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Unexpected side effects of weight training

I no longer fear wearing tank tops that display my batwings of arm flesh, but even I am not bold enough to venture into public with little bushes of arm hair. I realized if I wanted to wear my black tank top this weekend I needed to crack down on the stubble with my electric razor. I was being lazy, so I only raised my arm out sideways like I was doing the chicken dance. As I shaved up and down I realized the slope of my armpit was much steeper, like you could fit the La Brea Tar Pits under my arm and throw in a pterodactyl too without trouble. What was going on here?

Then I realized, my pectoral muscle has gotten larger! It forms most of my upper chest, but with my arm out side ways it was hanging out there forming the front of my armpit too. Looking at diagrams of the muscular system, I kind of assumed the muscles would just stay close to the skeleton, but the pectoral sort of does its own thing. I’d never really thought about what made up my armpit before. Did we even need the word “armpit” until someone decided to sell us deodorant?

I put down my razor and shrugged my shoulders while feeling up the muscles near my neck and realized my trapezius muscles are bigger now too. How cool is it that I know all these fancy names for my muscles? A couple months ago I would have been just as likely to call my trapezius muscles Bob or Edgar than by their proper medical names. I think Bob and Edgar are the reason my collarbones have looked a bit more defined lately.

From now on I’ll have to raise my arm back over my head when I’m shaving, as if I was stretching my triceps. Such a burden these new muscles are. It’s funny that even after losing almost 200 pounds my body can still find new ways to change its shape. Perhaps the only thing more amazing would be to wake up one day transformed into a giant beetle, only I doubt that would turn out as well if Kafka had anything to say about it.

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Kyra • May 22, 2007 at 10:43 am

I found that the more defined you become in the arms the harder it is to shave under them and actually do a good job. It’s really annoying, and you’re right – no one ever tells you about that little fun effect. The calf muscles in relation to the ankles is another fun one. Lots of bloodloss on that one (I don’t use an electric.)


kate • May 22, 2007 at 1:32 pm

Time to buy some stinky nair! or start the dreaded waxing!! LOL As for the flabby skin, have you considered taking a vitamin supplement or using a lotion that will help increase your skin’s elasticity? Obviously those things won’t make your skin as tight as hospital corners on a bed, but something is better than nothing, right?


Patty • May 22, 2007 at 1:40 pm

Way to go on your new defined muscles! I need to start getting in more wt training as I have been concentrating on cardio too much.


Kyle • May 22, 2007 at 2:57 pm

you crack me up! I really do look forward to every time you post something new :)


Chris H • May 22, 2007 at 7:12 pm

OOOO ERRRR, so those bits have names? Right, must store that to memory .. somewhere! Know the feeling of finding muscles where none existed before, too cool!


Oinkstop • May 22, 2007 at 7:51 pm

Congrats on your new muscles. For me, I’m just the opposite. I don’t want anyone to see my flabby arms, but I could care less if they see my pit hair. I haven’t saved since before I graduated from college (gasp) almost 20 years ago.


Kery • May 23, 2007 at 2:52 am

I had never paid attention to that when I was heavier–whether it was easy to shave or not–but somewhat I also think I didn’t use to shave much at the time (weird, how when we gain weight all of a sudden those things don’t seem important, ant the contrary as well). The ankles part bit, though… eek. I almost passed out once because I literally ripped a good 15 cm of skin off that part, and bled like a pig in my bath.


gilly • May 23, 2007 at 5:27 am

I noticed this a while ago too!! When I was using roll on deoderant, I kept thinking, ooo this is hard work, what’s going on with my armpits? Then I noticed the pecs and then the deltoids and a whole range of new muscles. I like knowing the ‘proper names’ too, makes you sound very clever!

keep at it PQ, you’re such an inspiration!


Salma Gundi • May 23, 2007 at 7:08 am

This is embarrassing to admit … but that’s what the internet is for, yes? Last week I had the same epiphany as you about the pecs and shaving … and then I realized that there were whole sections in there that I had been missing repeatedly while shaving.

It was a true yech moment. I, too, now belong to the Arm Over Head shaving club.


Lose Weight With Me • May 23, 2007 at 8:03 am

I love seeing how good you feel about the changes your body is undergoing due to the strength training. Far too many people who want to lose weight get discouraged and stop strength training when they see the scale loss slow down or stop. If only they’d stick with it long enough to begin to see the changes!



Lose Weight With Me • May 23, 2007 at 8:06 am

I love seeing how good you feel about the changes your body is undergoing due to the strength training. Far too many people who want to lose weight get discouraged and stop strength training when they see the scale loss slow down or stop. If only they’d stick with it long enough to begin to see the changes!



Cris • May 23, 2007 at 6:58 pm

My goodness you are so funny! I’ll be sure to use “batwings of arm flesh” at some point in the near future…crediting the brave and hilarious pasta queen! Thanks for putting a smile on my face!


Terri • May 24, 2007 at 3:58 am

Congratulations on your new muscle. Some of them are really unexpected, especially if we don’t know that they are being developed during our weight training. I think it’s better to have it unexpectedly than wait for it.


Vic • May 24, 2007 at 11:20 pm

Good for you. It’s really surprising that we develop muscles that we don’t expect to develop because we don’t concentrate on that area.


Faith • May 25, 2007 at 5:28 pm

Found you through Aunt Purl. I’ve shed quite a layer over the last year and I’m a little concerned about the skin issue myself. You’re way ahead of me so I have to ask…will it go away as one works out or are we all going to need to start saving for plastic surgery?


Oscar • May 27, 2007 at 11:42 pm

I like it if good things happen unexpectedly. We can’t blame them for popping out like that, unless we had a bad feeling about it before.


Comments are now closed on all PastaQueen entries. The blog is an archive only so I don't have to deal with spammers. For fresh discussions please visit my new blog at JennetteFulda.com.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JennetteFulda.com now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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