Weight and Resistance Training - Latest Oxygen Issue - No Legs???




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webcreatrix
07-17-2008, 11:52 AM
The latest issue of Oxygen magazine has a question from a reader who has fallen off the wagon and is working on getting back into the gym to lose fat via cardio. The recommendation given is that she should do high intensity intervals for 30 minutes 5x a week and to lift for upper body ONLY 3x a week. The expert said if your thighs are 20" or more, let cardio take care of the lower half of the body by doing elliptical or stepmill for the cardio. This is very appealing to me, but surprising info. What do you think?

FWIW, I reached goal last summer, fell off the wagon and am now trying to lose 15lbs of fat that all seems to be in my stomach and thighs, which happen to be 23"! ;)


Tomato
07-17-2008, 12:04 PM
I have the latest Oxygen issue but I only flipped through it so far and I don't recall the article. Anyway, I was going to say from my own experience that I did lose some volume in my thighs - I never measured them (I measure only bust-waist-hips) but I can tell from my jeans that I lost volume in my thighs. Right now, I am wearing a pair of jeans that I got about 3 years ago, wore it for a bit but outgrew it (sadly) very quickly. I do remember that the thigh area was very tight and now they it's loose.
I do treadmill every other mill for an hour (I started by walking and now I am at slow running speed). I started with treadmill in February and did not start any weights until May when I joined a gym.

Depalma
07-17-2008, 01:02 PM
I don't read Oxygen so I don't see exactly what the trainer is saying, but if it is what I think it is, she is targeting overall body fat and trying to reduce overall lower body size.

1. Intervals are great for fat loss. They are also good for building explosive power as they require heavy use of the type II muscle fibers. Type II are also the fibers with the most ability for growth, so even in the lack of resistance training you are not going to see much strength losses over a short term. You may see some loss of muscle girth from lack of resistance training but stimulating the fast twitch fibers should keep it reasonable and it sounds like he/she is probably basing the stipulation of thigh size as being a combination of too much fat AND too much muscle (using the Valerie Waters definition of too much muscle as "any muscle that a woman doesn't want"). Many woman do not want heavily muscled legs (don't ask me why not. Maybe some of you woman can explain it to us men although the ladies on this forum are not as muscle-phobic as the general population), so a loss of some (not a lot) muscle to go with the fat is actually going to give the look that the trainer is probably going for here. (again I'm speculating here not having read the article)

2. Also, this HIIT fat loss program means 5 high intensity workouts involving the legs. Do you really think your body and Central Nervous System could add some more high intensity workouts for the legs after that? Not without quickly burning out. It's a trade-off. You want to do more HIIT, you have to reduce the volume of your leg workouts. Basically 5 is pretty much the limit. Instead of doing 3 HIIT workouts and 2 lower body workouts, this trainer opted for 5 HIIT workouts, as again, it appears to be targeting overall body fat loss and reduction of leg size.

The only thing that worries me with workouts like this is that someone is going to read this and try to use it as a long-term plan in which case your body will eventually look very top heavy. someone else will read it and think they can subsitute the HIIT for regular cardio and get similiar results. Wrong! Or a third person will read it and come away with the message that cardio is sufficient for building and maintaining lower body muscle. Which is, of course, incorrect.


webcreatrix
07-17-2008, 01:16 PM
I don't read Oxygen so I don't see exactly what the trainer is saying, but if it is what I think it is, she is targeting overall body fat and trying to reduce overall lower body size.

1. Intervals are great for fat loss. They are also good for building explosive power as they require heavy use of the type II muscle fibers. Type II are also the fibers with the most ability for growth, so even in the lack of resistance training you are not going to see much strength losses over a short term. You may see some loss of muscle girth from lack of resistance training but stimulating the fast twitch fibers should keep it reasonable and it sounds like he/she is probably basing the stipulation of thigh size as being a combination of too much fat AND too much muscle (using the Valerie Waters definition of too much muscle as "any muscle that a woman doesn't want"). Many woman do not want heavily muscled legs (don't ask me why not. Maybe some of you woman can explain it to us men although the ladies on this forum are not as muscle-phobic as the general population), so a loss of some (not a lot) muscle to go with the fat is actually going to give the look that the trainer is probably going for here. (again I'm speculating here not having read the article)

2. Also, this HIIT fat loss program means 5 high intensity workouts involving the legs. Do you really think your body and Central Nervous System could add some more high intensity workouts for the legs after that? Not without quickly burning out. It's a trade-off. You want to do more HIIT, you have to reduce the volume of your leg workouts. Basically 5 is pretty much the limit. Instead of doing 3 HIIT workouts and 2 lower body workouts, this trainer opted for 5 HIIT workouts, as again, it appears to be targeting overall body fat loss and reduction of leg size.

The only thing that worries me with workouts like this is that someone is going to read this and try to use it as a long-term plan in which case your body will eventually look very top heavy. someone else will read it and think they can subsitute the HIIT for regular cardio and get similiar results. Wrong! Or a third person will read it and come away with the message that cardio is sufficient for building and maintaining lower body muscle. Which is, of course, incorrect.

Thanks for the feedback. I'm looking to lose this 15lbs of fat and recently have found my way back to the gym. When I was at my best, I was doing HIIT, but maybe only 2x a week. I don't even know that I could do it 5x a week, especially now that I'm not in as good of shape as I used to be. I find it so hard to fit everything in, but this schedule appeals to me.

