Weight and Resistance Training - Is lifting weights the way to go when your trying to shed pounds?

11-13-2008, 08:54 PM
I want to start weight training, but want to continue losing pounds. I've been doing only cardio because I thought I should shed some pounds before I started using the weights. i'VE HEARD A BUNCH OF THINGS ..... like doing ONLY cardio isn't an effective way to lose weight, or that lifting weights will make me bulk up, or that if you don't lift HEAVY weight, and do more reps, that will help you not to bulk up ....

Can someone point me in the right direction? I appreciate any feedback or advice! :D

11-13-2008, 09:04 PM

First, most women don't have the biological ability to "bulk up". So all of those fears about lifting heavy - set them aside. Lifting heavy will make you stronger but it won't turn you into the incredible hulk.

Second, cardio AND weight training are good for weight loss. With cardio, you burn more calories during the activity itself. With weight training, though, you get the one-two punch of burning more calories AFTER your exercise (the so called "afterburn", or "Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption" effect) and, as you build muscle, burning more calories AT REST (keeping muscle going, even when you're not using it, takes more calories/hr than keeping fat going).

Cardio is great too, for your heart and for weight loss, as it burns up calories immediately.

A program combining both, either in individual sessions or in a circuit-training style that combines cardio and strength, is really your best bet for losing weight and keeping it off.

11-13-2008, 09:06 PM
Yes, lifting weights will help you to lose weight. Muscle is metabolically active so the more muscle you build, the more calories you'll build at rest.

Yes, you should lift heavy - lifting "girly" weights isn't going to build muscle. It just creates endurance (sometimes), which isn't hte same thing.

No, you're not going to bulk up. Women simply don't have enough testosterone in their systems to bulk the way men do. In order to bulk, you'd have to work at it really really really hard and eat a pretty specific diet.

I'd strongly recommend that you look into the following books: Body for Life and The New Rules of Lifting for Women. They're worth buying and keeping and using as references. Both of them have similar guidelines towards diet and weights and both of them provide workout programs that you can follow.


11-13-2008, 09:06 PM
Uh, yeah. And what Manda said about combining weights and cardio. Absolutely the best way to go!


11-14-2008, 05:48 AM
I weight trained from Day One of my weight loss journey and am convinced that I never would have made it to goal without it. It was THE big change that made losing 122 pounds possible. :carrot:

A good eating plan + weights + cardio = SUCCESS! :D

11-14-2008, 07:59 AM
I am totally with Meg on this. Although I did not start weight training at the beginning of my weight loss journey, it followed shortly afterwards (3 months later). It was the best decision I made in a really long time. It's hard to separate weight lifting from the rest of what I am doing (i.e. cardio, healthy eating, etc.) but it just gave me a completely new lease on life. I have a feeling that as I was getting physically stronger I also felt emotionally stronger and much happier about myself (even though I was not technically depressed any more, some traces of depression still lingered around). I performed much better at work and in general, my confidence and self-esteem increased.
It is a myth that you will bulk up - yes, you CAN bulk up but you would have to do very serious body building and be really into it. I have to tell you that I value the slowly emerging definition of my muscles more than anything else and I have become a real gym rat. I am simply having a blast and I hope you will, too.
Best of luck.

11-14-2008, 08:20 AM
IMO, a balanced, varied exercise program is not only best for weight loss, but also for overall health and wellbeing. A rounded program should include cardio, strength conditioning, stretching and balance work. And just as important is CONSISTENCY, finding a program that you can stay with and do regularly over time.

Weight training is how you can influence your body shape, so don't be afraid of it! Plus having stronger muscles helps in daily life, it's easier to bring groceries in, move furniture, carry kids, lift heavy stock pots, get the Christmas boxes down from the attic -- everything we need to do. For me, the exercise is as much about improving functionality and quality of life, as it is for weight loss.

For pure calorie burn, I'm also convinced that intervals are the most efficient way go - intervals of cardio and weights. You get your heart rate up with the cardio, and keep it up while working weights to build muscle, the best of both worlds!

11-14-2008, 08:36 AM
Absolutely add weight training! I'm convinced I would not have the size, shape, stamina or health that I have now without it, and there is no way that I could have maintained a loss all these years without weight training consistently.

