Weight and Resistance Training - Weight lifting/cardio distribution

03-21-2011, 12:21 AM
In the immediate future I'm looking to loose the last 38lbs to get to a healthy BMI and so am just concerned about my health, not really my appearance as much (that will come eventually but we want to TTC once I get to a healthy BMI so that's a secondary concern). Anyway, what's the best distribution between weight lifting and cardio? We have a gym in our apt complex so I can workout whenever (it will probably end up being about 3x a week for the next week or so until things settle down and then I hope to move to 5x a week). I can normally get about an hour in each day that I work out (I have a 2 year old so a lot of that depends on DH too).

I used to be an athlete (long distance runner and soccer player) so for me cardio comes more naturally (I mostly run on the treadmill) but I know lifting is important too and can help to speed of weight loss.

Eventually, when I do get to an idea BMI I probably will work on arms/legs lifting more (I like having a well-define arm and I have always had a lot of strength in my legs so it's fun for me to do leg exercises) but until that time I'm pretty much up for anything that gets the weight off. :)

03-22-2011, 09:51 AM
Runningfromfat: In my opinion, the quickest way to reduce excess bodyfat is to lift. Yes, perhaps my opinion could be biased considering this is a weightlifting forum...however, my personal experience was that nothing happened for me till I picked up the dumb bells.

Think of it like this, you really need to cover three things here....
1. Strength training: goal is to maintain current muscle mass while lowering your bodyfat. Muscle is metabolically active and is something you will want to preserve as you begin your weightloss.

2. HIIT training during your cardio sessions. High intensity interval training. You can get this done in about 20 minutes if it is done correctly. I would suggest incorporating true HIIT training no more than 2x a week in the beginning and then 3x in a few months....

3. Clean eating. You will need to eat to support the workouts. It's difficult in the beginning and to be honest difficult on occasion years later. It's a way of eating that can often collide with our current lifestyle and culture. It's about getting back to basics, fruits, veg, and PROTEIN.

In your case, I would first review info from http://www.stumptuous.com/.
It's one of the better places to begin for a lot of the information. If you have an hour to workout...spend five minutes on stretching and warm up. Take twenty five minutes to lifting doing a full body workout routine using compound movements. (Squats, pushups, deadlifts, assisted pullups etc.) Don't waste your time on movements that only work one muscle group at a time like bicep or tricep curls. Then spend twenty minutes on HIIT training for your cardio. Jump rope is my current poison of choice but do what works best for you. Spend the remaining five to ten minutes cooling down with more stretches and some foam rolling.

A lot of the things I have kind of thrown out here can be researched more indepth online. There are numerous books written about the topic etc. Youtube has great foam rolling vids and you can also find stretches for opening hip flexors which will be important as you are learning to squat and deadlift.

Bottom line: The dreadmill alone is not the most efficient or effective route to a leaner body. At some point your body will adapt to the work and you will no longer get improved fat loss results. Don't wait until you've lost weight to begin strength training. The combined efforts listed above should result in nice hypertrophy of muscle in the mirror instead of being left with the "skinny fat" syndrome of just doing cardio and reducing caloric intake.

Best of luck and let us know how you are progressing!

03-22-2011, 11:01 AM
Thank you so much for the detailed response! I'm actually going downstairs to workout soon so I'll try what you suggested. :D I've been reading up on HIIT lately but I'm trying to figure out how to do that best with what we have. Our gym has treadmills, bikes, and we have access to a pool... I was thinking of trying out doing Hiit on a bike? I haven't seen any jump ropes there... The pool could work too but than I'd loose a lot of time changing.

Also... I was thinking about squats. I'd love to add more weights doing them but do you think I can get by just using free weights? I don't have access to a spotter (DH and I have to switch off watching DD) so I would like to stay away from a bar. What I normally do are moves like on the 30 Day Shred where I combine bicep curls and squats. Then I can get in both small/large muscles. But I was thinking about upping the weights and just holding the weights to add more weigh for the squat itself?

Another question... so if I'm starting Hiit lets say 20 min a day 2-3x a week. Would you just focus on lifting the rest of the time? Or would you add in some other sort of cardio like jogging or swimming?

03-22-2011, 01:28 PM
Alright, today I got in a great workout and for once I can really feel it afterwards (but in a good way). Here's what I ended up doing:

5 min streching/walking
~20 min lifting (working big muscles/small muscles at the same time, no resting in between)
5 min Jump roping doing HiiT
5 min running doing HIIT (I used the treadmill and put it on one of the highest elevations so I wouldn't have to change the speed as much between intervals
5 min walking+stretching

The jump roping didn't go so well since I think the rope is too short? So maybe I'll try 10 min on the treadmill next time. However, adding in the elevation seemed to work well and it really kicked my butt. :D I'm also going to try doing HIIT with laps in the swiming pool this weekend when I have more time. Lets see what a week of doing this does!

