Is it possible to reshape your natural body type?

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Is it possible to reshape your natural body type?

#1 Postby vegangirlchelsey » Tue Jun 13, 2006 4:47 am

Hi guys,

I have a question I haven't really seen addressed here, and I was wondering if anyone has had experience with this.

I am a girl who puts on muscle very easily. I've read before that women don't bulk up when they gain muscle... but I definitely do. My brothers and I all have the same thick muscular build that is stocky and squat looking, though we all have a well below average percentage of body fat.

For pure vanity's sake, I would like to change this. The bulkiness of my body in clothes makes it look chubby, which it's not. Picture Tom Cruise in a tight dress... it just doesn't look right.

I was wondering if it is actually possible to develop "lean" muscles rather than bulky ones, or if that is just a myth, and they'll always come out in pretty much the same shape no matter what you do. If it is possible, which exercises are the best to do, and which ones are the worst, that I should steer clear of?

I have been a runner for a long, long time- not competitively, just for fun. I'm concerned that all this running has made my thigh muscles as large as they are now (really large and really defined). This area is what I want to change the most of all. Do I need to give up running for my thighs to become lean? I have to do some sort of cardio or I go batty- is there a better kind for me to do?

Ideally, I would like to go from the body shape I have now, to one that would be described as "wiry." Is this possible?

P.S. If you're a true believer that women never bulk up, just imagine I'm a guy and give me the advice you'd give him. :-)

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#2 Postby CollegeB » Tue Jun 13, 2006 8:34 am

I think you can change up your style of training. From what I know lifting heavy and few reps will aid in bulking muscle. It has been said that a high number of repetitions (im sure that varies per person) will help one stay lean and toned yet not get bulky. Diet could also help, I'm not sure if this is healthy really, but I would think if you ate less, and sent the body into some sort of cannibal state your body would eat its muscle tissue, which is what happens anyways I believe. However this could exacerbate the situation and you end up fat.



#3 Postby veganpotter » Wed Jun 14, 2006 10:09 pm

Increasing your milage should do the trick...maybe even shortening your stride a little. It will make your muscles tear less and therefore grow less. How flexible are you??? Personally I believe some peoples bulk come from the fact that their muscles are short. Worst example is CBPS(chronic benchpress syndrome)...this is for the people you see that have really big chests...weak backs and their shoulders sloped forewards. This is due to not having back muscle to pull their shoulders back as well as a lack of peck flexability.

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Re: Is it possible to reshape your natural body type?

#4 Postby Kathryn » Thu Jun 15, 2006 10:54 am

vegangirlchelsey wrote:Ideally, I would like to go from the body shape I have now, to one that would be described as "wiry." Is this possible?

I doubt very much that you can go from "stockÿ" to wirey, because you can't change your overall body type (you have mom and dad to thank for that). For example, Gwenyth Paltrow will never look like Rosie O'Donnell or like Calabrina, a background exerciser in Sharon Mann's show on Fit TV, and vice versa, but you can change your body somewhat to get the 'best possible results' for you.

Since you bulk easily, you might want to avoid any heavy weight work for the legs. Stick with body weight work (which can be very effective, especially if you do lunges and 1-legged work). One style of training, called Freestyle (there's a book on it you can check out), has you work the lower body with very light weights, most days of the week, and emphasizes lunging, with little or no weights. The theory is that you increase strength, but keep the muscles from growing much because you don't give them time to repair (it is a technique that is used with figure skaters, who need strength without much bulk). A workout series on video that has somewhat this approach is "Slim Series."

Also, as CollegeB suggested, keeping weights low and reps high.

You want to get strong, but not big, and to do this, you pretty much have to do the opposite of what someone who wants to add size should do. Many bodybuilders limit their cardio, because they don't want it to eat into their hard-gained muscle and they want the calories they take in (which they increase) to go towards muscle building, not towards cardio energy. So YOU should try doing more cardio, and when doing weight workouts, combine them with cardio either as a circuit weight/cardio workout, or doing what some refer to as 'aerobic weight training": using light weights while doing cardio moves.

And that "get long, lean muscle" stuff: it's just a marketing tactic used by people trying to get you to buy their workout programs or products on TV, because they know that many women fear "bulking." There is no way to 'lengthen' muscle, unless you put someone on a torture rack, but that's no fun!

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#5 Postby andesuma » Sat Jun 17, 2006 5:38 pm

you will not bulk up doing Pilates.. it will lengthen and tone your muscles.

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