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I Know I've mentioned it here and there, but today I found a reddit submission that really makes the point clear. XD



21/F. 8 month powerlifting progress. (self.Fitness)
submitted 1 year ago * by grapefacemcgeeWeightlifting

Before and after powerlifting photos:




Her story:

I wanted to share with you guys where fitness has brought me over the last half year or so. I know a lot of girls are scared of heavy lifting, and I wanted to share my experience because it's been the best thing for my health, self esteem and aesthetics and it's now not just my passion, but part of my life.
I started getting into fitness the summer of 2012. I started off with typical 'girl' things like yoga, cardio etc. and I wasn't getting results. I lost a bit of weight, but that was mainly through diet. I started doing some research, reading r/fitness and decided to try out strength training.
When I first put a barbell on my back to try to squat, it felt like the world was resting on my shoulders. It was ugly, but I kept at it. I started lifting once a week, then I started realizing that every time I went back, the weight that felt like the world last week, now felt manageable. I did some bastardized once a week version of 'starting stregnth', but I was still getting results. By the end of the summer I had dropped the excess weight that I had and decided to stop losing and start eating to gain muscle. Eventually I got more and more comfortable and started lifting twice a week, then three times.
By about november of 2012, I dedicated myself to strength training and dropped all the other 'crap'. My lifts kept flying up. By January, I started following the Texas Method program.

My lifts went from:
Squat: 65lbs - > 185lbs
Bench: 45lbs - > 120lbs
Deadlift: 65lbs - > 225lbs
My bodyweight went from 115 -> 98lbs (my lowest) -> 110lbs (now).
I've been 5'2 this whole time. Wish that went up, but I'll take what I can get.

Diet:
I forgot to add this in because I don't really follow much of one. I eat until I'm full and just get enough protein. The best thing I've learned in terms of diet is portion sizes and how to estimate calories.
It comes out to about 1500 cals rest day, 2000 cals training days now. When I was first losing weight, I was eating closer to 1200-1500 cals a day.
Supplementation:
I swig fish oil. And use some whey. I'm not a huge fan of stims, but I'll take some caffeine if I'm tired. Keeping it simple for now.

I've joined an olympic lifting team this month now following bulgarian methods and have switched my focus over from powerlifting, but it gave me the base strength and confidence I needed. I didn't turn into the hulk. I became strong.
Please ladies, please. Even if you don't want to be a powerlifter, get strong. Squatting 3x a week isn't going to kill you. For the record, neither is squatting 5x a week.
If I could tell you one thing, it's that consistency will be what determines whether you succeed or fail. Push hard, don't be afraid to fail the weight and just keep at it.
Don't overcomplicate things. Don't try to get everything perfect before you get in the gym. Just lift. And then lift a little more. It's simple, but it's not easy.

Source: 21/F. 8 month powerlifting progress. : Fitness


*And I want to add, the women you see instructing all the fancy boppy cardio classes in workout dvds, they didn't get that hard body from bouncing around with 5 lb weights. They aren't telling you how they got their body, they're just showing it off and making money by leading you to think their video will get you there (it won't). Its all the same muscle that makes your body firmer, no matter how you get it, but you're just not going to get a lot of it from the tired old techniques that people learned in the 80s and 90s (diet coke and aerobics classes.) : P
 

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Thanks for this. I would love a body like hers. I've had a lot of trouble getting in shape since I went on medications for my Bipolar. I'm obsessed with doing a lot of cardio, and I've heard that's the wrong approach. I should probably try what she's been doing. I don't want to spend 5 hours a day working out! (I do have a lot of weight to lose- like half my body mass)
 

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Thanks for this. I would love a body like hers. I've had a lot of trouble getting in shape since I went on medications for my Bipolar. I'm obsessed with doing a lot of cardio, and I've heard that's the wrong approach. I should probably try what she's been doing. I don't want to spend 5 hours a day working out! (I do have a lot of weight to lose- like half my body mass)
Cardio won't change body composition, lifting will. Lifting ends up being the only thing that works for some women who have tried everything.

And yeah, meds can certainly make people gain weight. Its a side-effect of a lot of psychoactive meds, among others.

The comment about not wanting to work out 5 hours a day - yep. The cardio bunnies have to work out a lot more hours than those who lift, because what they're doing is gradually getting down to a very low weight where the tiny amount of muscle mass they build is visible. I have seen before and after photos of women who lift without dieting or doing cardio, and theres a noticeable change sometimes after a few months, dramatic change after several.



Key is, don't let it intimidate you. I learned form mostly from watching youtube videos and I have never injured myself. I'm pretty clumsy and scatterbrained, and certain that if I can manage to not injure myself, yall can manage too. lol XD
 

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^See, what l like in that pic is how it looks like she's more stable than before, not necessarily 'sturdy' or built (not that'd it be bad thing) but you can just sense a physical balance from the inside out.

l lack that naturally and my body is Gumby-like and just doesn't know what to do with itself, and am working on getting it with the lifting l do even though it's been infrequent.

l noticed my core started to develop and some ab tone started showing after about 3 weeks (ab machine), l don't do freeweights or anything for the time being.

