ASK A TRAINER: “Should I Get Fat to Gain Muscle?”

zzzzzzzz lift and bitch 033Dear Fitbabe:

My name is Dan, and I am a 27-year-old male NATURAL Bodybuilder. I want to get bigger in order to compete in 2015 in the INBF (International Natural Bodybuilding and Fitness Canada Federation) show in Edmonton. I was wondering if you could explain why we have to gain fat in the off season in order to gain muscle mass? Is it possible to keep one’s weight the same and gain muscle by means of a very careful diet? Continue reading

ASK A TRAINER: “Should I Progressively Overload?”

zzzzzzzz lift and bitch 033Dear Deanna,

I’ve been training with free weights for over a year and although I can definitely feel I’ve made strides in terms of strength and size, I still find it hard to know when I’m reaching a strength plateau and how to get past it when I do. For example, how do I know when I need go up, say, 2kg (I’m from the UK btw) on what I’m lifting? I’m trying generally to stick to the progressive overload idea but what’s confusing is that some days I feel I can lift heavier, and other days not. Should I just force myself to keep progressing, i.e. do a particular amount of weight for 3 weeks, and then go up, systematically? Would you recommend keeping a logbook? How do you do that? Continue reading

ASK A TRAINER: Am I a Workout Wimp?

zzzzzzzz lift and bitch 033Hi Fitbabe,

I just found FFG’s blog recently, and I’ve obsessively read the entire archive.

My question for you is about using your muscles to failure. I’m pretty new to resistance training, and I rarely experience muscle failure. Even still, even without the max-effort that brings muscle failure, I am sometimes so sore the day after a resistance workout that I have to switch up my training plans (this usually happens when I do squats/lunges one day and plan to run the next day but find my legs too sore). If I were really pushing my muscles to failure I think I might not be able to get out of bed! Am I missing a step in helping my muscles recover? Or are they just not strong enough yet?  Or am I just being a wimp? Continue reading

Anatomy Lessons: Fighting Body Shame (aka It’s a Celebration, Bitches!)

indexIn a memoir called Fat Girl: A True Story (2005), author Judith Moore concludes “I am ashamed and I am resigned to my shame.” It is hard to blame Moore for failing to take pride in her fat body. Large bodies have been associated with inferior, primitive qualities, and considered to be unproductive, undisciplined, and weak for a very long time. Amy Farrell dates the rise of fat phobia to the end of the nineteenth century, when an emphasis on industrial efficiency made fat bodies seem wasteful, undermining their previous status as alluring signifiers of wealth (Fat Shame: Stigma and the Fat Body in American Culture, 2011). Continue reading