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How to Properly Train the Female Body

Discussion in 'Female Health & Fitness' started by mastover, Jun 9, 2007.

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  1. badgolfer

    badgolfer Well-Known Member

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    Maybe we can like, thumb wrestle or something.
     
  2. Happy Monster

    Happy Monster Well-Known Member

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    I think we are scaring Guava! :lol:
     
  3. guava

    guava Elite Member
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    Can I travel back in time? Pretend I never said anything.

    The issue I was trying to discuss was whether a woman can end up looking bulky without taking steroids, not whether a woman who has a particular amount of muscle is attractive, or looks feminine, or whatever.

    Looking bulky is a subjective thing. I don't think I look bulky, and I think there are thousands of women with more muscle than me who don't look bulky as well. But some women who have been training continuously with heavy weights for several years (and without using steroids) have developed physiques that many "average" women would not aspire to.

    It's embarrassing that so many of the threads on female training end up turning into a discussion on what kinds of women's figures men find attractive (even if I'm the one who brings up the issue in the first place :bang::bang::bang:).
     
  4. badgolfer

    badgolfer Well-Known Member

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    I was just making with the kidding Guava. I don't want to get involved in any debates. :cry:
     
  5. mastover

    mastover Well-Known Member

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    Yes, but the entire issue regarding what a physique "looks" like, whether male or female, is entirely subjective. In one person's eyes guava, you may look big and bulky, the next person finds you the epitome of feminity. Who is right? Judging and opining on someone's physique is subjective. One man's meat, is another man's poison, IOW. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, etc., etc.,...

    As someone who has competed in over 80 bodybuilding contests, I have been "judged" more times than I can count. I'v been told everything from not having enough mass, legs are too big, legs are too small, much too cut, much too small, overdieted, calves are out of proprtion to the quads, quads are out of proportion to the calves, too tall, too short, no pecs, great pecs, and some I can't even remember. Talk about insecurity?? I am the poster child for insecurities and lack of confidence. LOL....Often times, people are absolutely stunned when told I am a competitive bodybuilder. When they are further advised that I am a PRO bodybuilder, well that's when they just can't stop laughing. :lol: At first it was quite a blow to my pride, now I don't even care. :nope: As long as we're happy with what we are accomplishing with our physiques, who cares what anyone else thinks.

    And most importantly, my mother still loves me and that's what really counts. :nod:
     
  6. guava

    guava Elite Member
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    Things would be so much easier if I had the same sense of funny. :D

    Great Article Mastover!

    *Here's a great article by Leigh Peele* found in On Fitness magazine.....


    "Women are really quick to point the finger at heavy weights and say, “You made me bulky!” Well, I hate to be the one to break it to you, ladies, but it’s not the weights’ fault, nor how heavy they are. First though, let’s look at what “bulky” is thought to be.

    You’ve seen photos of women who truly look like men, with their hulking shoulders, grapefruit-size biceps and excessively broad torsos. [highlight]Many of them are on steroids, and others have been eating at a caloric surplus for many years in order to build that mass; muscular development like this cannot occur overnight. [/highlight]

    The second kind of physique you’ve seen consists of noticeable muscular development, but still within the confines of what would be considered feminine—a body like this is more accurately described as very toned, rather than muscled. Muscles do show, but not to the extent that someone might say she looks like a man. This kind of body results from long-term work that is beneath a higher body fat percentage than the steroid woman’s body.

    The third type of physique is the “cut-up” or “ripped” body that you’ve seen in the so-called figure or physique competitions. These are not bodybuilding competitions per se, which is why—in terms of size—these competitors are not huge or manly. However, because these women have dieted down to competition-level body fat (single-digit percentage), every muscle shows. Even muscle striations are visible, not to mention a lot of veins streaking up the arms.

    Now back to the topic of those pesky bulky muscles and what your routine and diet have to do with it. When women complain of bulky muscles, there are usually three main culprits involved: 1) stretching, 2) diet and 3) body fat levels.

    Body fat. In order to see the true definition in the abs, arms and legs, you must be at a low body fat level. Women by nature carry a higher body fat percentage than men. Women should not maintain body fat that’s too low, as it can cause fertility and menstrual problems, just to name a few.

    At a constant maintenance level, women should not go below 12-16 percent body fat (experts are divided on the exact cut-off figure). Now, you may have heard that 22 percent is as low as a woman should go, but women can carry a much lower body fat level than 22 percent in a safe and healthy manner.