Yes, you can lose the weight without it, but it's harder and a lot of the weight that you lose will be muscle. Proportionally, you can end up being fatter at a lighter weight after dieting off pounds. Weight training makes it easier, makes you healthier, and just plain makes you look better :)


11-14-2008, 11:38 AM
I would definitely add weight training. It will make you stronger which is a good thing, and like everyone else mentioned you will not bulk up. When i'm just doing cardio i don't lose weight as quickly as when i'm lifting too. That is just my experience, but i love getting stronger along with losing weight. I FEEL healthier, and i love seeing progress in another area.

11-14-2008, 11:43 AM
I hope FB replies to this message...if not, seek her out and chat with her. She is AWESOME and has done much of her weight loss with weights.

Muscles burn calories and fat faster then less muscle. So lift weigts, get more muscle, and burn more calories!!! :)

11-14-2008, 11:52 AM
I've lost weight in the past pumping iron along with cardio and the results were great. This time around I've had more time for cardio and less for weightlifting and the results are not all that cute. The scale has come down as well as the clothing sizes but this is the SQUISHIEST I've ever been while trying to exercise and eat right. The weights are what is missing.

11-14-2008, 12:09 PM
but this is the SQUISHIEST I've ever been while trying to exercise and eat right.That is SUCH a good description! :)

I haven't had time to get into the gym like I've wanted to lately. I've been travelling a lot and have slacked off the weights and resistance stuff, even though I know I could be doing more in my hotel room. I've been lazy. *sigh*

But I have kept up the cardio, either running, or by using whatever equip is available at the hotel.

And I was noticing today in fact, that I'm "jigglier" than I was a month ago. I haven't gained any weight, but things are shifting and my tummy an thighs are showing the downside of not doing my regular weight program.

Squishy is so dead on!!!


11-14-2008, 01:21 PM
Lifting weights changed my life.

Seriously. I would only get so far with cardio and calorie counting before I would hit a wicked plateau and give up---cause I could only run so far or eat so few calories. This time I added weight lifting, blasted through the weight that had always been my dreaded plateau, and I haven't looked back.

First, weight lifting is FUN. It is great to build power (and I love being a strong woman). Second, my arms rock. Totally. I get such a kick out of my biceps and triceps and delts. And....I have a waist!!! Third, I am now eating to build and maintain muscle. What does that mean? I eat a lot and I eat often. Lots of protein, fruits, veggies, beans, complex carbs. I am not depriving myself. And on the days I eat...crappy.....like birthday cake and pizza and chips...I don't gain. I probably would if I ate like that every day, but my body is VERY forgiving when I venture off plan.

I have found a way I can eat, exercise, function, etc., for a long long long time.

My body is smaller at this weight than it was at a lower weight years ago. Muscle is dense and firm. It's beautiful! Building strength has helped in every part of my life. Even my running is better now that my quads and hamstrings and calves are more powerful.

SBD Sass
11-14-2008, 01:59 PM
Photochick...which Body for Life Book? I see about three of 'em.

11-14-2008, 02:08 PM
The one that I've read is the first one - the basic plan:

I think there's a Body for Life for Women out as well, but I haven't read that one. If it's anything like the first one, I'd say that it's probably pretty good though.


11-14-2008, 03:12 PM
MissPiggy, Have we convinced you that this is the way to go? Many of us have found that weight training not only accelerated our weight loss but added another dimension to it as well. We come out the other side not only trim fitting into smaller sized clothing but looking sculpted as well.

Little story: My first summer post loss. I had been lifting for a little under a year. My development was enough to show definition at the top of my chest (gym cleavage), delts (shoulder caps), biceps and triceps. I tried on a really sweet tank top dress and walked out into the hall to show my mother. The three saleswomen (note not girls) saw me in the dress and smiled. One of them walked over and said that they have seen a lot of women try on that dress but no one wore it as well as I did. With upper body development I was able to wear that dress and look very feminine. Bulk? No. Sculpted and defined. Yep.

Really consider adding weight training to your program. It's such a wonderful area to explore and you will be absolutely fascinated with your results.

SBD Sass
11-14-2008, 03:26 PM
The one that I've read is the first one - the basic plan:

I think there's a Body for Life for Women out as well, but I haven't read that one. If it's anything like the first one, I'd say that it's probably pretty good though.


