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583580 tn?1231136383

Women: lifting and gaining unwanted mass help

I have always been an active person. I do cardio and I try to lift weights but theres my problem. Everytime I start a lifting program even though its low weight more reps I gain mass. This frustrates me cause it doesnt go away. I dont lose inches or weight I get bigger. Whenever this happens I stop lifting cause I dont want to get bigger. I know they say that a woman cant get bigger because she just doesnt produce the same hormones as a man but why would I be gaining mass if this were so. Am I being paranoid, is this something that over time will start to go away and start to lean out? Has this happened to anyone else? I usually do an hour of cardio (I try to mix it up between my elipitical, stationary bike and tae bo dvds) and I try to do it as many days a week as I can. The lifting routines have ranged from lifting everyday only concentrating on certain muscles each day (like biceps one day 3 exercises for that muscle the next day maybe triceps) to just doing upper body one day the next lower with doing one exercise per muscle. I'm out of ideas and I'm frustrated, I feel like a freak. I'm 28 and currently 157lbs and I'm only 5'1" with insulin resistance. I would love to be back to down to 120lbs but this lifting problem is stopping me in my tracks.
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Avatar universal
Would you happen to know how many calories you're eating every day? It is true that it's difficult for women to build muscle mass and get bulky, and is just about impossible if you're consuming limited calories and are creating a defecit. Regular resistence or strength straining will build a little muscle, but it shouldnt be bulking you up. If you think you're bulking up that much, theres a good chance you're consuming too many calories. I don't know a lot about body building or lifting, but I do know that it's essentially the complete opposite process of losing weight. So instead of working out and consuming limited calories to create that deficit, you have to work out and increase your calories by a lot to build mass. I would try focusing mainly on cardio and doing strength training maybe only two or three times a week and cutting your calories back. And make sure you give yourself at least one rest day a week where you don't do any kind of high impact exercising because rest days are important! If you're 5'1 and 157 lbs (a lot of that weight is probably lean mass I'm sure) and want to get back down to 120, I'm thinking you should maybe be eating around 1200-1600 calories to lose weight but it could probably be more than that since you're so active. There are a lot of websites that can help you calculate your specific calorie needs for weight loss (I used Spark People to figure out mine)
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649848 tn?1534633700
COMMUNITY LEADER
I agree with Starry, you may just need to watch your calories more and limit your weight lifting, but if you are insulin resistant, that will make it harder to lose weight, too.  Are you on any kind of med for that?  Have you have your hormone levels (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, etc) checked?  It may be possible some imbalance there could make you bulk up.  Also, think about getting thyroid checked, as that could make losing weight a lot more difficult also.  
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583580 tn?1231136383
Ok sorry it has taken me some time to get back on here but things have been a little busy (just found out last week that I'm losing my job in Feb...nice) anyways...Here is what I've been doing as far as exercising goes. I found a starter slash get back into the groove lifting program in Muscle and Fitness Hers so I decided to give it a try since I'm use to doing some lifting I figured it would help me get back into the groove of things. Its a circuit training program that runs for 4 weeks. The first 2 weeks you start off with 3 days a week of total body exercises top and bottom followed by 30-45 minutes of whatever cardio you choose. The second 2 weeks you move up to 4 days a week same routine. I have been doing that with some extra cardio on the non lifting days like doing my tae bo dvd or some extra time on the eliptical machine. I have been doing pretty good watching my eating habits (pat on the back) I have only had one slip and I think thats ok to do every now and then so you dont go crazy. I've been walking my younger beagle every morning (since the the weather hasnt been the greatest its only a 15 minute walk but that will get longer once the weather gets better). I was proud of my achievements until I weighed myself today to find that I've gained 3 pounds. So here I go again same problem as always. I start lifting I get bigger. I know the scale numbers arent the only thing to pay attention to but I've also been watching my inches and I know my legs are getting bigger because my jeans that were once a little loose around my thighs are now tight and not easy to wear anymore so I hate putting them on. This has happened to me so many times in the past and everytime it happens I stop lifting and give up. I'm getting frustrated and dont know what to do. My calorie intake is under 2000 which is great for me and I shouldn't need any more than that. I have been good on taking my insulin resistant meds so that should be under control. So I'm at a loss, I'm feeling like I'm a freak of nature or something because I have been doing so much reading up on female lifting and everyone says its impossible for a woman to get bigger its just not in their genes and here I am, getting bigger. I want to stop lifting because of it even though I know its making me healthier but I dont want to keep getting bigger. By the way I took the rest of my inches (arms, waist etc) and have gained everywhere. Advice needed
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Avatar universal
Hi there! I'm 5'3" and I weigh 184 lbs right now. I have a condition called PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). Part of PCOS is insulin resistance, obesity and high levels of testosterone (as well as other hormonal fluctuations).

It would be a great idea to get a simple blood test to see where your testosterone levels are at so that you can treat it if it is high. High testosterone may be causing you to build muscle mass instead of thinning out as that is a dominant male hormone.

Also whenever I started and stoppe and started and stopped working out, I would also gain a few lbs that first week or two. BUT... with consistency and perseverance I'm starting to LOSE weight now. I lost 4 lbs just last week (haven't seen the scale move in quite some time!).

I hope that helps!
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