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Q & A

Got a question about some aspect of mind-body-spirit fitness? Ask! It can be as earthly as "Can a heart monitor really enhance my workout?" (the short answer to that is yes) or as heady as, "Don't I need to sell all my worldly goods and go live on a mountain top to find enlightenment?" (the short answer here is no). Needless to say, we can't answer every question we receive, but we will take one every month and answer it here. If you've got a burning need to know about something, email us, and you may find your query featured next time around.

I am a 47-year-old female and am trying to lose weight. I've been going to the gym for the past two months, and the trainers have me on various weight machines. My weight is the same as when I started and my body just keeps getting bigger. I am trying very hard to trust the trainers but I can no longer fit into my clothes. I want to quit the strength training so I can at least fit into my clothes again. Please help!

(Article continued below.)

Don't give up on strength training - the older we get, the faster we lose muscle, which can lead to a weak and incapacitated old age. The best way to lessen muscle loss - or keep it at bay - is through resistance training. That said, it sounds like you may want to give up on the trainers you have been using since they aren't getting you the results you want. But first, have you discussed your lack of results with them? If you're not communicating with them, they can't help you. Trainers need as much information as possible not only before they start to train you, but during the process. If you are not getting satisfaction, you need to make this known. If you have voiced your concerns and they have not been responsive, then get rid of them. Consider striking out on your own, without a trainer (and perhaps without going to the gym). Learning how to weight train on your own is not all that difficult. But first, let's discuss a few reasons why you may be bulking up instead of getting lean.

The first thing you need to consider is your age. At 47, you may be perimenopausal, which means your hormones are starting to go out of whack. One of the reasons women usually don't bulk up the way men do is because they have loads of estrogen and just a bit of testosterone (testosterone helps give those male bodybuilders those gigantic biceps). If your hormone levels are skewed, that may be contributing to excess muscle gain. And the truth is that, just in general, some women do grow bigger muscles than the average. The type of weight training you do also affects your muscle growth. If you have been doing a challenging, intense weight training program, involving heavy weight and lots of sets, then that would definitely add a lot of muscle. Obviously, this is not the type of program you should be doing for the goal you have in mind.

Next page >> Getting Lean Muscles >> Page 1, 2

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