I only put in such a long time because our bodies are annoying and tend not to adapt quick enough as our minds can (in some ways, let's not get neurological here).
4-6 weeks of no progress in any of those three indicators means you're doing something wrong; 3 months is perhaps a bit of an exaggeration, but I did that on purpose to get you to think less in days than in weeks and months. This stuff is not easy and it is not fast. We can put on weight very quickly, but we cannot lose it in the same manner.
Most often when people find little to no progress after 4-6 weeks is that they've started working out too much and were not eating enough. You have to do both in moderation: it's better to eat a lot and work out a lot, but you have to eat to fuel the body. Most people forget that. Symptoms include: fatigue, depression, inability to sustain workouts, and overall negativity.
A reasonable goal is to look to lose a pound a week (depending on how overweight you are, than can be .5 or 2 pounds, but if under 50 pounds to lose, one a week is fine) or see decreases in inches per month, but not biweekly.
1/23/12 7:50 A
No matter what you do, don't do an exercise til you hurt yourself. At the same time, at little pain is good. It's a sign of that fat burning.
Certainly if you have joint issues, then the defined track of a leg press machine may well be a safer and better way of doing things.
Of course, while a leg press machine may be a safer way to treat your knees, you may well still benefit from using free or body weights for core and upper body exercises.
Fitness Minutes: (4,465)
1/23/12 1:49 A
Thank you, SPARK_COACH_JEN. It helps.
MOTIVATED@LAST, does it necessarily have to be FULL body workout? As for free weight training, I have problem with knees (joints) and have to exercise very thoughtfully. Leg press is, as far as I know, is the safest way to train leg muscles for people who have similar problems. They let me fully control my movements. But free weight training is quite another story. I have tried squats with and without a qualified personal trainer, but felt pain in knees almost immediately. Resistance machines let me do the exercises pain free.
CMJ4V13, yes I know this is not an exact science. But... what you said about three months, isn't it a little bit frustrating? After three months of working out and cutting calories I can find out that I have done it all wrong. I would like to avoid it if possible.
I will second what Motivated has said, machines tend to restrict range of motion and in addition since you are seated for most of them or otherwise have your body supported multiple muscles do not get their needed involvement.
If free weights are not an option or are otherwise unavailable an inexpensive set of adjustable resistance will allow you to replicate any free weight exercise.
And ignore your calorie burn numbers; those are inaccurate unless you're hooked up to a VO2Max monitor, and you need to be in a science lab for that.
Focus on your calorie INTAKE. If after three months you have 1) not lost weight, 2) not dropped inches, and 3) not decreased clothing size, then you have a problem. And ALL three have to be present - the last two being FAR more important than losing weight. I'd rather be twenty pounds overweight and a size small compared to in range and a medium.
Strength training is all about quality, not quantity.
It is not about time so much, as about genuinely challenging your muscles. And using a heavy weight that fatigues your muscles in 4-8 reps per set is not just faster, but it is actually more effective strength training than a lighter one for 12-15 reps. I agree that an all-body workout 2-3 times per week is an appropriate target to aim at.
One thing about using machines for resistance is that because they run in a narrow defined track, they tend to work just one or two muscles at a time (known as isolation exercises), and it can take many different exercises to get a full body workout. Free weights or body weight exercises tend to recruit more smaller muscles to keep you stabilized and balanced. For example, doing squats uses many more muscles than the leg press machine.
By using compound exercises that work several different muscles at once, you can get an all-body workout in just a few moves, for example:
* squats/lunges * pushups (modified or wall pushups if necessary) * planks * pullups/lat pull downs/dumbbell rows
1/22/12 3:31 P
The ideal amount of weight training is going to vary from person to person. If you're doing 2-3 full body workouts each week, and each of the exercises you're doing are working your muscles to fatigue, you're on the right track.
Hope that helps,
Fitness Minutes: (4,465)
1/22/12 2:45 P
Thank you. I guess, I have to rely on rough methods of calculation since I do not have a lab handy. :-) One more question though.
My concern is how much weight training (just an estimate) I have to do to ensure I do not loose weight at the expense of muscles? Any magical figure? Anyone?
Because visual signs like muscles developing could be deceptive. Loosing some fat would make muscles more visible, and they will seem developing while in fact they are not.
Fitness Minutes: (57,011)
4,787 1/22/12 2:11 P
Other people will come along with the technical talk that you seem to want ... but here's the bottom line:
You seem to know that the numbers for "caloric intake," "calories burned," etc. are just estimates. Unless you are using measurement intruments and methods from a scientific lab, they are only rough estimates. So don't get too hung up on that stuff and fail to see the forest for the trees.
You'll know how you are doing because you will notice the changes in your body. You'll be losing weight. You'll be losing size -- as shown by any tape measure numbers you track and the way your clothes fit. As your muslces develop, you will feel stronger and more fit. You'll find that your original exercises seem "too easy" and you will need to increase the resistence to feel the same degree of difficulty. You may see some muslcles develop (e.g.your bicepts). As imprecise as they are, these indicators are good ones.
Fitness Minutes: (4,465)
1/22/12 1:59 P
I need an advice, please. Help me someone because as I can see all this is not an exact science, and I still cannot figure out some seemingly basic things about loosing weight and keeping healthy on the same time.
1. I want to loose about 40 pounds by the end of the year. 2. I am... you can see my current weight below. A lot. :-) 3. Height 5 ft 3 inch 4. Usually (!) very active on summer, spring and fall (cycling), less active on winter. 5. Broke the habit of hibernating during the winter season and bought a gym membership. Now exercising 5 times a week burning 450-600 calories per day. 6. SP recommends 1380 and 1730 calories intake to reach my goal (I understand this is just an estimate).
The goal is not just loosing 40 pounds. I do not want to loose weight at the expense of muscles. So I do resistance training on those machines 3 times a week. I read it helps to cut muscle loss low.
Now, how does it work? How do I know I am doing everything right? If I follow SP dieting recommendation, burn 450-600 calories per day and do resistance training does that mean I am OK in terms of burning fat rather than muscles?