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Old 02-16-2009, 04:11 PM   #1
Sarah Markle
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Question Leanness v. Strength- for chicks

I know this has surely been addressed before, so I apologize in advance if this seems redundant. I am a 12B, 2x girl, 5'6", bw these days about 135. Pretty tight Paleo/Zone, 4-5B carbs/day, skinning the zone on fat, love my diet for the most part. Loving CF goes without saying- suffice it to say I dig the Kool Aid from all aspects. Back in Sept 08, I was pretty dang lean, dropping down to 126 lbs, finally starting to see the lower abs I knew were there- but didn't feel strong, and after lots of tinkering and talking with my cf coach, realized that I prolly was as strong as I would be at that weight/body comp. My TOTAL is 470 (11/1/08)- not all that impressive to many, and currently, I'm not losing any sleep over it, but am interested in getting more (breaking 500 would do for starters). Decided a few months ago to drop all extra running outside of WODs, bump fat to 3x, and focus on lifting and strength work as we entered the New Year, all efforts to get stronger. I have noticed my 1RMs now are 3 & 5 RMs, more visible upper body mass, good stuff! But, also what's happening is thickening of thighs, midsection, and biscuits (butt)....not good for me. Just recently (last week) reeled my fat back to 2x because I was not digging those secondary side effects, and am here to ask the question: Is it possible to get stronger and keep lean? Am I even thinking correctly that scaling back fat is the way to go here? (given the diff between 2x and 3x is 324 cals/day). I am starting to get that 'fat does not make us fat', although I gotta say there's many years of old propaganda in my head that I am purging these days! I always try to make sure I have my full 12B protein/day, and keep carbs and fat a little more of a moving target, but always keeping carbs low. I have dabbled in IF, and plan to learn more about it and do more of it this year. I want to get stronger, but LOVE being lean. Can I have both simultaneously? THAT is the question!
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Old 02-16-2009, 07:41 PM   #2
Blair Lowe
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Anabolic diet comes to mind which I only know a smidgin about. I'm not sure about training with lots of metcon on so little carbs but I know next to nothing when it comes to nutrition.

I think it was basically 5 days of less than 50g/d carbs with carb load on the weekend. Sounds like it might be ok for strength training but again, I dunno. As we used to say in philosophy...B'dunno.
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Old 02-16-2009, 07:50 PM   #3
Steven Low
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But, also what's happening is thickening of thighs, midsection, and biscuits (butt)....not good for me.
Is this FAT or is it muscle gain? Or is it part both?

See the problem with getting significantly stronger is that it's easier to do while putting on muscle and some fat at the same time which it looks like you were doing.

Keeping an isocaloric diet and doing heavy strength work will make you stronger but it will be significantly slower. On pure CF you might not see that much strength gains, heh.
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Old 02-16-2009, 08:06 PM   #4
Derek Weaver
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Sarah,
I don't know everything, but I know a little bit. Here's my take:

One, don't sweat your carbs. If you want to get stronger and perform more, you'll need carbs. Insulin is important, but people tend to skip over the fact that protein causes a decent insulin spike on its own. Coupled with carbohydrate it's a bigger insulin spike. If you are insulin resistant, then reduced carbs make perfect sense. Fat doesn't make you fat, eating too much does. Try keeping carbs targeted around workouts a bit if you have trouble managing hunger and insulin the rest of the day

Like Steven said, is your increased mass in the thighs, midsection and "biscuits" fat, muscle, combination?

And to answer your question a little bit more directly. Yes, you can get stronger while staying lean, but linear gains may or may not happen (it sounds like it wasn't happening if I read your post correctly). You're not going to gain muscle in a deficit, but you can get stronger through other means.
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:19 PM   #5
Blair Lowe
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My ass and legs have gotten only bigger with the lifting which makes me look more ape-shaped than I naturally do ( long limbs while being really short and wide ). I wouldn't say they are fat as most of my body fat is around my middle still.

My old track coach used to say look at all the sprinters and don't be ashamed of the booty. Whenever I have gals who are getting self conscious about their thighs and rear, I tell them this ( as gymnasts tend to develop big thighs and glutes in some gymnasts ). I'm not even talking about cottage cheese thighs and big muscles ( as in some of the college gals ) but just big muscles period.
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Old 02-17-2009, 02:40 AM   #6
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Some carb cycling or targeted carbs approach might work for you to gain strength without too much fat. You'll have to play around with the carb numbers a bit to find the right amounts.

More protein comes to mind too - 12 blocks on the Zone is not that much.

Big glutes are awesome. (I'm female BTW)
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Old 02-17-2009, 03:15 AM   #7
Sarah Markle
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Thanks, guys and gals....I always assumed (I know) my 'gain' was fat, not muscle....esp. the umbilical/abdominal thickening...that being said, that's what I chalked up the legs and rear to be, as well...it's as if they are widening...jeans def fitting tighter. As a woman, it seems there's a delicate balance between working for muscle gain and keeping the desired level of leanness...for me, at least. Again, thanks so much for the comments.
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Old 02-18-2009, 08:07 AM   #8
Gant Grimes
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Originally Posted by Gittit Shwartz View Post
More protein comes to mind too - 12 blocks on the Zone is not that much.

Big glutes are awesome. (I'm female BTW)
Thank you. On both points.

Sarah, you're eating 84g protein to support 135 lbs. bodyweight. You want to get stronger but stay lean. Fortunately, there's a macronutrient for that.
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Old 02-18-2009, 08:47 PM   #9
Derek Weaver
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gittit Shwartz View Post
Some carb cycling or targeted carbs approach might work for you to gain strength without too much fat. You'll have to play around with the carb numbers a bit to find the right amounts.

More protein comes to mind too - 12 blocks on the Zone is not that much.

Big glutes are awesome. (I'm female BTW)
+3 on this one. At least 1gr/lb of LBM, preferably per LB of total body mass. If you're going off LBM 1.5 grams/lb is completely within reason.
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