Gives me an overall improved sense of being.
 

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^See, what l like in that pic is how it looks like she's more stable than before, not necessarily 'sturdy' or built (not that'd it be bad thing) but you can just sense a physical balance from the inside out.

l lack that naturally and my body is Gumby-like and just doesn't know what to do with itself, and am working on getting it with the lifting l do even though it's been infrequent.

l noticed my core started to develop and some ab tone started showing after about 3 weeks (ab machine), l don't do freeweights or anything for the time being.

Gives me an overall improved sense of being.
Lifting has definitely made me feel more at home in my own body. Yep. ^_^
 

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I lift primarily for upper body strength, because I naturally don't have much, and I need it for my other sports. It's more of a necessary evil for me (I can't say I enjoy it much), but it changes your body in comparably little time in a way cardio simply doesn't.

I need to do both cardiovascular exercise and lifting. I couldn't spar without a reasonable cardiovascular fitness level, and I don't get that through lifting alone.

I guess it depends on what your main goals are. If it's mainly strength or body sculpting you're after, I'd say don't focus too much on cutting calories and cardio (I eat quite a lot actually, sometimes well in excess of 2500, depending on regime, and I still usually total with a net calorie intake roundabout 1500, so I actually need to watch that I don't lose).
If it's mainly cardiovascular fitness you're after, that's sort of a no brainer, too.

I personally think a mix of both is actually best, and then you shift focus depending on your needs.
 

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I've only recently got into lifting, and have seen a difference:happy: I'm looking into doing more at home that doesn't involve buying heavy weights. Does anyone here have experience with the TRX or bands as being effective? They're certainly cheap and easy to store, but do you get the same results as with weights?
 

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I've only recently got into lifting, and have seen a difference:happy: I'm looking into doing more at home that doesn't involve buying heavy weights. Does anyone here have experience with the TRX or bands as being effective? They're certainly cheap and easy to store, but do you get the same results as with weights?
I wouldn't waste my time with bands. Nothing is as effective as lifting. Machines for example will just give the body weird proportions of muscle, that don't work together. I'm thinking bands would do the same.

The reason for that, is that you're just isolating muscle groups and building those up in an unnatural way. In lifting, you're using your whole body for a more natural movement. Like, say you go to lift a heavy object for some practical reason and you have the upper body strength from isolating those muscles, well the muscles in-between aren't going to be prepped for it, so you might throw out your back or something. At least this is what I have read on fitness forums, and it makes sense. Lifting engages the body in more natural movements so the body can strengthen correctly.

Machines and bands also won't be -as- effective in general. Theres really no substitution for lifting.
 

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l've only been serious about fitness for longer than 30 days a few different times in my life, spanning a year at the longest, but the first time l was actually forced to do cardio (long story, while in foster care placement the staff made everyone work out even if we didn't need to and we also had a pretty strict diet) until l was underweight.

lt really cut into my muscle development as well, being 16-17 at the time and probably still having some potential to grow taller (l didn't...).


So, it was like l never really developed the foundation to be properly fit, and l definitely agree with what you said above @Promethea, l was nearing 101 lbs before seeing what wasn't even real muscle tone, just a lack of jiggliness.

l have always tried to approach ''toning'' that way since and it all it has done is leave me feeling progressively degenerated and weak.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
l've only been serious about fitness for longer than 30 days a few different times in my life, spanning a year at the longest, but the first time l was actually forced to do cardio (long story, while in foster car placement the staff made everyone work out even if we didn't need to and we also had a pretty strict diet) until l was underweight.

lt really cut into my muscle development as well, being 16-17 at the time and probably still having some potential to grow taller (l didn't...).


So, it was like l never really developed the foundation to be properly, and l definitely agree with what you said above @Promethea, l was nearing 101 lbs before seeing what wasn't even real muscle tone, just a lack of jiggliness.

l have always tried to approach ''toning'' that way since and it all it has done is leave me feeling progressively degenerated and weak.
When someone wants to change their body composition, whats the first thing they do? Start severely restricting calories, then they're too tired to even work out, or they're just trudging through some cardio which burns more calories but doesn't preserve or build muscle (except for a bit in the legs.)

Whats also going on here, is because they are restricting calories so much, the body starts to use some of the muscle mass for energy too. So, they're really chasing a carrot on a stick with fitness goals here.. losing more muscle, while wanting to look more "toned" - ain't happening at that rate. Its pretty common for people to get stuck in that gear, even once they get to an extremely low weight, they think they still need to lose more because abs might magically happen at 90 lbs. Probably not.

