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Ladies, a Little Help Please?
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defenderofTruth
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Join date: Sep 2010
Posts: 122

Here's the problem:

My wife has lost all but the remaining 5lbs from our last child. She likes the weight, but hates where it is (a little roll on her stomach). She is bordering on too thin, so she wants to gain weight in a healthy, balanced way (i.e. not bulk up, not blow up).

My suggestions, with my 15 years training experience and education in exercise science, is to begin a more strategic hypertrophy training program, while eating more (balanced and strategically of course). However, I'm not sure if that will do what she wants.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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Doc L
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Join date: Jul 2008
Posts: 632

defenderofTruth wrote:
with my 15 years training experience and education in exercise science....


???

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defenderofTruth
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Join date: Sep 2010
Posts: 122

Doc L:

OK, that may seem confusing. My professional background is in education, but I have been training for 15 years, and was preparing to take the CSCS exam five years ago (and since have fallen out of the loop in terms of up-to-date info). My training and exercise background has focused on preparing athletes for their particular sport, not general conditioning or figure shaping/bodybuilding. Trying to get bigger, stronger, and faster is not the same as buiding a better figure (duh). I need help with setting forth a program that will enable her to meet her goals, which I am relatively inexperienced with.

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Nikki9591
Level 1

Join date: Jul 2010
Posts: 6246

defenderofTruth wrote:
Trying to get bigger, stronger, and faster is not the same as buiding a better figure (duh).


So, muscle hypertrophy and increased strength isn't building a better figure?

I'll just skip that.
Gee Mr. 15+ years, some stats of the wife will be great.
Height, weight, BF %... YOUR opinion of her being "thin already" doesn't help much.

If she's like 3% BF, then gain weight definetely. But if she's around 20% and WANTS to lose the weight, then that's all that matters and just help her do it.

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Rodimus Black
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Join date: Nov 2006
Posts: 5049

Wow...you're a mean one, Miss Nikki! LOL. Almost afraid to post my question here in MS!

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C-Bear
Level 4

Join date: Aug 2009
Posts: 80

defenderofTruth wrote:
Here's the problem:

My wife has lost all but the remaining 5lbs from our last child. She likes the weight, but hates where it is (a little roll on her stomach). She is bordering on too thin, so she wants to gain weight in a healthy, balanced way (i.e. not bulk up, not blow up).

My suggestions, with my 15 years training experience and education in exercise science, is to begin a more strategic hypertrophy training program, while eating more (balanced and strategically of course). However, I'm not sure if that will do what she wants.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
It's amusing when women are afraid that they'll "bulk up" weight training. Unless they're juicing and taking in serious calories, women just don't have the physical constitution to bulk. Blow up? Sure, but that's a calorie vs. training issue.

She can't spot reduce, especially if she's already thin. She might also have to accept that child bearing is a body changing experience and some the effects just aren't going to be reversed.

Nonetheless, I find women's bodies do seem to respond especially well to Crossfit-style workouts, in terms of fat loss and lean muscle tissue gain. Might want to look into it.

I'd also seriously consider putting her on 5/3/1. Women, in my opinion, should train no differently than men -- both in style and intensity -- if they want meaningful changes to their physiques.

Either approach with a sensible, not very restrictive clean eating program should help significantly toward preferred body composition.

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Nikki9591
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Join date: Jul 2010
Posts: 6246

Beast27195 wrote:
Wow...you're a mean one, Miss Nikki! LOL. Almost afraid to post my question here in MS!


Oh c'mon, he said that getting bigger and stronger is not the same as building a better figure ("duh")

I wonder what kind of figure I'm building in the gym... probably a worse one :(
Damn hypertrophy and strength.

You can ask your question, I'll turn my head :P

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defenderofTruth
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Join date: Sep 2010
Posts: 122

Nikki,

You asked: 5'10" 124lbs, <7% BF. Prior to kid 1,she was 120 and <5%. Losing the four pounds will come as a result of using the stored fat to fuel her muscles. Then, the issue is gaining weight...not an easy thing for her to do.

