T Nation

In Need of Advice


#1


Greetings everyone. I am looking for real, sincere advice since my case is somewhat particular.

I have been training for the last two years in an intermittent way, since i've been struggling with Anorexia Nervosa for the last seven years of my life. My training was interrupted for the last three months due to being in a day hospital. I was in a very low weight when I entered. Fortunately, now I am at a normal weight (18 BMI). Fitness has helped me a lot through this, since at least it make me hungry and makes me feel motivated to eat. Right now i am back with my normal life. However, I am encountering several issues which maybe some of you could help me with.

I'm 22 years old, female. I train 5 days a week. I must admit I probably do more cardio than I should, but to be honest I actually enjoy cardio. I also do strength training, and no, I don't fear lifting heavy, although I prefer doing circuits. I attached some pictures I took from myself today. As you see, I am not skinny fat, but I'm not as lean as I wish I was. My abs are visible, but they aren't the six-pack I want. I have no gluten, but my legs are bulky as hell (and I do focus on glue activation). An important fact that may influence, I guess, is that my last lab study said that my cortisol was very high; I have a busy schedule and I tend to be stressed.

I am aiming for body recomposition, I truly want to lower my body fat but I CAN'T lose any weight or otherwise I'll be back at hospital. Yes, I eat clean, as clean as I can, although any tips you can give me regarding better macros would be appreciated. Keep in mind I'm not from the US and I'm not able to buy any supplements from this or any other website. I do take a protein shake though.

As I said, any help would be appreciated.

Thank you in advance.

http://postimg.org/image/g14w9jkjv
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http://postimg.org/image/xpwn15waz
http://postimg.org/image/6zlri6x8r
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http://postimg.org/image/mp1hw5423


Female Athlete Q&A
#2

Congratulations to you for seeking treatment for your Anorexia. That must be a difficult road, and I wish you the best.

You mentioned that you’d like to lower your body fat, and that your legs are “bulky as hell.” As I look at your pictures, I see a woman who’s already very lean, so I’m not sure how to advise. I see no need for you to try to lean out, and your legs already look very small. Honestly.

I believe you’d have difficulty doing a “recomp” to get leaner. The reason you don’t have a visible 6-pack is because you don’t have enough muscle thickness for your abs to show. Honestly, you have a lean but feminine mid-section. IMO, having a 6-pack isn’t a goal that’s even worthy of your time. Focus on staying healthy. I’m assuming that you’re under some medical supervision regarding food intake, so it’s probably not very helpful to get advice from people here who aren’t familiar with your health, bloodwork, etc.

If I can be of any help to you at all, let me know. I keep a log in the training log section of this site called Ballet and Barbells.

Best,
Puff


#3

I have been there, and I know how as a recovering anorexic under supervision you are required to maintain a wt. I think…maybe…you can focus on building muscle. BUILD.

You are lean, but for the look you might be aiming at-- and its a long road forget about the eating disorder part-building muscle takes time. But it’s a built isn’t not a lean! Check out some of the figure grls logs,. or even ask around on the figure threads, the longer time competitors have had to build on their foundation, it takes time.

I think Puff is right, you are lean but you might not have the mass ( muscle mass) needed to look how you want because of all the other stuff being an anorexic (losing tons of your body’s freakin muscle in places like your heart, or the insulating protective fatty covering of your organs, your brain!- things that are vital to functioning ) does to your body both during and after you’ve reached your “ideal wt” based on the doctor’s plan. But I am sure you are aware of this if you’ve had to spend any time in day treatment…they make sure to tell you!

I wish the best for you from someone who’s been there and I know how it is. I’ve had that hanging over my head too The fear of losing your freedom because of your illness. If it’s any solace many of us have dealt with this. My advice would be on doing the things you are required to help you stay out of the hospital. No matter how much you try, hospitalized secret workouts won’t be as good as ones you can do on the outside–so follow the rules! Poke around the figure side of the website, you might find a few women who can share their stories or helpful advice.

There are also many places online too-- Girls Gone Strong is one I can think of that would be worth checking out. Lots of authors on that site have had similar experiences with some inspiring outcomes.

