Posted by: Tisa | 2009-10-29

should I stop training?

Hi Fit Doc

I have been training for about 11 years, am a 35 yr old woman. I rem when growing up and in my 20s that my figure was slender but curvy, I rem having a curvy butt and perfectly proportioned hips. Now at age 35 I seem to have a small butt and almost no hips. If you imagine the 1989 Madonna vs the 2009 one, that’ s what my body seems to have done –  only I certainly don’ t train like her. I have just de-feminised somehow. I also seem to only gain weight on the tummy while the rest of me remains trim and toned. As I woman I would like to gain weight in womanly places i.e. hips thighs and butt but it goes to the tummy. I specifically remember it used to go the hips and thighs a decade ago.

I am concerned about the complete change in physique and the new weight gain pattern...I have lost femininity, something I thought would instead increase with age. I don' t train excessively, I do a lot of weights and am noticeably toned (defined back and biceps etc) but I don' t look like a freak or anything.

Is my 11 yrs of training responsible for my lack of curves and the new way in which I gain weight? I am not happy with looking less and less feminine and am now wondering if I shd call it a day at the gym in order to get my feminine look back, or has it gone for good? It just seems I completely have a different body. It is most evident to people who last saw me years ago, they all ask me what happened to my lovely curvy figure and why I am now so masculine in appearance.

For all intents and purposes I am exactly the weight I was a decade ago, in fact I’ d put myself at a kg less, 2 sometimes. But the hips and straighter and my butt smaller. This is also in spite of my having had a child. I am 53/54kg and 5ft 7inch.
How have these changes happened, is the gym to blame and shd I stop? I love the gym very much and feel terribly out of sorts if I don’ t go. I also feel I have had a useless workout if I do no weights, i.e. I am totally not a cardio person. I once tried it (spinning) but on just 20-30 mins 4 times a week, lost a shocking amount of weight in a fortnight. It just took me further away from the fit-but-curvy look I want.

What to do? Quitting gym seems so extreme, esp after 11 yrs.


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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFitnessDoc

Hi Tisa

I think that stopping training is a drastic step to take. Unless you were sure that training was causing the problem, there'd be no grounds to stop. And I don't think that training is causing your problem.

I think that what you're facing here is a typical problem associated with aging - the main change is that we lose lean muscle mass and that makes weight maintenance difficult. Then we start to accumulate fat in specific areas of the body, and I feel that's likely what you're struggling with. The practical implication of all this is that if you change nothing as you get older, then your body shape will change. It may therefore be that you need to look at making changes to the way you train - train at a higher intensity, or at the very least add cardio, because perhaps you're starting to see the result of that gradual loss of muscle mass.

But I definitely would not stop exercise - that will probably only accelerate the changes you're seeing now. So no, your trainingi s not responsible for your changes, and probably are helping slow them down.

Good luck

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