Weight Loss
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Losing Weight = Stop Lifting Weights?


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Well, I sure am confused. Everything I know about the correlation between diet and exercise for weight loss  (which, if I do say so myself, is quite a lot), is being totally undermined right now. 

I'm a 5'5 female in the 18-25 age demo and in the mid 120's pound wise. Obviously I'm perfectly healthy, but I have a goal to lose a few more fat pounds and there's something weird going on. After two weeks off from the gym I started to notice that my clothes were fitting so much looser and I had a much longer and leaner look to my body than before. In addition to that, however, I had tons of pent up energy and light walks just weren't doing it for me. Because of this, I begrudgingly started a routine consisting of...

50-60 minutes on the elliptical (incline 6, resistance ranging from 4-10)

(1-3 miles on the treadmill at 6.0 mph and 1-2 miles walking at 3.5 mph)

(weight training for about 10 minutes with 5-70 pound weights).

After just about a week of this I woke up this morning to find I had gained two pounds, my favorite jeans are super tight, and my eyes almost popped out of my head! I literally all of a sudden look like Jillian Michaels with all the muscle in my legs! This really scares a girl that's been Gina Lollobrigida all her life. I'm a hourglass with a really tiny waist in proportion to my hips/bust and the serious muscle that I seemingly acquired overnight makes me look like some sort of freaky cartoon. 

Anyways, my goal, as stated above is losing about 10 more pounds of fat. Maybe for my specific body I should just stick to yoga and light cardio though. I don't want to have a six pack or rippling muscles, I mean gosh I'm not sure whether the elliptical is responsible for my bulky calves, two pound weight gain and tighter clothes or what, but I hope someone else knows what I'm doing wrong. I'm trying to lose weight here, not become a female bodybuilder.

Thank you in advance to anyone with advice.

 

51 Replies (last)

don't stop lifting weights. i thought the same way as you at one point. the weights are going to get you where you want to be. don't focus on pounds, rather on inches and your body fat %. weight lifting will change your body.

i had great results when i was doing New Rules of Lifting for Women (NROLFW). I know there are a lot of women on these boards who do/have done that program that can also vouch :)

#2  
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Lol, I'm sorry if I sound condescending, and this is in no way directed at OP, but its sort of cute how so many women on here think they are freaks of nature, able to bulk up overnight and become like the incredible hulk ("omg my muscles got so bulky!") without lifting seriously heavy weights.  Wish I could have the same superpower.  I do heavy squats, deadlifts, lunges, etc. twice a week, and it took me (a mid 20's guy) months of eating a ton and exercising vigorously to build up muscular legs.  What is your secret?? :)

Ok, obviously I'm just kidding, and needed to get that out of my system.  Now, to seriously address OP: That isn't muscle gain.  You can't gain muscle overnight.  Even the most disciplined of weight lifters can only gain muscle at a rate of about .5 lbs per week (and that is if you are eating well over your calorie maintenance, and lifting vigorously multiple times a week).  No 5-7 lb weights will cause you to gain muscle weight, especially not in the short-term.  Sounds like you just put on some water weight (which is temporary).  You didn't actually change your body composition and you didn't put muscle onto your legs overnight.  That doesn't happen since that isn't how muscle building works.

If you goal is to lose fat, you should absolutely be lifting weights.  That helps ensure that the weight you lose is fat, as opposed to lean mass.  The dumbest thing people can do when losing weight is to just do cardio and diet.  That makes them lose lean mass along with the fat.  So when they reach a healthy weight, they still have a high bodyfat percentage, and often look soft (what we call "skinny fat").  By combining in weight training, you preserve your lean mass, while losing fat, thus lowering your bodyfat percentage.  No, you won't get bulkier doing this, especially not overnight.

 

Original Post by dakatz:

Lol, I'm sorry if I sound condescending, and this is in no way directed at OP, but its sort of cute how so many women on here think they are freaks of nature, able to bulk up overnight and become like the incredible hulk ("omg my muscles got so bulky!") without lifting seriously heavy weights.  Wish I could have the same superpower.  I do heavy squats, deadlifts, lunges, etc. twice a week, and it took me (a mid 20's guy) months of eating a ton and exercising vigorously to build up muscular legs.  What is your secret?? :)

 

Right??

So, I figure it's because women have different ideas of "bulky." I definitely don't think of Jillian Michael, or her thighs, as huge with rippling muscle. Sometimes I daydream about being airy, waifish and light. Then I snap out of it and realize I could easily carry every single family member out of my house in a fire, should the need arise (or fight off a flock of zombies).

