• musclemecca bodybuilding forums does not sell or endorse any bodybuilding gear, products or supplements.
    Musclemecca has no affiliation with advertisers; they simply purchase advertising space here. If you have questions go to their site and ask them directly.
    Advertisers are responsible for the content in their forums.
    DO NOT SELL ILLEGAL PRODUCTS ON OUR FORUM

Need help becoming lean not bulky

  • Thread starter NewbieFitnessGal
  • Start date
N

NewbieFitnessGal

Member
Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2023
Messages
11
Points
3
Dear forum. I really need your help.
I have been doing different kind of fitness for numerous years now. It has always worked pretty well for me, but as I am becoming older (now 33) I started to see a change in my body and how it responds to exercise.

I seem to be able to build muscle, but not loose fat, with the result that I am becoming increasingly “stocky” and bulky looking. When I do cut calories, I seem to just lose the muscle while maintaining the fat. It feels like the more exercise I do, the further I am from that lean body I would like. It just keeps going the wrong way. So now I’m kinda scared to do strength training at all!

I’m especially bothered by my arms which can, in the wrong lighting, look downright male-like (see pic). But as you will also see from the pictures my upper arms are NOT toned – I think it’s the combination of some muscle definition and fat that makes my arms look very masculine in certain lighting.

I have the same problem with my legs which used toned and lean. Now, though very strong, look bulky too.

My weekly routine usually includes:
1-2 x running or other cardio
2 x body weight circuit training (never with weights!)
Some yoga here and there
Biking to work 6 km every other day walking a fair amount.

1) Now I know you’re probably gonna say: do more cardio, but how much would you recommend for me to see a change? And what kind?

2) Would you recommend I keep doing my body weight strength training?

3) I live mainly plant based (cheese and eggs included) but focus on protein and veggies. I could probably do a lot better here though – I do consume a fair amount of carbs. Is that contributing to my problem?


Disclaimer: I am not shaming any female body builders or women who aim to build more muscle! You do you! Just trying to get to my personal goal aiming towards a more athletic and lean body.
(English is not my first language so please bear with me) thank you so much!
 

Attachments

  • 5CF424C7-F868-4012-9419-6C501BB3A1EC.png
    5CF424C7-F868-4012-9419-6C501BB3A1EC.png
    6.9 MB · Views: 23
  • D51B502D-9E70-4E0C-B445-0C67BC1D3550.jpeg
    D51B502D-9E70-4E0C-B445-0C67BC1D3550.jpeg
    245.4 KB · Views: 20
  • F84E2BA4-53FF-4D34-BF3D-A3FC8B4AE8D8.jpeg
    F84E2BA4-53FF-4D34-BF3D-A3FC8B4AE8D8.jpeg
    1,010.3 KB · Views: 19
  • 2D5CFE22-19D4-425F-ABF4-9386CF139101.jpeg
    2D5CFE22-19D4-425F-ABF4-9386CF139101.jpeg
    1.2 MB · Views: 18
  • Like
Reactions: ArnoldS and BigHulk
N

NewbieFitnessGal

Member
Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2023
Messages
11
Points
3
Btw, if it is of any help:
5’5” (165 cm)
132,2 lbs (60 kg)
 
  • Like
Reactions: ArnoldS and BigHulk
ArnoldS

ArnoldS

Mecca V.I.P.
VIP
Joined
Oct 11, 2013
Messages
1,541
Points
63
I would keep doing the strength training and really focus on diet. Welcome to mecca.
 
  • Like
Reactions: NewbieFitnessGal
N

NewbieFitnessGal

Member
Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2023
Messages
11
Points
3
I would keep doing the strength training and really focus on diet. Welcome to mecca.
Thank you! And what would you recommend calorie wise? Deficit or surplus?
 
N

NewbieFitnessGal

Member
Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2023
Messages
11
Points
3
I would keep doing the strength training and really focus on diet. Welcome to mecca.
And you wouldn’t think strength training would make me even more stocky looking if I loose some fat?
 
Push50

Push50

Mecca V.I.P.
VIP
Joined
Feb 9, 2018
Messages
1,051
Points
83
First and foremost, WELCOME TO MECCA!!!!

