Building muscle, increasing muscle tone, and boxing for women - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 11-15-2009, 10:20 PM
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Hi, everyone.



I've been training in Muay Thai boxing for four weeks now. For those of you who do not know, it's a vigorous mixed martial art which includes more than the general American kickboxing, including elbows and knee strikes.



I train 2 to 3 times a week for an hour and a half, plus a half hour of weight training (meaning 10 reps but with heavy weights). The training itself consists of sparring, moving around, and using the punching bag. Days off, I'll do 30 sit ups and 30 push ups every day, along with some shadow boxing.



Although I am by no means overweight -- I am a 20-year-old female at 128 lbs standing 5'2" -- although most of my adult life I was 115 lbs, which is my healthy weight.



I am looking to build and gain muscle tone, as well as lose fat weight.



I am also a vegan, and generally after working out, I will have a soy/peanut butter protein shake, a dish with tempeh or tofu in it, or a bean dish. I don't have a high calorie diet, my diet is generally around 1500 to 2000 calories (It's not to stay skinny, it's just all my body needs or else I feel like I've overeaten, and that's no fun).



I was wondering about a few things.



One, how long would it take to see some definite change in muscle tone?

Two, how long does it take to lose weight at this point? (Fat weight, in any case)

Three, are there are other people who do vigorous training/sports that can give me some advice about how to eat, etc. for building muscle?
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#2 Old 11-17-2009, 10:22 AM
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Not an expert but I'll chime in. Last year I put on around 15-20 lbs of muscle when I was hurt and unable to run. I did it primarily with power lifting, kettlebells, and sandbags. High intensity workouts and not much traditional lifting. I then hurt my shoulder and dropped 25lbs in a month! Better for running though



One- Everyone is different, probably a couple weeks but it depends on how quickly your body builds and holds muscle. If you're seeing progress in your workouts then you're definitely building muscle so you may just need to wait until the muscle gets big enough or you lose enough weight to see a change in appearance.



Just make sure you're constantly pushing yourself harder in your training if you want to see muscle growth. Like, why only 30 pushups every day? You should be trying to increase reps or weight in everything.



Two- When your total calories in is less than your total calories expended. It happens over a length of time so say your body is a 100 calorie deficit every day. It'll probably take a month to lose 1 pound. 500 calorie deficit? 1 lb per week. You get the idea. Just like it's almost impossible to gain muscle without (some) fat, if you're losing weight you're probably losing muscle. Just have to keep working out hard to build it up.



Three- Eat for how you feel. I wouldn't change anything unless you feel like your diet is holding you back. If you eat nothing but junk food, you might want to change that, but otherwise eat a balanced diet and you'll be OK. When I was trying to put on lots of muscle I did add a protein shake as I felt my diet wasn't providing enough and it definitely made an improvement. That said, you don't need or want to overdo protein. At your weight you probably only need 55-65 (rough guess) grams a day. I was 180 or so at the time and only taking in 90-100 max.



Hope that helps!
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#3 Old 11-17-2009, 10:49 AM
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I practice san da, which is basically the Chinese version of kickboxing. Competition rules are a little different, but fitness needs are pretty much the same as Thai boxing.



A couple things to add.



First, if your primary interest is in the progression of the sport itself, it is important to recognize your different performance needs. What is best for someone trying to look good is not necessarily best for someone trying to become better at their sport.



In any kind of boxing, tired arms will eventually drop and leave your head open, and this is a quick way to get knocked out. For this reason, I would suggest you focus on endurance and maximal strength (which is closely related to the development of fast twitch muscle fibers), and avoid too much hypertrophy (this is what bodybuilders go for). Bigger muscles are not necessarily more functional.



For endurance, you want to focus on exercises where you max out at 15 or above reps. Pushups and pushup variations are awesome for this, at least as far as upper body strength is concerned.



For maximum strength and fast twitch muscle development, you want to lift very heavy things where you max out at anywhere from 1 to 5 reps. Isometrics can also be useful for this.



When you max out at 8 to 12 reps, this is where hypertrophy is greatest. Some is okay, but this should not be your focus if you plan on being competitive at your sport. If, on the other hand, you don't plan on competing and are doing it more just to get in shape, then by all means go for it.



If you use things like the bench press a lot, don't neglect pulling exercises to counter the muscles you're developing. If you're always lifting weights and never pulling anything (basic chin-ups work great), then you're developing your muscles in a manner that is basically the equivalent of playing tug of war with one side much stronger than the other. This is not a good thing, as one wrong move can leave you with torn tendons, rotator cuff injuries, etc.

"I'm not in this world to live up to your expectations and you're not in this world to live up to mine." Bruce Lee.

"On a large enough time line, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero." Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club)

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#4 Old 11-17-2009, 10:56 AM
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Oh, one more thing! If you're not doing Roadwork as a boxing workout you should be! Roadwork, if you're not aware, is a combination of cardio and resistance training. If you think your cardio is good, try this and think again. It forces your body to work harder by not letting it settle into a motion. It's great for boxing and fight training because it forces you to use anaerobic and aerobic systems at the same time.



