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help with calves

Discussion in 'Female Health & Fitness' started by stillpics76, Mar 21, 2004.

  1. stillpics76

    stillpics76 Well-Known Member

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    Hello everyone,

    I'm very new to the whole weightlifting arena. I've read several posts on it, but I want to pose a more specific question.

    Here's some background info first:

    I am 27 years old, rather petite at 5'1.5" and 102 lbs, but I fall into the pear-shape category (30.5" bust, 23.5" waist, 35" hips). I've been relatively thin my entire childhood, and it was around the 16 yr-old mark was when my weight seems to shift to my lower half. Getting more curvaceous hips wasn't a bad thing, but my calves seem to balloon to the point where I don't wear shorts or skirts anymore without being so painfully self-conscious. I can't even find boots I can wear since I can never close the zipper. As of yesterday, standing only on one leg, my calf measures 13.75" at the widest part. (I do this as part of calculating my body fat% on healthcentral.com). I have no definition on my calves, and they just look like two large tree trunks attached to my large 8” ankles.

    So my issue is creating more definition in my calves, while hopefully decreasing their size. There seems to be quite a bit of fat hiding the muscles down there. I've read that you can't target fat loss, and you have to lose overall body fat to see some improvement. But someone with an already low bf% of 17.9%, how do I safely achieve my goal? Plus my upper body is pretty thin, I don’t want to get any thinner in that area.

    I've started a more healthy regime, following the 40/40/20 eating ratio, since I don't consider myself healthy to begin with. (I took advantage of my high metabolism and used to eat whatever I wanted). I've also started doing some cardio on an elliptical, pilates, and free weights for my upper body. I'm also trying out what my friends call the “gving-birth” machine to give more definition in my hips. I just don't know what to do with my calves. Will targeting my calves with calf raises, etc. just make the muscles larger without reducing the fat in that area, thereby making my calves that much bigger?

    Does anyone have any advice? :d_confuse
     
  2. HobbesAB

    HobbesAB Well-Known Member

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    Just continue to train and lose the fat. If you don't have much to lose up top, then its going to come off at the calves - it has to come off somewhere especially when you lose a lot. However, don't be surprised if you still lose some up top because you can't spot reduce.

    Life - she is full of compromises like this.
     
  3. chops

    chops Well-Known Member

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    since you have a pretty low bf% already, i think weight training your calves will not meet your goal of them looking less bulky. i think you should work them out to strengthen, but do indirect excercises like running, squats, etc not directly like calf raises. work on balancing out the your upper body like arms and shoulders, back. if you add more muscle to your upper body and reshape it, then your lower body will not appear out of proportion

    not to make light of your concern, but maybe you are overly self conscious of your lower body. your measurements don't sound bad IMO :)
     
  4. Lisa Stone

    Lisa Stone Senior Member
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    I hear you, my calves are big also... I hate them (they are my worst feature I think)... I hope working them out will make them shapelier, but if not... I guess I'll just deal with them :d_mad:
     
  5. stillpics76

    stillpics76 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the responses!

    Yeah, I definitely agree that they're my worst feature as well.

    Everyone seems to have issues with certain parts of their body even when others may not think there needs to be so. It can definitely be a mental thing, but it is a bit disconcerting when I see someone whose much taller and bigger-built than me that has slimmer and more shapely legs. Sometimes mine are twice as large as theirs. Ugh, I can go on and on...

    So just to clarify what's been said so far, it's better to stick to a regiment that doesn't target the calves?
     
  6. Danielle

    Danielle Well-Known Member

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    Hi there,

    I have EXACTLY that opposite problem. I have large thighs but skinny little bow-legged calves and believe me, it isn't pretty! :mad:

    I agree with the chap that said to keep at the cardio to loose the fat, that may help some. The other thing I wanted to mention if you are looking at sculpting without bulking, consider using light weight for long reps like 3X20 or so. This will help develop lean muscle without further bulk. Also, at some point, if your bf is already very low, you may have to accept that some of it's shape is genetics. I know for me, I am working at "bulking" my calves but much of their shape is set. I have to work with what I have.

    Good luck
    Danielle
    :tucool:
     
  7. Chim-Chim

    Chim-Chim Well-Known Member

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    Calves are tricky

    Genetics come into play here. I have thunder thighs and tiny little calves. I am trying to bulk my calves up to that there is some balance. I remember reading a post a while back about muscle building in the legs. One woman was afraid that if she did too many leg excercises that her legs would get even bigger. The overall reply was that it would take A LOT of excersise for her legs to get large. I wouldn't worry about that being a problem.

    Oh! By the way, I have a secret about the boots problem. If you buy a size larger than you normally wear they usually fit around the calf.
     
  8. stillpics76

    stillpics76 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for more words of wisdom.

    I forgot about the whole genetics influence. That could be it. My grandmother has similar trunk-like calves with no definition, just not as big as mine.

    Damn... :d_mad:

    well, I'll keep at it and see what happens. Even if they don't shrink in size, I'll be happy with just a tad more definition. :bb:
     

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