Weight and Resistance Training - Weights, Cardio and Rest? ...thoughts please :)

09-21-2008, 08:10 PM
Hiya Everyone,

I am Elliott, a weight watcher person, and I am presently working out and I am thinking I need some weekly rest period, even from cardio? but I am not sure. I have been doing ok with my present program but I don't want to burn myself out physically. I have a Nordictrac Cross country Skier and I do 4 km (8.8 Miles) a day on it at a resistance setting of 5 for a total of something like 28 kilometers a week or 61.6 miles a week. I also lift weights on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mostly concentrating on my upper body on those days, using free weights and working out at ~50% of my max lift for each of the following exercises, Curls, Reverse curls, Deadlift, Military presses and also pushups. I do 3 sets of 8 repitions of each exercise. I believe I experience normal sorness at times and I am able to work through it, do any of the people here who are doing both a Cardio and weight schedule have any suggestions for any alternative schedule? Is my workout ok?, will I benfit from a day of rest in there somewhere?....Looking for experienced peoples thoughts. Thanks to All! and best of luck to all with their fitness quest!

- Elliott

09-21-2008, 08:24 PM
I am no expert by any means, but I think you should probably up the number of repetitions per set to 12-15. If you can do 12-15 regularly, it's time to up the weight a few pounds, and then work on 8-10 reps until you can build to 12-15.

You should start with the larger muscle groups (chest, back) before moving on to the smaller ones (shoulers, biceps, triceps).

Also, there are 1.6km to every mile, so if you're doing 4km you're doing 2.5 miles, not 8.8. 28km = 17.5mi

(You may have gotten confused with kg/lbs, as there are 2.2lbs to every kg. Thank you, War of Drugs, for that factoid.)

09-21-2008, 09:40 PM
I think you may benefit from a more structured weight program that is more balanced in the various muscle groups. New Rules of Lifting (or New Rules of Lifting for women) is an awesome program that is very well rounded. It can also give advice on cardio.

As far as cardio goes, I'd look into mixing in some HIIT if you aren't already. Basically doing intervals.

As far as rest goes, I say listen to your body (but not your mind). I try to exercise 1-2 times per day and sometimes my body will tell me that I need rest. If it is my mind that says 'oh you don't need exercise today', then I'll ignore it but if my body says 'I need rest!', then I listen.

09-21-2008, 10:53 PM
Hi Elliot :wave:

First of all congratulations on your current weight loss! :bravo: That represents a lot of hard work. It sounds like you are asking a few questions in your message and I'll take a stab at it.

Your first concern is should you take a weekly rest period. I'm unclear if you are asking if you should choose a specific day or two off each week or if you should schedule a week off from exercise every once in a while. My answer is both.

Are you currently doing cardio everyday? If so, it's fine to take a day off each week. If you are doing cardio/lifting three days a week I would try really hard not to do less days. It is best to have a goal of getting deliberate exercise most days of the week. Now. There are just some days when you don't have the gas in the tank to do it that day. If that is the case just lower the duration or intensity for that cardio or lifting session. But try really hard to keep the good habit of just getting that exercise into your day. If the idea of getting on that ski machine makes you wince, go outside for a brisk walk. Just do something during that time period.

Now, every once in a while I like to take a week off from the gym. Sometimes it's planned for me. :lol: Anyway, if you find that you have been hitting it consistently for the last four to six weeks I think it is important to take a week off. This would be a planned recovery. I use these times to rework my lifting program and goals, research new exercises, heal,and allow myself some mental rest as well. It's good to step back a minute to get a different view. According to the New Rules of Lifting for Women as referred to by Nelie this break is also important to allow the connective tissues to heal, they take longer than muscles, recharge the nervous system, and allow time for your bones to adapt. (I learned this one the hard way myself my first year. :s:)

Most of all, enjoy the process Elliot! You've done a great job so far. Check out the books available such as the New Rules of Lifting. Another fun book to is the Athlete's Way. Might be a fun read during one of these scheduled breaks.

I also see that you listed the distance you are going on your equipment. Generally, how long are you doing the cardio session. Is it thirty minutes, forty minutes, 60 minutes? Thirty to 45 minutes of intensional cardio most days of the week is great. I love my cardio sessions as much as the next person but there is no way I would regularly do more than 45 minutes six days a week. Trust me, the lifting in addition to the cardio session is plenty.

Do your cardio sessions feel intense enough? If not, consider doing intervals if possible during these sessions. If you do intervals you may even be able to shorten the time you are spending on the equipment a little bit too. You can do intervals by adjusting the resistance up for a while and then bring it back down again. Speed is another way to adjust your intensity.

Weights. MWF is fine. The pushups are great, your hitting your pecs, bi's a little of the triceps. Consider doing DB lat rows to balance the chest exercises. There are so many other exercises to choose from. Checking out ExRx.com for demos and ideas. For lower I love deadlifts too. Consider adding some squats and if possible lunges for the quads and glutes. There are many variations for doing these body weight, dumbbells, with a Swiss ball.

Keep learning, exploring new activities and enjoy the process!

09-22-2008, 04:10 AM
Listen to Lydia she is the whip! ;)

As far as kilometer's to miles and vice versa... 5K = 3.1 miles. 3FC has been doing 5K's marathons for quite a few months now. Check out this thread and come join the fun! :)


09-22-2008, 04:41 PM
Wow, Thanks for all the help!,...


Dianenka .. I can never keep the metric system correct, sobbing...lol, I am just going as far as I can from now on...lol, actually I moved from 4 to 5 km...so now I am going 3.1 miles a day lol... well it still Feels the same... :)
Good insight about the order for the largest to smallest muscle groups!...I knew that but I need to make sure my exercises fall in that order when I am writing up my workout!

