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SERGEANTMAJOR Posts: 6,418
4/27/12 8:38 P


Just as an aside calf raises are a no reason to do exercise, full body exercises such as lunges will work them along with the rest of your major muscles.

FITVALGAL SparkPoints: (51,909)
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4/27/12 4:40 P

I have big calves, so I don't like calf raises, but I do strength train and then stretch well afterward. I also like pilates and yoga for stretching while strengthening. BTW, when I was slimmer so were my calves, so losing weight will make a difference.

Edited by: FITVALGAL at: 4/27/2012 (16:41)
FOREVERFITNESS1 SparkPoints: (863)
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4/24/12 7:51 P

Yea I understand that...Thanks

HILLMC719 Posts: 33
4/24/12 4:18 P

I personally have been doing a lot of research on strength training for women. Believe it or not bodybuilding.com is a helpful resource. The ladies that you see that look masculine or bulky are most likely using substances to enhance their weight lifting (think steroids). I have learned that we women need to strength train. We have become so dependent on cardio which certainly helps slim you down, but like a previous poster said you lose muscle, too. The perk to strength training is not only are you building muscle, but you continue to burn calories for a time after you have completed your workout. With cardio your calorie burn returns to your normal rate very quickly.

I, personally, have reduced my cardio, started lifting heavy (fatiguing my muscles after 2 or 3 sets of 6 reps), and I have seen inches coming off.

Good luck!

Edited by: HILLMC719 at: 4/24/2012 (16:18)
FOREVERFITNESS1 SparkPoints: (863)
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4/24/12 2:06 P

That makes sense about needing more to do anything when your fat. I will work in a combination of cardio and strength training. I will just try not to do any strength moves on my calves, since they will get a good work out with my cardio. Thanks!

LUCKYNUMBER23 SparkPoints: (12,368)
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4/24/12 1:27 P

I have big calfs. Sometimes I have trouble finding pants that fit my calfs. I try not to do any calf raises. You want to strength train a couple days a week.

I was thinking about this last night. Fat people sometimes have more muscle then skinny people. They have more muscle because they need more to walk and do other activities. When you lose weight you want to lose the fat but still keep the muscle. Then when the fat is gone, you will have muscle left. So you want to strength train so you don't lose your muscles.

FOREVERFITNESS1 SparkPoints: (863)
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4/24/12 12:14 P

Yea hopefully it just works out in the end. And everything look portioned right.

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (57,374)
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4/24/12 12:08 P

Genetics, basically. ;) Where you lose fat first is determined by genetics; most likely, as the lowest load-bearing muscle in your body, your calves simply get more of a workout! Our legs are usually stronger than our upper body (especially in us women) because of this... they're always bearing the weight of our bodies. And think about it... the more you weigh, the stronger they need to be to support it!

FOREVERFITNESS1 SparkPoints: (863)
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4/24/12 11:43 A

Thanks everyone, that makes me feel a lot better, even though my calves feel like all muscle as it is. For some reason even walking, I can always feel my calves getting a good workout. I still don't understand why my calves have so much muscle, but the rest of my body is fat.

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 14,277
4/24/12 7:53 A

1. Fat cannot turn into muscle - it's bio-chemically impossible. New muscle tissue can only be created from protein from your intake.

2. It is actually very difficult to add muscle tissue while running a calorie deficit to lose weight, as the body tends to burn protein for energy, rather than creating new muscle tissue.

3. Fat is considerably bulkier than muscle (check www.dailyspark.com/blog.asp?post=quiz_how_
much_do_you_really_know_about_fat
for a great photo of this. Bulky calves are almost certainly the result of your body's tendency to store fat there (different people store fat in different places), rather than enlarged calf muscles. As you lose body fat, some of it will naturally come off the calves.

4. Without strength training, up to 25% of lost weight can come from lost muscle, rather than fat. Given point 3 above, this can lead to FEWER lost inches, not more. Strength training is actually a very effective fat burner, and will lead to a slimmer look, not a bulkier one.

Strength training should be part of your overall exercise program NOW.

M@L

BDD923 SparkPoints: (6,407)
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4/23/12 7:28 P

To add to JUSTDOIT... Pilates is known for working your muscles while they are long, with the idea that the muscles will build as long and lean.

I agree with the others... You will not bulk up... your calves may become more noticeable as you lose weight elsewhere. But I think if you keep working it will all come into where you want it to be!

