What overweight women can learn from Bodybuilders
By Michael Mooney
Probably bodybuilders are the last group of people
most overweight women would think of asking for advice
on how to transform their bodies. Why? To put it
bluntly, most women don’t want to look like Arnold
Schwarzenegger in drag. However, observing the habits,
training, and eating patterns of bodybuilders can work
wonders for women and help them either jump-start
their weight loss program or break their plateau.
It is often said that weight loss is easy – simply eat
less and exercise. It is true that weight loss is
easy, but what any bodybuilder can tell you is that
fat loss is extremely difficult. Most weight loss by
women produces muscle and bone loss. The key to any
successful diet and exercise program is to burn off
the fat while maintaining muscle and density-mass,
which is a constant challenge for bodybuilders on
diets. This article will demonstrate how the
principles that are common sense in the bodybuilding
community can be used effectively by women.
Having a clinic in Santa Monica, California and
working out at the infamous Gold’s Gym in Venice
Beach, I have a pretty good sense of what drugs
bodybuilders are doing. The interesting thing is that
what drugs are popular among my overweight female
patients and dieting bodybuilders are very much
different. While much of the country was going crazy
over the Phen-Fen craze, it never became popular in
the bodybuilding community. When Fenfluramine was
banned, pharmaceutical companies rushed to come out
with Meridia and Orlistat. While many overweight women
were eager to try these new drugs as the latest
miracle solution to their obesity, bodybuilders have
basically paid no attention.
Why the apathy among bodybuilders towards these
prescription diet drugs? Two words – Caffeine and
Ephedrine. From my reading of the scientific
literature and by my patient’s experiences, it is my
opinion that the simple Caffeine/Ephedrine stack is
safer and more effective than any prescription diet
drug. Since Caffeine/Ephedrine products are cheap,
highly effective, and available over the counter why
would you bother paying $100-$200 for products such as
Meridia and Orlistat that have never been proven to be
more effective than Caffeine and Ephedrine?
Many women are reluctant to use Caffeine/Ephedrine
products simply because they tend to be marketed
toward the bodybuilding market rather than to women.
One of the most popular Caffeine/Ephedrine products
features a muscular male torso with bulging veins, not
exactly the way to win over the Weight-Watchers crowd.
However, Caffeine and Ephedrine may be more effective
and important for overweight women than for
bodybuilders. One study showed that Caffeine and
Ephedrine is extremely effective at preserving muscle
in overweight women on low-calorie diets. As mentioned
above, weight loss is easy, fat loss is hard.
Caffeine/Ephedrine is one of the best ways to insure
that the weight you are dropping is from fat rather
than muscle, at least for overweight women.
I personally recommend pharmaceutical-grade Ephedrine
Hydrochloride over herbal formulas containing Ma
Huang. This is because most of the research has been
done on pure Ephedrine rather then Ma Huang Extract,
which varies in potency from batch to batch,
containing many other alkaloids besides Ephedrine.
Several products also contain Norephedrine instead of
Ephedrine, which is a good alternative for people who
get to jittery from Ephedrine. Although Norephedrine
may be a great appetite suppressant and, it has not
yet been shown to have the same muscle sparing effects
Have you ever seen a bodybuilder drink Slim-Fast? I
didn’t think so. Whenever I see a women drinking
Slim-Fast or any other commercial diet product I know
her diet is doomed to failure. Drinking products high
in sugar and low in protein such as in Slim-Fast is a
sure-fire way to destroy any dieting program.
Many top bodybuilder writers and gurus were kicking
themselves after the success of Barry Sears and his
"Zone" diet. While this diet is indeed effective,
there was nothing new about it. Low carb, high protein
diets have been advocated in bodybuilding magazines
for decades before this latest low-carb diet fad.
Many women make the huge mistake of dropping protein
from their diets since they don’t want to become
muscle bound. In truth, women should make a special
effort to maintain or even increase their consumption
of protein when they are dieting to maintain or
increase their muscle mass. The combination of low
total calories, aerobic exercise, and decreased
protein intake will cause the body to literally strip
muscle off of your body – a mistake no bodybuilder
In addition to preserving lean mass, protein offers
numerous other benefits to dieters. The biggest one is
reduced appetite. This is the main reason why
low-carb/high protein diets work. Protein foods such
as lean meat, fish, and egg whites are extremely
filling, whereas starchy and sugary "diet" foods such
as fat-free potato chips or Slim-Fast shakes will only
cause you to become hungrier by spiking your insulin
and causing swings in blood sugar levels. Increasing
protein intake at the expense of carbohydrates almost
always means lower total calories. Women wishing to
lose weight should throw away most of their "diet"
foods they purchased at the grocery store, and start
stocking up on egg whites, chicken breasts, fat-free
cottage cheese, and other lean sources of protein.
