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  1. #1
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    Building strength and muscle after anorexia

    Hi guys and girls,
    I’m new to the forum however have always been interested in fitness and have wanted to pursue bodybuilding but never got round to it. I know there are loads of experienced people on these forums who might be able to offer some advice and would appreciate any tips I could get...

    I unintentionally lost a lot of weight by doing way too much cardio and not eating enough to fuel my workouts... by the time it all happened It was too late and I was left in a very vulnerable and severe state where I had to quickly recover and follow a meal plan to bring my health back up. Now I’m at a healthy weight however it seems like my upper body especially is extremely weak due to the loss of muscle mass that occurred along with weight loss.

    I am left in a bad position since i’m now too weak to lift dumbells and have resorted to bodyweight exercises but it seems like it is not making a difference. I would ideally like to gain some more mass particuarly on my upper body as it seems like my lower body still has a decent level of muscularity and strength.
    Last edited by theliftingpoet; 06-11-2020 at 11:05 PM.
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    feminine and fast-twitch etet1919's Avatar
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    Hi lifting poet! SuffolkPunch gave you great advice- to follow Fierce 5. It just takes quite a bit longer for most girls to gain strength in their upper bodies compared to guys. That's just the nature of the beast. You just have to keep up that confidence in yourself and you WILL get stronger and gain LEAN (not bodybuilder "bulky") muscle in time, with patience!!

    I also hope you have a lot of support from your parents, a qualified counselor who specializes in treatment of eating disorders (I know you're recovering!!) and a qualified nutritionist, as well! A caring and well-educated nutritionist can make all the difference for teenagers who may need the right guidance and support! We all wish you continued success!! And please let us know if you have any other concerns or questions!
    Fact: My first-generation uncle was a boxer who fought Sugar Ray Robinson! He also fought in the war, sacrificing the career he deeply loved, so people could have the right to freedom.

    Let's show RESPECT for the POLICE and ALL FIRST RESPONDERS by helping to keep THEM SAFE AND SOUND, and thereby able to PROTECT US!
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  3. #3
    Registered User theliftingpoet's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by etet1919 View Post
    Hi lifting poet! SuffolkPunch gave you great advice- to follow Fierce 5. It just takes quite a bit longer for most girls to gain strength in their upper bodies compared to guys. That's just the nature of the beast. You just have to keep up that confidence in yourself and you WILL get stronger and gain LEAN (not bodybuilder "bulky") muscle in time, with patience!!

    I also hope you have a lot of support from your parents, a qualified counselor who specializes in treatment of eating disorders (I know you're recovering!!) and a qualified nutritionist, as well! A caring and well-educated nutritionist can make all the difference for teenagers who may need the right guidance and support! We all wish you continued success!! And please let us know if you have any other concerns or questions!
    Hi! Thank you so much for all the encouragement and support. I still have to look at fierce 5 but that will be the first thing I do after this reply. To be honest at the moment I don’t mind building bulky muscles since I know as a woman I’d never get huge without steroids or testosterone supplements, but that sounds great to add lean mass.

    I had a nutritionalist who devised me a meal plan which helped me quickly gain weight and at 5,4 I am now about 49 kilos. I don’t mind increasing this to about 54-55 even but now think I can afford to take it slower since I am not in a critical condition. My parents are also very supportive which is fantastic. I previously was really into sports and played rugby ect... but at the moment I Just feel extremely weak and so am aiming to return to my prior strength.
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    feminine and fast-twitch etet1919's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by theliftingpoet View Post
    Hi! Thank you so much for all the encouragement and support. I still have to look at fierce 5 but that will be the first thing I do after this reply. To be honest at the moment I don’t mind building bulky muscles since I know as a woman I’d never get huge without steroids or testosterone supplements, but that sounds great to add lean mass.