Great introduction but I do have some additional questions if you don't mind.
So I have this:
33 yo Female
5' 5"
132.2 lbs.

What kind of job do you have? Would you consider your level of activity as Active(Low) or Active, Very Active?
What does a normal days diet look like? Macros/Calories so forth?
What would you say your body type is? Endomorph, Ectomorph or Mesomorph. Just based on the information that I have, a guess would be "Mesomorph", because you appear to have an athletic body.. This body type can lose and gain weigh fairly quick and build muscle easily.

We still need to determine you BMR as well as your RDI and then make sure that your macros are conducive to losing fat.

This is what it looks like:
BMR is appx. 1300 calories
RDI = 2100 Calories (Maintain Current Weight)
RDI = 1600 Calories (Loose 1lb/wk)
these numbers are based on Active (Low)with Lifestyle.

As a mesomorph, lifting heavy weights will compound the issue of "Bulking Up". That doesn't mean, don't lift, it means use lower weights, resistance bands or as you already do, Bodyweight. Your cardio will have to be increased to burn the fat. Consider doing light resistance training 3 days a week, an evening Power Walk 5 days a week and make sure to get at least one day a week off for total recovery.

As a Mesomorph, your macros should be something like this:
Carbs = 30%
Proteins = 40%
Fats = 30%

I hope that this helps.
 
N

NewbieFitnessGal

Member
Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2023
Messages
11
Points
3
First and foremost, WELCOME TO MECCA!!!!

Great introduction but I do have some additional questions if you don't mind.
So I have this:
33 yo Female
5' 5"
132.2 lbs.

What kind of job do you have? Would you consider your level of activity as Active(Low) or Active, Very Active?
What does a normal days diet look like? Macros/Calories so forth?
What would you say your body type is? Endomorph, Ectomorph or Mesomorph. Just based on the information that I have, a guess would be "Mesomorph", because you appear to have an athletic body.. This body type can lose and gain weigh fairly quick and build muscle easily.

We still need to determine you BMR as well as your RDI and then make sure that your macros are conducive to losing fat.

This is what it looks like:
BMR is appx. 1300 calories
RDI = 2100 Calories (Maintain Current Weight)
RDI = 1600 Calories (Loose 1lb/wk)
these
First and foremost, WELCOME TO MECCA!!!!

Great introduction but I do have some additional questions if you don't mind.
So I have this:
33 yo Female
5' 5"
132.2 lbs.

What kind of job do you have? Would you consider your level of activity as Active(Low) or Active, Very Active?
What does a normal days diet look like? Macros/Calories so forth?
What would you say your body type is? Endomorph, Ectomorph or Mesomorph. Just based on the information that I have, a guess would be "Mesomorph", because you appear to have an athletic body.. This body type can lose and gain weigh fairly quick and build muscle easily.

We still need to determine you BMR as well as your RDI and then make sure that your macros are conducive to losing fat.

This is what it looks like:
BMR is appx. 1300 calories
RDI = 2100 Calories (Maintain Current Weight)
RDI = 1600 Calories (Loose 1lb/wk)
these numbers are based on Active (Low)with Lifestyle.

As a mesomorph, lifting heavy weights will compound the issue of "Bulking Up". That doesn't mean, don't lift, it means use lower weights, resistance bands or as you already do, Bodyweight. Your cardio will have to be increased to burn the fat. Consider doing light resistance training 3 days a week, an evening Power Walk 5 days a week and make sure to get at least one day a week off for total recovery.

As a Mesomorph, your macros should be something like this:
Carbs = 30%
Proteins = 40%
Fats = 30%

I hope that this helps.
numbers are based on Active (Low)with Lifestyle.

As a mesomorph, lifting heavy weights will compound the issue of "Bulking Up". That doesn't mean, don't lift, it means use lower weights, resistance bands or as you already do, Bodyweight. Your cardio will have to be increased to burn the fat. Consider doing light resistance training 3 days a week, an evening Power Walk 5 days a week and make sure to get at least one day a week off for total recovery.

