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JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
Fitness Minutes: (86,286)
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8/21/13 7:38 A

Tricep dips work mainly the tricep, chest and shoulders and are more comparable to a bench press than a pull up. Bent over rows would be a closer equivalent to replacing a pull up because they work the bicep, tricep and upper/middle back. The pull up is king for upper body because it covers every single muscle in the upper body and the abdominals. I'm surprised the trainer would recommend tricep dips as a replacement for pull ups? (btw. nothing replaces pull ups! :) You can invest in a pull up bar when you get a bit stronger (to do unassisted), they run about $30.

My train of thought is that you're going to require some back work as well... deadlifts give you a good lower back workout, bent over rows will work your upper/middle back (as well as biceps and triceps). Your chest will already be getting enough work in your bench. Overhead press already covers your shoulders and triceps.

You don't need chest flies when you do bench. You don't need the lat machine when you do rows and overhead press. I would say rows would be a better fit for your routine because I don't believe the triceps are heavily worked in the lat machine? (although I'm not too familiar with gym machines. If I'm wrong you could replace rows with that lat machine.) Bent over rows will cover that, your biceps and lats. Just makes more sense to cover it all with rows, overhead press and bench. I'd start with those 3 exercises for now. If you want you can pick an extra of choice but those should cover all large muscles in the upper body.

You only need 6-8 exercises to cover all muscles in your body (3-4 for each major muscle group; upper and lower)... anything else is completely unnecessary for a beginner. If you don't want to waste time in the gym... don't. I would recommend doing a full body routine over a split routine, 3x a week. You should be in and out of the weight room in 30-40 minutes (not incl. warm up). If you do wish to continue with a split routine, 15-20 mins. With the full body routine you're hitting lower and upper 3x a week, with the split you're only hitting them 2x a week. Unless you are hitting the gym every single day of the week?

I push until I cannot push any further (the muscle simply will not complete the movement). I can usually tell now, the rep right before that's about to happen. I'll think, I got one more in me and that is it. This will come with more familiarity.

However, I will stop if I feel the risk of injurying myself in the next rep due to improper form from general fatigue. Again, more familiarity. You'll learn in the next month or so what you are capable of and how to read your body's cues.

Why are you using dumbbells? Pick up a barbell, less awkward. They are specifically designed to make it easier to lift heavier weight. Just start with no weight on the bar. The bar itself should weigh between 25-50 lbs depending on the type. You *should* be able to lift 25 lbs in a bench press... at the very least.

I had a better website for strength standards but I went to it and it's down! argh. but this chart should give you an idea on how much you should be lifting. Go to the link that says "one rep max calculator" to figure out yours and then check the chart for the specific exercise.

I calculated your one rep max for your bench and it's 15 lbs if you performed 6 reps. An untrained individual at your weight should have a one rep max of 60-65 lbs... just to give you an idea. You're not even close to being considered "untrained". You'll probably have more success if you use a barbell.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 8/21/2013 (09:50)
8/21/13 5:16 A

Sorry I was away for so long...

So this morning I went to my gym and asked the trainer there to show me all the upper body moves JL suggested:
Bench Press
Overhead Press
Pull up (assisted)
One arm Rows

Unfortunately there is no pull up bar at my gym. She did suggest a tricep dip instead...?

So I did the Bench Press with 6.6lbs dumbells in each hand.
Overhead press with one 5.5lbs dumbell (2.5kg) (tried 3kg but it was hard)
One arm rows with one 6.6lbs dumbell (3kg)
Chest press machine with 20 lbs
Lat pull seated front down machine with 20 lbs
Lat pull seated back down machine with 20 lbs

A question about muscle fatigue/failure: Do I stop/rest when my muscles begin to shake with fatigue or when I simply cant lift my hand up anymore for another rep?
I am worried about doing a movement when my muscles are shaking cause they are tired and my form can suffer causing me to hurt myself?

