I've been doing free weights for most of the last 20 years. I believe that you should start slow and build up; you can build lean muscle mass by doing this. Once it is too easy to do the reps, raise your weight to the next increment. I started with 3 lb weights when I got started for biceps and triceps. The larger muscles can take more weight, so just see how you feel. You should feel like you almost can't finish the last repetition, but you don't want to overdo it. Does that make sense? I'd err on the side of caution if you're unsure.
The 3 reps of 8 worked for me with light weights. I've also read that you can do fewer reps with heavier weights, but that's not for me. A woman won't bulk up anyway, at least that's what I've read.
I alternate days on my weight training and cardio, and sometimes, if one of them is a short session, I do both. But I almost always do yoga or stretching afterwards. It's important to bring your muscles to resting length.
I'd say "no" to increasing your cardio because if you do only cardio, you're losing muscle. Just by adding weight lifting, you'll begin to see a change in the way your clothes fit, if not immediate weight loss because muscle weighs more than fat. Also, muscle burns more calories than fat, so it's a win win!
The machines are good if you don't have good form with free weights. It's important to have good form. If you can't keep your form to the end of the reps, then quit because it doesn't benefit you to do the exercises with the wrong form, and you could hurt yourself.
I usually eat and about 30 - 45 min later exercise. I eat something light if it's the middle of the day and between meals, like an apple and 2 T reduced fat peanut butter. There are good articles under nutrition (I think) about what to eat before and after exercising.
Edited by: GZELLEFRO at: 2/16/2013 (22:35)
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