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IVYLASS SparkPoints: (227,478)
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11/21/13 3:31 P

See if your gym offers a fitness class called Body Pump. It's weightlifting and so much fun...I really like it.

NASFKAB SparkPoints: (504,261)
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Posts: 269,803
11/21/13 11:57 A

keep at it

TIMEHASCOME56 SparkPoints: (112,323)
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Posts: 7,741
9/30/13 7:56 P

emoticon emoticon

LEANMEAN2 Posts: 20,021
9/29/13 6:10 A

Thanks to everyone for sharing.

NASFKAB SparkPoints: (504,261)
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9/27/13 9:37 A

hope you have something figured out

GODDREAMDIVA1 SparkPoints: (386,113)
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Posts: 23,647
9/25/13 2:11 P


TIMEHASCOME56 SparkPoints: (112,323)
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9/25/13 7:26 A


MAJONES1225 Posts: 6,855
9/24/13 9:54 P


TORTORAR SparkPoints: (821)
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Posts: 10
9/24/13 11:54 A

Hey! I didn't read all of the replies so I'm sorry if this is duplicate. Some gyms include an orientation to the machines or might even be willing to have a staff member show you correct usage without actually personal training. A lot of times when you understand one or two machines you can start to get the grasp on other machines.

You could always try to ask another gym member if they could quickly show you. As long as you dont' follow them around. If you learn one machine every week or even every other week you'll be making progress.

I love dumbbells and always watchw hat other people are doing with those and then mimic them in future workouts.

LATTELEE Posts: 4,697
9/24/13 11:23 A


TLGRNT Posts: 179
9/24/13 11:19 A

Go for it, weitht training has so many benefits beyond weight loss.

SHOAPIE SparkPoints: (509,531)
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Posts: 22,701
9/24/13 11:05 A


JANISMKW SparkPoints: (157,782)
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Posts: 1,312
9/24/13 10:45 A

Lots of good points.

My main reason for strength training (beside just being stronger) is to increase muscle mass because a pound of muscle burns like 50 calories a day more than a pound of fat. Because of that it "increases your metabolism", the calories you burn each day even at rest. I'm no spring chicken and most people lose muscle as they age; I want to reverse that. Best wishes.

HACK_HACKER SparkPoints: (16,150)
Fitness Minutes: (29,163)
Posts: 54
9/24/13 9:52 A

When I started working out at the local Y, I was pretty lost in figuring out which machines/barbell/dumbbell exercises would be beneficial and which ones actually do nothing. To start out, Sparkpeople's workout generator has a really good set of workouts if you select "Gym equipment," and there are also options for dumbbells, barbells, medicine balls (the little ones), Swiss balls, and so on. Make sure you get a variety, including body-weight exercises like planks.

Having a gym partner will help, too. I wouldn't be benching as much as I do (which isn't much, admittedly) if I didn't have a capable spotter who also prods me out of my comfort zone.

Re: protein powder--I use it because I'm a vegetarian and I train in the morning before breakfast. But I only use half a scoop; I get the rest of my protein from my diet. For meat-eaters, you get more than enough protein but should still focus on getting a high-protein, high-carb snack within 45 minutes of a workout. There are a lot of resources out there to understand how your diet can benefit your strength, so reading is the best bet. Just don't fall into a fad bodybuilding diet!

TBOURLON SparkPoints: (19,271)
Fitness Minutes: (64,653)
Posts: 522
9/24/13 9:49 A

I can't believe nobody's mentioning Coach Nicole on Sparkpeople! I've got a few of her DVD's and she does explain form and how to use free weights. As for machines I think they are good to start out on, because using free weights requires some balance and REALLY GOOD FORM, so you might want to build up some muscle first. So many women (myself included) do exclusively cardio and ignore weight training. It's hard to get a good routine going, so how 'bout asking yourself a few questions: What do you want to achieve with weights, strength, stamina, or shape? I want to improve my upper body strength and take off the love handles (sadly, machines won't really help there much). I like bench and overhead press and lat pulldowns for that. Bicep curls should be paired with some kind of tricep press or rowing. Since you're a beginner you should start with light weights, maybe as little as 2-3 lbs on free weights or 5 lbs on the machines. Build some form and stamina, then work your way up. Start with 1-2 sets of 8-10 reps each. As for lower body, start with squats and lunges with no weights, get some good form before adding any weight. Watch Coach Nicole on Sparkpeople to get form and alignment tips. Good Luck!!! emoticon

JANISMKW SparkPoints: (157,782)
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9/24/13 9:29 A

I use the machines at the Y. I find that if I get away from it for a while I am not as strong when I go back; they do add muscle (which burns calories) and strength. They gave me an orientation/set up (2 meetings, 1/2 the machines at each.) This was free. They set me up with the correct adjustments of seat height, range of motion, starting weight, etc. for me.
I do one set on each machine, aiming for 10 - 15 reps. If I can't do 10, I use less weight next time. If I can get to 15 reps a few times, I add 5 lbs. next time. They give us charts to keep track of it all. It takes me 45 - 60 minutes to do all the machines. Go slow and steady... the slower you do it the more beneficial it is.
It is a good idea to warm up on a cardio machine first and stretch out after.
emoticon It's not hard. emoticon You go girl!