8/15/13 1:41 P

Personally I am with the recommended routine suggested below and I am a personal trainer, I am afraid that the ones who gave you the original programme are not going to approve of the one recommended since the one they created is so far from being a proper one. They have their egos involved so I suggest you only approach them with a request on how to do the recommended exercises with good form then follow the new programme for 4 weeks and assess your progress by taking measurements and evaluating your progress in strength gains.

I am not an advocate of the Atkins or any other low carbohydrate diet since the current research has demonstrated that carbohydrates are not the problem and are necessary for good nutrition. I recommend my clients follow some form of the Zone diet of macros of 40% carbohydrate and 30% protein and 30% good fats. Your inability to consume more than 1200 calories is in my opinion a function of the aberrant food choices in an Atkins based diet.

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
Fitness Minutes: (86,286)
Posts: 2,489
8/15/13 9:55 A

See if you can get some assistance at first (a spotter) and warm up before doing your reps at half the weight you intend to lift. That way, you get a feel for the movement. I'm personally not a gym person, I work out at home with my husband's bench and barbell so I'm not too knowledgeable on gym routines/trainers. I imagine you're going to hear (see) a lot of people saying you should be doing all those fancy concentration exercise machines (to make more use of their gym) but they're really unnecessary for a beginner/general exerciser. If they were, you wouldn't be seeing people getting the same results at home with limited equipment. You can also watch youtube videos on each exercise to study proper form.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 8/15/2013 (10:01)
8/15/13 9:48 A

Lol! to be precise its 4.88... but I rounded it off. So far I have just met 1 person in my adult life who is shorter than me... the rest well I have to look up to them ;)

I will be increasing my calorie soon starting after this next week cause I eventually need to undo any metabolic damage I might have caused previously with calorie restriction and what not. I had done atkins 4 years ago but did not complete it properly. Managed to keep the weight off for a long long time then got careless and got it all back on and I wasn't much into daily exercise or even running then.

So this time I am doing it by the book... my workouts are intense as you said cardio & weights but I do them in the morning when I am most energetic and immediately after that, I have a protein rich breakfast. :)

Thanks for the modified routine but I am worried. The trainers at my gym, look ok maybe on saturday I will run this by them and see if they can assist me in this new routine. I am particularly worried I might do it in wrong form and then hurt myself.

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
Fitness Minutes: (86,286)
Posts: 2,489
8/15/13 9:25 A

4'9, eh? You're not kidding when you said you were tiny! I thought I was small. ;)

Ok. I'll shorten that for you.

Upper Body

Bench Press
Overhead Press
Pull up (assisted)
One arm Rows

Lower Body

Exercise of choice (leg press or leg extentions are nice)

All these exercises will work all the muscles you want to work; chest, triceps, lats, deltoids, hamstrings, calves, thighs, biceps, abs, lower back, glutes, any I'm missing? Plus all of your smaller muscles. You can alternate between different types of each exercise every 2 weeks, although I don't think it's necessary for a beginner. For example; 2 weeks you do forward lunges, 2 weeks you do backwards lunges or 2 weeks you do wide grip pull ups, 2 weeks close grip pull ups).

If you want to build your strength up quickly. Lift a weight where you reach muscle fatigue (you cannot possible perform another rep in good form) in 5-6 reps for 3-5 sets and once you can do approximately 3 sets of 8-10 reps, increase your weight/resistance. I did this and almost doubled the weight I could lift in 2 months.

Once you build up some strength and a nice base of muscle (probably in about 6-12 months) then if you feel you want to build up smaller muscles for more definition, you can add some more concentrated exercises but really, concentrating on smaller muscles/concentration exercises is more appropriate for fitness models/body builders. Not for the general exercises just looking to build strength and a nice beach bod.

If you do these compound movements, 2-3 core exercises will be sufficient. Definitely include planks.