    How low or high your body fat percentage is depends on the style of “tone” wanted. If you don’t want veins, then you should not have too low of a body fat percentage. If you want some muscle, but don’t want them undefined and “thick,” then you need a lower body fat percentage.

    Tailoring a look, a lot of times, comes with what body fat percentage you have. This is most true for arms and stomach definition, which is a big concern for a trainee. If you want defined arms, you have to get that body fat low. To do that, you need to have the diet in check. It needs to be clean and pretty dead-on if clients aren’t in the genetically gifted category already.

    Stretching. I am sure if I conducted an actual poll, at least 80 percent of the women I talk to would want the body of a dancer (long, lean, and very good “tone”). If I told you what those dancers did to get those bodies and what you would have to do to get them, your response to me would be, see you later, don’t have the time.

    Just like their talents are achieved over time, the same goes for their bodies. It also doesn’t hurt that their genetics and height play a nice role. Still, this doesn’t mean that a 5’3” 35-year-old woman can’t have long, lean muscle. This doesn’t mean their posture can’t be so perfect that it gives the illusion of extra height and longer legs.

    The key lies in stretching. Ever heard, “Stair climbers make my calves bulky!” or, “I have been working out for three weeks and my thighs are bigger!”? Well as a trainer, I hear it all the time. Mostly it is because these women ignore stretching. Have you, the trainer, asked your female clients how often they stretch? And for how long? Two minutes before bedtime isn’t enough.

    Surrounding muscle tissue is fascia. There are different functions and layers, but two such functions are flexibility and movement. You cannot alter the length of given muscle, but you can reverse the damage created over time from being in a shortened state from day-to-day activities or workout routine.

    Stretching should be placed at the right times depending on workouts. A good guide to follow would be dynamic stretching pre-lifting/cardio and static stretches post lifting/cardio. Self-myofascial release with foam rollers can be done any time, and is one of the best methods for correcting tight and inflamed muscles. It is great to incorporate it at any time, even while just watching TV. The combination of all these styles of stretching will not only give a better overall look to muscles and posture, but will keep protection from injury as well.

    Most trainers don’t spend enough time instructing clients in the art of stretching. “Go stretch after our session” isn’t enough instruction. Trainees need guidance.

    Diet. There is one simple point I have to make: to gain muscle you need a surplus of calories. This means eat more than your body needs for energy in a day. That is what it takes to gain fat; and if lifting, to gain muscle.

    Sometimes, women start lifting to try to spot reduce problem areas, but they don’t do anything about their diet. In some cases, they are eating over their calorie limit anyway (which is what most likely caused the fat gain), and think lifting will help them spot reduce those problem areas. You cannot spot reduce; fat is fat, and it comes off where it decides it wants to.

    If a trainee wants smaller, flatter abs, and then starts doing a lot of abdominal isolation work while taking in surplus calories, then the abdominal area will get bigger. If seeing abdominal definition is the goal, the trainee needs to be in caloric deficit (fewer calories eaten than burned) to lose body fat.

    The diet should be clean and with the proper amount of lean protein, good carbohydrates, and good fat sources. Water intake and sodium levels are also important. Water retention usually rises when starting a workout routine because most people ignore taking in adequate amounts of water. It is easy to mistake a case of water retention for bulky thighs.

    So as a trainer, make sure your clients understand the importance of nutrition and water intake, and how they affect appearance as far as bulky vs. feminine.

    Women should not be afraid of lifting and lifting hard. The world for you does not have to be colored baby dumbbells anymore. Choosing the right program and right diet for your goals is all you need to get the body of your dreams.

    Trainers, if you have women who are wary of those barbell squats, make sure that they know everything they should be doing once you walk away. Take the time at the end of each session and give them a stretching example or some diet tips. Make them aware of these issues and how to keep them on the right track. The more they are thinking of you when they leave, the better their bodies will be and the less they shake a finger at those heavy weights."

    -Leigh Peele
     
  7. Fet

    Fet Active Member

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    LOL. I like your version better, guava.

    It's frustrating when we have to fight that kind of steroid-stereotyping from the outside, but it's even sadder when we have to fight it when it comes from within the lifestyle.
     
  8. Butterflyer

    Butterflyer Well-Known Member

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    Hmmmm, actually the first version was a lot clearer to me. I don't look at pictures of women who've built mass for years *naturally* and see "women who truly look like men". I don't think my friends who know nothing about this would see these 2 women the same way. They might not want to look like the body builder, but they wouldn't think she was a man in a bikini. This is why illustrations are helpful. Perhaps in the real magazine they used photos, but I couldn't find it.

