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  1. #1
    Registered User oregonchick76's Avatar
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    Is there a bf% range where you don't look much different?

    I read on here by I think RDFerguson that there is a bf% for men where there doesn't appear to be much change, but then once you drop below that you start to see definition. Is that true for everyone?

    Wellllll, I started out at 128 last fall, I've taken it pretty slow with my loss and have continued to make modest strength gains even with dieting. I've followed a zig zag calorie approach, eating slightly above maintenance on lifting days and about 350 below on non-lifting days. I've lost a bit over 10lbs since October.

    Maybe I'm just my own worst critic, but I feel like almost a smaller version of the person I was at 128! I've gone remarkably from a size 8 in Gap jeans to a size 0 (vanity sizing is awesome sometimes, lol), but I don't look significantly leaner, imo. My waist went from 28" to 25", so in addition to scale change there is a measurable difference.

    I need to have someone take pics so I can actually see more objectively my before and after, but I just wanted to hear from other women who have moved through that process and if you had a similar experience.
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  2. #2
    Desperately needs a tan! IrishLassie78's Avatar
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    Yes! I know exactly what you mean. I'm definitely smaller than I started out (although thanks to vanity sizing, not as small as one would think) and I have significantly more definition in my upper body but sometimes the only progress I see in the lower half is that I am smaller, which is good, but I want the definition in the lower half to be on par with the upper half. It's frustrating as hell. I do think it's hard be objective about your own appearance. Especially as a woman. We are our own (and each others unfortunately) worst critics.
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  3. #3
    Registered User tina722's Avatar
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    I sometimes feel the same way. Years of lifting and I still feel like I look the same. For me, some of it is that I follow primarily a strength based program, and havent taken the time to do a proper bulk/hypertrophy program. Some of it, is also, that my perception of the body-type that I want has changed. Slowly over the years, I've wanted a body with more (and more) mass and to be leaner - what I find attractive on a female has changed. And of course, being female, I'll *never* match those desires.

    Hang in there though. You obviously know your stuff and have successfully dieted down. 25" waist is tiny!
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  4. #4
    Queen Miranda to you Miranda's Avatar
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    bodyfat definitely is a factor, but so is how much muscle you carry underneath.

    the less muscle you have, the more you have to diet, and the smaller you will end up overall to see any type definition anywhere. if you risk becoming seriously underweight with still no definition, then it's time to go back to the drawing board.

    i'd also note that upper and lower body tend to live in a separate universe and often don't 'come in' at the same pace. sometimes, women erroneously label themselves 'lean' with a lot of definition in the upper body and zilch in the lower. that's only half of the battle won.

    george costanza would refer to getting lower body definition as 'fat loss puberty' - you had definition in upper back, delts, biceps and abs for years before your quads, hamstrings and glutes experienced their first puberty moment.

    'it's like puberty that never stops. you gotta be vigilent.'
    "The human race is still largely a group of monkeys with slightly better grooming habits. Give them a microscope and and they'll examine their own ****, give them a telescope and they'll go looking for tits."
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  5. #5
    BittyBro dreahere's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by IrishLassie78 View Post
    I do think it's hard be objective about your own appearance. Especially as a woman. We are our own (and each others unfortunately) worst critics.
    Originally Posted by tina722 View Post
    I sometimes feel the same way. Years of lifting and I still feel like I look the same. For me, some of it is that I follow primarily a strength based program, and havent taken the time to do a proper bulk/hypertrophy program. Some of it, is also, that my perception of the body-type that I want has changed. Slowly over the years, I've wanted a body with more (and more) mass and to be leaner - what I find attractive on a female has changed. And of course, being female, I'll *never* match those desires.
    All of this.

    And hanging around on bb.com just exacerbates dissatisfaction with one's own body. I can look at my bb.com friends' pictures and feel pretty crappy about my own body. OTOH in the real world I know that compared to most women on the street, in the supermarket, the mall, Target, etc etc, especially women my age, I am tiny and I am lean. I know that compared to almost every other woman in my gym I am muscular as hell. By bb.com standards I am neither lean nor particularly muscular. It can be discouraging unless and until I realize that I live in the real world, not a world populated solely by bodybuilding women, and that it's silly for me to think that I can "compete" with a.) 24 year old girls or b.) figure competitors. The first because menopause is a bitch, gravity is no one's friend, and my collagen ship has friggin sailed The second because I'm not one and really have no desire to be, so why am I judging myself by those standards?