This is the most controversial part of this article.
Of all the articles I have written for different
health and fitness magazines, the one that I have
received that greatest response from is my
"Testosterone for Women" article in the Mesomorphosis
on-line magazine. I hope this is a sign that my views
on testosterone are becoming more and more mainstream.
I am not suggesting that women inject themselves with
massive doses of testosterone. However, I do believe
women can learn quite a bit from bodybuilders by
understanding the importance of maintaining a proper
testosterone/estrogen balance. Far too often, women
unintentionally sabotage their diet by taking birth
control or estrogen hormone replacement pills. These
pills will lower testosterone levels to barely
detectable levels, while causing estrogen levels to
soar. Any bodybuilder will tell you that this is a
quick way to make yourself fat and bloated. Burning
fat becomes difficult to impossible when you have no
testosterone to preserve muscle mass and mobilize fat,
but plenty of estrogen to increase fat storage. No
bodybuilder in his or her right mind would take
estrogen while dieting for a contest. Estrogen is even
used by farmers to fatten up their livestock.
Almost all post-menopausal women wishing to lose
weight can benefit from testosterone replacement
therapy. While I have been prescribing testosterone to
women for years as part of my overall anti-aging
programs, the pharmaceutical company Unimed will soon
be coming out with a testosterone gel for women call
Relibra. I am excited about this development and I
believe that this new gel will change many women’s
lives for the better. In the meant time older women
show benefits from taking DHEA or 4-androstenediol,
both of which can act as testosterone precursors.
It is extremely difficult to convince women to
incorporate weight - training into their workout
routines. Bodybuilders never remove weight - training
from their workout routines, no matter how desperate
they are to burn fat. Weight training is perhaps the
single best way to preserve muscle while dieting, and
can also increase your metabolic rate for many hours
after your workout is over (and can raise your
metabolic rate even more by increasing muscle mass).
However, there seems to be an irrational fear in
women’s minds that lifting weights a few times a week
may make them look like an unfeminine professional
My message has always been this: women do not have to
fear lifting weights. Most women lack the genetics to
look like a professional female bodybuilder even if
they wanted to. The often manly looking female
bodybuilders are genetically prone to growing large
muscle and take large doses of anabolic steroids. Even
with more muscle, a woman won’t look muscular unless
she has very low bodyfat levels. Women naturally have
more bodyfat than men, which is what gives them their
feminine curves. To get the masculine physique seen by
some female bodybuilders, you must diet down to
extremely low body fat levels and take diuretics to
remove unwanted water from your body. In other words,
adding weight training into your workout routine will
not make you look more masculine and is essential for
long-term fat loss. Even if a women does somehow put
on more muscle mass than she wants, it will come off
very easily. It is very easy to bulk down - bulking up
is what’s difficult.
I would suggest that any women serious about losing
unwanted fat should throw away their copy of Fit and
read some informative and unbiased bodybuilding
magazines such as Muscle Monthly or Mesomorphosis. I
am concerned that the diet programs advocated by the
medical establishment and by most nutrition professors
lead to anorexia and/or actually increases in obesity.
It is truly scandalous that the very simple and
obvious concept that it is fat loss rather than weight
loss is lost among most dieticians and health-care
professionals. Only a program that includes
weight-training, adequate protein intake, and proper
hormone balancing will result in effective and
permanent fat loss without significant loss of muscle
or bone mass.
Excellent material and very informative! Definitely will be posted up in my gym!
Aww thanks!! I am glad you like it!!
Bump! An excellent article!
😀 thumbs up...:D awesome article!!!!!!!
To the top 😀
I have several clients (I am a hair color specialist) that have had gastric-bypass surgery. They are all on a very similar regimine as me. Diet wise it's pretty much exactly the same. Training wise..well at least they are lifting weights as well as doing cardio. The transformation is AMAZING! It's like these women have gotten a second chance at life and they are LOVIN it! Next thing ya know thier whole family is loosing fat and exercising. It's great to talk with them about recipies and different exercises. Ofcourse these women were obese...beyond overweight. We are talking about 100-200lbs of weight loss. Still they are such an inspiration to me. Great read Liftingchic!
i am not even going to go to talking about the by pass surgery..
i thought it was a GREAt read too
I have had so many patients and friends die from GBS. It's really a very dangerous procedure. Especially when one is accustomed to a particular eating style. Eating habits are some of the hardest to break.
In a workshop that I conducted with the families of smokers, I asked the families to make a contract to give up sugar, and sweet drinks candy and the like, in order for them to understand what it's like for their smoking relative, and none of them yet were able to do it.
As dangerous as AAS can be, it is a much more preferable to GBS.
But it is really so sad, to see so many women go through so much pain, just to obtain the perfect body.