I don't have a problem with muscular thighs and kind of need that muscle as someone who has gone from 210 to 136 at my best. I had better thighs than I ever thought I could have and wasn't bulky at all. The muscle helped minimize the icky look of loose skin!

All of that said, I agree with you that what they were suggesting can't be a long term solution. Even as a pear, I'm concerned for balance with that plan. I'm now leaning towards being reasonable with at least 3 days of cardio and weights twice, including legs and being patient!

webcreatrix
07-17-2008, 01:17 PM
I have the latest Oxygen issue but I only flipped through it so far and I don't recall the article.

It's not an actual article, but in the question & answers section.

Depalma
07-17-2008, 01:24 PM
Based on your situation (wanting to retain (or build if possible) as much muscle as possible during a defecit and skin issues), I think your plan appears to be more correct for you, IMHO. Not that the expert was wrong in their Q&A. Just that the situation she was responding to is not an exact match to yours.

KLK
07-17-2008, 01:27 PM
I haven't read the article, but I will say that I've been resistance training my thighs and legs more in these last few months than ever before in my life (doing lunges and the like) and it has REALLY improved the amount and quality of cardio in a way that just doing cardio never was able to. For instance, before I started weight training my legs, I could run for maybe 1 minute at a time on the treadmill at 4.5 mph. Within a span of a month, in which I didn't even do a lot of running, I am now able to run 7 mins straight at 5.5mph with MUCH less fatigue than the one min. would cause a few weeks ago.

So, I'm skeptical of what it seems like this article is saying... Also, it's my understanding that working major muscles like leg muscles along with smaller muscles burns more calories. But it is an interesting concept and I think doing enough HIIT WOULD make a person build leg muscles even without resistance training.

Depalma
07-17-2008, 01:38 PM
I haven't read the article, but I will say that I've been resistance training my thighs and legs more in these last few months than ever before in my life (doing lunges and the like) and it has REALLY improved the amount and quality of cardio in a way that just doing cardio never was able to. For instance, before I started weight training my legs, I could run for maybe 1 minute at a time on the treadmill at 4.5 mph. Within a span of a month, in which I didn't even do a lot of running, I am now able to run 7 mins straight at 5.5mph with MUCH less fatigue than the one min. would cause a few weeks ago.

So, I'm skeptical of what it seems like this article is saying... Also, it's my understanding that working major muscles like leg muscles along with smaller muscles burns more calories. But it is an interesting concept and I think doing enough HIIT WOULD make a person build leg muscles even without resistance training.


The problem with building muscle with HIIT in a caloric defecit is that you are generally going to be looking at a situation where the load is actually regressing over time. Whereas you may be hauling 150lbs of body weight now, in a few weeks, you may be hauling 140lbs. Even if you try to do more (and there is only so much more you will be able to do without overtaxing your CNS) you are still going to have difficulty trying to develop ways to satisfy the progressive overload principle. Now, you can still increase force and explosiveness by getting faster. This will allow you to become stronger, faster, and more fit. Your muscles may even "appear" to be bigger because your body composition will be improved but it is very unlikely you will see significant hypertrophy.

Now, if someone was in a detrained state, then yes, theoretically they can could gain muscle. Severely detrained people can gain muscle on almost any type of workout plan. The thing is that if you take detrained people and try to have them do HIIT five times a week, you are going to hurt them really bad.

Mel
07-17-2008, 07:47 PM
I was reading that a few nights ago and my eyes almost popped out. It was a very short question and answer column without much detail. I do remember being astounded at the answer.

HIIT five days per week is gruesome for anyone but a young, elite athlete. Especially if you do the same type of HIIT. I can see maybe doing a different type each day with a three day on, day off, two days on schedule, as long as you aren't doing the same thing each time. But to completely ignore the largest muscle groups in the body, where you get the most bang for your exercise buck, is to me a shame. Working legs also bring so much more of your body into the equation: core, balance, glutes...and everything else as long as you are using free weights and not machines.

The 20" comment was also bizarre. Where should they be twenty inches? Mine are 21 where I measure them. On someone 5'3", that looks muscular. If I were 5'10", a 20" thigh would look like I was walking on stilts.

Mel

luckymommy
07-17-2008, 07:58 PM
I just want to chime in with my personal experience. I have been on this weight loss regimen since the middle of March. When I hit a plateau, I decided to increase my weight training. It worked! I do upper body and lower body and my goal was to increase the overall lean muscle mass in my body so that my body burns more calories while at rest. Maybe I won't be perfect, but I will get to where I want to be without getting super frustrated. By the way, I do interval training about 4 or 5 times a week and I'm definitely no athlete, but I undrestand that it's not for everyone and it has to be done in moderation. I just want to emphasise that the more weights I do, the more weight I seem to lose. Everyone's different though, so I hope this helps. :)

Mel
07-17-2008, 08:02 PM
There's a big difference between interval training and HIIT. HIIT stand for HIGH INTENSITY interval training. The point is to go all out to the "just before you drop" point, then back off, recovery, and start over. Are you doing that 5 days a week? I do interval training 5 days a week also, but not HIIT.

Mel

luckymommy
07-17-2008, 08:12 PM
I do it at a high intensity, but I don't do it to the point where I feel like I'm going to pass out. When I first started out, that's how it felt and I cut back a bit on the intensity. Now, I do it until my heart rate goes to about 170 and then, I scale back. :)