Thank you. I'm going to order the one you have. Inside it shows you all of the strength exercises right? Do they show any with resistance bands, kettle balls, etc.?

11-14-2008, 03:30 PM
Has anyone pointed out this site?


Krista answers all those questions and has lots of info and instruction.

11-14-2008, 04:18 PM
Also, bodybuilding.com has a cool thing where you can find exercises by body parts. I'm a weight lover too - it just makes everyday life so darn much easier. Getting around is easier, everyday challenges like needing to sprint a long distance to the closest restroom on a soccer field is now a possibility, chasing a wayward cart before it hits your car in a parking lot, the possibilities are endless! :dizzy:

So agree with midwife that if also allows little indulgences from time to time. We all used to say that when we were young we could skip one meal and lose three pounds. Now we can ead badly one meal and GAIN three pounds. Weight lifting seems to help cover more of the little sins that we commit, and if totally clean, works amazing results!

11-14-2008, 04:42 PM
I agree with everyone else too. Since I started to lifting my weight loss has been awesome. I am only in my third week of lifting but I see results all ready and things like lifting my DS are so much easier. I lost 4lbs the first week and 2 the second!!

Definatley worth trying!! :) Good luck!

11-14-2008, 05:40 PM
wow now i'm thinking i should pick up weight lifting so far i've only done the 5lb ones with the 30 day shred and then with the biggest loser workouts --- i'm going to go check out those books and websites ---

on a side note--- i've been working out a lot and starting to feel the muscles in my stomach and abs area--- when i pointed it out to my hubby he said not to do so much stomach/ab workouts cause my stomach will hurt a lot from it---is that true??? will your stomach hurt from doing this

11-14-2008, 05:45 PM
Pffft. Your hubby needs to read some of the weight lifting books himself.

Working out your core is a GREAT thing to do. A strong core (abs and back) will mean everything else is so much easier.


11-14-2008, 07:46 PM
This is a great thread because I was wondering the same thing! After reading it, I plan to "want" to add weights because right now I am focusing on cardio.....it takes me a while though to warm up to new ideas! eek!

What do you'all think is the minimum amount of weight lifting that would be effective...ie how many times per week? I like to start out sloooooooowly, like the Slowski's on TV (you know, that turtle family).

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


11-14-2008, 08:21 PM
Hi Thinkerbell: The recommended minimum for getting started is two to three days a week. Do not lift the same body part two days in a row. Your muscles require 48 hours to heal before you may lift with heavy resistance again. You may however continue to do the cardio everyday. Make sure you are crosstraining your cardio whenever possible.

It is wise to introduce lifting slowly into your program. It will give your ligaments and tendons time to adjust to the new stress they are experiencing. Muscles recover and develop a little faster than these connective tissues. Just a little FYI.

Your routine should be a full body that hits the major muscles of the upper and lower body. Select exercises that will hit the chest(pectoral) shoulders (anterior, medial, posterior deltoids) biceps and triceps, back (trapezius, latissimus dorsi) abdominals, glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves.

One exercise per body part will get you started. Select a weight heavy enough to fatigue your muscles by the 8th or 10th rep. To really be effective you will want it to feel like you almost can't make that last second rep. After about four weeks you may then add a second set to your routine of 8 to 12 reps.

Form is also very important. Research and watch videos online that demonstrate proper form for the movement. Do not sacrifice form for just one more rep. :dizzy: Make sure you are using full range of motion in your lift and use a nice controlled speed lifting as well as lowering. Don't lift the weight so fast that you are using momentum as well as your muscle. Also, when lowering the weight do it nice an' slow. I can't tell you the number of times I've seen people waving weights around that were obviously too light and so fast it could be considered an aerobic workout. :devil:

The books and websites previously mentioned are full of suggestions for addressing these muscles. Many of these exercises are compound exercises which means they will hit more than one body part at a time. This is a great thing to incorporate into your program so that you can workout a little more efficiently while in the gym or at home.

Good luck and happy researching/lifting. ;)

11-15-2008, 07:01 AM

Thanks so much for your response....I'll check into it.

I am glad that I found this forum....you guys are FANTASTIC!...so much info and support!


11-17-2008, 04:06 PM
WoW, thanks for all the input! I am CONVINCED! LOL ... I checked out the Body for Life link, and ordered the book! I'm going to start lifting with a friend of mine today. I will let you know how it goes!