If you exercise intensely (which I would consider running and lifting heavy intense exercise) say 5 days a week. Then you definitely need to be upping your calories to more around 1400-1500 cals and that is taking into consideration your size. Yes, slowly. Try adding about 50-100 cals to each day per week.

Personally, I'm not a fan of Atkins for weight loss especially for someone so close to their goal weight unless this is a personal lifestyle choice. Keep in mind, that eating in this way while losing weight means you will likely gain weight back if you try to increase your carbs after you lose weight. The reason people tend to lose so quickly on low carb diets right away is mostly due to fluid loss not fat loss. Carbs retain more fluid than other macros, so when you decrease them... all you're essentially doing is decreasing fluid in your body. Eat more and you increase the amount of fluid in your body. Your goal should be fat loss.

Personally, my macro breakdown more closely resembles that zone (40-30-30) but the best approach to macros is to experiment and find the ratio where you thrive (feel your best on, energy and satiety-wise).

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 8/15/2013 (09:49)
8/15/13 3:12 A

So, heres my routine:
Day 1: Upperbody
1. bicep curl & Hammer curl - 5.5lbs
2. Chest press & Lat pull down - 30lbs
3. Shoulder press & tricep extension - 5.5lbs
4. Tricep kickback - 5.5lbs
5. Pull over - 6lbs
7. Front & lateral raise.

Day 2: lower body
1. Leg extension & Leg curl - 35 lbs
2. Abduction & Adduction - 40 lbs
3. Leg press - 35lbs
4. Squat & lunges with dumbbells - lbs.

Day 3: Abs
no weights, mostly lying on a mat crunches, superman and a few others.


8/15/13 3:02 A

JENNILACEY, thankyou so much for posting in this thread. Infact your change from 130 to 108 lbs is exactly where I am at. I too am aiming for 108-110lbs for now. I am 4'9... yeah, really short :).

I find it hard to eat above 1200 calories as I am just stuffed... one more bite and I might as well puke. However I think it maybe cause I am at the first phase of Atkins where foods are restricted. I just have one more week to go and I can start adding back foods and that will automatically increase the number of calories I am consuming...
Yes, I agree with you about the calories and I will be gradually increasing my calories so that if at all I have days when I just eat anything, my body does not go crazy trying to figure what to do with all that extra calories. :D

8/15/13 2:19 A

SERGEANTMAJOR, I'll post my routine on here. At my gym, the trainers who gave me the routine are really nice, but I dont think they really know much. We have a system that measures body fat / etc and I am assuming that its the system that recommends a program based on the statistics not the trainers actually. :(
I think I know what you mean by compound workouts and I assume a few of what I do are that as the weight are so much more.

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
Fitness Minutes: (86,286)
Posts: 2,489
8/14/13 3:11 P

BFWhiteHorse- Strength training will ensure you do not lose lean muscle while losing and *may* even "replace" (not literally) fat with muscle to achieve a lower body fat percentage at your goal weight had you not done it. Any "slow down" to weight loss would be due to fluid retention (glycogen stores) in the muscle. Like everyone here has already stated, lifting light and high reps is basically like stopping for coffee in the middle of a race. Waste of time.

Just look at my 108 lbs pictures on my Sparkpage. I went from my 130 lbs picture in Dec 2012 to 107 lbs and 18% body fat by March 2013 all while lifting challenging weights.

I'm 5'2 (small) and reached 108 lbs quickly by eating 1400 cals a day (I was dropping 2-3 lbs a week at one point even in my healthy BMI). I was under eating and suffered all sorts of health problems because of it. I lose weight now eating between 1500-1900 cals. If you're a runner and have to eat 1200 cals to lose weight, that tells me that you've slowed your metabolism to a crawl through under eating.

If you can only lift 5 lbs weights for 10 reps, I agree with Sergeant Major you need to be doing compound exercises; deadlifts, overhead presses, pull ups (assisted), lunges, squats, rows, etc. That would make you seriously under muscled. Like I said, I'm only 5'2 120 lbs and bench 100 lbs and don't pick up a weight under 40 lbs (for rows).