And I don't think many people understand what the word "literally" means.

There has never been a time in my life that I've been smaller than I was the first time I followed a lifting program. Did it happen immediately? Nope. It took about 6 months but I looked (and still do) good. Cool

#4  
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Original Post by bierorama:

Original Post by dakatz:

Lol, I'm sorry if I sound condescending, and this is in no way directed at OP, but its sort of cute how so many women on here think they are freaks of nature, able to bulk up overnight and become like the incredible hulk ("omg my muscles got so bulky!") without lifting seriously heavy weights.  Wish I could have the same superpower.  I do heavy squats, deadlifts, lunges, etc. twice a week, and it took me (a mid 20's guy) months of eating a ton and exercising vigorously to build up muscular legs.  What is your secret?? :)

 

Right??

So, I figure it's because women have different ideas of "bulky." I definitely don't think of Jillian Michael, or her thighs, as huge with rippling muscle. Sometimes I daydream about being airy, waifish and light. Then I snap out of it and realize I could easily carry every single family member out of my house in a fire, should the need arise (or fight off a flock of zombies).

And I don't think many people understand what the word "literally" means.

There has never been a time in my life that I've been smaller than I was the first time I followed a lifting program. Did it happen immediately? Nope. It took about 6 months but I looked (and still do) good.

Yeah, in this case, it was just a matter of someone seeing something that wasn't actually there.  Trust me, we've all been there.  I remember when I was first starting my weight training and muscle gain.  I would flex in the mirror the day after a workout and thought I had gotten bigger and stronger (impossible to accomplish overnight).  OP did the same thing I did, and saw something that wasn't there.  While our attitudes toward it obviously differed (it boosted my confidence and made me happier, even though it was entirely fictional), in the end, we both were guilty of the same thing.

Where are you in your monthly cycle?? I bet the jeans are tight because you gained water weight and you are at the point in your cycle not because you started doing weights. 

 

Well usually "that time of the month" starts for me around the 20th, and it's only the 6th. I think that's a good point though. Maybe the medications I'm taking or some other factor are making me retain water/sodium. Thank you to everyone who has posted, I really appreciate it. I can definitely see now that I didn't gain a bunch of muscle, and that in fact weight training and resistance will help me in the long run prevent lean muscle mass loss. 

 

Original Post by dakatz:

Lol, I'm sorry if I sound condescending, and this is in no way directed at OP, but its sort of cute how so many women on here think they are freaks of nature, able to bulk up overnight and become like the incredible hulk ("omg my muscles got so bulky!") without lifting seriously heavy weights.  Wish I could have the same superpower.  I do heavy squats, deadlifts, lunges, etc. twice a week, and it took me (a mid 20's guy) months of eating a ton and exercising vigorously to build up muscular legs.  What is your secret?? :)

Ok, obviously I'm just kidding, and needed to get that out of my system.  Now, to seriously address OP: That isn't muscle gain.  You can't gain muscle overnight.  Even the most disciplined of weight lifters can only gain muscle at a rate of about .5 lbs per week (and that is if you are eating well over your calorie maintenance, and lifting vigorously multiple times a week).  No 5-7 lb weights will cause you to gain muscle weight, especially not in the short-term.  Sounds like you just put on some water weight (which is temporary).  You didn't actually change your body composition and you didn't put muscle onto your legs overnight.  That doesn't happen since that isn't how muscle building works.

If you goal is to lose fat, you should absolutely be lifting weights.  That helps ensure that the weight you lose is fat, as opposed to lean mass.  The dumbest thing people can do when losing weight is to just do cardio and diet.  That makes them lose lean mass along with the fat.  So when they reach a healthy weight, they still have a high bodyfat percentage, and often look soft (what we call "skinny fat").  By combining in weight training, you preserve your lean mass, while losing fat, thus lowering your bodyfat percentage.  No, you won't get bulkier doing this, especially not overnight.

 

this ^

girl you wont bulk up unless you take steroids. xD Ive been lifting heavy for about three years and im the opposite of bulky...

Original Post by zombers:

girl you wont bulk up unless you take steroids. xD Ive been lifting heavy for about three years and im the opposite of bulky...

yes, yes! I squat 8-10 reps of 125 lbs,  and I doubt anyone would call me "bulky"

 

(not that 125 is record breaking -- I'm sure my record is pathetic compared to other people's... but I'm hoping to increase that this year!!)