NASFKAB SparkPoints: (504,261)
Fitness Minutes: (192,133)
Posts: 269,803
9/24/13 9:14 A

like to lift some stones I have do my own thing it works cant afford the gym inBangladesh

TIMEHASCOME56 SparkPoints: (112,323)
Fitness Minutes: (46,330)
Posts: 7,741
9/24/13 7:20 A


JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
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Posts: 2,489
9/18/13 7:09 A

ANGELIKA111- "It is not a hidden secret that the most essential power-up that is the part of most of the bodybuilders these days is protein powder. Exercise can be made effective and efficient if you know about the processes involved that boost the fruits of your efforts." --sounds like a sale's pitch.

a) We are not bodybuilders

b) You do not need excessive protein to build muscle. The general recommendations for your average exerciser or person who does ST is .6-.8g per pound of bodyweight or 1g per pound of LBM. Which works out precisely to the range Spark gives you. Protein cannot be stored for later and therefore an excessive amount is unnecessary.

c) It is very easy to get all the protein you need from the foods you eat.

d) Industry would *like* your average person hitting the gym to think they need protein supplements when weight training in order to sell their product. Gyms and trainers alike, who receive commission for selling these products. They are simply unnecessary *except* perhaps for vegans/vegetarians.

To OP- I workout at home so my only choice is free weights. Luckily, my hubby has a barbell and bench and we have enough plates between the two of us to sink a small boat. :)) My routine for the first year has been fairly simple but very effective. I do 4-8 reps (which is focusing on building strength) and 3 sets of each exercise before increasing my weight at 3 sets of 8 reps. My basic routine is deadlifts, barbell squats, sumo squats, low lunges, bench press, overhead press, one arm rows and barbell bicep curls. I am planning on beginning the 5-3-1 plan shortly (you can google it if you like) with one-two accessories.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 9/18/2013 (07:19)
ANGELIKA111 SparkPoints: (72)
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Posts: 24
9/18/13 5:30 A

It is not a hidden secret that the most essential power-up that is the part of most of the bodybuilders these days is protein powder. Exercise can be made effective and efficient if you know about the processes involved that boost the fruits of your efforts.

DMJAKES Posts: 1,635
9/16/13 9:05 A

There's nothing really wrong with using the machines (especially to start), but there are a few you should avoid. I think Spark had an article and/or video on these "no no" machines. The adductor, abductor, and leg extension/curl are a few that come to mind.

Ask if you can get an orientation to the machines and have them watch your form while you do a set on each. When you're starting off, aim for 8-12 reps, 2 sets of each exercise. You will get varying opinions on this, but IMO you need to build a base of endurance before you start lifting to fatigue. It's also much easier to learn proper form when you're lifting less than your max.

I would go to the library and get "The New Rules of Lifting for Women" by Lou Schuler. It TOTALLY changed the way I looked at the gym. It's got routines already spelled out for you and pictures/descriptions of all the moves.

Just remember that everyone had their first time, their insecurity, and their questions. Lifting really does a body good!

OAKDALE41 Posts: 973
9/16/13 7:58 A

Try borrowing a few strength training dvd's from the library. They teach good technique and varied exercises that you can then use in the gym.

9/15/13 9:04 P

Invest in one of the many books on weight training, they will give you all the information you need at your pace. New Rules hs been mentioned, Body for Life is another excellent source. Leave the machines to others, go to free weights to gain the most from your exercise time. You only need to do 6 full body or compound movement exercises per session three times a week to gain excellent results. Stick to the basic exercises, squats, dead lifts, lunges, standing presses, bent rowing, and some form of a pull up or pull down exercise.

Have a gym employee show you the proper technique and form then go for it, you will be fine.

9/15/13 9:05 A

I'm a big fan of free weights as well. When I first started lifting weights I bought a few videos and this one is by far my favorite.
When I started I used to do this video with two small weights and it was tough. The great thing is as it gets easier you just add more weight

I've never belonged to a gym because I can complete a workout at home in the time it would take me to get to the gym. I prefer to spend my money on equipment for my home.

But if you're into the gym you definitely should get a trainer to show you how to use the machines.

KKKAREN Posts: 12,754
9/15/13 8:09 A

all the gyms I've been a member of have offer free training on the machines. If they don't sometimes you can watch someone else using a machine and they will answer your questions, when they are done, don't ask when they are using it!

FERNCREST Posts: 1,029
9/15/13 7:40 A

Learn to use free weights as there is more range of motion and most women don't fit properly in those machines as they are made for men.

