I am female, 26, 163 lbs (11.5 stone), 5 ft 10 in and I have been paleo for 4 months. Only recently (last 2 months) I have started weight training. The stats I gave you are the current stats, I have, since starting weight training, increased weight according to my scales. I am not bothered too much by that, I don't know how you are meant to figure out what your ideal body weight is. According to the scales in one month (from November to December) I lost 5% body fat (then 20%) and gained 4% muscle mass (then 46%) - this led to the increase in overall body weight. As I said, the weight gain doesn't bother me too much but what I do want to know is, should I be concerned? I know nothing about weight training and what to expect but I expected that I would lose body fat, perhaps gain muscle (if I was in a calorie excess which I didn't think I was) and look more athletic, dare I say it, 'toned'. I just think I am getting bigger without looking like I am working out, I don't have defined muscles. I just feel bigger/fatter/big boned which is why it was a surprise when I saw I had lost body fat!
The stats are taken from scales which apprently can measure body fat (I realise I should probably take this with a pinch of salt but as long as I keep using the same scales then I can use it as reference). My stomach looks flatter but it also, I think, looks thicker. I feel I am undegoing body recomp but not in a fat loss, "waow you look athletic and toned" but in a "Ooooh isn't she curvy and with hips" I have never had hips before but now I do! I don't mind at all but I would loike to have lower BF and look like I am muscular/defined muscles/flatter, bikini body. I think fat is just moving round my body.
Can anyone shed any light? Is this natural? Is it normal to gain weight then lose it perhaps?
My weight training consists of 2/3 times a week of: Squats, bench press, military press, deadlifts, pendlay rows and most of the time finish with ketllebell swings, planks and bridges. I do it 5 reps, 5 repeats.
asked byRebecca_L (637)
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on January 23, 2013
at 09:17 PM
I'm under the impression that bulking and then leaning out is common, especially among the ladies. As your build muscle underneath your fat layers you will appear more bulky, then as you lose the fat you will lean out and that's when your toned body becomes visible. Obviously, no hard and fast on this one, but it's definitely not unheard of or anything to be concerned about.
on January 23, 2013
at 11:28 PM
I began weight training about 2 months ago as well. I initially gained 2 lbs and now have lost a total of 4 lbs. More important is that I am measuring myself as well - when I had gotten back down to my original weight I had lost more than an inch around my waist and hips even though I felt that I looked the same. Only now am I starting to see the difference in my body and feeling that I look "toned". We definitely build muscle before losing fat and it will take time to see the toning but little by little it will happen and it will be a more permanent change. I felt the process also sped up once I mixed cardio and weight training. I start with 10 min. cardio to get my heart rate up - then some weights, then 4 min. cardio then more weights, repeat. I also finish every workout with some Yoga to help lengthen rather than bulk up my muscles. Since starting that routine I have lost 4lbs from original weight and am excited to get to my next measuring date. Also, my husband is jealous of my new "guns" which I show off at parties now! :P
on January 23, 2013
at 09:45 PM
I would advice you to ditch those scales as they are very inaccurate, especially as you get leaner (20% is quite lean for a woman), and continue weight training and paleo - it's the best combination for ideal body and health. Your muscles are retaining more water now that you are training heavily, that makes the difference but it will diminish with time. And then accompanying fatloss will help to show off more muscle. Although dialling in some nutrition might be required for that.
I have been weight training for 3 years now, for 2 of them 4 times a week on pretty intense and heavy programs (given to me by my PT with an aim to gain muscle). I supplement and eat very high protein and haven't gained more than a few % of muscle - my trainer measures my fat % using calipers at 12 sites (not the most accurate measure either). AT the same time the difference in body composition is pretty amazing - I feel 'toned', my muscles are much more defined. Best thing I ever did for myself :D
We just don't have enough testosterone to build significant amont of muscle (unless you are 1 out of a 100 exception). Men have at least 10 times more and even they would struggle to build muscle on 2-3 times a weel training regimen.
on February 25, 2013
at 04:28 PM
Well, just an update. I took a picture of myself after this post and a month later, have taken another. I felt I hadn't changed. I couldn't be more wrong. My stomach from the fromnt anyway, has gone through a rather large transformation. I also have more definition in my legs and my love handles are smoothing/tightening up. REally rather pleased to be honest, if a little surprised! I won't spoil the impact effect now but after a few more months I will post an update with a before and after picture. Hopefully I won't screw up along the way.
Cocobean, you were right: I changed my workouts to include a more upper body focus and actually started following the SS program. Currently have the book in my Aamzon basket and I think I am at the stage now where I can justify the expense. My squats are at a weight now where, eventhough it's not body weight, it's heavy enough for bad form to cause injury and I am struggling.
Also, Ruby you were right, 'keep on truckin' was the best medicine!
on January 25, 2013
at 04:48 AM
From what you described as your training routine, it doesn't look like you are doing much in the way of upper body other than military press. Go hard with the delt exercises and try some olympic lifts and chin ups. Your leg muscles are growing, so your hips may look bigger in comparison in the rest of you. Doing HEAVY arm workouts will grow your arms and balance things out. Personally, I used to be more curvy with a smaller waist and big hips. However, I really liked the more athletic look of Crossfit women and female gymnasts with big upper bodies, smaller hips, and wider waists (by wide I mean bigger obliques. not flabby waists). To widen the obliques, do weighted sit ups (more than 10 pounds), weighted mason twists, weighted side bends. However, if you want more of an hourglass shape, avoid the weighted abs or keep them to 10 pounds or lighter.
Also, I would suggest some HIIT about 3x per week. Avoid steady cardio like the elliptical. This only burns calories while you are doing it. HIIT keeps the metabolism engaged. However, walking is always beneficial. Walking with a heavy backpack is great for the muscles too!
Be patient, too! It takes more than 2 months to build substantial muscle!