    I don't think the steroid users and natural body builders that have worked for years fit in the same sentence that describes "women who truly look like men". The edited version actually reinforces that stereotype.

    yaxeni-oriquen-pink2.jpg KatRicker.jpg

    The original version of the sentence is simplistic, but at least it *does* describe what you see with steroid use. I've not seen any pictures of women I'm sure are naturals that fit that description with the grapefruit sized biceps. Grapefruits are often bigger than duckpin bowling balls! These 2 women above don't belong grouped in that same sentence.

    This is really getting down to a matter of interpretation while reading. Everyone has different connotations for certain words. Nothing in the original piece really pushed my buttons-- but like I said, more illustrations are necessary. It's better to use a visual approach for a topic that boils down to aesthetics.


    P.S. It just occurred to me why they don't use photos in these articles or name names.... no one wants Ms. Olympia to hunt them down and kick their ass.:nono:

    I will just have to be prepared with an emergency celery stalk dipped in soybean oil that will allow me to pull a David Banner should Ms. Oriquen read this and come after me.
     
    #28 Butterflyer, Jun 12, 2007
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2007
  9. guava

    guava Elite Member
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    :lol:
    I think I was thinking about the Perfect Body Gallery when I read that statement in the article. There were quite a few people who singled out women whom I thought were very feminine-looking (and whom I expect have never used steroids) and said they looked like men.

    I also know of half a dozen or so women on these forums who have stated that they absolutely would not want to look like any of the top figure models because they look too masculine.

    Do you think the woman in the second attachment you posted looks like a man? I have a feeling that a lot of people would say she does.

    I suppose the article reads differently depending on the audience.
     
  10. Butterflyer

    Butterflyer Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I remember statements like that.:nod: Obviously, not everyone thinks those women look manly-- they have their share of male fans, and don't most of them have husbands and such?:confused: There's this grain of salt I have to use a lot, too. It's a big grain of salt.:D

    I don't think Kat Ricker looks at all manly, and she's been a body builder rather than a figure model. She looks too lean to me there, but I know she has to be that way for the contest. I tend to find extreme leanness scarier than muscularity.:) I don't want to look like a figure model myself because a) I'm squeamish about seeing my veins through my translucent pale skin, how would I be able to take seeing the details of my muscles??? and b) I do not have what it takes to do that sort of work to get there. I think it's taken a lot of work to get where I am!:D

    If people knew the work it takes to gain muscle and *really* show it, they wouldn't worry so much. I mean, think of how hard you worked to get where you are. You say you gain muscle easily, and I think I gain muscle comparatively easily, but I think we'd both have to work much harder to look actually masculine. I've worried about looking boyish most of my life, but apparently no one else has gotten confused since I was a little kid with very short hair.

    The women who go for Ms. Olympia know what they're getting into, and they really dedicate their whole lives to getting to that contest, risking their health and everything by taking drugs. They don't get there by doing a full body routine 3 times a week, or even just a 4-day split, so most average weight training women have little to worry about.

    I think every woman who fears looking masculine should do a little reading on doping and what it does to women. It provides some perspective. The East German doping trials-- those women were given hormones that they were told were vitamins, they were completely uninformed about what was happening to them. Their parents didn't know either-- some of the girls were as young as 10. One woman was so changed she ended up having a sex change operation finally-- Heidi/Andreas Krieger.

    It's so much easier to reverse the effects of lifting weights that added an inch or 2 to part of your body.

    I have to say that the only 2 women I've ever run into IRL that people think look masculine are actually quite overweight. :confused: I think that happens with polycystic ovaries, perhaps.:confused:

    I think this is another article by and for professionals in the fitness field, and their idea of women who look like men is probably pretty much steroid users.

    You know, I really think any article that starts off "women! you need to do this!" tends to push a lot of buttons, no matter what.:lol:
     
  11. guava

    guava Elite Member
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    Great points Butterflyer.
    :tu:

    I think what I failed to consider is that the article was referring to the women that the author thinks looks manly, which would be rather large bodybuilders. I was thinking about how the article might make some of the people who were reading it assume that anyone who looks at all masculine in their eyes is automatically on steroids, and I think that's unfortunate.
     
