CrossFit Discussion Board  

Go Back   CrossFit Discussion Board > CrossFit Forum > Fitness
CrossFit Home Forum Site Rules CrossFit FAQ Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Fitness Theory and Practice. CrossFit's rationale & foundations. Who is fit? What is fitness?

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 08-26-2008, 06:04 PM   #1
Ryan Whipple
Member Ryan Whipple is offline
 
Ryan Whipple's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Tuscon  AZ
Posts: 686
Advice needed: Female body-type/shape concerns (Kinda long)

I'm introducing a friend to CrossFit. Her athletic background is very strong: an intercollegiate sprinter who trained for the junior olympics and is all around very strong. Freshman year she was 14% body fat at a weight of 120, height of 5'3". Now she is 18% body fat with a weight of 150. (Yup, you can see where this is going already...)

She was very upset that she has, after doing CF-style workouts with me for the past two weeks, grown enough that her pants are almost too small to fit into. (Not to say they weren't very tight to begin with...) She is concerned that the program of "heavy lifting" we're doing has made her big, even though I promised her CF is not centered around adding muscle. She wants to be fit, but also wants to get back down to around 130 lbs and a pair of size 4 pants from her current size 7. She is also concerned about her run times, which have slowed since she was a freshman sprinter.

I told her what my former cross country coach told me about female athletes: sometime between 16-22 every one of them is going to get bigger and have different athletic capacity. At least in his experience, puberty seems to end varsity running careers. I said that I'm not sure she can possibly lose 30 pounds of muscle while staying fit. Her response is that she wants to be "toned" doing high reps and low weights. As far as I know, toning is a myth and muscles either are getting bigger, or smaller. Getting "cut" is the result of lower body fat, not any particular shape muscles are being squeezed into. In addition, I would say that this "toning" is actually the style of workouts we've been doing most. From start to present, we've done:

-The 1-3-5 Press, PP, PJ workout
-7x3 OHS
-Murph
-5 rounds, 70 single-under jump rope, 30 squats
-8x150m sprint
-her own ab workout, (not sure, didn't go with her)
-Modified JT
-5k Run
-Tabata something else
-4 rounds, 400m, 50 squats
-5x5 squat, 5x3 deadlift

So, she wants to be fitter, but smaller. We haven't repeated a workout yet (only 2 weeks into this!) so I'm not sure how much she's improved but I'm certain it's quite a bit over her usual routine of running and crunches. I just don't think she can lose as much weight as she wants and remain healthy/fit.

I also think mental things are coming into play, as she has said in the same sentence, "I'm happy with my shape I just want to be smaller," and to add insult to injury, the Air Force will put her on weight management if she gets much heavier (even though she is all muscle, very little fat).

SOOOoooo, to wrap up, I'm not sure how to help her. She is so attached to her clothing size, much more than she is to her own health and fitness, and she seems to have unrealistic goals in terms of future body composition. I would like to continue crossfitting with her but it seems like she is going to be very unhappy with the results. Most CFers are happy to be fit, but I feel like I'm fighting an ideology rather than educating someone about fitness. Any advice besides refusing to train with her?

PS: let me just vent my frustration at the entertainment/media commercial complex which portrays ridiculously thin, usually weak and helpless looking women as the standard of beauty. I have no kind words for them. Curvy women rock too!
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2008, 06:30 PM   #2
Dennis Marshall
Member Dennis Marshall is offline
 
Dennis Marshall's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Huntington  NY
Posts: 168
Re: Advice needed: Female body-type/shape concerns (Kinda long)

How's her nutrition, sleep and lifestyle?

Collectively, those are far more important than the logistics of exercise programming with regard to weight loss/gain and body composition. Exercise, while important, is only a small piece of the puzzle and even less important to those with a solid base of training under their belt (such as a collegiate T&F athlete).

There is very little chance that 2 weeks of CF'ing changed her body composition to the extent that her pants are now tighter. CF is powerful stuff, but it ain't that powerful.
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2008, 06:51 PM   #3
Ryan Whipple
Member Ryan Whipple is offline
 
Ryan Whipple's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Tuscon  AZ
Posts: 686
Re: Advice needed: Female body-type/shape concerns (Kinda long)

Sleep: Not the best. The stress of a new job and a strange schedule are limiting her sleep at the moment

Nutrition: High-refined carb diet. "Healthy" breakfast cereal, lots of instant noodles. Zoned dinner when I cook, but this is one meal out of several each day. Has problems with hypoglycemia, so insists she needs lots of sugar. Honestly, I don't know much about this condition.