I've seen women at average height and 160 lbs look toned all over like the ladies in fitness videos (and without looking "masculine"). And I have seen some ladies at 120 lbs look the opposite. Composition has to do with enough muscle mass, not -just- losing more bodyfat.

This frustrates a lot of people and they give up on their fitness goals.

I looked at a few studies where people cut calories very low (one of these was 1000 calories and I'm not actually recommending it, just making a point) but they also did strength training for their full body. They retained, even built a tiny bit of muscle mass just by keeping the muscle they had engaged. Basically, for dieters, they can preserve that muscle if they don't just sit around or only work the legs doing cardio.

To actually build it up enough like the girls in the photos though, yeah that takes more serious lifting. XD
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I lift primarily for upper body strength, because I naturally don't have much, and I need it for my other sports. It's more of a necessary evil for me (I can't say I enjoy it much), but it changes your body in comparably little time in a way cardio simply doesn't.

I need to do both cardiovascular exercise and lifting. I couldn't spar without a reasonable cardiovascular fitness level, and I don't get that through lifting alone.

I guess it depends on what your main goals are. If it's mainly strength or body sculpting your after, I'd say don't focus too much on cutting calories and cardio (I eat quite a lot actually, sometimes well in excess of 2500, depending on regime, and I still usually total with a net calorie intake roundabout 1500, so I actually need to watch that I don't lose).
If it's mainly cardiovascular fitness you're after, that's sort of a no brainer, too.

I personally think a mix of both is actually best, and then you shift focus depending on your needs.
I definitely agree that -both- cardio and weight training is the best approach.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I've only recently got into lifting, and have seen a difference:happy: I'm looking into doing more at home that doesn't involve buying heavy weights. Does anyone here have experience with the TRX or bands as being effective? They're certainly cheap and easy to store, but do you get the same results as with weights?
Oh also:

Gold's Gym 110-lb. Olympic Barbell Weight Set - Walmart.com

They will even ship it to you.

There are also used sports equip stores in most cities where people just get rid of their old stuff sitting around and you can buy it used for pretty cheap.
 

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I'll admit up until this post all I did was eat more healthy (not completely) and do cardio.

But this has definitely motivated me.
Years ago when my ex brought up the benefits of lifting, for women, I didn't think much of it. I was a teen in the aerobics bunny generation and thought thats what working out was.

I did my own research though, and decided to try it. Glad I did. I look more toned at a higher weight now than I looked at a lower weight then. No manly bulk, just nice and shapely. XD
 

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What would you do if you wanted to maintain a similar look to the girl in the first picture, rather than gradually get bigger and bigger muscles? I don't wanna be a body builder. (I would want slimmer thighs than she has, everything else is perfect)
 

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What would you do if you wanted to maintain a similar look to the girl in the first picture, rather than gradually get bigger and bigger muscles? I don't wanna be a body builder. (I would want slimmer thighs than she has, everything else is perfect)
I need to run for a few hours but I'll say more about this when I get back. ^_^
 

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How much fit someone should be before starting with free weights? I don't think I have the flexibility to do squats with a bar or even lift it in the first place.
 

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What would you do if you wanted to maintain a similar look to the girl in the first picture, rather than gradually get bigger and bigger muscles? I don't wanna be a body builder. (I would want slimmer thighs than she has, everything else is perfect)
You can't become a bodybuilder "by accident". It takes a loooot of effort, especially for women. So, of course if you reach your goal you can stop.
 

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I wholeheartedly agree and I am glad you shared this. I have been weight training for four years now and not only has it taught me that cardiovascular exercise is an utter waste and that weight training does not necessarily make women look like men, it has made both my body and mind stronger, healthier and more resilient. Moreover, weight training has MANY additional benefits including increasing bone density and joint flexibility!
 

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What would you do if you wanted to maintain a similar look to the girl in the first picture, rather than gradually get bigger and bigger muscles? I don't wanna be a body builder. (I would want slimmer thighs than she has, everything else is perfect)
A lot of it will depend on your body type. I'd posted a thread before on different female body shapes. Some will gain muscle easier than others. A lot of results will just depend on your body, and theres no way to assure that you can completely customize what shape your body will become.

I was reading a thread on a forum earlier however, about pear shaped ladies. A lot of them were saying they did a lot of upper body strength training but not for the lower body, trying to balance out their form. I'm personally not worried about it. My legs look very muscular but I like it. I think it still looks feminine.

How much fit someone should be before starting with free weights? I don't think I have the flexibility to do squats with a bar or even lift it in the first place.
A power lifter who I follow on tumblr started lifting literally just the barbell with no weight when she started bench presses. With my very first bench presses ever I was able to do 40 lbs, but I did a ton of pushups in the past so I probably had significantly more chest strength. But yeah, you can just start with the bar itself, and add just 5 lbs. You'll be surprised how easy that same amount of weight will get, then its time to add 5 more lb.
 
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