Reverse Bodybuilding- The Female Bodybuilder’s Guide to Regaining “Femininity”


First off, I realize that this is probably going to be a controversial post. It is beyond the realm of imagination of most fitness “experts” to speak about losing muscle on purpose. I know the bodybuilding gods are shifting on their thrones by even typing this phrase! But, that’s probably all the more reason why this subject needs to be spoken on!

I’m Convinced it is Politically Incorrect to Say “Lose Muscle”

I’m actually convinced of this. People will use the term “slim down” but never, “lose muscle”. I’m as guilty as anyone. It just seems like a subject that many people dance around. The fact is that it does make sense for some people to lose muscle on purpose.

Time for a short story

How I Got the Idea for Writing This Post

My girlfriend and I met in the gym she was working at. I was getting ready or my first bodybuilding competition ever, and during that time we started dating. Naturally, she was inspired by the lifestyle and the dedication involved in stepping on stage. Being quite competitive herself, she decided to join in on the “fun” and do the same show as me.

Fast forward three years, and 4 bodybuilding competitions later…

I could tell for the past couple of months that something has been bothering her. She was beginning to show a drop in motivation and started struggling with sticking to her bodybuilding diet and training plan.

After asking her what was bothering her several times, the levy finally broke. She told me, “I just feel like I suddenly woke up with all these muscles. I’m not happy with the way I look. I don’t like to go shopping because I don’t like the way any clothes fit. I’m tired of wearing yoga pants, and workout t-shirts every day. I just want to feel tiny and cute.” (Side note: Guys, if your lady ever tells you that she doesn’t like the way her clothes fit and that she doesn’t feel cute, this isn’t a statement to blow off. Feeling cute in clothes is of monumental importance to women and at this point you should immediately drop whatever you’re doing and have a long and understanding conversation with her about what the two of you can do to fix the problem. I learned this the hard way.)

After our conversation, I set out on the odd mission (odd to me) to find out what is the best and safest way to “reverse body build”

Right off the bat I discovered that this topic is totally taboo. Therefore, initially, I found a lot of really funny advice on forums. Here’s one example:

A female soccer player explained that she had tree-trunk legs and wanted to slim down. Half of the people replied and said to get a bigger upper body to even things out! Not the answer she was looking for. Another gentleman said his legs were too large from squatting and he want to lighten up for mountain climbing. Almost every single last reply told the guy that strong legs would help with mountain climbing and to keep doing squats. Sorry, but this is terrible advice. Climbers have strong but slim legs for a reason. They have to easily pull their own body weight up steep cliffs.

I Decided it Was Time to create my own Detailed “Reverse Bodybuilding” Plan

Tip #1 – Drop All Direct Resistance Training

This is a hard one to decide to do. The problem is that if you already have a solid base of muscularity, almost any resistance style exercise is going to help you maintain that size. Even light training or things like body weight lunges.

Tip #2 – Avoid anything that creates a “pump”

This is a big one. Even things like riding an exercise bike will pump up your legs and cause them to stay close to the same size.

Tip #3 – Marathon Cardio is the Best Way to Lose Muscle

If you are trying to lose muscle mass, you need to do what I call “Marathon Cardio”. Jump on a treadmill and do a medium to high intensity steady state cardio for an extended period of time. Aim for 45-60 minutes at as fast as rate as you can handle for that period of time. Marathon cardio is used by boxers to “make weight”. They basically call it “road work”, but it involves long periods of running at a pretty high intensity level.

Tip #4 – Be In A Calorie Deficit

Don’t go too extreme here, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to go low-cal during this period of time.. Make sure you go into your workout with an empty stomach and don’t eat a meal right after exercising…wait at least 1-2 hours before eating anything.

Tip #5 – You don’t have to do this forever

This may be the most important tip. Most women I know who deal with this issue are primarily unhappy with their upper – body muscularity, but love the fact that they have big strong glutes. Unfortunately, you may have to sacrifice some of that well earned booty development to lose overall muscle tissue initially. BUT, there’s good news. Once you’re satisfied with your level of muscularity,(or lack thereof) you can begin weight training and eating more protein again but with an emphasis on glute development only.

Hope there’s someone out there who benefits from this “taboo” information!

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