    Hang in there though. You obviously know your stuff and have successfully dieted down. 25" waist is tiny!
    Yeah, 3 inches off your waist is a hyooge loss! as is going down 4 sizes in clothing!
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  6. #6
    Registered User runnermommaof4's Avatar
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    That is an interesting plan! Can you tell me more about it. I am currently 128 and 5'4" I am trying to gain muscle, but also lose a bit of fat. It is hard for me to get in the mindset to gain weight. I want bigger muscles, but seeing the scale go up does make me uneasy. I like the idea of eating more on weight training days and less on other days. Can you give me an idea of what you would eat on weight days and what you eat on the other days?

    I am just starting out here, but I am not knew to working out. I think if you have lost that much weight and inches, then you are def. looking different. When I lose or gain it's hard for me to tell without seeing pics. Then I notice it easier. Maybe pics are a great idea.
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  7. #7
    Registered User toodlepip's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by dreahere View Post
    All of this.

    And hanging around on bb.com just exacerbates dissatisfaction with one's own body. I can look at my bb.com friends' pictures and feel pretty crappy about my own body. OTOH in the real world I know that compared to most women on the street, in the supermarket, the mall, Target, etc etc, especially women my age, I am tiny and I am lean. I know that compared to almost every other woman in my gym I am muscular as hell. By bb.com standards I am neither lean nor particularly muscular. It can be discouraging unless and until I realize that I live in the real world, not a world populated solely by bodybuilding women, and that it's silly for me to think that I can "compete" with a.) 24 year old girls or b.) figure competitors. The first because menopause is a bitch, gravity is no one's friend, and my collagen ship has friggin sailed The second because I'm not one and really have no desire to be, so why am I judging myself by those standards?
    *applauds* Hear, hear. I often need to remind myself of this.
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  8. #8
    Registered User oregonchick76's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Miranda View Post
    bodyfat definitely is a factor, but so is how much muscle you carry underneath.

    the less muscle you have, the more you have to diet, and the smaller you will end up overall to see any type definition anywhere. if you risk becoming seriously underweight with still no definition, then it's time to go back to the drawing board.

    i'd also note that upper and lower body tend to live in a separate universe and often don't 'come in' at the same pace. sometimes, women erroneously label themselves 'lean' with a lot of definition in the upper body and zilch in the lower. that's only half of the battle won.

    george costanza would refer to getting lower body definition as 'fat loss puberty' - you had definition in upper back, delts, biceps and abs for years before your quads, hamstrings and glutes experienced their first puberty moment.

    'it's like puberty that never stops. you gotta be vigilent.'
    LOL. Yep, I'm sure the muscle underneath is a factor for me. I *thought* since my lifts are relatively solid for someone my size I MUST have a bunch of muscle under there somewhere!
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  9. #9
    Registered User oregonchick76's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by runnermommaof4 View Post
    That is an interesting plan! Can you tell me more about it. I am currently 128 and 5'4" I am trying to gain muscle, but also lose a bit of fat. It is hard for me to get in the mindset to gain weight. I want bigger muscles, but seeing the scale go up does make me uneasy. I like the idea of eating more on weight training days and less on other days. Can you give me an idea of what you would eat on weight days and what you eat on the other days?

    I am just starting out here, but I am not knew to working out. I think if you have lost that much weight and inches, then you are def. looking different. When I lose or gain it's hard for me to tell without seeing pics. Then I notice it easier. Maybe pics are a great idea.
    Gosh, I don't know if it's a good idea for me to share this, because I haven't followed any expert advice and it's not a 'proven' plan. I would not want to steer a newbie down the wrong path. It's just comfortable for me and I'm happy with it. I have a hard time staying in a deficit several days in a row. I do tend to get real frustrated with the deprivation and don't stick with it as long as I need to. My alternative would be to just grow some balls and stick with it, but I have found a slower more comfortable approach. I really don't care how long it takes.

