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Old 10-19-2007, 01:23 PM   #1
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Exclamation Women.. how do you shrink calves?

My gf is about 5'5" and 158lbs and she has always had huge calves even though she is not an athlete. She is upset about her huge calves and also wants to lose some bodyfat. We have been going to the gym together for about 2 months now.. but I have to admit that her dedication is really lacking at times and sometimes she doesn't do excercises to her fullest. I've told her that her huge calves are a combination of genetics and bodyfat.

Anyway, she does an assortment of weight training which includes back, chest, legs. For her legs, she does the following...

Three sets of leg presses: 90lbs, 90lbs, 180lbs
Lunges with dumbells: 20lbs, 25lbs, and 30lbs.. or 25, 30, 35
Leg extensions (machine): 20lbs, 37.5lbs, 50lbs
Leg curls: 15lbs, 20lbs, 25lbs.

She also does cardio after weight trainingg but she is lacking in this area. She only does up to 30 minutes but most of the time it is 25 minutes.. And she likes to do 15 minutes on the elliptical and 15minutes on the treadmill. When she goes on the treadmill, she doesn't like to run at all. She ends up walking at a speed of 3.6 or so with an incline of 2.5 or so. I tell her that she should at least try jogging with little to no incline but she says she can't.

So what advice can I give this woman to help her lose body fat and especially the calves. She is driving me nuts with her constant complaining.

Should she do super light weight training with her legs? Althought I think the weights she uses now are light enough. Should she only do the elliptical? If she does the treadmill, should I encourage her to at least walk for 40 minutes with a smaller incline? Please help.

Her nail stylist.. "yes, i said nail stylist"... recommends that she ditch the heavy weights and do very light weights and high reps. He says that doing heavy weights will make her bulky but I thought women don't really get bulky from heavy lifting.

 
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Old 10-19-2007, 02:22 PM   #2
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Re: Women.. how do you shrink calves?

Heavy weights will bulk up a person, so lighter weights with higher reps will help to tone muscles. Concentrating on just leg exercises will only help her legs. I'd suggest a wider based routine with equal time on all muscles.

She will never get anywhere with her body fat unless she commits to long term exercise. Even if she *was* into exercising and committed, her current level is not going to do much for her, even less if she is not watching what she eats, plain and simple.

The desire/attitude must be there to make progress, because it doesn't happen over night, it's WORK and takes a strong desire to want to see yourself improve. The desire will build on itself as she see's improvement in her body.

Cardio is what she should concentrate on, working to eventually get an hour of it, 3-4 days a week. Her 'walking' on the treadmill for 15 minutes is barely a warmup. I like ellipticals, have her work towards 30 minutes on it and include another cardio exercise. If she stays on the treadmill, she needs more intensity from it as you're suggesting.

She's got to want to see improvement with an attitude that she will do what it takes to start to see things change. Can YOU be her motivator? What's your routine like? Maybe you can make her feel guilty when you're out there doing what it takes to see improvements in yourself? You don't have to jump in over your head right now, take small steps to reach easily obtained goals and then move up in duration and intensity. You don't want to burn either of you out by trying to do too much right now. Concentrate on cardio and become comfortable with a routine, the weights are great but they should probably be secondary to cardio right now...good luck

 
Old 10-19-2007, 03:28 PM   #3
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Re: Women.. how do you shrink calves?

Well, i'm trying my best to be her motivator but she doesn't quite understand that it takes a lot of hard work to get where she wants to be. I have first had experience and i'm pretty fit right now. I lift a lot of weights and alternate my cardio sessions among the elliptical, bike, and treadmill. On the treadmill, I do high intensity interval training with speeds up to 9.5. She sees how I workout and is amazed on what I do...but everytime I suggest that she needs to step up on her cardio sessons, she says she "can't" because her legs hurt.. or she gets "bored".. She is just not prepared to do what it takes or she is not truly motivated at this point. I keep preaching to her that it is not easy and it will not happen overnight.

We do more than just legs. We have days where we concentrate on back, chest, and arms. I don't think the weight traning routine is a problem for her other muscles.. but for leg days, i will have her concentrate on doing low low weights and high reps. But once again I am going to preach the importance of cardio.

When I lost almost 25 pounds in two months, I did mostly the elliptical for about 45 minutes each session in addition to weight training.

So do you think the elliptical at 30 minutes is good enough for now? I will adjust her focus to mostly cardio and have weights as secondary.

 
Old 10-19-2007, 04:56 PM   #4
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Re: Women.. how do you shrink calves?

Wait wait wait... having big calves is primarily genetics and *muscle*. If she can get herself leaner, they may look more proportional, but the body typically doesnt hold a lot of fat in the lower extremeties (forearms or lower legs) unless someone has an exceptionally high body fat percentage. Some people have genetically large calf muscles or have done some kind of exercise in their life that built those muscles up.

She shouldn't to do too much for legs - squats/presses and lunges should be *plenty* and even then only once or twice a week - but the heavier weights for upper body should be fine and the added lean muscle will actually help her burn more fat. I hope she realized her nail tech does not count as an expert.

Gib is right on the cardio though. If increasing intensity is hard for her right now, then she needs longer duration. Really, if she can keep an elevated heart rate (even on the low end of her target range) for 30-45 minutes at a clip, she will get more fat burning than 15 minutes of trying to push too hard. Really the eliptical/treadmill split isnt a bad idea. And if she does less weight training with legs, walking with a higher incline will not hurt her legs and will get her heart rate higher. And diet is absolutely 80% of the battle for fat loss (as I'm guessing you know). Has she addressed that at all?

And try to be patient with her. Trying to make her feel guilty may just be another dig to her self esteem and backfire on you completely. Be positive and supportive, and stern if she needs the push, but if she is going and doing something, it's a start, and when she starts to *see* the difference on the scale and in the mirror I'm sure her motivation will be renewed.
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Old 10-19-2007, 05:05 PM   #5
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Smile Re: Women.. how do you shrink calves?

I used to have bigger calves....of course losing weight helped alot and I am 5'8 but, I bought an apartment with stairs and that kicked my ***. Also the stair climber is great and honestly when I cant get to the gym I just do calf raises. Your own body weight can be enough if you do them until you cant do anymore....Also it sounds lke you might need to not push her too much just suggest, when men pushed me to look better it ****** me off and made me want to find someone whom would love me for the way I already looked. It is hard when you are in shape and your women is not following along....Be careful you may push her away from it and find yourself finding a new gf...

 
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