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"Shaping" your body


Welcome to the EliteFitness.com Bodybuilding Site! Please join this discussion about "Shaping" your body within the Women's Fitness (Female Bodybuilding and Training) category.

Excerpt: The title is misleading, but I have a question about the possibility of changing symmetry when cutting. So, the chances of gaining LBM whilst cutting are miniscule to none, as a natty, right? Therefore, the parts of my body that were not well developed before I started cutting, are going to remain exactly that - undeveloped, right? The only thing about the shape of my body that will change as I diet is that fat will come off - and my muscles will show through, thus my hips, waist, etc will

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  1. #1
    Elite Bodybuilder SteelWeaver's Avatar
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    "Shaping" your body

    The title is misleading, but I have a question about the possibility of changing symmetry when cutting. So, the chances of gaining LBM whilst cutting are miniscule to none, as a natty, right? Therefore, the parts of my body that were not well developed before I started cutting, are going to remain exactly that - undeveloped, right?

    The only thing about the shape of my body that will change as I diet is that fat will come off - and my muscles will show through, thus my hips, waist, etc will LOOK smaller in relation to shoulders, but shoulders will NOT actually GROW bigger. Is this correct?

    So the enormous amount of energy that I am currently expending in the gym, at high intensity, is serving simply to prevent the breakdown of muscle tissue, but will not result in growth?

    If that's true, I have to say, it's very depressing.

    Is it true?

  2. #2
    Pro Bodybuilder Gladiola's Avatar
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    "serving simply to prevent the breakdown of muscle tissue"

    Umm, I think so. Not 100% sure as I'm not a Master-degreed exercise physiologist or nuttin'

    But... the energy you expend in the gym is also helping you to burn calories & keep your metabolism revved up - to help you burn that fat (in addition to the preservation thing) - right? So the preservation isn't the *only* purpose.

    Plus there's that whole mental aspect.... I'm known to get "pissy" when I can't hit the iron It's quite key to my mental health... aside from my physical health & appearance.

  3. #3
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    Okay, maybe I am one of the few then. I'm natural and I've been cutting since August and averaging losing fat at about the same rate I'm GAINING muscle. I'm thinking it is due to my particular diet (not much below maintenance calories) and my genetics. Perhaps length of time training too? It'll be two years in March that I've been weight lifting so not very long I guess. But anyway, I'm in no hurry to lose the fat, I prefer to do it nice and slow so as not to lose ANY muscle mass and as such, I've actually been GAINING muscle mass WHILE losing fat. I started at 22% body fat in August and as of Jan. 11th was 17% body fat altho I did make it to 16.6% before Thanksgiving, the holidays really set me back. And again, losing the fat but actually gaining muscle. So I just had to step in here and say, nope! I'm natural and I'm doing it. Hope I can keep it up til I reach my goal of 12%! If anybody cares to throw out any explanations, feel free!

  4. #4
    Pro Bodybuilder Gladiola's Avatar
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    Hey... I've really been meaning to paste this to it's own thread... but here it is now.

    The below is cut & pasted from a friend of mine who is a Physical Therapist, Master's degree in exercise physio, certified Personal Trainer with NSCA & was just published in their journal. It all seems sound to me & I definitely think genetics are a factor... i.e. some ppl may be able to simulateously burn fat & build muscle at 17% while others could not.

    ************************************************
    As to the claim that once the 17% body fat level is reached, muscle won't be built and fat won't be burned naturally (meaning without supplements), I haven't ever heard this specifically. There would be something to the statement, I think, based
    on the body's survival/starvation mechanism. Bodyfat storage ensures survival in a situation where there are very few calories being eaten. Muscle is metabolically active, so in times of perceived food shortage, the body will catabolize muscle both
    for nourishment and for slowing metabolism (to be able to last longer on restricted calories). This is the reason that severely restricting calories to lose weight is counterproductive--body goes into starvation mode, stores everything it can as fat
    and burns muscle to feed itself. It would make sense that once the body fat level drops to the point that the body perceives itself to be starving, it would hold onto as much fat as possible and resist increasing the more metabolically active muscle mass.