Good luck! And keep staying out of the hospital!!! Lifting for strength can be a really helpful way to redirect some hard wired stuff…keep healthy so you can keep at it!


#4

^ Yes. And Brutiful’s post jogged my memory. You might want to look up Brooke Erickson. She’s a figure athlete who has overcome anorexia, and talks pretty openly about it. She just seems like a very balanced and inspiring person.

Also, Dani Shugart who writes for T Nation has an e book that discusses eating disorders. She doesn’t participate in the forums much here, but you can find her book on Amazon and she has a blog of her own that might be helpful.

Take care!
Puff


#5

[quote]eressea wrote:
my legs are bulky as hell

I truly want to lower my body fat
[/quote]
Looking at your picture, I find these statements exceedingly concerning.

I’ve never struggled with an eating disorder, so I can’t speak to that. But might I suggest picking a training goal that is geared to performance rather than appearance? For example, train for a race or train with strength goals in mind.

Good luck to you.


#6

Thank you very very much both of you. Yes, it’s a difficult road but I’ll try to do my best. I’ve been reducing cardio a bit these last two days (or at least in shorter intervals) and did some more arm work. Glutes are still a problem, so I did hip thrusts with a disk. Any suggestion regarding workouts, ladies?

I have no idea why, but my abs looked great today and I was so happy that I took a picture. I’m not a great fan of taking nonsense selfies, but to be honest I wanted to. Still feel that I have a bloated gut, though.

@Puff: I used to practise Ballet, in fact, I’m attending to the gym just because my schedule doesn’t allow me to dance right now. It’s my passion, sometimes I ended up doing pirouettes after lifting :slight_smile:

@Brutiful: it’s good to know that you understand me, and congratulations for overcoming this horrible sickness.


#7

[quote]eressea wrote:
Thank you very very much both of you. Yes, it’s a difficult road but I’ll try to do my best. I’ve been reducing cardio a bit these last two days (or at least in shorter intervals) and did some more arm work. Glutes are still a problem, so I did hip thrusts with a disk. Any suggestion regarding workouts, ladies?

I have no idea why, but my abs looked great today and I was so happy that I took a picture. I’m not a great fan of taking nonsense selfies, but to be honest I wanted to. Still feel that I have a bloated gut, though.

@Puff: I used to practise Ballet, in fact, I’m attending to the gym just because my schedule doesn’t allow me to dance right now. It’s my passion, sometimes I ended up doing pirouettes after lifting :slight_smile:

@Brutiful: it’s good to know that you understand me, and congratulations for overcoming this horrible sickness.

[/quote]

Abs do look very nice there. You have some muscle showing in your midsection. No bloat there. Congrats on your progress! You’re just going to look great as you put on a bit more muscle. Keep going! I know eating more is a challenge, but it’s just going to make you look and feel healthy and more muscle in your upper body is unlikely to even change your clothing size.

@ ballet, I do lots of ballet barre work and stretches in between sets while I lift. Nobody cares, and the men in the weight room will be happy to see a little dancer trying to get healthy and strong.


#8

I was reading this article and thought of giving it a try, at least for some weeks.

I’m somewhat scared of the tempo stuff, at least I’ve never focused on that before. It’s likely that I won’t be performing some exercises, but I’ll do my best.


#9

^That’s a fairly advanced program, with intense circuits for fat loss.

It’s written for advanced people who already have a foundation of muscle and some extra fat to loose.

As written it will beat you up, and unless you are planning on eating more to compensate, it will likely make your scale weight come down.

If you want to adapt it and do some of the circuits as a workout:
There’s no need to do sets to failure.
No rest between exercises makes in an intense circuit. Let yourself rest.
Do 3-5 sets of an exercise then stop. Don’t turn it into a marathon of ?as many as you can? sets.
Skip the weight vest day.
Skip the sled dragging or sprint days entirely and just walk, do barre work, and rest on those days.