Lifestyle: Fairly active job, keeps her moving around a lot.

I thought about these things as well, but these are usually the blocks to check when someone is trying to lose weight in the form of fat. My question is more geared towards what to do about in increase in body size from muscle in females. My best Zone answer at the moment is eat fewer blocks, but more fat. Still, losing 30 pounds on a lean frame? Does anyone else think this goal might be unrealistic/bad? My experience is with people trying to gain muscle and/or lose fat.

And about the two-weeks thing...I did mention they were pretty tight to begin with. I think a lot of this is mental, but I'm not sure what to say/do as a friend trying to introduce her to CrossFit.
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2008, 07:02 PM   #4
Sara Fleming
Member Sara Fleming is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Raleigh  NC
Posts: 442
Re: Advice needed: Female body-type/shape concerns (Kinda long)

http://www.gicare.com/pated/edtot19.htm

Actually, with hypoglycemia, she should be regulating her sugar intake and using more unrefined whole-grain based carbohydrates to keep her sugar levels normal. Is she on medication?
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2008, 07:03 PM   #5
Derek Maffett
Member Derek Maffett is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Castle Rock  WA
Posts: 3,544
Re: Advice needed: Female body-type/shape concerns (Kinda long)

I second the opinion that 2 weeks of CF is not likely to have caused a huge amount of muscle gain. The clothes probably didn't fit her that well before.

She obviously has a lot of muscle and came by it without trying... perhaps this is her natural, healthy weight (more than I would expect for a woman her size, but everyone's different).

Toning doesn't work. She needs to stop arguing about that immediately because it's a myth. Muscles are x size and their definition is determined by the size of the muscles and how much fat is possessed. You can always reduce bodyfat, but at 18%, I don't see much need for that.

Crossfit will reduce her sprint times. This is what it does to specialists. If she wishes to keep or improve those times, she must do less Crossfit or none at all.

Ultimately, weight will be controlled by diet, not exercise... that's where she needs to focus if she does indeed want to reduce weight (though I really think she should be careful about that. Muscular atrophy is generally a bad thing, especially when done for vanity's sake...).
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2008, 07:21 PM   #6
Gavin Harrison
Member Gavin Harrison is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Forest Hill  Maryland
Posts: 479
Re: Advice needed: Female body-type/shape concerns (Kinda long)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Whipple View Post
She was very upset that she has, after doing CF-style workouts with me for the past two weeks, grown enough that her pants are almost too small to fit into. (Not to say they weren't very tight to begin with...) She is concerned that the program of "heavy lifting" we're doing has made her big, even though I promised her CF is not centered around adding muscle. She wants to be fit, but also wants to get back down to around 130 lbs and a pair of size 4 pants from her current size 7. She is also concerned about her run times, which have slowed since she was a freshman sprinter.

I told her what my former cross country coach told me about female athletes: sometime between 16-22 every one of them is going to get bigger and have different athletic capacity. At least in his experience, puberty seems to end varsity running careers. I said that I'm not sure she can possibly lose 30 pounds of muscle while staying fit. Her response is that she wants to be "toned" doing high reps and low weights. As far as I know, toning is a myth and muscles either are getting bigger, or smaller. Getting "cut" is the result of lower body fat, not any particular shape muscles are being squeezed into. In addition, I would say that this "toning" is actually the style of workouts we've been doing most.
Toning is not a myth, it's just used wrong. Tone is basically the amount of muscle tension exerted when in a relaxed state. It only really matters if you have a low enough body fat, though, for it to be visible. To get tone, you should actually use LOW reps (less than 6) and HIGH intensity (80% Max or higher) on compound lifts. Training in this way will help convince the CNS that it needs to be ready to use it's muscles all the time, and thus make you look more tone. Poke a weightlifters traps, rock solid, that's tone... they probably almost always train with 3 or less reps at close to max weights. Of course, having a larger muscle may help, but if it isn't at least partially contracted, it wont make much difference.

If she ever looked toned before, it was probably from the college sprinting.. max effort sprinting has a similar effect to max effort weightlifting on the CNS.