As a Mesomorph, your macros should be something like this:
Carbs = 30%
Proteins = 40%
Fats = 30%

I hope that this helps.
 
N

NewbieFitnessGal

Member
Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2023
Messages
11
Points
3
Thank you so much!! You guys are being so kind, I feel very welcome. I will try and answer your questions:

I have a sedentary job and work in an office. However, I try to bike as much as possible to work, take the stairs in our 5 floor building and stand up at my desk during the day (still pretty sedentary, I know). I would say my activity level varies depending on how stressed I am at work. I would like to think my activity level is moderate with some periods of lower activity. I always exercise even in low activity periods, but not as much and as intense as I probably should.

I have a very hard time defining my body type. Had you asked me 5-6 years ago, I think I would have definitely said ectomorph. I have small wrists and ankles, has always been described as “petite”, though I look taller than I am. People often guess me 5-6 cm taller because I am pretty lean and long looking. Especially the question “Consider what your body looked like, before you corrupted it with poor dietary and exercise habits, once you reached your full height as a teenager or young adult. How did you look?”
My answer to that would be: long and lean looking! Without fat and muscle gain, I have very little breasts, bum, hips or waist.
I seem to do very well with a high carb diet (in fact I can’t function without my carbs), HOWEVER I don’t feel like I ever had to struggle a lot to gain weight. And past my 30’s especially, I’m struggling to lose it.

So I am confused and don’t know whether I’m an aging ecto with a little too much fat and a poor diet, or a meso who for years ate very infrequent and sparse and only did cardio so I didn’t gain muscle. Can you be somewhat of a combo?

I have no idea what my macros are, or how many calories I eat but I have tracked calories before, so I’m guessing between 1800-2000.

I will start tracking, just downloaded an app. Overall I can tell you that my carb/protein balance is probably off and I could swap more carb for protein.

A typical day’s worth of food:

Breakfast: Oatmeal with oat milk, nuts and seeds and a bit of low sugar granola to sweeten instead of putting sugar on my oats

Lunch: Eaten at the office cantina so it varies. Usually half a plate of some mixed veggies, and then some form of vegetarian protein: lentils, chickpea, soy based product. A lump of whole grain bread.

Dinner: Typically: Pasta with greens, soups, Buddha bowls or veggie stir fry.

Snacks: A piece of fruit and a granola bar.

… and then in the weekend I’m probably ruining the entire thing since I have no restrictions. It’s not like I binge for three days straight, but I do consume a fair amount of candy or chips and sometimes alcohol.

That was very long, sorry! Hope I answered your questions.
 
N

NewbieFitnessGal

Member
Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2023
Messages
11
Points
3
If it helps determining my body type:
Here’s me at 23, doing tons of cardio and being on a very restrictive diet low in calories.
 

Attachments

  • A2FDFC1F-7DCD-462E-8CDA-C1FFB808D26C.jpeg
    A2FDFC1F-7DCD-462E-8CDA-C1FFB808D26C.jpeg
    588 KB · Views: 17
  • Like
Reactions: TalkAdmin and Push50
Push50

Push50

Mecca V.I.P.
VIP
Joined
Feb 9, 2018
Messages
1,051
Points
83
Do you gain muscle mass easily? Quickly?,
If you can gain muscle quickly then I would say Meso, if not then Ecto. The reason that is important is that there are exercises that certain body types should and should not incorporate in to a weekly routine.
To cut Fat:

Ecto - Increased Cardio like for fat lose; 5 x's week and at least 3 x's/wk Resistance
Meso - Increased cardio and resistance training but avoid heavy lifting ang HIIT type workouts

I realize that this is kind of new, or I guess it is, but if you could take one days meals and break it into the size of portions that you eat we can see where your macros are.
So like your Oat meal2? 1 cup? instant/ slow cooked?
Nuts? how many?