Maintain a gradual calorie surplus and just focus on building a little bit, not trying to ?recomp.? Nothing fancy. This disease tears you down. Do the opposite. Build up and nourish yourself, focus on getting a little stronger and allowing your body to carry a bit more muscle. Thinking about loosing fat, restricting food, getting smaller, or trying to gain muscle while not letting the scale come up a little bit isn’t going to encourage your body to get strong. Adding a couple of pounds will look beautiful, and will help you see progress with strength goals. Eat adequate protein and create a gradual calorie surplus while resistance training. Boom!


#10

[quote]Powerpuff wrote:
^That’s a fairly advanced program, with intense circuits for fat loss.

It’s written for advanced people who already have a foundation of muscle and some extra fat to loose.

As written it will beat you up, and unless you are planning on eating more to compensate, it will likely make your scale weight come down.

If you want to adapt it and do some of the circuits as a workout:
There’s no need to do sets to failure.
No rest between exercises makes in an intense circuit. Let yourself rest.
Do 3-5 sets of an exercise then stop. Don’t turn it into a marathon of ?as many as you can? sets.
Skip the weight vest day.
Skip the sled dragging or sprint days entirely and just walk, do barre work, and rest on those days.

Maintain a gradual calorie surplus and just focus on building a little bit, not trying to ?recomp.? Nothing fancy. This disease tears you down. Do the opposite. Build up and nourish yourself, focus on getting a little stronger and allowing your body to carry a bit more muscle. Thinking about loosing fat, restricting food, getting smaller, or trying to gain muscle while not letting the scale come up a little bit isn’t going to encourage your body to get strong. Adding a couple of pounds will look beautiful, and will help you see progress with strength goals. Eat adequate protein and create a gradual calorie surplus while resistance training. Boom! [/quote]

Started yesterday with a variation of it. Clearly, the weight vest stays out (in fact, there isn’t even one at my gym). Same with the TRX, which I love, but unless you go to the TRX class you cannot use it. I still do some cardio to warm up, but definitely less. From Monday onwards I’ll be having less time to work out.

I’m eating pretty well! Eating enough protein, and maybe too much fat (nut addict), but my macros aim around 40/30/30 for P/C/F. Usually it ends up being 45/20/35.

Friday’s workout:

Lunges 4 x 12 (each leg)

Lateral Raise 3 x 10

Deadlift 4 x 12

Leg raises 3 x 30 each leg (weight ankles were the only thing available)

Elevated push-ups 4 x 15

Kettlebell Swing 4 x 15

Barbell curl 3 x 10

Seated cable row 3 x 10

Mountain climbers 3 x 50


#11

[quote]eressea wrote:

[quote]Powerpuff wrote:
^That’s a fairly advanced program, with intense circuits for fat loss.

It’s written for advanced people who already have a foundation of muscle and some extra fat to loose.

As written it will beat you up, and unless you are planning on eating more to compensate, it will likely make your scale weight come down.

If you want to adapt it and do some of the circuits as a workout:
There’s no need to do sets to failure.
No rest between exercises makes in an intense circuit. Let yourself rest.
Do 3-5 sets of an exercise then stop. Don’t turn it into a marathon of ?as many as you can? sets.
Skip the weight vest day.
Skip the sled dragging or sprint days entirely and just walk, do barre work, and rest on those days.

Maintain a gradual calorie surplus and just focus on building a little bit, not trying to ?recomp.? Nothing fancy. This disease tears you down. Do the opposite. Build up and nourish yourself, focus on getting a little stronger and allowing your body to carry a bit more muscle. Thinking about loosing fat, restricting food, getting smaller, or trying to gain muscle while not letting the scale come up a little bit isn’t going to encourage your body to get strong. Adding a couple of pounds will look beautiful, and will help you see progress with strength goals. Eat adequate protein and create a gradual calorie surplus while resistance training. Boom! [/quote]

Started yesterday with a variation of it. Clearly, the weight vest stays out (in fact, there isn’t even one at my gym). Same with the TRX, which I love, but unless you go to the TRX class you cannot use it. I still do some cardio to warm up, but definitely less. From Monday onwards I’ll be having less time to work out.

I’m eating pretty well! Eating enough protein, and maybe too much fat (nut addict), but my macros aim around 40/30/30 for P/C/F. Usually it ends up being 45/20/35.