    I had a nutritionalist who devised me a meal plan which helped me quickly gain weight and at 5,4 I am now about 49 kilos. I don’t mind increasing this to about 54-55 even but now think I can afford to take it slower since I am not in a critical condition. My parents are also very supportive which is fantastic. I previously was really into sports and played rugby ect... but at the moment I Just feel extremely weak and so am aiming to return to my prior strength.
    Hey!!! I'm really happy you've been seeing a nutritionist!! It sounds like they're doing a great job getting you back into fighting form!! Rugby, huh?! That is some rough and tumble sport!! Yes, we can both see why you would actually WANT bulky muscles in this instance! It would help serve to protect you. Do the other girls on your team have bulky muscle? Are they taller or stockier, in general?

    Why did you stop playing the sports you love, if you don't mind me asking? I was a competitive gymnast when I was a young teen, but I gave it up even though I loved it with such a passion! So I can understand the regret you may feel.
    Last edited by etet1919; 06-12-2020 at 04:54 AM.
    Fact: My first-generation uncle was a boxer who fought Sugar Ray Robinson! He also fought in the war, sacrificing the career he deeply loved, so people could have the right to freedom.

    Let's show RESPECT for the POLICE and ALL FIRST RESPONDERS by helping to keep THEM SAFE AND SOUND, and thereby able to PROTECT US!
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    Originally Posted by etet1919 View Post
    Hey!!! I'm really happy you've been seeing a nutritionist!! It sounds like they're doing a great job getting you back into fighting form!! Rugby, huh?! That is some rough and tumble sport!! Yes, we can both see why you would actually WANT bulky muscles in this instance! It would help serve to protect you. Do the other girls on your team have bulky muscle? Are they taller or stockier, in general?

    Why did you stop playing the sports you love, if you don't mind me asking? I was a competitive gymnast when I was a young teen, but I gave it up even though I loved it with such a passion! So I can understand the regret you may feel.
    Aww thank you! You seem like a really sympathetic, encouraging woman and I appreciate all the advice. Haha yep and I also do boxing... yes rugby attracts lots of taller larger girls so I am kind of disadvantaged in that way. Also to begin boxing competitions I need to get my weight to at least 50 to have enough competition!

    I had to temporarily stop when I lost all that weight since I was 38 kilos at one point and severely ill. I was actually having blood tests every day and things were really bad. Now I have recently started training again but will have to wait for the lockdown to be over to fully do group training.
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    Registered User theliftingpoet's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by etet1919 View Post
    Hey!!! I'm really happy you've been seeing a nutritionist!! It sounds like they're doing a great job getting you back into fighting form!! Rugby, huh?! That is some rough and tumble sport!! Yes, we can both see why you would actually WANT bulky muscles in this instance! It would help serve to protect you. Do the other girls on your team have bulky muscle? Are they taller or stockier, in general?

    Why did you stop playing the sports you love, if you don't mind me asking? I was a competitive gymnast when I was a young teen, but I gave it up even though I loved it with such a passion! So I can understand the regret you may feel.

    Could I also get your opinion on something please? What sort of weight should I eventually aim for as an athletic girl who wants to build muscle and perform at her optimum for sports?
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    feminine and fast-twitch etet1919's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by theliftingpoet View Post
    Could I also get your opinion on something please? What sort of weight should I eventually aim for as an athletic girl who wants to build muscle and perform at her optimum for sports?
    Have you brought up these questions/concerns to your nutritionist? She/he is the professional. I'm assuming their #1 goal is to help keep your weight consistently within the healthy range for your height, FIRST, before tackling sports nutrition or competitive training.

    The only thing I can do is offer the name of a site that gives you info on what numbers to aim for or how to compare yourself to others objectively. It's a site used by natural athletes (stats are based on powerlifters' 1 rep maxes OR maxes in different rep ranges, relative to weight). But I'm not sure that's what you should be focused on at THIS MOMENT. What do the health professionals in your life think you should be focusing on right now?
    Fact: My first-generation uncle was a boxer who fought Sugar Ray Robinson! He also fought in the war, sacrificing the career he deeply loved, so people could have the right to freedom.

