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post #80 of (permalink) Old Dec 6th, 2012, 02:34 AM
country flag HowardH
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 13,589
Re: Off season

I think people are expecting too much too fast. This is not a fast process. Also it's too hard to judge from pictures taken in varying outfits whether she has been gaining or losing strength since Fed Cup. I think she is most likely about the same. The majority of women only gain muscle at a rate of less than half a kilo per month at maximum. Even if we assume Ana is a total newbie to weight training, and she shouldn't be as a professional athlete, she won't be able to gain faster than that. For some figures see this site: She uses pounds in this site, a pound is slightly less than half a kilo.

So while it would be pretty easy for her to gain weight much faster than this, she wouldn't be gaining extra muscle on top of that half a kilo, but extra fat.

That's why it's so important for Ana to make strength training a regular part of her year round training. I'm not sure she realises, but it's just not possible for a woman to gain more than about 1 kilo of muscle during the entire off season, unless she uses illegal steroids. However, it's possible to gain maybe 6 kilos of muscle over the entire year. If she wants to gain 4 kilos of muscle we can expect this to take more than half a year of steady effort. Because the rest needed during tournaments interferes with this training it might take longer. This is also why women who are trying to gain muscle are taught to eat very close to maintenance, otherwise they will gain more fat than muscle. There is no doubt about it, it's harder for women because of the absence of male hormones. A woman has to go slow and steady over a decent period of time if she wants to build muscle rather than fat. I think JJ didn't realise this and when she bulked up in a single off season she would have gained about 2lbs of muscle and 8lbs of fat, because 2lbs of muscle is about the limit for a woman in this timespan.

Actually it's kind of the same, in reverse, for fat loss. You can't lose fat faster than about 2lbs per week. If you lose weight faster than that you're probably losing muscle mass. So basically, it's hard to gain muscle fast, it's hard to lose fat fast, but it's pretty easy to gain fat fast and to lose muscle fast . Getting in really good shape is, unfortunately, hard. Not only do you have to work hard, you also have to pace yourself at the right speed. A good nutritionist will help you do that, so that you have a precise amount of calories to gain muscle at the right rate, or a precise amount to help you lose fat. Do we know if Ana has any nutritionist helping her?

While it is clear that she has lost weight over the last 2 years, it's hard to assess changes in a period of only a few weeks just from photos. We will be able to make a fairer assessment come the new year and Hopman cup. That will give her enough time to make some small visible changes.

Personally, I really wish Ana would tell us some of her max lifts- how much she can squat and deadlift, how much she can curl, how many pushups, chinups, tricep dips she can do in a minute, maybe even how much she can press, how long she can hold an elbow plank. Tell us how high her vertical jump is, how fast she can sprint 20m, 10m. And then update us on how these strength standards and power standards are progressing. You might only gain half a kilo of muscle in a month but you might be able to lift 6 kilos more at the end of the month- that would be measurable progress and much easier to judge than pictures. If she can jump 2 inches higher or sprint faster then that's measurable progress too. But I don't think she'll do that kind of update, which is a shame because it would put people's minds at ease. They would say, oh she doesn't really look any different but she's gotten stronger and faster. Many people who are trying to get more muscular focus only on how much more they can lift each few weeks because quite frankly this is much easier to see than the .5lbs of muscle you gained somewhere and that you can't even really see.

Originally Posted by SilverSlam View Post
I hope so. I wonder if she feels hungry or not.
Originally Posted by Cajka View Post
Probably not. Once I wanted to lose 4-5 kilos, but I lost 10 kilos instead. You almost stop feeling hungry and you can't eat much. And once you start eating normally, you can expect yo-yo effect.
This is a very common problem Tatjana (I saw from a post in GM that this is your name, it's a very pretty name. Incidentally I don't understand why people would think you were a guy, there's nothing masculine about the way you post). If you restrict calories too much your body goes into starvation mode. This also causes the rebound yo-yo effect. That's why people often recommend having 1 cheat day per week to stop your body going into this mode, and also to lose weight at a slow and steady rate (no more than 1 to 2lbs per week). It's also why exercise is important- it helps you to eat more calories while still losing weight, and the overall higher calorie intake helps to prevent this situation. It also helps you hold onto muscle while you lose weight, which is important too.
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