Digging Deep
11-17-2008, 04:26 PM
lol. Everyone here clearly thinks like I do and I'm glad that you are convinced. I also highly recommend a combination of weights and cardio. Also, my boyfriend put me on a weightlifting diet of 40/40/20 (% of carbs/protein/fat) which has worked beautifully for me. I look more toned and definately thinner. Be sure to pay attention to the INCHES you lose while lifting. It is more telling than the scale (because muscle weights more than fat :smug:). I have lost roughly 15 lbs to date but went from a size 16 to a size 11. Good luck!!!

11-17-2008, 06:57 PM
Arghhh. Not to pick on you digging deep but his is a real pet peeve of mine - muscle and fat weigh exactly the same - a pound is a pound is a pound. Muscle is denser than fat so it takes up less room and makes you look smaller (a good thing :) ) but a pound of fat weighs the same as a pound of muscle, or feathers, or anything else. It's how much room they take up that makes the difference. Somewhere here on the 3FC threads is a great picture of a pound of each.

11-17-2008, 07:16 PM
Ah, found it.... See how nice and small and tight muscle is. :)


11-17-2008, 07:53 PM
Ooooh Ahhhhh and look how the red stuff doesn't look all jiggly either! ;) It's like SPAM vs JELLO :lol3:

So in the last six weeks I gained one spam and lost 9 jellos! They must have been well spread out tho, like I'm sure the muscle gain was too, cuz I'm not missing any lumps of that yellow stuff like I'd love to. Maybe some of it was also visceral - that would be great!

11-17-2008, 09:36 PM
Wouldn't you just love it if the yellow did fall off in lumps? :lol: I've not been missing any yellow lately either.

11-17-2008, 11:29 PM
Yes, I would, Pat! :yes: Altho, there is some funky stuff going on with my outer thighs these days........it seems like right above the quad muscle I'm trying to grow, there's a battle of good vs evil with the upper portion of that thigh sticking out 1/4" inch further than the section right below it. It's slow motion liposuction I think. Reaaal sloooow motion.......

11-18-2008, 03:37 PM
So I was wondering how the 30 day shred fits in with this. I had done the BFL for women about 2 1/2 years ago and did pretty good. You know just cardio and weight training on different days. But the shred has you do cardio, weights, and abs all in the same session. I've been doing it for almost a month now and have had good results. But I'm wondering if this type of workout is going to be good long term? I do like weight training and feeling stronger. Any suggestions?

11-18-2008, 08:05 PM
I started weights yesterday, and man am i sore! I even bought the BFL book last nite, so I have a little more direction when it comes to lifting, and what kind of routine I should be doing.

Can't wait to see the results! :)

12-04-2008, 08:18 PM
I just read an interesting blog on this today: Losing Weight and Losing Muscle (http://lancebreger.blogspot.com/2008/12/losing-weight-and-losing-muscle.html). According to the blog, if you don't strength train while losing weight, then part of the weight you lose is muscle. Since we all know that muscle burns more calories than fat, that's not the kind of weight you want to be losing.

12-05-2008, 11:20 AM
But the shred has you do cardio, weights, and abs all in the same session. I've been doing it for almost a month now and have had good results. But I'm wondering if this type of workout is going to be good long term? I do like weight training and feeling stronger. Any suggestions?I don't think there's any problem with doing both on the same day as long as you don't train the same set of muscles on consecutive days. You need to give muscles a day or two to rest between sessions - its' the RECOVERY that builds the muscle, not the exercise itself.

But I do weights and cardio on the same days. I just do less cardio on weight lifting days than I do on non-weight lifting days.


Shannon in ATL
12-05-2008, 12:15 PM
Reading this thread has reinforced for me that I need to get the weight training back into my routine at least two days per week... I need someone to just design a program for me, though! I know I wasn't using my weights efficiently, so it was taking more time than I have now and only working one or two body parts per day, so I got frustrated and gave up... Would the BFL or NROWLFW books give me a plan? I don't do so well making my own obviously... :( (For example, I found myself spending almost an hour on arms and shoulders one day right before I dropped off doing weights... )

12-05-2008, 12:18 PM
Would the BFL or NROWLFW books give me a plan?Yes! Both of them have plans laid out. I believe the BFL one is a 12 week plan and the NROL one is a 16 week plan (if you do 3 workouts a week).

