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SPARK_COACH_JEN Posts: 65,984
12/30/12 9:30 A


I agree that learning the basics of strength training can be confusing, especially because there's not one "right" answer, but rather a number of ways you can go about it. For a beginner, I think a full-body strength routine 2-3 times per week is a good start. I'd suggest 1-2 sets of each exercise, doing 8-12 repetitions in each set. SparkPeople's Workout Generator is a good way to get started b/c it will give you a program based on your goals and equipment available. Here's a link:

Hope that helps. Let us know if you have more questions.

Coach Jen

ZORBS13 SparkPoints: (201,779)
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12/29/12 11:31 P

PATIENCEPIE SparkPoints: (735)
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12/29/12 11:23 P

Thanks! I went to bodybuilding .com and it looked like if I did some research I might find what I'm looking for. but it seemed really advanced for me a little confusing, and as usual, there is all this terminology and lingo I know nothing about. I will keep looking but let me know if there are any sites you would recommend that are for beginners.

TACDGB Posts: 6,136
12/29/12 10:54 P

good for you for asking these questions. Nice work on taking the spin class. Now the spin class is good for your heart and lungs. It also is good for burning calories and loosing weight. Strength training is good for tightening up the saggy skin and toning up the body and building some muscles. I would go to and they have specific workouts for each muscle group. If you want to work on your arms they can tell you how as they have videos for that. If you want to work on your chest they have videos for that. Hope this helps.

PATIENCEPIE SparkPoints: (735)
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12/29/12 10:31 P

I still don't understand, it's no wonder people don't exercise, it's confusing. I feel like I ought to just forget it and get back on the couch with cookies. Discouraged.
I want to take care of my health and when ever I start asking around, everyone had a different idea about what to do. Also I don't understand the terminology and I don't know the names of muscles. As of right now, I do not know what exercises to do to improve my health.

12/29/12 12:46 P

Strength training is work which challenges your muscles with resistance. The basic formula is to use 4 to 6 repetitions to increase strength, 8 to 10 repetitions for general increases in muscularity and fitness and anything more than that begins to build muscle endurance. The effect on muscle from spinning is building endurance.

There is no such thing as muscle tone, that is a marketing term which misuses the term tonus. Tonus is the resistance of a muscle to pressure and is not visible. The removal of fat overlying muscles makes them appear more prominent which marketers term tone.

Strength training is the second most important factor in fat loss, nutrition is first and cardio is third. The benefits of strength training are far more numerous than those of cardio. Doing full body and compound movement strength exercises will not only aid in fat loss it will also improve your ability to do cardio. World class cyclists cross train with strength training to supplement and improve their ability to cycle.

Your legs are sore because the body improves cardio more rapidly than it does the musculoskeletal system. Your heart rate is an indicator of how hard your cardio system is working and is not the only measure of the work you are doing.

ZORBS13 SparkPoints: (201,779)
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12/29/12 12:35 P

Strength training is doing reps to fatigue the muscle in a specific number of reps (generally no more than 15)

Cardio may make your muscles sore, but let's use the spin class as an example, you are pushing your legs through hundreds, if not thousands of repetitions during an hour class, it is not strength training.

PATIENCEPIE SparkPoints: (735)
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Posts: 50
12/29/12 11:54 A

Could you explain that a little more? I thought cardio was getting the heart rate up, which it does but my legs are incredibly sore and everyone in the class keeps talking about how toned and defined they are getting with the spinning. So I must be missing something or not understanding what strength training is.

SIMPLELIFE2 Posts: 707
12/29/12 11:43 A

Spin class is cardio, not strength training so you need to do strength training for both lower and upper body as well as core and flexibility work. You will want to hit all major muscle groups and start with two sessions a week.

Reading the articles here would be a good place to start.

PATIENCEPIE SparkPoints: (735)
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Posts: 50
12/29/12 11:29 A

Just started a Spin class, but need something for upper body. I have hand weights at home, is weights and push ups enough? Which videos on this site do you recommend? Also, I do not know how much to do, how long, how often, how many reps?
Does spin help abs too or do I need an extra ab workout?

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