Oh, and I'm really working on my diet at the moment. My body recently went through the ringer and I've had to make some adjustments in the total number of calories because of it.

03-22-2011, 03:30 PM
Running: Great! I'm glad it was helpful.

HIIT can be done on the treadmill, bike, or swimming. On the treadmill just use speed or elevation during your interval period. Obviously, take it up during your exertion period and bring it down during your rest period. I'm not a swimmer so I'll leave that up to you. :lol:

True interval training for a consistent 20 minutes is demanding and requires the body to recover. Could you do it every day...? Sure, for a while...but eventually you will burn out. So...since this is something you will want to do for a longer period than a few weeks...only dip into that well two to three times a week.

You can certainly do cardio and I strongly suggest doing it the other two to three days. In my own workouts I will do steady state cardio on my non HIIT days but with two HIIT sessions sprinkled in somewhere. Just to kind of get heart rate up there. I don't do it with the same dedicated pattern for twenty to twenty five minutes as I would in a true HIIT workout.

Squats: You absolutely can use dumb bells to increase your squat weight. I prefer to square my shoulders back and place them there. The heads of the dumb bells held in the palms of my hands and my hands facing forward. Some like to hold the weight on the sides of the body...I just find it clumsy that way.

Awesome job with doing the full body workout with limited rest between sets. This is another great way to increase your heart rate during your workout session.

You may also be wondering if you are doing the HIIT correctly. Bottom line is listen to yourself and how hard are you working. I began doing HIIT before I knew it was something that had a name...I just knew that I could work a little harder even if it was for just a short period of time (couple minutes) and then backed off and slowed down till I felt like I could go at it again...listen to yourself and it really can be intuitive. Just don't think that you can sustain crazy all out cardio for more than a minute. Thirty to sixty seconds of going all out is enough and then bring it back down again for a couple of minutes maybe three to five before you take it back up again.

The jump rope. I finally broke down and purchased my own speed rope. I paid about 25.00 for mine and ordered online. Honestly though, in the beginning, an inexpensive beaded rope is going to do well too. If you incorporate skipping rope don't do it as your cardio choice everyday...it's impact on the lower joints and you should also be doing it on a surface that "gives" a little. Wooden floor is best. I do think it's a great thing to incorporate in your cardio training rotation. I might also add that if you are running and skipping rope consider using the treadmill for elevated walking on a day in between the running and jumping. Just would like to avoid anything like stress fractures in the lower extremities while you are beginning. ;)

Best of luck

03-24-2011, 02:29 PM
So today I did basically the same routine (weights first then HIIT) and it went really well. I used the bike today and that seemed to work a lot better so I think I'm going to try that in the future more often. I also made it up to 15 minutes doing HIIT so I'm trying to work my way up to 20 min. :D

My goal at the moment is to do weights/HIIT every other day and then on my off days just walk a lot, take my DD out to the park etc. I might get in a run or go swimming but just much more relaxed so I have time to recover.

I used to run cross country/track and we did interval training, which is essentially HIIT going up hills! Yeah that was a lot of fun. :dz: But it definitely got you in shape!

Weird thing, though. I keep getting sore spots? Last week my back was sore so I avoided doing any weights with my back. Yesterday and today it's been my left butt cheek so I avoided doing too many squats. It seems to keep changing where I'm sore at. However, I feel the best when I'm moving and i normally only feel sore if I'm sitting for awhile. :?:

03-24-2011, 03:13 PM
Can I chime in here? If the goal is to lose weight (i.e., BMI), then the clear choice between (a) lifting and (b) cardio is (c), diet. Seriously, losing weight is all about caloric deficit, and its much easier to eat 200 calories fewer per day than it is to exercise off 200 calories.

However, if the goal is to lose *fat*, you need to do something to keep your body from catabolizing muscle while it's in a caloric deficit. For this purpose, lifting is much more efficient, although cardio is better than nothing.

The caveat, though, is that for some people, cardio can actually be counterproductive to weight loss. Physiologically, it can increase hunger. (Your body has all sorts of tricks to get you to eat more; blame evolution). Psychologically, many people fall into the trap of thinking that because they spent an hour reading a magazine while walking on the treadmill, they can get away with eating more. Problem is that the time on the treadmill just doesn't burn off very many calories: a banana and a bagel at most ... but only if it's a very small bagel. :)

Glad you had a good workout!

//b. strong

03-24-2011, 03:27 PM
If the goal is to lose weight (i.e., BMI), then the clear choice between (a) lifting and (b) cardio is (c), diet.