It's format is basically like this:



Run (200 M) at moderate pace

1 set of resistance exercise

Run (200 M) at moderate pace

1 set of resistance exercise

Run (200 M) at moderate pace

1 set of resistance exercise

Run (200 M) at moderate pace

1 set of resistance exercise

... and so on



There are no breaks or rest periods here, seriously, you should not be stopping until you're doing the exercise.



I used to do it like this:



Run

10 kettlebell swings(each hand)

Run

10 kettlebell snatches(each hand)

Run

15 kettlebell figure 8's

Run

10 weighted jump squats

Run

10 kettlebell catch&throws

Run

25 pushups



That is one set, I'd do 4 sets per workout. Truly it's one of the hardest workouts I'd put myself through. If you stay disciplined and go hard the whole time, you should be ready to vomit by the end. Good stuff!



You can vary the exercises and do more or less of them, the running length can be changed too (longer for easier workout).
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#5 Old 11-17-2009, 03:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by le0p View Post

Oh, one more thing! If you're not doing Roadwork as a boxing workout you should be! Roadwork, if you're not aware, is a combination of cardio and resistance training. If you think your cardio is good, try this and think again. It forces your body to work harder by not letting it settle into a motion. It's great for boxing and fight training because it forces you to use anaerobic and aerobic systems at the same time.



It's format is basically like this:



Run (200 M) at moderate pace

1 set of resistance exercise

Run (200 M) at moderate pace

1 set of resistance exercise

Run (200 M) at moderate pace

1 set of resistance exercise

Run (200 M) at moderate pace

1 set of resistance exercise

... and so on



There are no breaks or rest periods here, seriously, you should not be stopping until you're doing the exercise.



I used to do it like this:



Run

10 kettlebell swings(each hand)

Run

10 kettlebell snatches(each hand)

Run

15 kettlebell figure 8's

Run

10 weighted jump squats

Run

10 kettlebell catch&throws

Run

25 pushups



That is one set, I'd do 4 sets per workout. Truly it's one of the hardest workouts I'd put myself through. If you stay disciplined and go hard the whole time, you should be ready to vomit by the end. Good stuff!



You can vary the exercises and do more or less of them, the running length can be changed too (longer for easier workout).



Thank you for all of your advice (this and the last post), I truly appreciate it!



The only issue with cardio and running is that I have mild to severe asthma, which causes me to have an attack after running/sprinting only after a few minutes, if not less. This is why the boxing (and classical Indian dance before that) has been good for me because for some reason, that sort of activity has never given me asthma attacks.



I'll take it all into consideration and try it out! I have definitely seen improvement in my strength over the past couple weeks.
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#6 Old 11-17-2009, 03:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nomad888 View Post

I practice san da, which is basically the Chinese version of kickboxing. Competition rules are a little different, but fitness needs are pretty much the same as Thai boxing.



A couple things to add.



First, if your primary interest is in the progression of the sport itself, it is important to recognize your different performance needs. What is best for someone trying to look good is not necessarily best for someone trying to become better at their sport.



In any kind of boxing, tired arms will eventually drop and leave your head open, and this is a quick way to get knocked out. For this reason, I would suggest you focus on endurance and maximal strength (which is closely related to the development of fast twitch muscle fibers), and avoid too much hypertrophy (this is what bodybuilders go for). Bigger muscles are not necessarily more functional.



For endurance, you want to focus on exercises where you max out at 15 or above reps. Pushups and pushup variations are awesome for this, at least as far as upper body strength is concerned.



For maximum strength and fast twitch muscle development, you want to lift very heavy things where you max out at anywhere from 1 to 5 reps. Isometrics can also be useful for this.



When you max out at 8 to 12 reps, this is where hypertrophy is greatest. Some is okay, but this should not be your focus if you plan on being competitive at your sport. If, on the other hand, you don't plan on competing and are doing it more just to get in shape, then by all means go for it.



If you use things like the bench press a lot, don't neglect pulling exercises to counter the muscles you're developing. If you're always lifting weights and never pulling anything (basic chin-ups work great), then you're developing your muscles in a manner that is basically the equivalent of playing tug of war with one side much stronger than the other. This is not a good thing, as one wrong move can leave you with torn tendons, rotator cuff injuries, etc.



I'm actually not competing. I started learning boxing because most of my life I've been physically weak and I wanted to practice something both exhilarating and what would make me stronger. Also, it's for self defense, because I'm a small girl living on a college campus. Oh yes, and also for getting into shape.



Thank you for all of the advice, especially from another boxer. On increasing strength and endurance, that is definitely key. Being a small girl, I would look rather silly with huge muscles, in my opinion, so hypertrophy is not a goal. If anything, I would be looking to get toned.



Thank you again!
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