JUSTDOIT011 Posts: 1,411
4/23/12 7:00 P

Well I am guilty of not adding strength training until...2 weeks ago, when I hit 156 :S I had this mid-set of "I need to lose some significant weight first, THEN focus on muscles." but that was all in my head, I had no scientific basis for that. The sooner the better, I'd say, because as a woman it's going to take you weeks and weeks to put on even a pound of muscle, so you might as well start now so you can see the benefits later!

And I actually have huge calves, so I know what you're talking about. My whole family does-- my mom and sister especially. My sister and I can't buy boots that zip up to right under your knee, because they won't zip up past our calves-- the shoe part fits our foot, but our calves are too large to fit into the boot. That ticks me off, actually...I have to find a boot that falls below my calves rather than on or above it. :(

BUT I read somewhere that if you want to not build any more calve muscle, focus on long-distance type work. It makes sense to me-- I mean, Olympic sprinters have large, thick, leg muscles. Olympic long-distance runners have long, lean, toned muscles. So I'm just focusing on stretching a lot as well as things like jogging, rather than HIIT sprinting intervals.

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (57,374)
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4/23/12 5:10 P

Your calves aren't as big as you think they are... I promise! We're always our own worst critic. One of the ladies in my group classes was complaining about her enormous calves... I looked, and she didn't have big calves at all! They were slim and muscular! What you see isn't what everyone else sees; no one is as close as you or as invested in the way you look as you, so they don't think as badly about you as you do!

Case in point: I was always staring down at my enormous calves in the shower when I shaved, annoyed that I wasn't the slender teen I used to be. Even though there's tons of muscle there (I've done a lot of strength training in the past 6 months) I felt like they looked huge.

In spite of this, I went and bought some new workout shorts; When I got to the gym, I was surprised at the woman in the mirror! See, I don't have full-length mirrors in my house. Just a hip-up mirror. The woman in that mirror had slim, sexy calves with lots of definition! I looked down, and sure enough... the same bulky, fat-looking calves I was used to seeing was there.

So I promise you: Your calves aren't going to become freakishly huge while the rest of you gets skinny. You'll be in proportion for YOUR body, and you'll look great... even if you don't think so yourself. :)

UNIDENT Posts: 33,498
4/23/12 3:07 P

If you're concerned about calf bulking just ensure you don't do calf raises specifically. Using your calves to assist a compound movement like squats or lunges is adequate for them without providing specific focus.

It's possible that you do have bulky calves - everybody's body is different. It may just be something you live with. Remember though, that even if they seem to bulk up a bit, there's a layer of fat over them that you're working on too, and when that gets much smaller they WILL look smaller!

JENMC14 Posts: 2,707
4/23/12 2:38 P

Great advice here. You will not bulk up from walking or adding in ST to your workouts. Also, muscle and fat are two different substances. You cannot turn fat into muscle.

FOREVERFITNESS1 SparkPoints: (863)
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4/23/12 2:14 P

Thanks Everyone for the advice. I will work on that, still a little skeptical about my calves bulking up, but I will definitely add some strength training.

Edited by: FOREVERFITNESS1 at: 4/23/2012 (14:15)
DROPCONE Posts: 1,540
4/23/12 2:07 P

It's unlikely that adding strength training will cause you to bulk up; and also strengthening your muscles will allow your body to burn calories more efficiently. Here's a helpful article on this subject:

www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_artic
les.asp?id=364


I wouldn't worry about the "huge calves". If you stick with healthy eating and exercise for the long term, your body will become better proportioned (as a rule).

Edited by: DROPCONE at: 4/23/2012 (14:08)
SERGEANTMAJOR Posts: 6,418
4/23/12 2:03 P


The three part formula for fat loss in ranked order of importance is nutrition (diet), strength training and then last cardio. Strength training is not only ranked ahead of cardio for fat loss it also has other benefits, improving bone mass and density, improving balance and coordination and increasing our ability to do work.

Women do not have the necessary testosterone to bulk up from strength training for that matter neither do many men. Do not buy into the myth of light weights and high repetitions, that is not effective use challenging weight for no more than 8 to 10 repetitions.

Put strength training into your programme now do not wait.

FOREVERFITNESS1 SparkPoints: (863)
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Posts: 55
4/23/12 1:42 P

I just started SP and I am very confused on working out, should I just do Cardio to lose the pounds, then work my muscles? I don't want all my fat turning in to muscle, and my calves always get the most muscle and then look huge? Even walking my calves always start hurting, it seems like I will always have big calves. Someone Help me, I want to be toned not have big muscles!

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