Also, almost all crossfit women I've ever heard of who are not too heavy when they start will most likely experience "growing" legs and butt, buy stretchy pants (lululemons?) and she wont notice nearly as much
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-2008, 06:54 AM   #7
Craig Van De Walker
Member Craig Van De Walker is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Beaverton  OR
Posts: 872
Re: Advice needed: Female body-type/shape concerns (Kinda long)

Best to worst options IMO. (diet is biggest aspect here)

#1 Zone Diet with Paleo food choices?

#2 Paleo, strict

#3 Zone with only favorable carb choices

She says she has Hypoglycemia so she probably is either insulin sensitive or a high secretor (in response to carbs). She needs to get off of the processed carbs! I doubt CF is going to make her butt and legs any bigger than they were with sprinting so my bet is she is eating too much to get the shape she is after.

Next is movements. I would suggest more focus on upper body strength and abs and less on lower body strength (I would have subbed a different workout for yesterdays 5x10 FS). If her legs and glutes grow like weeds until she had more comfort with CF and her size I would de-emphasize the legs.
More Pullups, L-sits, handstands etc.
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-2008, 07:30 AM   #8
Veronica Davis
Member Veronica Davis is offline
 
Veronica Davis's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Washington  DC
Posts: 2,704
Re: Advice needed: Female body-type/shape concerns (Kinda long)

I agree with what's been said by the other posters. It's unlikely that 2 weeks of crossfit made her "big". It's also important to have good nutrition (especially with hypoglycemia).

To touch on another point... (main reason why I don't like the whole idea of BF percentages). She said she's 150 lbs at 18% BF. Strictly doing calculations that would put her at 123 lbs of lean muscle mass. With 123 lbs of lean muscle mass she would be 5.5% bf @130 lbs. Based on the numbers that's just not too realistic.

It's unfortunate that women (no matter how fit) struggle with body image issues. I don't know your friend, but it seems to be that there's something else that's bothering her. With women there's usually something deeper. We are complex like that. My advice would be to continue to encourage her. You aren't going to win the "I want to be smaller" battle (can't tell you how many men have tried and lost with me), so I wouldn't bring it up with her unless she does. Maybe even repeat a workout and show how she's improved. Keep focusing on her performance improvement and eventually she'll come around. I know it isn't much of a solution, but then again there is no solution when it comes to us.
__________________
"I'm training for World Domination" - Karin Kellerman
http://www.veronicao.com ,My Crossfit Log , Crossfit Force Majeure (wfs)
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-2008, 08:03 AM   #9
Tirzah Harper
Member Tirzah Harper is offline
 
Tirzah Harper's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Ashland  Ohio
Posts: 974
Re: Advice needed: Female body-type/shape concerns (Kinda long)

I hate judgement by numbers when the numbers have no bearing on the subject being judged.
If she wants to be skinny but strong, maybe she should take up ballet instead.
If she wants to kick *** in twenty different things, she needs to let go of the size/weight hangup and keep doing CF.

Muscle is easy to lose, though. See if you can dare her to go hardcore CF for six months, diet and everything...if she hates it at the end of that time, hey, go back to low weight and high reps and get skinny again.
__________________
food log: wfs http://www.thedailyplate.com/diary/who/tirzahrene
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-2008, 08:23 AM   #10
Pilar Grace
Member Pilar Grace is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Lawrenceville  GA
Posts: 73
Re: Advice needed: Female body-type/shape concerns (Kinda long)

Ryan,

Go read this thread http://www.board.crossfit.com/showthread.php?t=32950 (wfs) and then have her go read it.
__________________
Pili's blog
  Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Tall and thin is a shape....but not for long Kevin McPherson Workout Logs 92 09-09-2010 09:54 AM
Body type analysis Dustin Standel Nutrition 0 06-23-2008 01:52 PM
Any Female Xfitters on Long Island, New York? Michele Weeks In Search of CrossFitters 0 04-08-2008 10:40 AM
which body type? Jason Chung Nutrition 2 01-15-2008 09:30 AM
Losing Body Fat . . . When It's Already Kinda Low Neill S. Occhiogrosso Nutrition 11 05-16-2004 04:44 PM


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:39 AM.


CrossFit is a registered trademark of CrossFit Inc.