Friday’s workout:

Lunges 4 x 12 (each leg)

Lateral Raise 3 x 10

Deadlift 4 x 12

Leg raises 3 x 30 each leg (weight ankles were the only thing available)

Elevated push-ups 4 x 15

Kettlebell Swing 4 x 15

Barbell curl 3 x 10

Seated cable row 3 x 10

Mountain climbers 3 x 50

[/quote]

Hey, you’re already writing your own programs!! Awesome! :slight_smile: This is much better than the other one as written. Always think about upper body pulling and pushing, and same for lower body. I’d maybe add another upper body/ rear delt pulling motion for some balance, like a face pull or rear delts on a cable machine. Most people can really benefit from keeping their shoulders down and back and putting muscle there to counteract all the sitting at desks we do.

Oh, and you asked about hip thrusts with a plate. Sure, good. Have you ever seen Mary Helen Bower’s Glute Bridge Series from her Ballet Beautiful Total Body Workout DVD? It’s all BW, but it will just kill my glutes. Sets of glute bridges from second position on pointe, and single leg, etc… I believe you’re a little hourglass with proportionally narrower hips so building glutes and delts will just look gorgeous, and good glute activation will give power to your DLs and Squats and your ballet so win, win.

About macros, ask your physician but 40/30/30 is generally a good place, so speaking from a healthy BBing perspective it’s fine. You could play with bringing carbs up a little. Nuts are GREAT. They’ll nourish you and for me the slower digestion staves off binging on crap.

Oh, I was going to ask if you have issues with osteoporosis? I know some female athletes and dancers with eating disorders are prone to stress fractures. That would be such a setback. I’d be cautious about the grand jete moves until you give your bones and ligaments time to adapt. :slight_smile: The weight training with better diet should really help.

One more thing, I just read the Dani Shugart book. Short little book but really good. Warning, it’s very touching because it’s personal for her, but has some great advice. Anyone with body image issues or disordered eating, or anybody raising young girls should read it. It’s free right now if you have Kindle Unlimited.

Excited for you!! And so happy to have another ballet nut here!!


#12

[quote]Powerpuff wrote:
Hey, you’re already writing your own programs!! Awesome! :slight_smile: This is much better than the other one as written. Always think about upper body pulling and pushing, and same for lower body. I’d maybe add another upper body/ rear delt pulling motion for some balance, like a face pull or rear delts on a cable machine. Most people can really benefit from keeping their shoulders down and back and putting muscle there to counteract all the sitting at desks we do.

Oh, and you asked about hip thrusts with a plate. Sure, good. Have you ever seen Mary Helen Bower’s Glute Bridge Series from her Ballet Beautiful Total Body Workout DVD? It’s all BW, but it will just kill my glutes. Sets of glute bridges from second position on pointe, and single leg, etc… I believe you’re a little hourglass with proportionally narrower hips so building glutes and delts will just look gorgeous, and good glute activation will give power to your DLs and Squats and your ballet so win, win.

About macros, ask your physician but 40/30/30 is generally a good place, so speaking from a healthy BBing perspective it’s fine. You could play with bringing carbs up a little. Nuts are GREAT. They’ll nourish you and for me the slower digestion staves off binging on crap.

Oh, I was going to ask if you have issues with osteoporosis? I know some female athletes and dancers with eating disorders are prone to stress fractures. That would be such a setback. I’d be cautious about the grand jete moves until you give your bones and ligaments time to adapt. :slight_smile: The weight training with better diet should really help.

One more thing, I just read the Dani Shugart book. Short little book but really good. Warning, it’s very touching because it’s personal for her, but has some great advice. Anyone with body image issues or disordered eating, or anybody raising young girls should read it. It’s free right now if you have Kindle Unlimited.

Excited for you!! And so happy to have another ballet nut here!!
[/quote]

^^ Thank you, thank you

I did see some videos from Mary Helen Bower, but they were the free preview ones and maybe that’s why I didn’t find them challenging. Probably the true program is much harder. Maybe I could give it another chance. When I did ballet I had good glutes (you know, squeezing then ALL the time ha).