As for your snark, I will accept it because I see your point, and I will call you out on it. The mere act of prolonged training will inevitably bring forth strength gains and some size increases, that is undeniable. However, the type of training regimen one engages in are based on their goals and their body types. You cannot say that an offensive lineman who gets bigger and stronger (goes from 300lbs to 325lbs and add 30lbs to their bench) is necessarily building a better figure. No, he is increasing his competitive edge for his particular sport. My experience and the experience of those I learned under has been increasing athletic performance on the field of play, not shaping their figure. Thus, what I said is accurate, including the "(duh)". If you need further evidence, you don't need to go much further than any picture of Tony Siragusa, former defensive tackle with the Baltimore Ravens http://3.bp.blogspot.com/...y-siragusa.jpg.

C-Bear,
To be clear, my wife's biggest fear in training is turning into a female bodybuilder (not that there is anything wrong with that, its just not what she wants). The reason is that she is, for want of a better term, a "hard-gainer". Because of her high metabolism, her body has a tendency to utilize all the nutrients or get rid of them...storing excess nutrients as fat is, apparently, something her body doesn't like to do. Thus her fear: by engaging in hypertrophy while not storing the fat she needs to be a little more healthy (correct me if I am wrong, but for women the BF% should be between 15-20%, right?), in effect, she'll look like a female bodybuilder. Now, I can design a periodized training program to limit "bulking" but the main issue I am having is balanced weight gain (which is a tall order, when one considers that how fat is stored is genetically programmed) so that rather than getting fat (blowing up) she goes from skinny (her term) to slender (also her term).

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debraD
Level 1

Join date: Jul 2008
Posts: 7364

Wait, you're saying she is less than 7% bodyfat and she used to be 5%? Where did you get the bodyfat percentages, because they seem impossibly low.

I'd put myself (and just a guess) in my avatar at 18% give or take a percent or two.

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defenderofTruth
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Join date: Sep 2010
Posts: 122

Those were from her doctor, but I am unsure if they were caliper measurements or simply best guesses. Like I said, she's thin. At any rate, she's definitely less than 10, and her doctor has encouraged her to gain weight. But that is the issue...its hard for her to gain balanced, healthy weight (as in increased muscle mass, not large amounts of stored fatty deposits in unslightly places).

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Nikki9591
Level 1

Join date: Jul 2010
Posts: 6246

I will like it if you used a female in your response because a football player and the average woman will have different goals, no?
You should know that it's all about diet in terms of bigger and stronger.
300 to 325 lbs in weight gain is about eating more.
Women can get bigger and stronger with a caloric deficit or at maintenance. The results won't be the same of course if they were bulking, but in Figure, not much of those women "bulk".

But I digress, you were talking about figure/bodybuilding, and when I think of that, I think muscle hypertrophy, of course strength gains and LOW BF.
That sounds like a better figure to me.


To gain weight with minimal fat, you eat slightly above maintenance and train.
1 lb weight gain a week is good stuff.

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C-Bear
Level 4

Join date: Aug 2009
Posts: 80

defenderofTruth wrote:
C-Bear,
To be clear, my wife's biggest fear in training is turning into a female bodybuilder (not that there is anything wrong with that, its just not what she wants). The reason is that she is, for want of a better term, a "hard-gainer". Because of her high metabolism, her body has a tendency to utilize all the nutrients or get rid of them...storing excess nutrients as fat is, apparently, something her body doesn't like to do. Thus her fear: by engaging in hypertrophy while not storing the fat she needs to be a little more healthy (correct me if I am wrong, but for women the BF% should be between 15-20%, right?), in effect, she'll look like a female bodybuilder. Now, I can design a periodized training program to limit "bulking" but the main issue I am having is balanced weight gain (which is a tall order, when one considers that how fat is stored is genetically programmed) so that rather than getting fat (blowing up) she goes from skinny (her term) to slender (also her term).
So really what your wife is concerned about is how naturally her body "cuts", and that to her is a bodybuilding look.

I see this as fundamentally a nutrition issue more than anything else, and a luxury of a problem: your wife's body is so efficient at burning or ridding itself of calories rather than storing them that she fears if she trains she'll increase lean muscle tissue without any fat to go with it.

Cry me a river... ;)

As both a female and a hardgainer, it's not as though she's going to add that much muscle no matter how you train her. If she looks to increase fat stores to healthier levels while she trains, she should know the belly pooch not only will not leave, but will increase as overall body fat stores increase.

She'll have to cut it down first before rebuilding with more total body fat, and she'll also have to hope she's not genetically inclined to store more fat over her belly than the rest of her body, or even if she does lose it it'll just return and store there when she attempts to increase body fat percentage.

