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JOYOUS1917 SparkPoints: (19,811)
Fitness Minutes: (10,248)
Posts: 196
2/21/13 9:57 P

Hormones or lack of them can play a part in weight loss/gain. You may want to have a Dr. check out all your levels. I do know that there are bioidenticals available if it is necessary to rebalance you.

2/21/13 12:51 P

I see no necessity to eat something before a workout since the body can not convert it to fuel in time for it to be used. Back in the dark ages all of us muscle heads were going to the gym with a jar of honey and swilling it during our workouts. Needless to say it had no merit. The research has found that an excellent post workout snack which has the proper balance of carbohydrates, protein and fats is a glass of chocolate milk.

When developing a weight training programme do only full body and compound movement exercises, isolation exercises using small muscle groups are a waste of time.

DMJAKES Posts: 1,635
2/21/13 8:23 A

I would also recommend checking out the generated workout routines here on Spark, and the book The New Rules of Lifting for Women by Lou Schuler. It's very well written with routines already spelled out for you and pictures of all the moves. That book that totally changed what I do at the gym. Don't forget that your own body weight can sometimes be just as good as machines and free weights!

Your weekly routine should be a mix of cardio and strength. You'll get varying opinions on this, but I've found that I do best when I keep cardio and strength on separate days. Three days of full body strength and 2 days of cardio intervals is what I've settled into lately, and it seems to be working well for me.

As far as pre and post-workout eating, that will take some trial and error. I see some folks chugging a shake on their way into the gym---if I did that, I'd probably see it again about halfway through the workout. I find it best if I eat a balanced snack (protein and carbs) 1-2 hours before the workout, sip water during the workout, and then another small snack about an hour afterward if I need it. Whatever works best for you and gives you the most energy is just fine.

2/20/13 9:37 P

Thank you for all of the information :) I am excited to get started with ST! Hopefully I will be able to see better results by adding this!

OBSIDIANFIRE SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (12,475)
Posts: 99
2/16/13 10:32 P

First, find someone *competent* who can show you proper form. Then, you can try magazines like Oxygen or Muscle & Fitness Hers for ideas on workouts as well as what and how to eat for lean muscle.
For the ordinary average Jane, I don't buy into all the hype about what to eat before and after workouts. I think that if you eat balanced meals (key word is balanced) 3x/day, you will be just fine. If you were training for competition, that might be different!
When you are learning, start with lighter weights until your form becomes second nature. Then up the ante and push the weights.
You will find yourself in a cycle - you will lift heavy (think 6 reps max, and you'll probably need a spotter) for awhile, then light/higher reps; then medium (about 12 reps). Each cycle you are in, your last rep of each set should be about all you can do for that moment.
Search around the internet, you will find some good information on how to cycle your workouts.

GZELLEFRO SparkPoints: (88,974)
Fitness Minutes: (74,876)
Posts: 4,930
2/16/13 10:29 P

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)
TACDGB Posts: 6,136
2/16/13 6:14 P

Good 4 U in starting to weight train. I do know that it is so good for your body. With weight training you need to eat lots of protein as weight training tears down your muscles and protein builds them back up. I would try one of the body building programs at they have excellent beginner programs. Good luck in this............. emoticon

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,459
2/16/13 10:21 A

Without strength training, up to 25% of your weight loss can come from lost muscle. And it is a lot easier to maintain your existing muscle mass through even a moderate strength training program, than it is to add it back later.

So to answer your question, you should add strength training to your program NOW. A program that includes BOTH ST and cardio is more effective than a program that relies on just one or the other.

Free weights work a much broader range of muscles, as you need to work to keep the balance and stabilized, while machines generally work in a defined track - so free weights are generally better than machines. But machines do have their advantages when starting out, as it makes it easier to keep the correct form.

ST is effective only to the extent that you are genuinely challening your muscles - this is generally taken to mean a weight heavy enough to fatigue your muscles in 12 reps or less.

However, having the correct form is important for both safety and effectiveness, and it is important when starting out to learn the correct form. And it is probably easier when starting out to learn the correct form with a slightly lighter weight - around the 12-15 rep mark. After a couple of weeks, you can probably graduate to a heavier weight.


SPARK_COACH_JEN Posts: 65,993
2/16/13 10:01 A

Hi Misty

You shouldn't wait to start strength training, regardless of your weight loss goals. Regular strength trianing is a good idea to start with any exercise program. Machines are good for beginners since they help you keep proper form while doing the exercises. Free weights are good because you get a bigger range of motion and no assistance from the machine, but your risk of injury is higher. Free weights would be a good option if you can hire a trainer for a few sessions to show you proper form for each exercise.

I'd recommend starting with 1-3 sets of each exercise, 8-12 repetitions per set. The last rep in the set should be the last one you can do in proper form. That's how you know the weight you're using is a good one for you.

Here's a link to an article about what to eat before you workout (and it has a link in it to an article about post workout nutrition):

Hope that helps,

Coach Jen

SONIACR10 SparkPoints: (5,481)
Fitness Minutes: (1,948)
Posts: 312
2/16/13 2:34 A

I'm kind of on the same boat you're on, so about 2 weeks ago i was told to start lifting weights 2 or 3 times a week about 45 min or so. Depending on how much you can lift, use dumbells ranging between 8-12 lbs, more or less. 3 sets of 10-12 reps. you want to feel rep # 12 like that was the most you could've lifted for that set because if you feel like if you could done it a little longer than you need heavier weights. then rest for about 30 seconds and continue to the 2nd set. For my my legs same thing, 3 sets of 10-12 reps of lunges and squats, with weights. takes me about 35 minutes and sweat about the same as i would for 50 minutes of zumba! She also recommended a low carb diet, but not eating too little, as that can also prevent weight loss. I eat an hour before i go to the gym. Something like a cup of lentils. then i eat about half an hour to an hour when i get home, this is late in the evening by the way. half a chicken breast, 1/2 broccoli, 1/2 carrots 1 lentils and sometimes 2 tortillas. Hope this helps

2/16/13 2:12 A

Ohhhhh and I forgot! ;) Tell me what you are eating before and after your WT sessions :) All the info I can get would be fantastic!!!

2/16/13 2:11 A

So I have been trying my best at losing weight, but my best is not good enough. I have put back on all of the 30 lbs I had lost last year and I have changed anything.....except for having a hysterectomy, which may or may not have anything to do with it?(who knows!?) Anyways, I am going to start changing some things in my routine....I have decided to start lifting weights. I have tinkered around with lifting....mainly on machines and not free weights. I honestly can say that I did not give it my all. I have been so focused on my cardio, that I have completely forgotten about the importance of weight training. So my question is......Do I need to up my cardio and lose some weight before beginning a weight lifting program or should I do them both together? Are machine Weights as good as using free weights? And the most important questions....I want lean muscle. I am not one of those women who are afraid of "bulking up" if I start lifting heavy weight...I know this is not true, but I am unsure of what is the best way to start this...lift heavy with less reps or lift light with more reps....any thoughts on this? What worked for any of you? Thanks!!!

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