9/15/13 12:55 A

Hello there! I'm excited for you interest in weight lifting!!! I suggest that you do free weights Instead of the machines. I'm only speaking from experience. At first I signed up at my local gym because I too wanted to start lifting weights. I was super excited the first few days, but then soon realized that I HATED THE MACHINES! so clunky and what not, they somehow feel were compromising my form. We all hopefully know that form is of the utmost importance. minimize the risk of injury and the move is more effective. So then I quite the gym and ordered Chalean Extreme which I absolutely love!! I eventually got better, so I purchased the SelectTechs by Bowflex. The reason I made this purchase was because I get a whole set of weights (5-52.5 LBS ) in two dumbbells! Now I love lifting weights. But see what works best for you, hope this was helpful. Have a great day!

SIMONEKP Posts: 2,764
9/14/13 10:32 P

Yeah, the session with a PT would be most beneficial.

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (61,458)
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Posts: 9,717
9/14/13 7:52 P

Machines are a good place to start to familiarize yourself with lifting weights, but there are many, many advantages to free weights. Don't feel that you *have* to skip the machines. It's a good place to start! Using machines built my confidence a great deal, so when I was ready to move to free weights, I had a lot more knowledge.

Getting a PT doesn't have to be expensive. Even one session is worth the expense; I made a deal with mine to exchange services. She needed a website, I needed training, so we swapped. Cost neither of us anything, and we both got something out of it. See if you can work out a similar deal with one!

TACDGB Posts: 6,136
9/14/13 4:18 P

I agree that if your gym has a weight lifting class that would help. I take group power and that has been a big help..........I also recommend I use it too and it's a big help as well. I have learned a lot.

SPARK_COACH_JEN Posts: 65,988
9/14/13 10:00 A


You might want to ask your gym if they offer free equipment orientations with the fitness staff. (If they are a good gym, they should.) The staff should be able to show you how to use the machines, and even set you up on a basic program to get you started.

Hope that helps,

Coach Jen

SARAHANN01 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (930)
Posts: 124
9/14/13 8:03 A

Definitely focus more on free weights, not machines.

I couldn't afford a person trainer either. has videos on the proper form for almost every exercise you would want to do. I spent a lot of time watching those videos, and then watching myself in the mirror in the gym making sure I was doing it right. Some other resources that I have found very helpful are The New Rules of Lifting for Women by Lou Schuler and 101 Workouts for Women by Muscle & Fitness Hers.

Some gyms do offer a free first session with a personal trainer with no obligation for additional sessions. Might be an option to look into.

WHOLENEWME79 Posts: 951
9/13/13 9:43 P

Does your gym have body pump, lift, or tabata classes? They can be great ways to learn about strength training, and you will have an instructor to help you with proper form.

How much you lift depends on you, you might have to experiment with it to find a good weight. You want to feel exhaustion within 10-12 reps.

You can get excellent starter stength training using body weight- push ups, squats, lunges, crunches- There are videos on SP and youtube for that sort of thing.

Best of luck.

ZORBS13 SparkPoints: (201,816)
Fitness Minutes: (197,432)
Posts: 15,873
9/13/13 9:24 P

bypass the machines and learn to use free weights.

I second the notion that you would really benefit from PT. I know nothing about legal issues and taxes, I hire a lawyer and an accountant. Your body is far more important than law and taxes, why wouldn't you hire a professional to help you out?

KRISTEN_SAYS SparkPoints: (82,009)
Fitness Minutes: (48,676)
Posts: 5,092
9/13/13 8:49 P

I know you said you can't afford it, but I think you would really, really benefit from meeting with a PT at your gym once or twice. Just think - you pay for a gym membership, and by meeting with a PT to show you how to use the equipment, you're getting more out of the X amount of dollars you pay for your membership per month.

If a PT is absolutely out of the question, is a good resource. You might find it a little overwhelming (I know I did) but they have lots of programs to choose from with videos to show you how to use machines/perform exercises.

-MOJOJOJO- SparkPoints: (9,070)
Fitness Minutes: (3,428)
Posts: 53
9/13/13 7:34 P

I want to give weightlifting a try...there are so many machines at my gym but I wouldn't even know how or where to start!

How many machines do I use? How heavy of weight? How many reps? How fast? Do I do legs one day & arms the next? Both together? How many times a week?

*head explodes, walks away slowly and just uses cardio machines like a gerbil*

I listed all the machines at my gym (so many OMG!!) and tried to find a app on my iPhone for idiots like me to no avail. I downloaded a few free ones but they made my eyes glaze over in confusion (see how easily overwhelmed I get? Lol)

Outside of hiring a personal trainer (which I can't afford), I'm pretty much lost. I'm too afraid to just "jump" in and "wing it" since I am so very very accident prone that I've just avoided that part of the gym all yr :(

Does anyone have any advice? Or what I need to do? I can always list the machines too if that would help? I dunno :P

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