Also, here's a good link that addresses myth of female weight lifting/'bulky' thing:

http://muffintop-less.tumblr.com/post/3723630 3010/3-weight-lifting-myths-debunked-myth-wei ght

#10  
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Original Post by cwood26:

Original Post by zombers:

girl you wont bulk up unless you take steroids. xD Ive been lifting heavy for about three years and im the opposite of bulky...

yes, yes! I squat 8-10 reps of 125 lbs,  and I doubt anyone would call me "bulky"

 

(not that 125 is record breaking -- I'm sure my record is pathetic compared to other people's... but I'm hoping to increase that this year!!)

125 lb squat is pretty damn good for a woman.  Honestly, given most womens aversion to weight lifting, the fact that you squat consistently is admirable.  The fact that you do it consistently heavy is excellent.  In my gym, it is the select few women who squat, deadlift, shoulder press, etc. who have the toned and sexy physiques (lo and behold, none of them are "bulky" at all).  

#11  
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Or you can do what i do is just stick to strict calorie limit and do nothing but cardio until you lose that 10 lbs THEN get back to lifting..just an idea :) it might make you feel that much more motivated to stick with it..but it sounds like your going to get tone regardless
#12  
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Original Post by Jasonml4:

Or you can do what i do is just stick to strict calorie limit and do nothing but cardio until you lose that 10 lbs THEN get back to lifting..just an idea :) it might make you feel that much more motivated to stick with it..but it sounds like your going to get tone regardless

That isn't at all a good idea.  That pretty much ensures that much of that 10 lb loss will be lean mass.  The goal should be fat loss, not "weight loss".  Whenever weight loss (which is really just another way of saying "fat loss" since its not like people actually desire to lose lean body mass) weight training should be a part of the routine.  

 

Original Post by dakatz:

Original Post by cwood26:

Original Post by zombers:

girl you wont bulk up unless you take steroids. xD Ive been lifting heavy for about three years and im the opposite of bulky...

yes, yes! I squat 8-10 reps of 125 lbs,  and I doubt anyone would call me "bulky"

 

(not that 125 is record breaking -- I'm sure my record is pathetic compared to other people's... but I'm hoping to increase that this year!!)

125 lb squat is pretty damn good for a woman.  Honestly, given most womens aversion to weight lifting, the fact that you squat consistently is admirable.  The fact that you do it consistently heavy is excellent.  In my gym, it is the select few women who squat, deadlift, shoulder press, etc. who have the toned and sexy physiques (lo and behold, none of them are "bulky" at all).  

I love squatting! I can do 200 pounds on a good day, but thats rare because of my dumb back. #truth I can only dead lift around 100 because my small little hands and back problems haha. And I love the feeling of lunging with a 60 pound bar on my back! I love heavy lifting I dislike poly-whatever its called and all that.

#14  
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Original Post by zombers:

Original Post by dakatz:

Original Post by cwood26:

Original Post by zombers:

girl you wont bulk up unless you take steroids. xD Ive been lifting heavy for about three years and im the opposite of bulky...

yes, yes! I squat 8-10 reps of 125 lbs,  and I doubt anyone would call me "bulky"

 

(not that 125 is record breaking -- I'm sure my record is pathetic compared to other people's... but I'm hoping to increase that this year!!)

125 lb squat is pretty damn good for a woman.  Honestly, given most womens aversion to weight lifting, the fact that you squat consistently is admirable.  The fact that you do it consistently heavy is excellent.  In my gym, it is the select few women who squat, deadlift, shoulder press, etc. who have the toned and sexy physiques (lo and behold, none of them are "bulky" at all).  

I love squatting! I can do 200 pounds on a good day, but thats rare because of my dumb back. #truth I can only dead lift around 100 because my small little hands and back problems haha. And I love the feeling of lunging with a 60 pound bar on my back! I love heavy lifting I dislike poly-whatever its called and all that.

A women squatting 200 lbs?! Thats really incredible, and very rare.  Even the women in my gym who do the big compound lifts like squats, deadlifts, bench press, etc. don't crank it up to 200 lbs (or at least I've never seen them try).  Again, its a shame that more women don't understand that weight lifting with compound lifts often is the secret to a more defined, "toned", and appealing phyisique.

