Ingrid is back on the blog today & this time she’s talking about wet & dry muscles.
I have stalked Ingrid online for years. NO BUT LIKE, YEARS.
I found her on a friend of a friend of a cousin’s sister’s page or something when I was deep in an Instagram trance. I liked her right away.
One of my favorite things about her: she was always providing value by sharing her tips & tricks- recipes too.
THEN, one time when I was in Monaco, I SAW HER AT THE HOTEL WE WERE HAVING LUNCH AT. I whispered to Michael that “THAT was THAT girl I followed on Instagram!” Michael looked at me like I was fucking crazy. But first things first, I had to see what she was eating…
You can bet it was protein, greens, fiber & a glass of wine – La Piscine style!
I never went over to say hi, but I DM’d her & we quickly became friends. Since then, Michael & I have met up with her & Gil ( her husband ) in Morocco & the South of France. She came on the podcast too- we actually recorded it at her house in Monaco.
I’ve been doing The Method with Ingrid via Skype & I’m very much about it. I’m just loving the low-intensity workouts on the mat right now. BUT don’t let ‘low-intensity’ fool you- it’s really sculpted my body.
Soooooo, we’re rounding out Victoria’s Secret week with a post about wet & dry muscles. Ingrid has a unique perspective so grab your fiber-filled coffee & let’s get right into it:
With the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show premiering last week, and my podcast : “Are you Wet or Dry?”, it was a no brainer for me to write this guest blog post about WET & DRY muscles. What is the difference? And which would you prefer to have?
It’s always been funny to me that when you walk into a store and say you are looking for a certain type of dress, you will have a visual to show your salesgirl. When you go to the hair salon for a new hair color or haircut, you are given a swatch to pick from and magazine pictures to steer your hairstylist in the right direction. When you go to the plastic surgeon to get a boob job, a lot of the results you are looking for will be determined from pictures and 3D simulations. So why is it when you walk into a gym, no one actually asks you to sit down and pick exactly what you are looking for from a picture?
So let’s lay it out, right here, right now. What I am about to discuss is not so much an opinion, but years of fitness expertise as a professional athlete, and later on in my life as a fitness professional, but most importantly a BODY strategist. The content of this article may not apply to you, or may not appeal to you, and that’s ok. All you have to do is take the good and leave the bad.
So here is the bottom line: when a client comes to I already know I am the very last link on the long chain of them having tried every diet, every fitness program, every cleanse, every body exorcism to no avail. I created THE METHOD because I wanted answers, not just the result.
So I guess my first question to you here is, what do you want? What is your body ideal? Please don’t show me a 7 ft tall amazon if, like me, you are a Lilliputian. Realistically, do you like the fitness bodybuilding model type of body (think Xena the warrior princess) or the longer, leaner, toned body type (incidentally Victoria’s Secret models fit that bill)? I am not asking you if you think it’s possible, I am not asking you if you have a body that tends to bulk up even if you go to “ballet beautiful” classes. I am asking you, what do you like?
I’ll give you my most common example: Client comes in for the first time and says: I eat healthy, I cut carbs, I cut sweets, I cut bread, I cut alcohol, I eat fiber, I journal my meals, I drink 3 L of water and I workout 5 days a week. I go to spinning classes, I go to Barry’s bootcamp, I train with a trainer who has big muscles, I do insane intervals, deadlifts, Russian twists, and work with heavy weights. Oh and I also follow his tips to have a protein shake every day, because protein builds muscles. The result is:
> I did lose some weight but my legs are bulky, and bigger than I want them to be. The muscles I build are too big.
> I have stubborn fat around my midsection, I have a gut regardless of my six pack, I retain water on my legs and inner thighs.
> I hurt my knees, or I dislocated a disc, got a hernia or I have bad sciatica.
> I am constantly craving sweets and carb-rich food.
> I religiously have celery juice, smoothies, etc.
> I have fatigue, I had an adrenal burnout, I often feel down and depressed.
BOTTOM LINE: I am currently not happy with my body even though I do every thing right. I want to de-bulk and be longer, leaner and toned. And no, I am not looking to be a twig either.
Well, if you answered yes to at least 2 of these and you are in the BOTTOM LINE, then you need to know the difference between WET & DRY muscles.
Most women who bulk up at the gym think that it’s determined by their DNA and there is nothing they can do about it. Most women who go to the gym religiously, and do high-impact, high-intensity workouts, and still report stubborn fat around the midsection, will automatically think they need to do more cardio, cut out carbs, drink more water, and combine the intake of protein shakes with weightlifting. I disagree.
So here is the down-low on WET & DRY MUSCLES: Body builders refer to BULKIER muscles as wet gains, as those kinds of muscles are water/glycogen weight gain, while the dry muscles are actual lean mass muscles. Of course the distinct results derive from the choice of workout:
Lifting heavy weights, cross-training, HIIT, spinning and hardcore cardio cause the body to hold a lot of water, giving you a puffier look, while body resistance workouts like swimming, barre, ballet, power yoga, Pilates, some TRX & resistance band inclusive routines will pull all of the water out of you, giving you a harder, leaner look.