This may sound a little nuts, but this is an essential step in achieving your goal. Some things you may be able to look at and say, oh that's a cup, cup and a half, 3 tbls, 1/4 cup but to start try to measure what you can. Or weight in grams. I prefer this method. You need to make sure that your proteins are there to maintain your muscle mass. Your carbs have to be in control so that you don't bulk up and over time your body can learn to burn fats as fuels. When I do fairly extreme cuts, I run almost no carbs. A few vegetables to keep me full.
I really have the feeling that this is more of a diet issue that anything else. I will do what I can to help out.
 
  • Love
Reactions: TalkAdmin

MuscleMecca Crew

Mecca Staff
Push50

Push50

Mecca V.I.P.
VIP
Joined
Feb 9, 2018
Messages
1,051
Points
83
Thank you! And what would you recommend calorie wise? Deficit or surplus?

I would run a maintenance intake. RDi. The goal would be to burn fat and not put on muscle. There may be some muscle gain but should be minimal.


I am using the MuscleMecca Bodybuilding Mobile App!
 
  • Love
  • Like
Reactions: NewbieFitnessGal and TalkAdmin
N

NewbieFitnessGal

Member
Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2023
Messages
11
Points
3
Do you gain muscle mass easily? Quickly?,
If you can gain muscle quickly then I would say Meso, if not then Ecto. The reason that is important is that there are exercises that certain body types should and should not incorporate in to a weekly routine.
To cut Fat:

Ecto - Increased Cardio like for fat lose; 5 x's week and at least 3 x's/wk Resistance
Meso - Increased cardio and resistance training but avoid heavy lifting ang HIIT type workouts

I realize that this is kind of new, or I guess it is, but if you could take one days meals and break it into the size of portions that you eat we can see where your macros are.
So like your Oat meal2? 1 cup? instant/ slow cooked?
Nuts? how many?

This may sound a little nuts, but this is an essential step in achieving your goal. Some things you may be able to look at and say, oh that's a cup, cup and a half, 3 tbls, 1/4 cup but to start try to measure what you can. Or weight in grams. I prefer this method. You need to make sure that your proteins are there to maintain your muscle mass. Your carbs have to be in control so that you don't bulk up and over time your body can learn to burn fats as fuels. When I do fairly extreme cuts, I run almost no carbs. A few vegetables to keep me full.
I really have the feeling that this is more of a diet issue that anything else. I will do what I can to help out.
I have massive trouble deciding whether I’m ecto or meso… I took a test and it rated me 50/50. I know it’s quite an annoying answer, but I’m very unsure what “gain muscle quickly” means. Does it mean 1-2 weeks for me to see results? Then no. Is 1 month quickly? Then yes. It also differs from body part to body part. My legs seem to respond fairly quickly fx. Whereas I had to fight quite a bit to build my glutes. I have however been on contraceptives for 1 years now and, as a woman, I feel like it changes how and where I store fat.

Why I might be an ecto:
- Long looking legs, torso fairly short.
- Small bone structure. My fingers fit easily around my skinny wrists
- Possible fast metabolism. I have low blood sugar and seem to do well with a lot of carbs without gaining too much.
- Flat chested, small hips and bum.

Why I might be a meso:
- I’m pretty short, not tall.
- I have some pretty well defined
- I don’t feel like I’ve ever “struggled a lot to gain weight or muscle”. I have only ever been underweight when I literally starved myself in my 20’s.
-
The problem with me looking “bulky” has appeared after I signed up for a weekly 1 hour HIIT class. Only once a week, but combined with my other exercising it has led to this bulky look I don’t like over the past 6 months. Had I been a true ecto, I don’t expect this would become a problem?
Do you gain muscle mass easily? Quickly?,
If you can gain muscle quickly then I would say Meso, if not then Ecto. The reason that is important is that there are exercises that certain body types should and should not incorporate in to a weekly routine.
To cut Fat:

Ecto - Increased Cardio like for fat lose; 5 x's week and at least 3 x's/wk Resistance
Meso - Increased cardio and resistance training but avoid heavy lifting ang HIIT type workouts

I realize that this is kind of new, or I guess it is, but if you could take one days meals and break it into the size of portions that you eat we can see where your macros are.
So like your Oat meal2? 1 cup? instant/ slow cooked?
Nuts? how many?