    Generally, I lift 3 x per week, full body, focusing on squats, deadlift, overhead press, chin ups, rowing, and a couple isolation exercises. Takes me about an hour. I do 'gym' cardio 3 x per week, 20-25 minutes of HIIT. On non-lifting days I eat ~500 below maintenance. On lifting days I eat ~200 above maintenance. I am losing about .4 lbs per week, but as I get closer to goal weight, I am going to aim to lose about half that rate.

    My strength gains have been slow but steady. I don't even know if this is a 'recomposition', but it's just what is manageable for me right now. When I get to 114-115, I'm going into a long slow bulk for about a year. Will lift 4 x per week and drop cardio some.
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  10. #10
    Registered User runnermommaof4's Avatar
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    Thank you for explaining it. No worries on steering me on the wrong path. I am in no rush to gain muscle fast so I think I will try this plan for a few months and see where it gets me. If I see no changes, then I can always switch and try to just bulk, then cut.
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  11. #11
    Queen Miranda to you Miranda's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by dreahere View Post
    And hanging around on bb.com just exacerbates dissatisfaction with one's own body. I can look at my bb.com friends' pictures and feel pretty crappy about my own body. OTOH in the real world I know that compared to most women on the street, in the supermarket, the mall, Target, etc etc, especially women my age, I am tiny and I am lean. I know that compared to almost every other woman in my gym I am muscular as hell. By bb.com standards I am neither lean nor particularly muscular. It can be discouraging unless and until I realize that I live in the real world, not a world populated solely by bodybuilding women, and that it's silly for me to think that I can "compete" with a.) 24 year old girls or b.) figure competitors. The first because menopause is a bitch, gravity is no one's friend, and my collagen ship has friggin sailed The second because I'm not one and really have no desire to be, so why am I judging myself by those standards?
    i understand everyone is coming from a different place, and people have to be realistic with what they can achieve. setting unrealistic standards and not accounting for the *time* it takes to make real changes is not the same as saying that people on bb.com aren't somehow 'real' people, though.

    plus you could argue you're still comparing yourself to others in the end - you just pick a population sample that makes you feel better about your accomplishments. i'm not saying it's 'wrong', but the general population doesn't lift weights and so on so it's not a good comparison.

    i'm not sure what i'm trying to say comes across in the way intended, but i hope you get my drift.

    Originally Posted by oregonchick76 View Post
    LOL. Yep, I'm sure the muscle underneath is a factor for me. I *thought* since my lifts are relatively solid for someone my size I MUST have a bunch of muscle under there somewhere!
    not necessarily. training for strength and training for size aren't the same thing. training for hypertrophy isn't about lifting as much weight as possible, although there is overlap.
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  12. #12
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    Originally Posted by Miranda View Post

    i'd also note that upper and lower body tend to live in a separate universe and often don't 'come in' at the same pace. sometimes, women erroneously label themselves 'lean' with a lot of definition in the upper body and zilch in the lower. that's only half of the battle won.

    george costanza would refer to getting lower body definition as 'fat loss puberty' - you had definition in upper back, delts, biceps and abs for years before your quads, hamstrings and glutes experienced their first puberty moment.

    Yes.

    Originally Posted by oregonchick76 View Post
    I read on here by I think RDFerguson that there is a bf% for men where there doesn't appear to be much change, but then once you drop below that you start to see definition. Is that true for everyone?
    .
    Everyone? I don't know. I am halfway through a 12 week cut and have just this past week have gotten to the point where I am seeing changes literally every day.


    It's exciting stuff!
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  13. #13
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    Originally Posted by dreahere View Post
    All of this.

