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Looking to trade fat for muscle!

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Hey everyone,

Basically I got weighed at the doctor's yesterday. I am 112 pounds and I'm 5'2. I don't have a very big frame but my weight is off. I don't want to lose, but I'm really concerned about distribution.

I used to be what I would consider a pretty active person and jogging was a pleasure for me, pushups/situps were a breeze and I was buzzing with energy. I had much less body fat then and wore smaller clothing sizes, but I weighed closer to 120-125 lbs. Which came from muscle. my diet was veering towards veganism at the time.

Fast forward a couple years and some not-so-great life happenings. I work sitting down 8 hours a day now and am usually feel unmotivated to exercise even though I know it's important. I feel like almost all of the muscles I had are gone (or severely diminished from neglect)..and the flab has taken its place.

I've been trying the whole30 for a bit (day 24 now) and still havent really got it "down" yet. im not having trouble adhering to the guidelines im just not consistent in energy and still kind of experimenting as far as my individual needs for fat/protein/carb go. I'm starting to think I have some gut/hormone issues cos most of the time I dont feel that hungy and when I eat the recommended amt of protein I often feel "too full" I just feel more energized when I'm not full of food. good news is i'm sleeping better and starting to eat on more of a schedule as opposed to having insomnia and being a grazer eating a few bites at a time rather than sitting down at meals.

I really love fats and i dont think i can eat too much of those but please tell me if i'm wrong haha

and I really love fruits too but I don't know.. maybe i'm eating too much and it's bogging me down/throwing me off?

I will have a 1-2 bananas some days and a mango, maybe an orange. i could easily eat a cup of blueberries/handful of strawberries. it just feels better to me than eating meat but maybe that means i'm addicted? i mean I can go a few days without, no problem but I just feel better when I eat them.

would cutting carbs from fruit/starchy veg help my body in using my flab for energy? I'd guess I dont go over 200g a day and i some days it's <100 but im not really counting.

I haven't really been food journaling so maybe I should start.

I usually eat eggs, coconut oil, whole avocados, olives, chicken liver, beef heart, fish, ghee, duck fat, raw nuts, any kinds of veggies including sweet potatos, herbs/spices, not really limiting anything, just focusing on eating good foods. main changes to my diet pre whole 30: i would eat some almond butter and occasional grains like cous cous and quinoa and legumes, and rice, all of which i kinda miss but not that much, pretty easy to cut out. also eating a lot more meat than i used to. I feel like all I'm missing is a good source of fermented veggies for probiotics and some bone broth which i need to just learn how to do.

My main question here is: does anyone have any advice as far as exercise routines for the issues i described? also if you think i could change anything about my diet i'm totally open to suggestions. i didn't post this in athletes cos i'm pretty sedentary lately.. but move it if its more appropriate there.

My guess at an exercise routine for my goals goes something like this:

walk/jog 1-5 mi every day at an easy pace (or leisurely cycling maybe up to 10 mi or so)

mix in sprints every other day or even less allowing for recovery

bodyweight (pushups/pullup variations/planks)

and that's really all I know. I'm wondering if anyone knows any good leg exercises like are there specific squats you reccomend? I don't know any forms for that. i also just joined a gym and really like stairmaster haha, stationary bike, rowing machine.. never really been a gym person so i'm not sure what is best to utilize in the way of weights/specialized equipment.. i feel like its way less natural/effective than exercises that use your whole body but i think it could be beneficial if i learned some pointers.

i used to love trail running but i dont have any where i live now and its hard to get my mind around running on a treadmill or even on the pavement. just not the same. :(

Anything you can recommend would be great.

Thanks a lot

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I'm no expert, but I'll take a quick stab at this...

My thought is that if you want to gain muscle you might want to focus more on lifting heavy things (or at least bodyweight) and less aerobic activity. Not such long runs and more full body movements with weight. You mentioned pull-ups and pushups. Squats or lunges with bodyweight or dumbbells.

That's what comes to mind... I'm sure others will have more suggestions!

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Emily's got it here. If you want to add muscle, you really need to pick up heavy things.

You're right that the specialized machines are less effective than using your entire body (for your goals at least). I'd recommend becoming friends with a barbell and learn how to deadlift, squat and press, at the very least. There are a lot of resources out there for lreaning those lifts. Starting Strength is a great one. Additionally, 70sbig.com, while often goofy, offers some great "strength for women" posts every Monday.

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