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weight gain lean muscle ?

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I'm a 30 year old female and workout regularly, but lately, I've been losing too much weight. If I scale back my workout (fewer days a week, less weight lifting), I start having issues with anxiety and panic attacks. Regular exercise has worked the best at keeping my anxiety at bay. But I've gotten to the point where I've gotten too skinny. I'm 5'4" and weigh around 100 lb. I would like to gain weight but not excess fat and would prefer to gain muscle. I already eat a lot of calories daily (probably around 2500-3000 cal.) as I'm breastfeeding and chasing around a toddler all day. I have had bloodwork done at my PCP but all came back normal and she said some women have a hard time keeping weight on while breastfeeding. I know a lot of what I eat is not healthy calories (cookies, chocolate, etc.). But I don't know what to eat or take to gain muscle. I don't want the physique of a bodybuilder, just nice lean muscle.

Generally, I do 45 min. of cardio daily, walking/jogging on the treadmill or on the elliptical trainer and lift weights 3 times a week (working abs, legs, arms, glutes). Every time I try to do less intense cardio, the panic attacks get worse, and I'd rather not end up addicted to Xanax, which is the alternative. I'm also looking into starting acupuncture, with a hope that that will help my anxiety issues.

But for now, I need the gym time, it is the only time of the day I'm not watching my 13 month old baby--I'm a stay at home mom--(she's extremely clingy and attention-demanding) and sometimes I just need to do intense cardio to stay sane. But getting too skinny isn't good either, so I just don't know what to do.
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replied March 20th, 2009
Ok, well
if you MUST do your cardio, then continue to keep your caloric intake high, but you need to substitute most of what you're eating with protein and 100% whole wheat carbs. But in order to gain weight you need a strength training program. Regardless of how hard you try, it's almost impossible for a female to have a bodybuilder physique due to the lack of testosterone. I'd suggest starting a good strength training program (Mark Rippetoe's beginners strength is a famous one all over the internet you can look at for free). You might want to change the reps to 8-12 rather than do his recomended 5 to avoid an possible injury. Eat lots of protein, workout properly, and you should gain weight. Good luck!
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replied May 23rd, 2009
Hello, cln1812
Well i have the same problem but my panic attacks are kind of going away, but this is what happened to me, i am really anemic. So after taking injections of B-Complex, Iron pills, B-12 and B-6 Vitamin pills at the same time. It's helping me to be eable to breath 'cause sometimes in the middle of the nigh i woulded waked up gasping for air at first Doctor thought it was slep apnea but no and what is causing the panic attacks is the low count of red cells, I am taking xanax but only while in recovery but to be honest i feel like i don't need it them anymore but i have to takem 'till i get fully recovered. So if you are having super headaches, feel tire, can't brethd, have anxiatety, wake up in the middle of the night like shocking gasping for air well then, i sugest to go to the doctor and get a phisycal exam but especially a fully detail blood exam and make sure that you are not anemic like me. Well let me know what happens.
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