Yes, nuts are great. If only almonds were cheaper in my country! We don’t have a big variety of peanut butters, and there’s no almond/cashew/whatever milk on the supermarkets. I make my own when I have time.

As regards osteoporosis, I did a study once which said that I had an incipient osteopenia. This is clearly due to the very low weight. Asides from this though, I don’t have any other medical issue. My blood pressure, vitamins, minerals, etc. have always been fine. However, one thing that does happen to me constantly is that I pee whenever I do jumping motions (jumping rope, wide squat jumps). I’ve googled a bit about this and I know that it’s frequent among females, but generally those that gave birth or are overweight. I clearly don’t fit into any of these categories and I really don’t know how to change it. I mean, the idea is not to avoid jumping for the rest of my life!

I can’t download the Kindle app on this computer, if you happen to find a PDF or a link where I can download it, please send me a PM. I’m really looking forward to reading it :slight_smile:

I can’t remember Monday’s workout very well, I just remember some parts:

Squats with ankle elevation 4 x 12
Chest press 4 x 12
Kettlebell swings 4 x 20 (low weight kettlebell)
Cable Row 3 x 10

Anyways I didn’t have much time, it doesn’t matter much.

Tuesday’s workout:

Treadmill warm-up

Barbell lunges 4 x 12 each
Barbell hip-thrust 3 x 12 --> this one really hurt, but in the good way
Leg raises 3 x 30 each
V-ups 5 x 10
Triceps dip 3 x 10
Dumbbell curls 3 x 10

I may do something more today at evening.


#13

Tuesday’s evening:

Dumbbell Lunges 3 x 10
Barbell Deadlifts 4 x 15
One-arm kettlebell swing 3 x 15 (each)
Curtsy Lunges 3 x 12
Romanian chair leg raises 3 x 15
Front Raise 3 x 10
One-arm dumbbell row 3 x 12 (each)
Mountain climbers 3 x 50

Wednesday:

Short on time + sore from yesterday = circuits.

Burpee 3 x 10
Push-ups 3 x 15
RKC plank 3 x 30 sec

Kettlebell Swing 3 x 15
Squat jumps 3 x 15
Lateral raise 3 x 10

Barbell curl 3 x 10
L-sit 3 x 30 sec


#14

Thursday:

Barbell lunges 4 x 12 (each)

Barbell hip-thrust 3 x 12

Pull-ups 4 x 12

Kettlebell swing 4 x 15

Weighted V-hold 4 x 30 sec

Bent-over rows 3 x 12

Butt-blaster 4 x 10 --> I’m 100% sure that I don’t fit this machine, it’s a great exercise but it’s not designed for people of my height and size

Squats 4 x 12

I feel like I’m getting wider around my waist, so no more weighted ab exercises. Arms are bulking up a bit but looking good. Legs are flabby… although I know that it’s a personal feeling and it’s not truly like that.

The other day my boyfriend told me that for the last weeks my body became different. ‘Less childish, more womanly/grown-up. You’re thin and you’ll always be thin, don’t worry about that, you’re just nicer.’

I do worry though, he probably told me that so as to make me feel fine :stuck_out_tongue:


#15

[quote]eressea wrote:

I feel like I’m getting wider around my waist, so no more weighted ab exercises. Arms are bulking up a bit but looking good. Legs are flabby… although I know that it’s a personal feeling and it’s not truly like that.

The other day my boyfriend told me that for the last weeks my body became different. ‘Less childish, more womanly/grown-up. You’re thin and you’ll always be thin, don’t worry about that, you’re just nicer.’

I do worry though, he probably told me that so as to make me feel fine :p[/quote]

Oh, this thread makes me feel really good! WHOOT! About feeling wider at the waist, there will be normal fluctuation from water, food, whatever. Be OK with that. Also, I don’t do weighted abs either because it’s not an area I want to hypertrophy.

It looks like you’re doing great. And some positive feedback and encouragement from your man is always good. :slight_smile: I’d imagine he’s being completely honest. That little bit of softness is what makes a woman look like a woman. When we’re too lean we tend to look prepubescent, or boyish, or just unhealthy. Nobody ever wanted a flat pointy booty, you want some nice pillows back there. :wink:


#16

Completely forgot to update this :smiley:
I’ll write what I remember, which is basically yesterday. Gym was AWFULLY FULL and it was impossible to work out, but nevertheless it went on pretty well.