    Let's show RESPECT for the POLICE and ALL FIRST RESPONDERS by helping to keep THEM SAFE AND SOUND, and thereby able to PROTECT US!
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    Registered User theliftingpoet's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by etet1919 View Post
    Have you brought up these questions/concerns to your nutritionist? She/he is the professional. I'm assuming their #1 goal is to help keep your weight consistently within the healthy range for your height, FIRST, before tackling sports nutrition or competitive training.

    The only thing I can do is offer the name of a site that gives you info on what numbers to aim for or how to compare yourself to others objectively. It's a site used by natural athletes (stats are based on powerlifters' 1 rep maxes OR maxes in different rep ranges, relative to weight). But I'm not sure that's what you should be focused on at THIS MOMENT. What do the health professionals in your life think you should be focusing on right now?
    Thank you for the advice. I have brought up these questions and my nutritionalist says that we all feel our best at certain weights and she thinks I should set myself a minimum weight I will never let it decrease to but understands that if I want to build muscle I will have to slowly increase my weight to something I feel good at and am comfortable with. In terms of BMI my healthy range minimum would be 48 and maximum something in the late 50’s. Honestly, because of the point I am at currently I am not seeing my nutritionalist as much and she is kind of relying on me to figure out what I want to do and letting me have a bit more freedom in terms of my diet plan to encourage intuitive eating. She helped me a lot in the initial stages but now wants me to be a bit more independent whilst still offering me support.
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    Originally Posted by theliftingpoet View Post
    Thank you for the advice. I have brought up these questions and my nutritionalist says that we all feel our best at certain weights and she thinks I should set myself a minimum weight I will never let it decrease to but understands that if I want to build muscle I will have to slowly increase my weight to something I feel good at and am comfortable with. In terms of BMI my healthy range minimum would be 48 and maximum something in the late 50’s. Honestly, because of the point I am at currently I am not seeing my nutritionalist as much and she is kind of relying on me to figure out what I want to do and letting me have a bit more freedom in terms of my diet plan to encourage intuitive eating. She helped me a lot in the initial stages but now wants me to be a bit more independent whilst still offering me support.
    If I was you, I would focus on building strength at my own pace. I wouldn't be aiming for specific numbers way ahead of time. You have to take one day and one training session at a time! You'll get progressively stronger and gain lean muscle mass by practicing every exercise listed in the Fierce 5 program! As long as you continue to feel strong and energized, you'll also have to stay consistent with the program, remembering to go at your own pace. Because the truth is everyone gains strength and muscle at VARYING speeds...everyone is unique in this way!! No one can truly predict how much weight you'll be able to lift on any given exercise.

    I know you want to perform well in sports, but you don't need to squat, say, 1.5x your body weight in order to perfect your kickboxing technique, for example. You can practice good clean form in both boxing and in the weight room, starting off slowly and intelligently! I'm sure your coaches will be there for you every step of the way, literally They'll be better able to see your potential in all aspects of training, access your strengths and "weaknesses," and where you'll "need to be" at any given time in order to perform optimally. It will all happen in time... In the meantime, stay focused on the task at hand- the weight you can safely lift at the moment!
    Last edited by etet1919; 06-12-2020 at 04:02 PM.
    Fact: My first-generation uncle was a boxer who fought Sugar Ray Robinson! He also fought in the war, sacrificing the career he deeply loved, so people could have the right to freedom.

    Let's show RESPECT for the POLICE and ALL FIRST RESPONDERS by helping to keep THEM SAFE AND SOUND, and thereby able to PROTECT US!
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    hi theliftingpoet!
    just wanted to say I think youre doing really well! as someone who also had an ED and used fitness to recover, I think you will do great. sounds like you have a fab support system in place too!
    if you don't feel up to going to the gym (or they are still shut in your area) there are a lot of bodyweight programs about at the moment. you need very minimal or even no equipement. s long as you try to add reps each week you WILL make progress. muscle building is slow, and your body is still trying to right itself from your ED, building muscle will be its last priority right now. just focus on doing what you can and eating well
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