The difference in your body will be being at your goal weight and having 25% body fat or being at your goal weight and being 20% body fat. What do you think is more beneficial for running? Carrying more fat per pound or more muscle per pound?

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 8/14/2013 (15:45)
8/14/13 3:07 P

If I may offer another opinion, if you can not but barely get through 3 X 10 with 5.5 pound weights that tells me you are wasting your time with isolation small muscle group exercises, You need to change to compound movement exercises such as presses, rows and some form of a pull down for your upper body.Forget the curls, triceps extensions and front or later raises they are time wasters with minimal benefit. Doing compound movement upper body exercises you should be able to double and triple the weight. Think in terms of using a weight which is 60% of your single repetition maximum (SRM or 1RM)> Drop down to 6 to 8 repetitions per set to start.

8/14/13 1:41 P

Thanks SERGEANTMAJOR, DRAGONCHILDE & DMJAKES for your suggestion and convincing. I am checking out Rachel Cosgrove... lemme see if its something I can do eventually. :)

8/14/13 1:38 P

thanks for your reply JENNILACEY,
My main aim is for b) maintain muscle/strength while losing fat.

I guess my hesitation stems from the fact that I dont want my weight to 'not' go down because I am improving my muscle condition. I know I wont bulk up ;) but I seriously need to loose weight and get lean as my small body frame and 'boderline overweight' status is not helping my running. :)
or as you said, " focus on losing weight now and maintaining the lean muscle you have (through strength training) and then when you feel you are lean enough, eat at a slight calorie surplus and build new mass (gain weight back, mostly in the form of muscle)."

I went through the article you linked to at simplyshredded and I am currently on a low carb high protein and high fat diet... the 'only' kind of eating that does any good to me to loose weight. I maintain a calorie of 1200. (remember I am small... tiny) but then I cant even eat that much sometimes as each meal is filling.

For my current upper body routine I use 5.5lbs weights (I know its low but I can barely get through them 3sets with 10 reps each). Lower body is between 35-40lbs. For abs no weights just my body weights.

I shall try to see if I can incorporate the routine at simplyshredded or something similar maybe sometime mid of next month.

8/14/13 1:18 P

M@L, thankyou for the reply.
Right now my routine is upper body - day 1, lower body - day 2, abs - day 3, then repeat and a day off (7th day) and start all over from day 1. I doubt I can do my current routine all on a single day, I barely make it through each set of workouts for that day and I am exhausted.

Didnt know that JM was more like cardio...guess it explains why I could get through it so easy after a few sessions and then it became boring... no pain no gain :D
I actually enjoy the gym ST workouts more, however I need to take a lot of rests in-between to just finish a set. Guess it will improve after a while and then it will be time to move up to heavier weights.

8/14/13 1:11 P

AUGUSTREADY thank you for your reply :) .
I have been trying to find as much info as possible on this. Actually I want to lose fat but at the same time keep my weight down. I was thinking along the lines of less weight more repetitions might give some kind of toning but not enough to get my weight up due to muscle weight...
I hope I am not sounding really silly, but being a runner, I am trying to get as light as possible.

But at the same time, being a runner i can ignore the strength training, so was thinking about a daily low impact approach... though obviously from my first question I have no clue...

As for the abs, I do them every other day or every third day only... even though I was advised by the doc for daily abs, never quite got around to it...

DMJAKES Posts: 1,635
8/12/13 2:12 P

I second Sargeant Major's suggestion of Rachel Cosgrove...her Female Body Breakthrough workouts are really tough! I can only manage 2 a week.

8/12/13 1:27 P

The only help I can offer is ignore JM and her false marketing claims. If you want a good female trainer then look up Rachel Cosgrove she knows what she is doing and creates killer workouts.