Zombers- you should do exercises for your glutes. I used to have back problems if I tried to get past my 1RM- and ever since I started training my gluteus- no problems at all. Training your glutes will take some of the work away from your back. I do weighted hip thrusts, reverse hypers, kettlebell swings, single leg deadlifts.

Original Post by dakatz:

Original Post by cwood26:

Original Post by zombers:

girl you wont bulk up unless you take steroids. xD Ive been lifting heavy for about three years and im the opposite of bulky...

yes, yes! I squat 8-10 reps of 125 lbs,  and I doubt anyone would call me "bulky"

 

(not that 125 is record breaking -- I'm sure my record is pathetic compared to other people's... but I'm hoping to increase that this year!!)

125 lb squat is pretty damn good for a woman.  Honestly, given most womens aversion to weight lifting, the fact that you squat consistently is admirable.  The fact that you do it consistently heavy is excellent.  In my gym, it is the select few women who squat, deadlift, shoulder press, etc. who have the toned and sexy physiques (lo and behold, none of them are "bulky" at all).  

Thanks!! I'm working on it  :)

In the last few months ( since September) I had quit going to the gym and lifting heavy- the only cardio per se I do is walking my dog 1.5 miles a day.  I wasn't eating any less and wasn't eating any more than I was when weight lifting- what has happened to me

I gained 10 lbs but worst is the fact I went from a size 4 pant to size 10's.  My size 8's give me so many marks on my gut and even my groin area they are painful to wear.  It is totally depressing.  

I will be going back to the gym and last Sunday when I went I wasn't able to lift nearly 1/2 of what I had done before.  I am flabby, soft and my muscle mass lost and fat gained.

I can only say NEVER stop lifting weights.  Muscle mass is leaner- makes you look thinner.  

I also know from previous experience that water retention after lifting weights adds a good 3- 5 lbs on me within 24- 48 hours.  After a few weeks though and once the body adjusts to your heavy lifting routines, this water weight doesn't seem to be as bad.

 

#18  
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Catz, at one point I was doing lifting along with cardio but that doesn't go so well with me because I like to see results on the scale. So I stopped lifting and just stuck with cardio. But after I drop a substantial amount of weight, ill add it back because I KNOW it's best to. I just have to get rid of my belly first and gain some stamina back. So I was just suggesting take the lifting out of routine for a little while, just because I know it makes me feel better about myself. but like I said, whether cardio and/or lifting, there will be results regardless as long as your being true to your diet and staying committed to exercise.
Original Post by smashley23:

Zombers- you should do exercises for your glutes. I used to have back problems if I tried to get past my 1RM- and ever since I started training my gluteus- no problems at all. Training your glutes will take some of the work away from your back. I do weighted hip thrusts, reverse hypers, kettlebell swings, single leg deadlifts.

Hmm maybe I should try more glutes! I try to work every part of the leg/bootay

 

 

Original Post by dakatz:

Original Post by zombers:

Original Post by dakatz:

Original Post by cwood26:

Original Post by zombers:

girl you wont bulk up unless you take steroids. xD Ive been lifting heavy for about three years and im the opposite of bulky...

yes, yes! I squat 8-10 reps of 125 lbs,  and I doubt anyone would call me "bulky"

 

(not that 125 is record breaking -- I'm sure my record is pathetic compared to other people's... but I'm hoping to increase that this year!!)

125 lb squat is pretty damn good for a woman.  Honestly, given most womens aversion to weight lifting, the fact that you squat consistently is admirable.  The fact that you do it consistently heavy is excellent.  In my gym, it is the select few women who squat, deadlift, shoulder press, etc. who have the toned and sexy physiques (lo and behold, none of them are "bulky" at all).  

I love squatting! I can do 200 pounds on a good day, but thats rare because of my dumb back. #truth I can only dead lift around 100 because my small little hands and back problems haha. And I love the feeling of lunging with a 60 pound bar on my back! I love heavy lifting I dislike poly-whatever its called and all that.

A women squatting 200 lbs?! Thats really incredible, and very rare.  Even the women in my gym who do the big compound lifts like squats, deadlifts, bench press, etc. don't crank it up to 200 lbs (or at least I've never seen them try).  Again, its a shame that more women don't understand that weight lifting with compound lifts often is the secret to a more defined, "toned", and appealing phyisique.

Haha more like a 115 pound 15 year old! I can only do like 8 reps though, and Im sure form isn't /perfect/ but I can do it. I love lifting to full capacity, it makes me feel like Im not wasting my time. xD

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