  12. mastover

    mastover Well-Known Member

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    I think genetics must also be accounted for. The role they play upon the human physique goes beyond probably anything else. Example: there are a couple of women in my gym who are runners. They do no weight training. They run on the treadmill and they run outdoors, as well as races. These girls are long and lean with no muscle (their thin legs do have some lean mass), yet they "look" masculine...thin hips, wide shoulders, flat chest. Then there are those women who are 50 lbs. overweight who ONLY do cardio. No weights. They look, well....FAT. Then there are the girls who combine weights with cardio. These girls look feminine. However, it goes back to what I mentioned in a previous post on this thread, it's in the eye of the beholder. The masculine looking runners might look feminine to someone else, and the fat, misguided cardio queens might think they look feminine and wouldn't dream of touching weights for the fear of getting big and bulky :rolleyes:.

    If someone who read this article feels that someone who looks muscular is automatically on steroids, they are not only ignorant to the fitness industry, but are hiding some internal fears as well. These people usually are not only misguided, but have come upon too many preconceived notions as to what can truly be achieved NATURALLY with some hard work, dedication, proper nutrition, and strong human will.

    In any case, I agree with guava and Butterflyer :)
     
  13. Butterflyer

    Butterflyer Well-Known Member

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    :tu:

    I think one of the hardest parts of changing your physique is defining your appearance goals and determining if they are realistic for you. I really enjoy looking at pictures of people in all different categories, it's pretty fascinating.:tucool: I could change my mind every day though, which is why my goals are more health related, I think.:lol:

    I think one of the things I like best that this author did in the article is that she really emphasized stretching, which does get neglected a lot. I have been realizing lately just how little emphasis I've put on stretching.
    :spank::(
     
  14. Zilla

    Zilla Well-Known Member

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    Now that the spittle has cleared in this thread, I'm curious about something.

    Has there every been studies done on groups of women ( following the same diet and same exercise routines) that have been tested for natural testosterone levels?

    Just like physique and body type, I would assume that body chemisty also plays a key role on how women develop muscles and to what extent.
     
  15. tennisball

    tennisball Well-Known Member

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    Yes, of course. Women, in general as a whole, have a statistically and significantly lower testosterone level than men. And of course, those women who have higher testosterone levels have a propensity for muscle hypertrophy. That is why when women inject hormones they are able to grow larger muscles. Studies? I don't know, but it's physiology.

    Also, some female athletes, although rare, test positively for Y chromosomes due to genetic "disorders" and allow some women to put on muscle like men. This has been an issue in the Olympics, specifically.
     
  16. guava

    guava Elite Member
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    I watched a documentary called Supersize She several months ago. I think she mentioned that they do chromosome testing for Miss Olympia and disqualify participants based on that. That competitor did look and sound extremely masculine. I don't remember drugs being discussed during the programming, but according to the thread at T-nation, that territory was covered.

    Obviously, this is the type of woman that the author was talking about.
     
  17. Alana Calloway

    Alana Calloway Active Member

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    Mastover:
    You have a point there because my Neighbor across the street her daughter is a bit on the chunky side and she likes eating Cornbread and French Fries but her parents were both Big but she recently lost her dad from a Heart Attack but she is only 4 years old. But if you talked with her you'd think she was 7 because she is very advanced for her age. But Genetics does play a big role in the way you look in your Female Body I mean I got 36DD Breast from my Dad's sister she was very heavy chested. But yes it does dictate the type of body you're going to end up having depending on what your Dad and Mom had and your Ancestors. Good Post Guave
     
  18. Chameleon

    Chameleon Well-Known Member

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    you and Rockenmama look amazing and you do NOT look like what that article was talking about.... to demonstrate what the article WAS talking about I present this picture

    [​IMG]

    and YES, this is a woman... no, really, it is
     
    #38 Chameleon, Jun 14, 2007
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2007
  19. Queenie

    Queenie Active Member

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    It's all a matter of perspective, isn't it? I know quite a few guys who, when talking about which female athletes are cute, can't really come up with any because they look too "jacked". And these are soccer players, swimmers, track stars, etc, not bodybuilders or "figure competition" competitors. When asked to cite who is hot, they come up with movie stars and maybe dancer/singer types.

    So lifting heavy can absolutlely make a woman bulkier than she wants to be. Depends on how bulky she wants to be. I used to lift heavy and I have to be a little careful if I don't want my arms to get more muscley than I like to look now. I don't know if that's a leftover effect though.

    What is "jacked" exactly, anyway?
     
  20. Inatic

    Inatic Well-Known Member

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    Lift heavy! Bulk is a matter of body fat unless you're doing roids. One can have "sculted" arms, lift heavy and not look like a heman.
     

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