R383CC48 Posts: 1,022
8/12/13 12:27 P

No helpful information to add, I just wanted to say thanks for sharing great information ladies!

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
Fitness Minutes: (86,286)
Posts: 2,489
8/12/13 8:53 A

When you strength train you either;

a) build muscle/strength while gaining weight (muscle mass)
b) maintain muscle/strength while losing weight (fat loss)

There are no other options.

Getting lean requires both losing fat and gaining muscle. JM videos may have helped you lose some weight due to cardio (burning more calories) but they didn't help you gain much/if any muscle especially if you were on a calorie deficit to lose weight. It's very difficult to gain muscle/lose weight at the same time. One typically requires a calorie surplus, one a calorie deficit. To gain muscle/lose fat at the same time you either have to be a combination of;

a) obese
b) a beginner to strength training (real strength training where you lift heavy, not JM videos with pastel-coloured 3-10 lbs Barbie weights)
c) genetically gifted
d) have appropriate meal timing/good nutrition, eat an adequate amount of calories (no extreme calorie deficits).

It appears, like most women (despite your admission that you know lifting won't make you bulky, there is hesitation in your post about gaining more muscle)... you're afraid if you lift too much and gain muscle you'll wind up looking like she-hulk, you're wrong. *Most* women do not have enough testosterone to get bulky. Women get bulky when they;

a) Take hormonal injections or naturally have higher testosterone levels.
b) Take steroids
c) Spend hours upon hours in the gym for many, many years.
d) They still are carrying a lot of fat on their body. In which case, fat is culprit behind the bulky look, not muscle. Muscle takes up less room than fat per pound. So the more muscle you carry vs. fat, the smaller you'll be at the same weight.

If your goal is to get "lean", lose inches... whatever. All that requires is losing weight so just keeping eating less than TDEE. But unless you want to look like Nicole Richie you're going to have to build muscle mass to replace the fat loss. If you want to look like Jennifer Aniston, you're going to have to hit the heavy weights and eat enough to build muscle while stripping away fat slowly *or* focus on losing weight now and maintaining the lean muscle you have (through strength training) and then when you feel you are lean enough, eat at a slight calorie surplus and build new mass (gain weight back, mostly in the form of muscle). In either case, what remains consistent is your training... your training never changes despite your goals (lift heavy, between 6-10 reps to muscle fatigue before moving up in weight, train full body 2-3x a week, etc). What changes is the amount of calories you're consuming. Eat more to gain muscle, eat less to lose fat/maintain muscle.

No, you should not do full body every day. In this case; less is more. In order to build muscle, your muscles must have opportunity to heal and repair, this is where muscle is built. When you strength train you create micro tears in the muscle fiber, on your recovery days, these tears heal to form new muscle fibers. 2-3 days a week of full body training is recommended with 24-48 hour recovery periods between.

Do not overwork your core, it's completely unnecessary and a waste of time. When you lift heavy and perform compound exercises, your core gets plenty of work. In fact, it gets plenty of work in your daily activities. All muscles meet at the core and therefore, it is already being worked because it is used to stabilize your body. The core does not need any more work than your other muscle groups. Only 10% of your workout needs to be devoted to your core and like any other muscle group, you should not work it on consecutive days. Having Abs of Babylon will not get you a slim waist line, that is the result of losing fat and lowering your overall body fat percentage.

Here is a little more detail. Please ignore the suggestions for supplements, it's pure advertising. You don't need supplements. Just balanced nutrition and *adequate* (not excessive) protein:

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 8/12/2013 (12:55)
DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (61,313)
Fitness Minutes: (15,545)
Posts: 9,713
8/12/13 8:17 A

I'm totally agreed with M@L on those JM videos. She may use weights, but what she's doing isn't true strength training. Your muscles will adapt quickly, and you're just doing slightly heavier cardio. You won't be getting the benefits of challenging strength training if you stick with her videos.

