For Chest Hair rdferguson's Avatar
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    Um, strength training =/= bulking....

    If she's overweight and wants to lose weight, then bulking is going in the opposite direction. She probably should be lifting weights (and attempting to do so progressively) while losing weight to:

    - maintain (if not build) lean body mass
    - improve bone density
    - improve physical capabilities

    ...but it's her prerogative not to, if (for whatever reason) she's unwilling.

    If you can explain to her the basics of weight loss (ie calories in vs calories out) and muscle gain (ie training stimulus + calorie surplus), then you can explain from a logical standpoint why, if she works to lose weight, strength training won't make her bulky. If you can do basic maths, you can also show why 20lb (as an example) of weight loss will be better with strength training involved than without. In the noob phase, she may even be able to gain some muscular weight while decreasing total body weight.

    Say her total body weight decreases by 20lb without strength training. She loses fat and muscle -- fat goes down by 15lb and muscle goes down by 5lb. In this instance she's weaker than when she started, so while she may look a bit better, she doesn't feel much better than when she started. Alternatively, say she loses 20lb in the context of at least semi-serious strength training 2-3 days per week. Her lean body mass has actually increased by 3lb in this time, which means that her fat mass has decreased by 23lb. That's an extra 8lb of fat lost in the same period, just because she did strength training. Her clothing size might have gone down by 1-2 without strength training, but with it her clothing size has gone down 2-3 sizes. If she's ever bought meat in bulk and divied it up, then she knows what 3lb of meat looks like. Had she gained all of that just on her biceps, she might have reason to complain, but if she's done a sensible strength training program, then that weight is spread out across the whole body, and really won't add much bulk at all (especially compared to the 23lb of fat she's lost in the process).

    If she were a bit more advanced, she could expect not to gain any muscle mass while losing weight, but could expect to maintain muscle mass, or at least minimise losses in it. Again using the 20lb scenario, without strength training she might again lose 15lb fat and 5lb muscle. With strength training, 19lb fat and 1lb muscle. It's not as impressive as the noob effect, but it's still a marked increase in fat lost by decreasing lean tissue being lost. And that's the purpose of strength training during weight loss. Forget about what influences it might have on hormones (or what influences hormones might have on it) or the metabolism or anything else. The number 1 thing it achieves is more fat lost for the same amount of weight loss.
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  4. #4
    Registered User jenl's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by rdferguson View Post
    If she's overweight and wants to lose weight, then bulking is going in the opposite direction. She probably should be lifting weights (and attempting to do so progressively) while losing weight to:
    OP's friend is concerned about "getting bulky", not bulking. He did say "bulking" but it's implied that the friend is concerned that lifting weights will make her bulky.

    OP, tell your friend that all the things she wants to achieve, nipped in waist, an ass you can bounce a penny off and shaped arms all come from strength/weight training. And no, she won't get bulky or big because she simply doesn't have the testosterone to do so. I recommend she reads http://www.stumptuous.com to get her out of that mindset.
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  5. #5
    Registered User Neposedi's Avatar
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    I think some people are concerned that the muscle will start getting bigger and 'push out' the fat they haven't lost yet, thus, looking even fatter than when they have started.
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  6. #6
    Registered User jenl's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Neposedi View Post
    I think some people are concerned that the muscle will start getting bigger and 'push out' the fat they haven't lost yet, thus, looking even fatter than when they have started.
    And the people who think that are misinformed. Any overweight woman who can put on an amount of muscle that will "push out the fat" while gaining it at such a quick rate that they do not experience an equal, if not more, equivalent of fat loss is a freak of nature and has bigger things to worry about.

    In addition to this, they already have more muscle than "normal" given they need the extra muscle to cart around the extra weight. It's not that extra muscle that is making them "look big".
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  7. #7
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    Originally Posted by tadpole25 View Post
    She feared that gaining muscle would make her look bulk and less feminine. I responded to her that women don't bulk easily and they would have to exercise like professional bodybuilders to have masculine looking arms.

