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I want to be skinny and toned not bulky!

I just started working out on a regular basis 5 weeks ago and I notice that I'm starting to get bulky and not sliming. I take a spinning class twice a week and run once a week. I lift small weights once a week. I also watch what I eat. I'm pretty short, so will I ever look slim and toned? What are some other ways of working out but not getting bulky?

Wed. Jan 6, 2:17pm

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quit spinning then. Ever seen a cyclist with long lean thighs? No, they have powerhouse thighs. You don't see bulky runners, only bulky sprinters. Small weights are not bulking you up.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010, 3:10 PM

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WHOA!!! I teach spin 3 days a week, spin 2 other days a week with a triathlon group, and lift heavy weights, and I most certainly do not have bulky legs! I do have long, lean legs! They are muscular, but not at all bulky. I will also be adding in a long bike (2-4 hours) on the road soon, and that is when my legs will really start to look good!

And I'm not just being vain. I asked two trainers at my gym to evaluate my body recently to make sure I wasn't starting to look unbalanced. I'm my own worst critic so I tend to add inches to any part of my body I'm scrutinizing at the time. But I was going into a new cycle of weight lifting and needed to know how to plan it. Both trainers said my body was completely balanced, and my legs are not at all thick.

OP, it probably has more to do with your genetics. If you're short, getting lean is definitely possible, but you have to take your body type into consideration when setting your goals. Everyone is different. First, be sure your diet is clean. You can build muscle doing any of the activities you listed, but if you aren't getting rid of the fat over the muscle, it's going to look bulky. You don't have to do everything your spin instructor says either. Instead of going into the higher, harder gears on the bike, keep it in the lower, easier to spin gears. Light weights should be fine.

As a final thought: I had a class member come to me and tell me she had gained 9 lbs. She hadn't changed her diet, her clothes still fit perfectly-she even said some of them were getting loose, but she was concerned about the weight gain. We did a body fat analysis on her, and she'd lost body fat. She'd just gained muscle. But she wasn't bulky either. The PP is wrong!

Friday, January 08, 2010, 10:07 AM

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Everyone's body reacts differently to different exercise rituals. My calves bulk up like there's no tomorrow when I walk or pump with my legs. I can't imagine taking spin class, my legs would be bigger than Arnold's arms. Just doing the treadmill I have to be careful that my calves don't bulk up.

I've always been told "small weights" for lean muscles. Not sure why the PP is contradicting that but that's obviously their personal experience.

I do agree with the second poster, bikers have huge legs.

Friday, January 08, 2010, 10:29 AM

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I have very muscular, toned legs, but they're not at all bulky. However, I do notice that for 1-3 hours after I workout, my legs are pumped up and pants fit snuggly in the thighs for a while. This goes away as the day progresses. OP, could it be this is what's happenning to you too?

Friday, January 08, 2010, 11:09 AM

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I agree with 10:07, it has a lot to do with genetics and bodyfat. Yes bikers do get bigger legs, but I don't think huge, but that's my opinion. As you gain muscle and adjust your diet you may see them shrink and look a little leaner. They won't probably ever get really small though biking. If you are looking to get really lean then like one of the posters mentioned distance runners. You could switch off biking and running and see how that works. Running is a great way to burn some serious calories.

Friday, January 08, 2010, 1:05 PM

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Those bodylastic resistance band things are total toning and they don't bulk you up. Running is also great for that. You never see bulky runners.

Sunday, January 10, 2010, 11:54 AM

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I want to burn off all the fat and be very bulky with muscle. I'm a 35 YOF with great muscle mass, but can't seem to burn the layer of fat over my muscle.

Any suggestions?

Sunday, January 10, 2010, 6:02 PM

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Bulky runners?

Hmmmmm.....I consider myself a "runner". I average a minimum of 20 miles a week (@ 5 days of running/week), and I'm bulky. I've always been bulky. It's a genetics thing, and while we can work with our genetic makeup to enhance our natural tendencies, fighting against our natural tendencies can lead to a lot of frustration. If I were to strive for lean and skinny, I'd only succeed in frustrating myself. Yes, lighter weights at higher reps will build lean muscle as opposed to higher weights and exhaustion reps....but it won't make someone who is naturally short/bulky muscled into a lean/long muscled body. You might adjust a bit, but you're still working with what nature has given to you. Learning how to work with what you have and not fight against it might be something to consider here....

Friday, June 11, 2010, 10:56 AM

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PIlates is supposed to lengthen and make muscles more sleek. There is no studio in my area so I am learning from books and DVDs. (I know that is not the optimal way but it's what I have to work with). I have a tendency to get bulky in my legs and I'm hoping to counter that with pilates.

Saturday, June 12, 2010, 9:12 PM

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what about swimming? swimmers, especially the female ones seem to be pretty lean, maybe a bit bulky tho but moslty lean :p. Dancing! dancers legs are wonderful, but i dunno how often you'd have to dance to get the effects. i enjoy both, so i should try my own advice- im having a similar problem, recently gotten into bodyPUMP and im putting on weight really fast (i assume its mostly muscle) but it is making me look a bit bulky. im hoping eventually the fat loss will catch up as long as i keep eating right, and try and get in more cardio stuff. but advice would be great!

Saturday, June 12, 2010, 10:32 PM

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