When you lift weights, or do very intense, hardcore workouts that have your eyes pop out of your head, chances are your muscles’ ability to store water and glycogen increases. So the inflation and contour of your muscles look more defined and pop out because they’re filled with water. This is where you need to ask yourself, do I want that?
Have you every trained hard at cross-fit then stopped for 3 weeks because of an injury so you started retaining water and felt puffy? A lot of my new clients answer YES to this very question.
What one needs to understand is that there is more to it than gobbling down protein shakes, hitting the treadmill hard, and lifting like The Hulk. It all starts and stems from your hormones. When you feel like you are retaining water, regardless of how much you drink and how much cardio you do, then start wondering if you’re fucking with your hormones. Are you messing with your stress hormone cortisol? If your spin class is in a dark room with red lights, loud music, and your coach is yelling in his mic, and you come out sweaty, wanting to barf but didn’t shed a lb, then it’s your cortisol level rising to new highs, creating insulin resistance in your body. If your body resists insulin it means all the fat you usually store to burn for fuel, doesn’t go where it’s needed to be burnt for fuel. Instead, it sticks around your midsection, hips and thighs, and becomes STUBBORN FAT DEPOTS.
So what happens? When you lift heavy, run hard, impact high, your AROMATASE ENZYME releases estrogen, going into estrogen dominance, and creates water build up around your muscles.
So, you need to stop the thinking that building lean muscle mass, reducing your body fat by using combinations of exercise, healthy food and very specific natural herbs, and using protein supplements are all that is needed. In fact, all is great, but the ultimate key to maintaining a lean physique, without observable body fat on your waistline, is not just about your healthy diet, but it’s about HORMONES too. Most importantly, estrogen. In our unending quest to the ultimate muscularity, good health and energy, we bypass the most important BODY SYSTEM of them all: our system of hormone interconnections.
Most women who struggle with doing all the right things and not getting the body they want have estrogen imbalances of specific estrogens, in both blood and fatty tissues. Too much specific estrogens in your blood and tissue cause fat gains, slow loss of muscle, or weight gain.
Some women may have too much of the wrong kind of estrogen because of the birth control pill, a diet too low in fiber, too high in protein, or from yoyo-ing between being on high fat and low fat diets. Very often the stress put on the body by those high-strung workouts and putting oneself on diet-mode, contributes to the rising of cortisol levels and thus hormonal imbalance that may be causing the bloating, water-retention and fat-storage.
So, with an open-mind, if many of the factors, if not all that I just described, sound like they may apply to you, changes are needed. Step away from the myth of hardcore cardio, heavy weight-lifting, stressful high and low intervals, and stringent weight loss methods, and step into a more hormone-friendly fitness choice. Women today need to realize that they do not need to punish, deprive or supplement their bodies to prevent hormonal imbalances causing weight issues.
Take food for example: Even grapefruit can inhibit your liver’s ability to breakdown estrogen. Broccoli and cauliflower may mitigate some effects of some estrogens. Soy products mimic estrogen and may cause excess estrogen.
Same goes for exercise. Those high-intensity, high-density, high-impact workouts may inhibit the aromatase enzyme which converts into excess estrogen. That kind of excess estrogen during muscle straining workouts will create water buildup around the muscles. That is great for women who compete as body builders, but often that is not what women who come to me want. And while fat cells are loaded with aromatase (storing large quantities of estrogen), the tougher and more cortisol-raising your workout is, the more estrogen you can produce and the fatter you will be, unless you control your exercise to lower estrogen production. As you reduce stored body fat, your estrogen conversion will be reduced and symptoms of female disorders associated with high estrogen will be greatly reduced (delayed or lack of menstruation, heavy symptoms of pre-menopause, hot flushes, hair loss, breakouts, water retention, bloat, cellulite).
There are workouts with light weights, body weight, resistance, and low-impact strength training that provide enough cardio-sculpt-like routines (THE METHOD is one of them) that can, and will, focus on bettering the whole body and not just one muscle. In addition, it will build different kinds of muscles than lifting weights does: the dry kind (free of water buildup around the muscles) because the adrenal glands won’t be inflamed and the cortisol level will not rise excessively, preventing the release of excess estrogen responsible for bulking up, and wet muscle gain. It can develop and hone long, lean muscles that will help create a stronger inner and outer frame, all while preventing your efforts from sabotaging your waistline and midsection.
My advice is to be intuitive with your eating, mind your cortisol levels by controlling your environment whenever possible, and be kind and gentle with your body. Gravitate towards fitness and movements that have earned a reputation for creating long, lean, sculpted muscles.
So on that note, Garçon can I have une Piscine s’il vous plait!
Thank you so much to Ingrid for taking the time to come on the blog. See what I mean guys? Value, always.
Be sure to listen to Ingrid’s episode on the Him & Her podcast- it’s a good one. Her story involves struggle & overcoming hardships, but also some amazing turn-arounds.
Anyways, I might not be needing The Method Skype sessions for much longer since Michael & I are buying the house right next to hers- it’s for sale. Pack your bags Susan, we’re heading to Monaco!
What workouts do you prefer? Are you into lightweight, resistance, Pilates style or high-intensity stuff. Would love to hear what everyone is into right now.
Oh, & this week on TSC, you can expect lots of holiday posts!
+ check out Ingrid’s podcast, Pardon My French!