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atlantis's avatar

Is it possible to weight train for body loss without bulking up?

Asked by atlantis (1862points) June 13th, 2009

I do 2–3 kg weights. But lately, I’ve been getting “fatter” as opposed to lean and sculpted. Am I missing something?

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19 Answers

La_chica_gomela's avatar

It is possible to lift weights and lose weight at the same time! Is that what you mean by “body loss”? (I would hope you don’t want to lose your body!)

Shedding pounds while weight training isn’t that different from any weight-loss plan. It’s just plain calories in-calories out. Not too complicated.

Many recommend using weights on the lighter side with more reps for getting “toned” and heavier weights with fewer reps for bulking up, but it doesn’t get much lighter than 2 kgs (4.4 lbs), so I don’t think that’s your problem.

It sounds like you need to look at your diet.

Have you been getting literally fatter or…metaphorically? ... I don’t understand…

atlantis's avatar

I’m getting literally fatter. Not unhealthy I’m sure, but a lot of muscle mass is building up which just comes off as looking big as opposed to lean. Should I cut down on carbs or starch or what? And my age is 22, 5 foot 5 inches.

atlantis's avatar

I forgot to add. I usually run the treadmill for 20 mins before hitting the weights.

cyndyh's avatar

You can very much lose weight without bulking up. I can’t imagine actually bulking up with that small amount of weight anyway. That’s just crazy light. The added muscle burns more calories than fat. That should help you.

You don’t mention your current weight. It might be that you don’t need to lose any weight. If you do, it’s a look at your overall nutrition and calories that’s the main issue.

cak's avatar

@atlantis – are you eating a lot of carbs and starches? Remember, carbs are not completely evil! Complex carbs are good – brown rice, whole wheat bread…and the list can go and on…those are a few simple examples – (and don’t think things like honey wheat bread are good…lots of hidden sugar!)

Don’t cut carbs completely out – just make sure you eat the best you can take in (brown rice, instead of white…things like that!). You just don’t want them dominating your diet.

Simple carbs – ones that have been processed to death…avoid like the plague!

Do you mind me asking what a normal day of eating would be – some examples? I’m thinking your diet is going to be a factor, here.

Edited to fix my idiot carb mistake!

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Ok, so you’re gaining weight. That means you’re taking in more calories than you’re burning.

Do you actually know that it’s muscle mass or are you just assuming that? Have you had your body fat percentage professionally tested? I don’t want to come off the wrong way, but it’s really hard to build up “a lot of muscle mass” with 4 – 6 lb weights…Also if you’re actually building muscle mass, you should see a big jump in the weight you’re able to handle…which you haven’t mentioned…Have you, in fact, experienced any increases in your strength at all?

If you want to lose weight, either you need to increase you calories out (exercise longer, harder, or both) or decrease calories out (eat less). Physiologically it doesn’t really matter which macronutrient (carbohydrates, fat, or protein) you decrease or if you keep the same ratio, but of course you want to maintain a healthy diet, and get all the nutrients you need, so as far as what to cut down on, I would consult, or a nutritionist, or try following a commercial diet plan, such as the South Beach diet.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

@cak, I think you got it backwards, complex carbohydrates are the good carbs, whereas simple carbohydrates (like white bread) are the bad carbs

cak's avatar

@La_chica_gomela I’m wondering if it is the muscle mass increasing and it’s increasing her weight. And yes…I just read my idiot backwards typo! Complex carbs are our friends, simple carbs are bad! :)

Edited to add: Lurve, La Chica. I love that you posted the food pyramid!

La_chica_gomela's avatar

@cak: Thanks for the lurve!!! I just realized I totally posted the wrong URL though! Serves me right for thinking I knew what it was off the top of my head. It’s actually:

The website is actually really cool! People pay a lot of money for diet books and “healthy living” types of books and magazines, when all the same information is free and available on the internet 24–7. For example, if you click on “Get a personalized plan” you can find your “ideal” diet, food groups, macronutrients, calories, tips on how to eat healthy, menus, etc.

Fyrius's avatar

2–3 kg weights don’t really offer a worthwhile workout. Why don’t you try something more serious? Surely you could handle more weight.

What @La_chica_gomela said. Are you sure it’s muscle mass you’ve been gaining? Have you become stronger?

“If it were that easy, I would have them.” – Mark Rippetoe (to women worried about getting large muscles from barbell training)

What sort of exercises do you do, anyway?
I assume those 2–3 kg are in dumbbell form. Do you exercise your arms with them, or do you do whole body exercises with them?
For the latter kind, you seriously need heavier weights.
If you train only your arms, is it your arms that you think look fatter? Surely you can’t gain muscle mass anywhere else that way.

gailcalled's avatar

@Atlantis; Even I, the resident crone, use five lb. free weights. And I occasionally bench-press my 12 lb. cat. My doctor says that that counts.

meeteepao's avatar

Its simple.

To gain bulk (muscle mass) you have to adopt a vigorous exercise regime consisting of heavy wieghts and few reps. This way the muscle is exercised at its fullest capacity. An adequate diet of the relevant protein intake is a must to compensate for the wear and tear of the muscles during such regimes, along with proper rest periods. Following this regime will increase the muscle mass.

However, sticking to the question, if weight loss is required without ‘bulking up’ – this can be done sticking to an exercise routine that includes:

1— Cardiovascular exercises such as : jogging, running, cycling etc.

2— Weight training: Workouts with normal weights and more reps (compared to the muscle mass regime). By ‘normal’ I mean anything you can lift easily for 15–20. This way you’d be getting muscle defination (also referred to as ‘cuts’) but wont get beefed up. While exercising, do your reps slowly – dont jerk the bar up and down. Lift it up slowly then bring it back down slowly – this stretches your muscles to the limit.

Other things that should be a part of any exercise regime are:

1— A proper diet: In case of loosing weight – all fat based and sugary foods should be off your menu. You can consume the natural sugars present in fruits.

2— Consume lots of fluids: Water is of utmost importance. Also include Green Tea in your diet- its a good source of anti-toxins. Soft drinks are a strict no.

3— Rest intervals: Ideally you should have a day off between workouts. Because the day you workout – your muscles undergo wear and tear- so giving them a day off to rebuild and recover makes sense.

4— Sleep: Your sleep should never be compromised – since its when your body undergoes muscle recovery and rebuilding.

Thats all you need to loose wieght without beefing up. I forgot to mention ‘patience’. Its key to any successful exercise regime. Dont go for the dryg/medicinal ‘short cuts’. There are no short cuts – just stay dedicated to your workout regime and enjoy it. You will see the results very soon :)

” No pain, no gain” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

FiRE_MaN's avatar

you need to do more cartio, it helps with loosing weight and does not make you look like the hulk.

Fyrius's avatar

@meeteepao “Also include Green Tea in your diet- its a good source of anti-toxins.”
What exactly are anti-toxins, and why do we want them in our tea?

I’ve been told by sources I trust that the concept of “toxins” that need to be neutralised is a load of ill-defined bro-scientific drivel. I invite you to explain why it’s not.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

@Fyrius: He means antioxidants. If you read the wikipedia article I linked or any source that you trust (such as any dictionary or encyclopedia, I’m sure you’ll understand why antioxidants are healthy.

Fyrius's avatar

Very well.

And Wikipedia is a source I find reliable. Especially if the article I’m reading is a featured one.

meeteepao's avatar

Yes I meant antioxidants… apologies =D

Fyrius's avatar

Gladly accepted. :)

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