I think. Something like that anyway. :)

I keep making it about halfway through the NROL one and then having to take a break (work travel usually), so I have yet to complete it. But just getting that far along has helped me to be able to build routines for myself. Now that I have a better idea of what exercises work well together, what works each part of hte body, etc., I can be fairly confident about throwing together 5 or 6 items in a workout and know that I'm being efficient.


12-05-2008, 03:29 PM
Hi Shannon,

You may use your time most efficiently by incorporating compound exercises, exercises that use more than one joint, as opposed to isolation exercises. An example of an upper body compound exercise is pushups. This movement will provide primary development of the pectoral and triceps muscles with secondary development of the deltoids, serratus anterior, and the abdominal section. Since this is a push movement, I would follow it with a pull like movement such as chinups, horizontal chinups, lat rows, low row etc. This will allow you to immediately move into the next set using different muscles while allowing your first set of muscles to rest just a bit before you hit them again with the third set of exercises, back to the pushing motion of the pushup or bench press.

I have found the books mentioned to be very helpful. In addition to this I also use refer to this site as well. http://www.exrx.net/. In the very beginning of my interest in lifting I was a little overwhelmed by all the information available through the site. But hang in there. The more you begin to learn about strength training the more valuable this site becomes for reference. I think there is even a tool available for creating your own workout program. Another site I like for finding new exercises is www.trainwithmeonline.

Please do not become discouraged with the amount of time lifting takes in your fitness program. You are correct that it is really important. I'm struggling this year myself with the amount of time I have available and my need to lift, do cardio, incorporate flexibility etc. Some days it is possible get it all done and some days it isn't. I have found that I will rotate weeks in which my focus is more upon cardio or more upon lifting. When lifting becomes the focus I then try to rely a little more upon doing sets with shorter or fewer breaks between them to sneak in a little bit more cardio effort into it as well. If an hour is more time than you have available then half an hour is good. It is much better than none at all. :yes: Hang in there!

12-05-2008, 04:51 PM
Would the BFL or NROWLFW books give me a plan?
You may use your time most efficiently by incorporating compound exercises, exercises that use more than one joint, as opposed to isolation exercises

NROLFW uses mostly compound exercises, and starts usually with body weight. Like Photochick I start and then have to travel, or life gets in the way, and then I go back. I do like their program though. Because it uses compound exercises, there are fewer to do each session and consequently you get more (or as much anyway) done in less time. I really liked the way they approached push-ups for instance, starting with doing them on something higher moving down to the floor. I was amazed how fast I progressed (and how sore I was - but that's another story :lol: )

12-05-2008, 06:59 PM
Yup. That's one of the things I like about the NROL program. It's a lot of compound exercises, so you get more workout in a shorter length of time.

As an example, the first workout in the book - 1A:
(this is from memory, so I may be a little off)
squats w/ a bar 2 sets of 15

then alternate sets:
pushups 2 sets 15
seated row 2 sets 15

Then alternate sets:
stepups 2 sets 15
prone jacknife (with a swiss ball) 2 sets of 8

Each set gets a 60 second rest between.

You can do the whole workout in 30 mins or less. :)

Then the next workout is something different. Then you go back to the first workout again, but with increased weights, reps. Then back to the 2nd one. And so on. Then after you do that so many times, you change it up for a different workout. And they have it listed out for you so that by the time you complete the entire cycle, it's been 16 or 18 weeks, something like that.

But every workout involves your whole body and compound exercises.


Shannon in ATL
12-06-2008, 10:18 AM
Thanks guys! I have been a little overwhelmed by all of the info out there, got a little crazy overboard for a while and then just quit. Which is a shame, because I saw a lot of reshaping and inches lost while I was using weights regularly, even inefficiently. I haven't seen any in the four weeks since I stopped, even with kickboxing & yoga & cardio-palooza.

I have continued to do pushups every day, so there is that I guess... :) I can do 17 non-modified at a time, can usually do three sets scattered out through the workout. Never tried them back to back... That makes me a little nervous, but in that excited "I can do this" kind of way. That has been missing for me that last month, being sick took a lot out of me, mentally and physically.