My instinct is that she'll respond better to a more athletically oriented training regimen over a pure hypertrophy based one, but that ultimately all she needs to do is train in some form -- even more purely cardio based work would be fine to build a functional base from, as well as strip off the last five pounds; then start rebuilding the body composition from there focusing on higher calorie, healthy fat clean eating and see how her body responds, adjusting as necessary.

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defenderofTruth
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Join date: Sep 2010
Posts: 122

Nikki9591 wrote:
I will like it if you used a female in your response because a football player and the average woman will have different goals, no?


Actually, that is why I used a football player. I claimed that the goals of increased strength and size are different from building a better figure. The ultimate goal of any football player is to increase their strength and size. When they meet their goals, you don't exactly get Adonis. Besides, as I mentioned, my experience has been with individuals like the one mentioned (though not nearly as talented or big), not with ladies attempted to build a better figure.

You should know that it's all about diet in terms of bigger and stronger.
300 to 325 lbs in weight gain is about eating more.
Women can get bigger and stronger with a caloric deficit or at maintenance. The results won't be the same of course if they were bulking, but in Figure, not much of those women "bulk".


It's not just about diet. A true novice will notice hypertrophy and strength increase to some degree after 6-8 weeks of training, and seeing as muscle tissue weighs more than fat tissue, they will gain weight. Once the "novice" has been training for 6-8 weeks, it becomes more specialized based on goals. We all know (or should) that maximum growth is with high volumes of 4-7 reps (or 5-8 according to some...I consider anything over 6 to "toning"), while maximum strength is obtained with sets of 1-3 reps. You will not get the same size results in a strength phase as you will in a hypertrophy phase.

But I digress, you were talking about figure/bodybuilding, and when I think of that, I think muscle hypertrophy, of course strength gains and LOW BF.

That sounds like a better figure to me.


There it is! Almost my entire experience with training has been with guys (and some women) who just want to get big, strong, and fast to knock the snot out of their opponent (I did have one guy who switched from performance enhancement to physique enhancement, but only for about 4 months until he graduated). Thus, when I think of hypertrophy, I think in those terms, whilst figure athletes are not necessarily focused with PRs in particular lifts (they may be, and that's awesome, but that was not in my preconception) or how huge their arms or leg are getting.




To gain weight with minimal fat, you eat slightly above maintenance and train.
1 lb weight gain a week is good stuff.


Like when your in your second trimester :)

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defenderofTruth
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Join date: Sep 2010
Posts: 122

C-Bear wrote:
So really what your wife is concerned about is how naturally her body "cuts", and that to her is a bodybuilding look.

I see this as fundamentally a nutrition issue more than anything else, and a luxury of a problem: your wife's body is so efficient at burning or ridding itself of calories rather than storing them that she fears if she trains she'll increase lean muscle tissue without any fat to go with it.

Cry me a river... ;)


Its funny you say that because my wife hates when people comment on her weight, because its been a source of discontent her entire life. Healthwise, it hasn't always been a good thing, either.

As both a female and a hardgainer, it's not as though she's going to add that much muscle no matter how you train her. If she looks to increase fat stores to healthier levels while she trains, she should know the belly pooch not only will not leave, but will increase as overall body fat stores increase.

She'll have to cut it down first before rebuilding with more total body fat, and she'll also have to hope she's not genetically inclined to store more fat over her belly than the rest of her body, or even if she does lose it it'll just return and store there when she attempts to increase body fat percentage.

My instinct is that she'll respond better to a more athletically oriented training regimen over a pure hypertrophy based one, but that ultimately all she needs to do is train in some form -- even more purely cardio based work would be fine to build a functional base from, as well as strip off the last five pounds; then start rebuilding the body composition from there focusing on higher calorie, healthy fat clean eating and see how her body responds, adjusting as necessary.


Thanks--I knew I'd find someone with some experience with a "hard-gainer". Incidentally, I started her on a simple circuit routine of complex movements (three different circuits per workout) with increasing volume over 6 weeks. At her request (and against my wishes) I have substituted lunges for squats (which she loaths). At the same time, she is cutting back on what she eats and we are attempting to implement some sort of aerobic activity (which is hard because I work 14 hours a day and someone's gotta watch the three rug-rats while she is out running around the city).

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