Tuesday:

Arnold Presses 4 x 10
Deadlifts 4 x 12
Barbell Hip-thrusts 3 x 12
One-arm dumbbell row 4 x 12
Australian Pull-ups 4 x 10 --> I always wanted to do a traditional pull-up, but I was never able to do so. Hopefully, someday…
Barbell curls 3 x 10
Single-arm front raise 3 x 10 (each)
Lateral raises 3 x 12 --> finding this one easier, I was never able to do more than 10 reps before.
Roman chair raises 4 x 15
Butt-blaster 4 x 12 --> decided to give it another chance, although I’m still unsure if I’m performing it correctly.

Wednesday: Circuit-style repeated 8 times

Kettlebell swings 12
Pull-ups 10
Tuck jumps 10
V-ups 10

Finisher: isolated hip-thrusts 3 x 20 secs.

Abs are disappearing, but at least I’m not getting wider.

Also, looking forward to trying out a kettlebell complex.


#17

Thursday:

Treadmill warm-up

Barbell lunges 4 x 12
Barbell Hip-thrusts 3 x 12
Barbell Deadlifts 4 x 12
Unstable plank 3 x 30 sec
Bicep curls 3 x 12
Arnold presses 3 x 15
Lateral raises 3 x 10

Increased weight on the first three exercises.


#18

[quote]eressea wrote:

Australian Pull-ups 4 x 10 --> I always wanted to do a traditional pull-up, but I was never able to do so. Hopefully, someday…

[/quote]

Oh, you will DEFINITELY have pull-ups one day. That’s a great goal, and one you might achieve sooner than you think.

You asked about a PDF of the book I mentioned, no idea. Bummer it’s not published in another format. Maybe borrow someone’s kindle for a day or two if you can.

I hope you’re feeling good and enjoying your training. The first year was a lot of fun for me.


#19

[quote]Powerpuff wrote:

[quote]eressea wrote:

Australian Pull-ups 4 x 10 --> I always wanted to do a traditional pull-up, but I was never able to do so. Hopefully, someday…

[/quote]

Oh, you will DEFINITELY have pull-ups one day. That’s a great goal, and one you might achieve sooner than you think.

You asked about a PDF of the book I mentioned, no idea. Bummer it’s not published in another format. Maybe borrow someone’s kindle for a day or two if you can.

I hope you’re feeling good and enjoying your training. The first year was a lot of fun for me.
[/quote]

I wish it was my first year of training he. I remember mine too, I felt like wonderwoman every time I did a squat :’)

I should update this more frequently to avoid forgetting some workouts. Those which I remember:

Friday:

Lunges 4 x10
Push-ups 3 x 15
Mountain Climbers 3 x 50
Deadlift 4 x 10
Kettlebell swing 4 x 12
Barbell hip-thrust 3 x 12
Front raises 3 x 10
Lateral raises 3 x 10
(missing some stuff that I can’t remember)

Bike sprints

Saturday:

Treadmill warm-up

Squat + Arnold Press 4 x 10
Deadlifts 4 x 10
Resistance band bicep curls 4 x 10
Lateral raises 4 x 12
Seated cable row 3 x 12
Butt blaster 3 x 30 each
Weighted planks 3 x 30 sec hold

Monday:

Treadmill warm-up

Smith machine squats 4 x 10
Push-ups with elevated feet 3 x 12
Dumbbell Lunges with back feet on step 3 x 10 each
Bicep curls 4 x 12
One-arm dumbbell row 3 x 10
Weighted planks 3 x 30 sec --> added weight
Lateral raises 4 x 10
Plate hip-thrust 3 x 12
V-ups 3 x 20


#20

Tuesday morning:

Treadmill warm-up

Push-press 4 x 10
Lateral raises 4 x 10
Weighted planks 3 x 45 sec
Deadlift 4 x 10
Barbell hip-thrust 3 x 10
Overhead press 4 x 10
V-hold 3 x 30 sec