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Reducing Muscle Mass But Still Want to Lift

Hi, I was wondering if anyone has any advice on how I can lose a little muscle mass whilst still lifting. I currently weigh 61kg, approx 18% bodyfat, eat moderately clean and train 3 x week strength. Mostly full body compound. My DL p b is 130kg and I am quite strong. But since doing mainly strength my upper body particular has got a lot of muscle volum e, particularly my lats and traps. I want to return to more of a bikini look but don’t want to stop lifting. My macros prob 40 / 30 / 30, non grain carbs.

Any diet / training advice would be much appreciated. Thank you

Hi there.

This topic came up recently. You may find this thread helpful.

@ Reducing muscle on your lats and traps. You mentioned training or strength, and that you enjoy the compound lifts. DLs really activate those muscles for me, as do training the OLY lifts. It’s fun to train them, but for female aesthetic goals there may be trade offs. DLs and OLY lifts really activate/ hypertrophy traps in me.

@ Diet. If you are already at 18% BF, then backing off of lifting while eating at a mild deficit will help you loose some of your muscle mass.

Tagging you here since you’re probably the most likely coach here who may have worked with women who want to reduce muscle to more of a bikini look.

Just to add a thought here. There is a reason training is specific to goals. The BBers here don’t train like WLers and PLers for a reason.

You need to decide which rabbit you want to chase.

If you go look at a picture of Marisa Inda’s legs. She’s about my height. One of the best female PLers in the world. If you looked at us, you’d see a HUGE difference in the size of our quads. Not that I can’t build quads, but my training is more for a bikini/ small figure/ dancer’s legs and that shows in our builds.

I know the big compound lift are fun and we all.love them, but if losing some muscle, especially from your traps and lats ie the goal, then I would suggest backing off those exercises.

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Thank you for taking the time to reply to my message… and Powerfull you make a valid point, what are my goals? I am not training to compete; therefore very much a hobby. I fell into strength really about 18 months ago having always been more of an mid- endurance athlete/sprint triathlete, or doing things like circuits. But found that I am strong and so just continued to focus on that - and loved it! But I guess aesthetically I prefer the slightly less muscular look. Though I am unfortunate in that I get very little definition through my quads/glutes/hamstrings - whereas my back, shoulders and biceps are very defined and very lean. I carry what fat I have around my butt/legs. Albeit not excessively.

I have just had a few comments recently (admittedly from people who don’t train) that i have ‘bulked’ up, or that my arms/shoulders look huge.

I think maybe I will try and not life significantly for a month or two (though it will kill me!) - I walk a lot, and can still train legs / glutes. But def no DLing or Rows. Just frustrating as DL my absolute favourite exercise!!

Thanks again for your time and comments :slight_smile:

While your goals are your own, and there are many other personal considerations here, I would gently note that you don’t have to give up your absolute favorite exercise just because…

A few things here:

  1. strong is sexy these days. For example, check out CrossFit girls like Katrin Davidsdottir (admittedly, I am less well informed of the female physique and powerlifting scene, but she stands out as a stunning beauty in a strength sport). There’s no reason being strong/muscular and being feminine/beautiful have to be mutually exclusive.

  2. just because a few people (friends? strangers? husband? wife?) commented that you have ‘bulked up’ doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a problem. For one, if they don’t train, their bar for what constitutes ‘huge’ or ‘bulked up’ might be pretty low; for two, maybe they were trying to pay you a compliment of indicating that your hard work is paying off? Hard to know without more context, of course, and you will know best.

Again: your goals are your own, and you absolutely should pursue whatever you think is most important to you. I would just hate to see you ditch your favorite lifts and a style of training that you enjoy because a few people said “Gee, you’ve gotten really muscular!” (as though that’s a bad thing?)


Thank you… thats a good point. And yes the comments usually come from people who don’t train, so I guess there is an agenda of their own there… (one comment was actually from my mother - but that’s a whole other topic). Generally fellow gym colleagues male and female are always very complimentary and show admiration.

I checked out Katrin Davidsdottir - she is immense! My idol is Erin Stern, but she was naturally lean/thin and so I think for her it is about adding size… though her physique changes from season to season.

And yes to give something up that I love. - just for the sake of a few comments - perhaps I have a few of my own insecurities / lack of confidence issues there.

Many thanks again.