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Author Topic: Gaining muscles
Member # 22086

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My doctor has been bugging me lately that i'm too underweight (my bmi is 16), but the thing is I like my figure, and I don't particularly want to get fatter.

Since I'm a gymn member I was hoping I could just put on weight by building some muscle (obviously I don't want to be Popeye the Sailor Man though). The thing is, nothing I do seems to work. I'm always tired. I get tired just walking up the stairs and I find it hell trying to do a workout. I've tried to start small and work my way up but I just don't seem to be getting any better.

I eat vegetarian food most of the time so I might be lacking protein of something, but I eat quite healthily so I'm not sure what else I can do.

Does anyone have any advice?

Posts: 30 | From: England | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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If you're underweight and always tired, then in all likelihood your body isn't getting the protein and calories it needs to function properly, let alone build muscles.

So keep eating healthily, but eat more of what you're eating - especially foods that contain protein, like beans, nuts, grains, tofu and soy products, eggs (and dairy, fish, chicken or meat if you eat them).

Once you've got the energy to do some exercise, lifting weights is probably your best way to gain muscle (and nope, that won't turn you into Popeye - unless you've got exactly the right genes and workout incredibly intensively, women's bodies just don't "bulk up" like that).

[ 08-02-2006, 01:51 AM: Message edited by: logic_grrl ]

"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it." - the Talmud

Posts: 6944 | From: UK | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 24638

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Hi rabiteen, first off putting on muscle is a very good idea congrats on having the self motivation to get up to the gym and pump some iron lol. The reason your doctor told you to put on weight is because it sounds like you are lacking much body fat at all. Your body is like a car and needs the proper fuel to run, protein as mentioned before would be a good idea. did you happen to ask him for any recomended diets? Also remember that he is your doctor and would not send you on any diet that would make you "fat" and from what it sounds like if you get tired just walking some stairs you are in critical need of more food, as your current diet and weight are starting to interfer with daily activities. Just know that to work out and gain muscle you need to be eating good hearty things. Adding meat to your diet would be a good start.

As The Shadow Follows The Body, As We Think, So We Become.

Posts: 157 | From: Athens, Texas, USA | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 29292

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For me, push-up works fine to tone up my arms. Sit-ups are great too but for my abs. So I keep it simple, I'm all about push-ups and sit-ups.

And those exercises don't need anything. I can't say it bulks you up because as logic_grrl said women don't really bulk up because of our testosterone levels being low. Some women can but most women don't.

It all depends on how much you want to gain muscles. You might want to think about weightlifting if you want better results.

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Posts: 3598 | From: Canada | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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but the thing is I like my figure, and I don't particularly want to get fatter

This made me worried. Having a low BMI is not troubling in and of itself for the most part, because athletes usually have BMIs that put them in the "underweight" category. Also, people with naturally small body frames may have low BMIs and yet be perfectly healthy.

But this kind of thinking - i.e. "I don't want my body to change for x reason," can be pretty damaging to your self esteem in the long run. Attaining a healthy weight isn't unattractive - it's WAY attractive.

Try to get yourself in a headspace where you can imagine liking your body with extra weight and muscle on it. If you're average height (5'4") and have a BMI around 16, to get a BMI of 18 - making you slightly underweight, you'd have to gain about 10 pounds.

That is not a lot of weight by any means.

Lifting weights can put tremendous stress on your body if you're not used to it - and it may not be the best option for you if you get tired from everyday activity. The other posters are right - start eating beans, eggs, more dairy foods to get protein. Soy is a terrific source of protein as well.

You need at least 15 % of your calories from protein in order to start building muscle. Without enough protein, your body will burn your (limited) fat reserves when you tax your muscles.

Most stationary weight machines at gyms (not free weights/dumbells) have their lowest setting at 10 - 20 pounds. You won't be able to build muscle effectively with these methods if you have low stamina and energy - so calisthenics at home will probably be more effective for you.

Concentrate on eating enough to gain at least a pound a week. At the same time, work daily aerobic exercise and some mild strength training into your routine. You might want to do something like this :

Walk 15-20 minutes at a brisk pace three times a week. On the alternating three days, do mild strength training. You can do this in front of the tv even. Modified pushups (on your knees) are fine, as well as squats and leg lifts. You can do bicep curls with spaghetti sauce cans or get some small 3-4 lb. weights. Sit-ups are fine, although they work your hips more than they do your abdominals (unless you're doing 30 or 40 at a time) and they can put a lot of stress on your lower back. Reverse crunches (with your feet on a chair at a 90 degree angle) are great for your stomach muscles.

[ 08-10-2006, 10:59 PM: Message edited by: kitka ]

Posts: 455 | From: New York, NY | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 30530

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how old are you 1st?

if ur in high school, if you want to be "buff" like the other kids in your class, your screwed... the "buff" kids start in 6th grade or early middle school, im one of them, i had the fat slow ashtma body type and lifted weights for many years and became one of those muscluar jock kids

-A battle rages on the field, yet another conflict rages inside the minds of the combatents, that is where the battle is won, in the confidence of the warriors

Posts: 11 | From: US of A | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Member # 139

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Hey, fightmusic?

That's not totally accurate. People can gain muscle mass at any point in their lives, really. It's not just for sixth graders. [Smile]

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Posts: 2789 | From: The Evergreen State | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Atticus Girl
Member # 13561

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Weightlifting will DEFINITELY help you build muscle. Also, I recommend that you try to eat small, yet very frequent BALANCED and healthy meals throughout the day (at least ever 2-3 hours)...equalling to about 6 or 7 meals a day. Each meal must contain proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.

You will NOT get bulky. That's a common misconception with women who are starting with weights. Women are not built like that...get that image of those juiced-up, steroid addicted women out of your mind. [Smile]

Understand this: When you gain muscle, you will inevitably gain fat as well...same applies as if you were to try and lose fat - you'll end up losing muscle as well. As long as you're weight training, you should be fine. Eventually you'll end up with more muscle than fat, and in turn, you'll have a defined physique and a good bodyfat percentage (assuming you're consistent with a good workout regimen and you are eating a clean diet).

And to be honest...the whole body mass index thing is inaccurate and will probably be obsolete within the next 5-10 years; and forget what the scales say.

With that said, if I were you, I would forget the numbers; and focus more on strength progress with weight training, physique and appearance, before and after pictures, and body measurements. Those do not lie. [Smile]

Posts: 105 | From: San Diego, CA | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 26508

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First thing that goes off in my mind when you say you get tired just walking up the stairs is anemia.. mainly eating veggie (I'm a veggie myself) will do that if you aren't careful. I'm an athlete and taking iron whenever I start feeling a little run down helps a LOT.


Posts: 86 | From: southern CA | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 29912

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But if you aren't anaemic, taking iron can screw you up. Don't start taking supplements for things you aren't sure you have.

Have you told your doctor about your fatigue? If you have, you may have been tested for anaemia already.

And Airem, if she doesn't want to eat meat, it's not at all necessary. As others have said, there is plenty of protein in beans and tofu and stuff.

Posts: 70 | From: place | Registered: Jul 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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