    Tell her that unless she takes all the steroids, Clen, HGH, Insulin, that Pro bodybuilders take, she won't have a problem. She simply doesn't produce enough test naturally for it to be a problem.
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  8. #8
    Registered User sy2502's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by tadpole25 View Post
    I know a bit about nutrition and bodybuilding, but not a lot.

    A female friend of mine is overweight and having difficulty with her metabolism. She feared that gaining muscle would make her look bulk and less feminine. I responded to her that women don't bulk easily and they would have to exercise like professional bodybuilders to have masculine looking arms.

    Was I wrong?
    First of all, I think it's very nice of you that you are helping your friend.

    A couple of things about your post:

    - A lot of overweight people use the "metabolism problem" as a catch-all excuse for why they are big. There are actually very few people who have medical metabolic problems. I obviously don't know your friend, but unless she has been diagnosed with, say, a thyroid issue, I'd say disregard the metabolic problem claim. In fact, overweight people usually have a higher metabolism due to the effort the body has to make to carry around that weight. If your friend hasn't been diagnosed with any actual medical condition, she needs to take better responsibility for her weight instead of blaming her metabolism. A friend of mine who's severely obese used to give us the metabolism excuse until a doctor told her to keep a food diary. Once an overweight person realizes how much she is TRULY eating, it's harder to blame it on the metabolism.

    - To gain significant muscle your friend would have to train like a body builder. You don't specify what training your friend does (or would be doing), but not all forms of exercise cause substantial hypertrophy. If she trains with the weight, volume, and intensity of a body builder, she'll eventually gain muscle.

    - While aesthetics are highly personal and what looks good to one person looks masculine and gross to others, gaining some muscle is really not that bad at all. Chances are that you show your friends pictures of fitness models, she'll find them beautiful, not masculine, yet those models very probably lift weights. Also, muscle is denser than fat, so it occupies less space, meaning 1lb of fat is bigger in volume than 1lb of muscle. Losing fat and gaining muscle makes you smaller, not bigger.

    - What you said about muscle being hard to gain is absolutely correct. A believe some time ago in some thread we agreed that a professional body builder who's doing everything right may be lucky to gain 5lbs of pure muscle a year. I really wish we put this in the stickies, in the vain hope to cut down the "if I lift I will get bulky" threads (fat chance, nobody reads the stickies).
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  9. #9
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    There's a chance that your overweight friend is just looking for an excuse. After you convince her that exercising would not bulk her up, she might come up with another excuse like "her body might bet shocked with the sudden exertions from the exercise".
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  10. #10
    Registered User Neposedi's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jenl View Post
    And the people who think that are misinformed. Any overweight woman who can put on an amount of muscle that will "push out the fat" while gaining it at such a quick rate that they do not experience an equal, if not more, equivalent of fat loss is a freak of nature and has bigger things to worry about.

    In addition to this, they already have more muscle than "normal" given they need the extra muscle to cart around the extra weight. It's not that extra muscle that is making them "look big".
    Too bad that no matter what you tell them, they don't want to believe it. Even the PTs at my friend's ladies only gym give her the "Do more cardio, do less resistance high repetition weights".
    She's 70kg (?) doing 15 kg on the leg press when her max is like 65 kg
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  11. #11
    BrahmaMama mrshester's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Neposedi View Post
    Too bad that no matter what you tell them, they don't want to believe it. Even the PTs at my friend's ladies only gym give her the "Do more cardio, do less resistance high repetition weights".
    She's 70kg (?) doing 15 kg on the leg press when her max is like 65 kg
    That's why we have to show them I am determined to be the proof that fat women can lift heavy (made it to 100 lb on the lat pulldown last night!woohoo!) AND have the number on the scale go down 'Course, that's usually when the drug talk starts, but ya know, can't please everyone
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