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Tell it to me straight - to what extent can I change my body?

(14 Posts)
BrightonCalling Thu 03-May-18 12:11:50

Hi all!

So I'm well and truly bitten by the bug.

I first stepped foot in the gym a month ago, and I love it. So far, I'm only using the machines, but once I get my confidence up a bit I want to check out the weights, once I know more about what I'm doing.

My first question is - when should I expecr to see noticeable results? I hit the gym 4 times a week (each session lasting 40 minutes, either focussing on upper body or lower body, alternating).

My second question is as per the title. To give you an idea, I'm 31 and 5'8" and am a major ectomorph (think thats the term). My frame is very narrow, with really long skinny bones and tiny joints. Basically really lanky/willowy. Luckily for me I guess, I have a "normal" torso, by which I mean I do have a waist and hips and bum. Its just my limbs that are waif-looking.

My goal in starting to look into weights was to get stronger and try and achieve a curvier physique. Can i create "thicker" legs, rounder (as opposed to bony) shoulders, plumper hips etc through weights?

I should mention that every ounce of fat I consume goes straight to my tummy. I suppose I could be "skinny fat". How can I create curves on a skinny frame, whilst achieving a flat stomach on a body thats prone to tummy fat? Is this possible? Any tips?

Bluntness100 Thu 03-May-18 12:19:26

Your body sounds exactly like mine. I have a very narrow frame and am also five foot eight. If I put weight on its my tummy normally.

I do weights but I'm not trying to bulk up. My body has changed shape
My flat arse is now rounder. But my thighs are more toned, you can see muscle definition. I still carry a layer of fat round my tummy, but there too uou can see a ring of muscle. My shoulders and arms are more muscular and toned than they used to be,

Generally with women weights make you leaner. It's very very difficult to bulk up, you really have to go some.

I would book a session with a personal trainer who can show you the exercises.

I started off using the Chloe Madeley app, Weights for women. She takes you through a range of exercises for upper body, back, core, and lower body.

MrsCatE Thu 03-May-18 12:24:36

Squats for bum and thighs. Leg press is also a good machine to use. Calf raises to get some shape and definition. Keep with light free weights to tone, lengthen and not bulk up. Agree with previous poster re booking a session with personal trainer.

MrsCatE Thu 03-May-18 12:26:29

Sit ups using a fitness ball are good for ab definition but sure PT will give better advice! Kudos to you for developing a good habit!

Dvg Thu 03-May-18 12:27:59

id say massively noticeable results within 2 months but don't forget to keep taking before and after photos , preferably every 2 weeks or a month maximum otherwise trust me... you'll half forget what you looked liked before, happened to me i thought there was little to no change until i saw my 4 months before picture and was like.. Oh damn! XD

BrightonCalling Thu 03-May-18 12:28:25

Thank you Bluntness, I'm going to check out the app - yay, a body twin!

In all fairness, I AM seeing definition in my thighs now, they do look more muscular. My question is, are they always going to be extremely lean with muscle tone? Is it impossible to get "beefy" and muscled legs if that's just not the way your body is geared?

Regarding the tummy thing, it's frustrating isn't it? Because I still have this small coating of tummy fat despite being reasonable with my food. I'm not sure how to eat to get the best results. Sometimes I think I should be eating a low fat and high protein diet in a bid to get rid of the small layer of fat covering my tummy, other days I think I should just be piling up my plate in an attempt to "thicken" the rest of me up.

Bluntness, how do you eat? Amd others with Knowledge, any nutrition advice? What would work well with my workout programme?

BrightonCalling Thu 03-May-18 12:29:20

@Dvg
Good idea re pics....will get on it!

Bluntness100 Thu 03-May-18 12:48:01

I do low carb, high fat, medium protein, low carb and watch my calorie intake too.

You can bulk up your thighs, think of female body builders. But as said you will need to go some.to do it.

Normally heavy weight, low reps, is how to build muscle, it's for strength, low weights, high reps is for endurance. So say two reps at the low end and 20 reps at the high end,done in sets.

I go for three sets of eight reps, as it's the mid point between strength and endurance.

Things like squats, Deadlifts, lunges with very heavy weights will build muscle up on your thighs.

Things like v lifts ( lay on floor, pull weight over your head as you crunch up and lift legs at same time so your body makes a v, or Russian side twists, v shape with your body and lift weight from side to side, or kettle bell swings will tone your tummy,

I'm no expert in bulking up because it's not my objective, so a personal trainer can advise better on that and diet, but you can do it.

There are also some excellent weight lifting forums on line, I think there is one on here, which give excellent advice.

I also do cardio but would say that weights makes the biggest difference to my body. I work out a lot though and do about 60 to 75 mins at least six days a week, using alternate exercises each day.

BrightonCalling Sat 05-May-18 07:40:33

@Bluntness100
Thanks again for your advice, I also am doing 3 sets of 8 reps, and then I do one final set at a heavier weight for as much as I can manage (usually only 4 or 5 reps).

Re the tummy, I think if Im honest I have two main problems: I'm not low carb and that would probably help a lot, and most importantly, I do have 2 or 3 glasses of wine a night. When you think about it thats a fair amount of extra sugar to be ingesting - we have the term "beer belly" for a reason!

Going to remove alcohol to just once a week.

Bluntness100 Sat 05-May-18 08:08:58

Agree, the booze is a tough one and it is quite a few calories to ingest every night. You've got to have some indulgences, but if you cut it back you'll probably notice a difference.

Also you've only been at it a month, give it another few weeks and you'll start to notice a big difference in your body and how you look in clothes.

Without sounding arrogant, when I get dressed now, you can see I work out. And I'll be honest, that's why I do it, I don't want to be skinny, and it's not just to be slim, but I want to look fit and toned. And there comes a point when you do. But you need to lose thr fat that's covering the muscle.

Johnnycomelately1 Tue 08-May-18 05:49:02

Is it impossible to get "beefy" and muscled legs if that's just not the way your body is geared?

Genetics do count for a lot and if you are naturally light framed you will probably not end up looking like Kara Webb and even she has trained for years and years to get like that.

Some people are just naturally stronger/ respond better to training than others, and shorter people have a lever advantage over taller people, but everyone can make progress.

It is worth noting that training protocols designed for gaining bulk (ie body building) are not the same as for gaining strength - body builders tend to favour longer sets / higher reps so if you are mainly wanting to gain muscle rather than caring about your 1 rep maxes then bear that in mind.

FairlyConstantNameChanger Tue 08-May-18 06:09:00

Is it really possible to change shape then? As in you could go from apple to hourglass? I’m naturally thin so sound a little like you OP. Managed to put some weight on which has actually been very difficult. My tummy needs toning but don’t want to lose curves elsewhere.

Johnnycomelately1 Tue 08-May-18 06:43:40

As in you could go from apple to hourglass?

In my opinion, in your case it would be relatively hard because

- You can't spot reduce fat, so the only way to make one part of your body bigger to balance your figure/ give the hourglass is to build muscle - so if you did heavy squats/lunges/ upper body etc you could build your butt/thighs and chest/back to make your waist appear smaller in comparison

- BUT, if you struggle to gain weight, unfortunately you would probably also struggle to gain and critically, maintain, a lot of muscle because this is only possible in a calorie surplus.

- You can improve the appearance of your stomach by building/ strengthening the underlying muscles so they lie flatter. However, that alone wouldnt give you an hourglass figure.

FairlyConstantNameChanger Tue 08-May-18 07:09:20

Thanks Johnny, that all makes a lot of sense unfortunately.

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