    And hanging around on bb.com just exacerbates dissatisfaction with one's own body. I can look at my bb.com friends' pictures and feel pretty crappy about my own body. OTOH in the real world I know that compared to most women on the street, in the supermarket, the mall, Target, etc etc, especially women my age, I am tiny and I am lean. I know that compared to almost every other woman in my gym I am muscular as hell. By bb.com standards I am neither lean nor particularly muscular. It can be discouraging unless and until I realize that I live in the real world, not a world populated solely by bodybuilding women, and that it's silly for me to think that I can "compete" with a.) 24 year old girls or b.) figure competitors. The first because menopause is a bitch, gravity is no one's friend, and my collagen ship has friggin sailed The second because I'm not one and really have no desire to be, so why am I judging myself by those standards?



    Yeah, 3 inches off your waist is a hyooge loss! as is going down 4 sizes in clothing!
    Mine has sailed too, but I'm doing it anyway! My first figure comp it May 25th. The "not so tight skin" (in certain areas) has been what scares me the most.

    I have been cutting for 6 weeks and am down 5lbs now. I am just starting to see a difference. Hopefully it gets better each week. It will have to!!
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  14. #14
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    Originally Posted by Miranda View Post
    i understand everyone is coming from a different place, and people have to be realistic with what they can achieve. setting unrealistic standards and not accounting for the *time* it takes to make real changes is not the same as saying that people on bb.com aren't somehow 'real' people, though.
    Sigh. Of course they're real people. They're a very very specific subset of real people.

    plus you could argue you're still comparing yourself to others in the end - you just pick a population sample that makes you feel better about your accomplishments.
    I have no accomplishments.

    i'm not saying it's 'wrong', but the general population doesn't lift weights and so on so it's not a good comparison.
    Okay. People at my gym lift weights. Am I allowed to compare myself to them? Because I think I did.

    i'm not sure what i'm trying to say comes across in the way intended, but i hope you get my drift.
    Drift: I'm being delusional if I don't think my cellulite-laden fat sh*tty body doesn't look like crap.

    Oh well. I think I'll skip the Zyprexa, keep flexing at myself in the mirror, and persist in my delusion. It makes me happy On the whole I prefer being happy to being constantly dissatisfied.
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    Queen Miranda to you Miranda's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by dreahere View Post
    Sigh. Of course they're real people. They're a very very specific subset of real people.
    ya reckon? what's so special about lifting heavy weights, only to put them down? any idiot can do that.

    i'd think a lot of women on this forum are like you and me: jiggly ass, not toned, get drunk, go to the gym, dog threw up on the carpet, where's that darn diet again?

    Originally Posted by drea
    Drift: I'm being delusional if I don't think my cellulite-laden fat sh*tty body doesn't look like crap. Oh well. I think I'll skip the Zyprexa, keep flexing at myself in the mirror, and persist in my delusion. It makes me happy On the whole I prefer being happy to being constantly dissatisfied.
    oh, i agree. life's too short to have anything but delusional notions of yourself.



    in the meantime - making *significant* changes to one's physique takes years, and several years at that. make it a decade. change is so slow you can't see it. that doesn't mean there is no change - so long as you consistently work at it (with a reasonable plan, i might add). that is, you have to have faith in the process.

    consistently making progress - not matter how slow - is what brings change. not perfection or hard work or inspiring daily quotes. it doesn't matter if you fuk up, so long as you learn from it so the next time when you fuk up, you fuk up a bit less and make a bit more progress. fall down seven times, get up eight.

    [now, of course there are exceptions. they're just that. exceptions, not the norm. even so, everyone makes progress at their own pace. such is life.]

    the problem with the above is that the human mind can't work with *time*. it's the great paradox: we all live in this one big unchanging moment, yet we yearn to live in the future, in 'that one day' when *poof* birds will be chirping songs of peace while we flex our striated biceps and crack walnuts with our glutes of steel. then this one big unchanging moment kicks in again and it's time for the daily zoloft.

    'that one day' doesn't exist. it's all in the now. you keep living in one big unchanging moment, morphing ever so slightly and popping zoloft, until you dig up old pics of your cellulite-y ass, and realise you look very very different today. then you go 'when did that happen?'.

    i know i sound like a you-can-make-all-your-dreams-come-true birdbrain but what you said was rather close to 'there's nothing you can do so fuk it', type rhetoric, which is only correct if you make it so. defeat is in your head.
    Last edited by Miranda; 02-21-2013 at 09:32 AM.
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