This may sound a little nuts, but this is an essential step in achieving your goal. Some things you may be able to look at and say, oh that's a cup, cup and a half, 3 tbls, 1/4 cup but to start try to measure what you can. Or weight in grams. I prefer this method. You need to make sure that your proteins are there to maintain your muscle mass. Your carbs have to be in control so that you don't bulk up and over time your body can learn to burn fats as fuels. When I do fairly extreme cuts, I run almost no carbs. A few vegetables to keep me full.
I really have the feeling that this is more of a diet issue that anything else. I will do what I can to help out.
I find it very very hard to determine whether I’m ecto or meso. I took a test and it came out 50/50. I know it’s an annoying answer but I also struggle to determine whether I gain fat and muscle easily. I feel like it’s… medium? I feel like I maybe take a bit longer to gain weight than some people. I’ve always considered myself “lucky” in that sense. However, I have been taking contraceptives for 10 years and, as a woman, I feel it impacts how and where I put on fat. To be honest I always thought I was ecto but now I feel like I might not be “skinny enough” to qualify for that.

Why I might be ecto:
- I have long legs, short torso
- I have a small bone structure. Always skinny ankles, and my fingers fit easily around my wrists
- I seem to be able to consume a lot of carbs without it impacting my weight too much
- Flat chest, narrow hips and small bum.
- I’m great at cardio, not very strong


Why I might be meso:
- I’m short, not tall like a typical ecto
- I have never struggled too much to put on weight. I have never been underweight except for when I downright starved myself in my 20’s
- After doing a HIIT class once a week for 6 months, the problem with looking bulky appeared. Had I been 100% ecto, I don’t expect that would have been an issue?

I don’t know how to settle this???? Very confused.

I believe you are correct about diet being the bigger issue. As of today, I started tracking my intake. The app (Lifesum) suggests 1800 calories based on my lifestyle. I will return with some data after I have tracked for a few days. I have a few questions:

1. Does 1800 calories sound like a bit too much though?
2. Whenever I burn calories from exercise, am I then supposed to re-eat those calories in order to hit my RDI or not?
3. As a vegetarian, I love my protein supplements. However, kidney stones runs in the family though I’ve never had any. What’s your take on protein supplements and kidney stones?
4. I originally posted because I hate my arms. What to do? Stop doing strength training with my arms all together and then rely on fat loss to make them look smaller and leaner?

Thank you!!
 
N

NewbieFitnessGal

Member
Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2023
Messages
11
Points
3
I don’t know why it posted that twice…
 
N

NewbieFitnessGal

Member
Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2023
Messages
11
Points
3
Just read the last reply I made, seems like I somehow posted mid-writing 😅
 
  • Like
Reactions: TalkAdmin
Push50

Push50

Mecca V.I.P.
VIP
Joined
Feb 9, 2018
Messages
1,051
Points
83
No worries. So looks like you need to steer clear of HIIT. Lower weights higher reps for sculpting. Resistance bands will likely work great for you but you will have to increase cardio


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
  • Like
Reactions: TalkAdmin and NewbieFitnessGal
N

NewbieFitnessGal

Member
Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2023
Messages
11
Points
3
I never ever use weights anymore, though… how come body weight only HIIT once a week seem to bulk me up? Is it cause I’m possibly over eating?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Charlie and TalkAdmin
Push50

Push50

Mecca V.I.P.
VIP
Joined
Feb 9, 2018
Messages
1,051
Points
83
You could be taking in more than needed calories. That’s why until you start moving the right direction you need to weigh your food and start calculating macros. Only way to get on track.
Body weight exercises should continue to work for you.
IMO
 
  • Like
Reactions: Charlie, BigHulk, KaiGold and 3 others
skyworx

skyworx

still smokan
Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2024
Messages
19
Points
3
Work your core, work your abs, work your shoulders with some 15lbs dumbs. kettle bells are also a must.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Charlie, BigHulk, KaiGold and 1 other person

Similar threads

preacherbob50
Replies
13
Views
5K
ArnoldS
ArnoldS
J
Replies
2
Views
5K
StanG
S
Top