Nelie ... Thanks for the info on the books, last time I seriously lifted weights was around 1982 and I believe exercise science may have some new thoughts I can benefit from. I am already doing "Intervals" with my cardio...if by that you mean sudden bursts of increased speed that place an unexpected higher demand on the body for a few minutes, then go back to the regular pace?... Good advice though! ...I am alwyas trying to exercise and do listen to the body as opposed to the mind (which is always telling me to eat ice cream..lol, but I never listen :dizzy:) ...I was just wondering if people these days were actually scheduling workouts like Cardio 7 days and weights 3-5 days and then 1-2 days where you don't workout weekly... listening to my body is what I was doing and I think I will stick with that.

Lydia227 ... Thanks for the nice comment about the weight loss, it is going good...hard work pays off :) and I am COMMITTED to this weight loss and fitness quest! I was asking if I should actually just schedule 1 day a week to not exercise to rest, yes...sorry if I was unclear, I am confused a lot so it dosen't surprise me if I came accross that way...lol. I am currently doing 5km (now that I have the new conversion...lol) daily, 7 days a week and I am lifting free weights 3 days a week Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I understand your advice about staying with an activity and changing things sometimes to keep doing the exercise and add some variety, thanks.
This is very insightful..and I think mostly the kind of thing I am looking for "
Now, every once in a while I like to take a week off from the gym. Sometimes it's planned for me. Anyway, if you find that you have been hitting it consistently for the last four to six weeks I think it is important to take a week off. This would be a planned recovery. I use these times to rework my lifting program and goals, research new exercises, heal,and allow myself some mental rest as well. It's good to step back a minute to get a different view."
I am not at the point where I would take a week off, but I understand that statement!.. I have been working out with my weights at ~50% of my max lift single weight as I am just starting back up and I have been paying attention to doing the form correctly, I am however going to be bumping the workout weight up to 80% of my max (single rep lift weight). I am trying to maximize muscle mass gain at the moment so I am limiting reps to 8 instead of 12-15... and doing 3 sets of 8, I may have to invest in some of these new books maybe renew my subscription to Muscle and Fitness!! lol, like they would remember me from 20 years ago...I had weight lifting heros like Arnond, and Franlk Zane and Franco Columbo... people now wow...they are massive, I am building muscle mass and want my muscles to be more tight when relaxed but I cannot get to that size at this point, not sure I even ever could!

My cardio sessions, are 30-45 minutes each, mostly in the 40 minute area.
I have a heart rate monitor on my machine and my pulse rate stays right around 170 during my workouts and yes...sweat pours off like it is raining on me...lol, I changed my daily distance goal to 5km instead of 4 km and most days I just keep going till I feel like I am going to drop...then I get off and rest. I regularlly exceed whatever distance I have set for the day if I feel like I can. If I feel like I cannot then I stop where I cannot go any farther.

I have a bent spine so I am careful with back exercises, I am doing the military presses behind my head to help work the back.. I do squats, without a weight bar....like I said my spine is curved- but I dont let it stop me. Thanks for the references to the site with the exercises too!..

thanks again to everyone, I love working out and beginning to feel back in shape is awesome, I was 226 when I graduated high school and I was lifting like mad back then ... so now I am trying to see what I can do with me at 42... :)....

Glad to be sharing this fitness journey with all of you, nice people!

- Elliott

09-22-2008, 11:02 PM
Hey Elloitt, glad we could help. After reviewing your message there were just a couple more thoughts to share with you.

Cardio: Slow down the heart rate. A little anyway. Without knowing your resting heart rate I really can't suggest a more accurate training range but based upon your age and assumed fitness level I would suggest something more like 90 to 145 bpm. http://www.cancer.org/docroot/PED/content/PED_6_1x_Target_Heart_Rate_Calculator.asp

Try this out and see how it feels. Obviously if it feels to easy then you can step it up but don't over do your heart rate especially if you could be taking any meds that could further mask your heart rate during exertion. You may also wish to consult your physician with regard to your target heart rate if you are taking any meds that could alter your heart rate to see which range he or she may suggest. Most importantly, TAKE A DAY OFF EACH WEEK! I would absolutely lose my mind if I didn't do this. Really. It's okay and psychologically it puts and "end" to the training week for you. If this is going to be a lifestyle change that will last you will need to have this built into your program and it really is okay.

Strength: You say you want to build mass. The rule of thumb is this: If you want hypertrophy generally you do more reps in the range of 12 to 15 with a little lighter weight. If you wish to increase strength/power you will go with much lesser reps, 4 to 6 and a much much heavier load. To get the best of both worlds stay in the range of 8 to 12 reps lifting to or near failure in your sets. Also, make certain that you do a warm up set. It helps to lubricate all those joints that will be affected when you add more load to the lift and a little more blood flow to the muscles. Since you are lifting three days choose compound exercises that will eventually hit all major muscle groups.

Flexibility: This seems to be missing from your program. It's important and should be added everyday in my opinion. Again, all major muscle groups. Keep the stretch slow and deepen with the exhalations when possible. Flexibility stretches should be done after your workout. It is the safest time in which to stretch those muscles, helps to reduce the metabolic waste from your workout and help offset the effects of DOMS, delayed onset of muscle soreness.

This is also a neat site I discovered recently that may interest you.


Finally, you mentioned your back. You may want to consider paying particular attention to strengthening your abs/obliques, muscles alone the spine (erector spinae) being careful not to choose any exercises that would hyperextend your back, hamstrings and hip flexors. Core strength is vital for support and execution of so many exercises you may wish to incorporate in the future.

Good luck!