    Do I think it's impossible to continue to lose fat and gain muscle at this point? No. I think it will be much slower going and that the variables with exercise and diet will have to be carefully manipulated. You will have to consume enough calories to prevent the body perceiving a starvation situation. You may have to accept plateaus in your fat loss/muscle gain for short periods until the body adjusts and realizes that it isn't being starved. Cardio training may have to drop to a lower intensity for a longer duration and strength training may have to be preceeded by a modified carb loading type diet--both training modifications to
    prevent glycogen depletion and to maximize fat contribution to fueling the exercise. Remember though, this last paragraph is my theory only.

  5. #5
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    Good post Gladiola. Yeah, and I aim to keep "tricking" my body into burning fat and building muscle. My cals are only 200-300 below my maintenance calories so apparently I haven't alarmed my body and made it think it's starving, so that's good. I will just have to try and keep it up. My cals fluctuate from 2100-2400 depending on my activity level. I generally eat enough cals to not feel like I'm starving and only to the point of just feeling a little hungry or like I COULD eat most of the time. I must be doing something right! 12% here I come!

  6. #6
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    "tricking" my body into burning fat and
    building muscle. My cals are only 200-300 below my maintenance calories so
    apparently I haven't alarmed my body and made it think it's starving, so that's good. I
    will just have to try and keep it up. My cals fluctuate from 2100-2400 depending on my
    activity level. I generally eat enough cals to not feel like I'm starving and only to the
    point of just feeling a little hungry or like I COULD eat most of the time.

    cheetarah...do u mean that u eat just enough at each meal so that your not full, but ready to eat again in 2 hours? how are u tricking your body?
    also how much do you weigh? 2400cals looks like a lot to me..

  7. #7
    Elite Bodybuilder SteelWeaver's Avatar
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    Thank you ladies. Indeed, "shrinkage" is occurring, but so far is only making me look better. However, B'mom - I think you have a very good point on legs there - my legs are not bulky or chunky to start with - I think they are going to look rather stick-like on stage. But luckily, my upper body isn't too bad in relation. I WAS kind of hoping my legs would grow more, but, oh well, post-comp there will be time ...

  8. #8
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    Originally posted by rez

    cheetarah...do u mean that u eat just enough at each meal so that your not full, but ready to eat again in 2 hours? how are u tricking your body? also how much do you weigh? 2400cals looks like a lot to me..
    Yes, I eat just enough so that I'm not hungry anymore but not actually full either and in another 2-3 hours I'm getting really hungry again. What I mean by "tricking" my body is just that, the body, especially women with our estrogen, does NOT want to burn fat, it would rather burn carbs and amino acids. So in a sense you have to trick your body into burning the stored fats for energy so that the glycogen and amino acids are spared leaving them free to build muscle instead. There is actually a book out that I've been meaning to get called "Outsmarting the Female Fat Cell" that I'm sure explains it better and tells how to "trick" your body into using stored fat for energy instead of glycogen and aminos. I believe that losing fat, especially for women, is all about insulin control and tricking our bodies into burning stored fat for fuel. It's difficult to do, more for some than others depending on genetics. I tend to put on muscle fairly easily but I also have a hard time losing the fat.

    As far as my stats go, I'm 5'5" 140 lbs 17% body fat last I checked on 11 Jan (I'm due to have my bf checked again). Besides putting on muscle fairly easily, I've also come to the conclusion that I have a pretty fast metabolism, based on how much less 90% of other women my same size eat. Yes, I CUT on 2100 - 2400 calories! My maintenance calories are somewhere around 2500 - 2700 calories, that's how much I can eat and I STILL keep the same weight, with the exception of the 2-3 lbs of water weight I always gain when I increase my carbs. Does that explain things any better?

  9. #9
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    Wow Cheetarah,
    I wish I could eat 2000 cals. I eat 6 meals a day and have around 1300 cals and am only seeing very minor results.

    I can't wait until I can see my "skinny" legs They look pretty big to me now (he, he).

    I guess as the diet starts working and the fat comes off I will finally stop complaining about my big a$$ and legs!

  10. #10
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    I know I'll be able to up my calories soon.
    Right now I have to get my LBM up so that my muscle can speed my metabolism.

    I know it'll happen.
    I'm just learning to be patient!

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