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,443
8/12/13 6:47 A

Strength training works through creating microscopic tears in the muscle fibers, which then grow back stronger. But it takes time for this to happen, and it is important to rest your muscles 48 hours between ST sessions to allow this recovery to happen - the recovery is just as important as the workout itself. You can do this either by doing full body workouts 3 times per week, or by alternating muscle groups on different days, so that each muscle group gets 48 hours rest - either is a legitimate approach.

But while the alternating muscle groups works in theory, in practice, you really need to know a lot about exercise kinesiology to make this work effectively. In addition to the obvious muscles being worked, many exercises also recruit a range of smaller muscles (often in suprising places) to keep you stabilized and balanced , and unless you know exactly what muscles are being worked, you can in fact overuse these muscles through not giving them sufficient rest. The 3 x full body workouts are probably easier and safer for most people.

Jillian Michaels are really more cardio workouts than ST.

And with respect, I disagree with your doctor (most doctors are experts in illness and injury, but they are NOT experts in physical training). The abs are like every other muscle, and need to be rested between ST sessions.

Don't bother with light weights - you won't get much benefit from them. Or put another way, you are wasting your time with light weights.

The key principles here are:
2. REST your muscles 48 hours between ST sessions.

And there's little benefit in trying to sneak around these principles - it's just not effective training.


AUGUSTREADY SparkPoints: (1,560)
Fitness Minutes: (2,878)
Posts: 86
8/12/13 4:19 A

If your main goal is simply to lose fat (assuming that's what you mean by "get lean"?) then you don't really need to train muscle groups on alternate days.

This type of training is best suited to people wanting to increase strength and build muscle as it allows your body time to rebuild muscle fibres between workouts resulting in greater bulk, or in the case of most women, a more toned body.

If you really want to try it, there are two classic approaches that work well.

The first is to train one large muscle group with a complimentary smaller muscle group - these being Legs and Shoulders, Chest and Triceps, Back and Biceps. The trick here is to ensure you are working each muscle group to the maximum and fatiguing the muscles completely. It's not sufficient to just do Squats to workout your Legs - you must work out every muscle in your legs. A classic programme would include Squats, Lunges, Leg Curls, Stiff Lead Deadlifts and Calf Raises in a single workout, for example.

The second is to super set groups of muscles that work together in unison - so muscles that predominantly create a "push" or thrust motion and muscles that predominantly create a "pull" or contract motion. An example would be Biceps and Triceps. The difference here is you do one set of Biceps, followed by one set of Triceps without rest between the different muscles.

Something important to keep in mind - there is absolutely NO POINT in adopting either of these approaches if you intend to lift light weights. If you insist on sticking with light weights then just keep on with the Jillian Michael's type workouts.

The approaches outlined above won't help you achieve a different result without LIFTING DECENT WEIGHTS.

One last thing - I'm surprised you've been told to workout your Ab's every day - your abdominals are just like every other muscle group in your body. They need time to rest and recover between workouts. I'm also not sure why working out your Ab's is more important because you are a runner? What was the rationale here....having a strong core is important to everyone regardless of our chosen sport...

Hope that helps a bit...

8/12/13 3:39 A

I have heard & read to strength train various muscle sets on alternate days.
eg. upper body today, lower body tomorrow etc.
My doc also suggested I do core exercises (abs) daily as I am a runner.

Previously I have done Jillian Michaels workouts, and they are all low intensity but high reps full body workouts... like 30 day shred etc & her workouts focus on getting lean more than losing weight...

My question is this,
If I use low weights in the upper body & lower body workouts, can I do them everyday say 6 days a week along with my daily ab workouts?
I want to get lean (lose inches) but not really bothered about building more muscle (being a woman i know i won't bulk up) and keep my weight down.

suggestions much appreciated... :)

Edited by: BFWHITEHORSE at: 8/12/2013 (03:40)
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