:rofl: Now why didn't I see that? LOL! Couldn't agree more!

Great thread by the way with lots of good info.

03-24-2011, 04:33 PM
runningfromfat- These ladies have you on the right track!! Keep it up with the interval training and remember, the more muscle we have on our bodies, the more metabolically active we are so we burn more fat calories in everyday activities!! The only advice I can give, since you have gotten such great responses already, is to not over do it on the cardio. I don't know if you've ever seen them in the gym but a lot of people call them the "skinny-fat girls" which basically means they are thin but not in shape and thats due to doing too much cardio. Cardio will burn fat of course, but it also burns muscle if your not actively strength training. Your on the right track and I can't wait to hear more about your progress!!

03-24-2011, 05:26 PM
Can I chime in here? If the goal is to lose weight (i.e., BMI), then the clear choice between (a) lifting and (b) cardio is (c), diet. Seriously, losing weight is all about caloric deficit, and its much easier to eat 200 calories fewer per day than it is to exercise off 200 calories.

However, if the goal is to lose *fat*, you need to do something to keep your body from catabolizing muscle while it's in a caloric deficit. For this purpose, lifting is much more efficient, although cardio is better than nothing.

The caveat, though, is that for some people, cardio can actually be counterproductive to weight loss. Physiologically, it can increase hunger. (Your body has all sorts of tricks to get you to eat more; blame evolution). Psychologically, many people fall into the trap of thinking that because they spent an hour reading a magazine while walking on the treadmill, they can get away with eating more. Problem is that the time on the treadmill just doesn't burn off very many calories: a banana and a bagel at most ... but only if it's a very small bagel. :)

I think I'm one of the strange people that actually tend to eat a lot better when I work out. ;) I've never had successful weight loss without working out because my motivation always putters out. However, when I work out I really think twice about what I eat because I put in so much effort before hand.

I work on intuitive eating, so no calorie counting here (but if you see from my ticker it's worked pretty well so far :D). I do best with rules, for instance, I don't eat sugar, or fried food.

However, now we finally live somewhere where I can exercise and I really want to utilize that! Besides I really agree with you on losing FAT. I want to build muscle and lose fat so maintaining my weight is easier in the long run (and so I don't explode as easily this pregnancy as last time!) AND so I can lose the weight more quickly after this next pregnancy too.

Oh, and I love the description "skinny-fat girls". I'm definitely trying to avoid that. ;)

03-24-2011, 06:54 PM
I think I'm one of the strange people that actually tend to eat a lot better when I work out. ;) :lol3: Ah No. Nothing odd or strange about that! In fact, I always say that I eat a whole lot cleaner when my mindset is in "training" mode and I'm working out five and six days a week vs. doing my "place holder" workout a couple days a week.

Case in point, on Monday I'm in the middle of my step ups with a free bar on my back cursing under my breath about how I'm keeping it squeaky clean from here on out because the road back is just so *&@! hard. :D

Nah, I think it's pretty common. When we are exercising each day we are truly living in our bodies and we are much more aware of what we put in them as well.

Great stuff though. I think you are going to do well. :hug:

03-25-2011, 08:42 AM
Ok...after much debate...I MUST be the oddball out here. IMHO and experience, a few theories spoken here just simply have not been true (for me at least);):

1. If you do cardio without lifting you will catabolize your muscle (eat away at muscle tissue).

Hasn't happened to me yet...and all I do is run 4 times a week. It think your DIET will play more of a role in this. A diet HIGH in PROTEIN will preserve muscle while you melt away the fat.

2. The more cardio you do...the more your appetite increases.

I find this to NOT be the case. Actually...quite the OPPOSITE. When I do cardio, my appetite DECREASES! What I have discovered is that as my body reaches low bf%, my appetite has increased...as if my body is saying..."NOT SO FAST...I'm not going to let go of these last few stubborn lbs without some kind of fight!"

3. HIIT or BUST!

With all the talk of HIIT, you'd think it was some kind of magic bullet. Well I'm here to say after having done HIIT, steady state and interval training, that what has worked to rid MY BODY of all this fat in the last 6 months, has been going as long and as hard as I can with the end result being a full body sweat. That usually takes me about an hour at maximum capacity running. I've recently changed my running routine to intervals (just to keep from gettting bored).

Finally, I just want to say (before the hate mail starts flowing), I am NOT against weight training. But I'd be a walking contradiction, if I didn't let you know that you CAN obtain a lean, healthy body with more than adequate muscle WITHOUT weight training.

That said, if you can make time for weight training (and actually enjoy it)...GREAT...but in the event you cannot, you can also do bodyweight and core work that will help just the same. Heck...yard work builds muscle for me (I've got an ENORMOUS yard though)..lol!

Ok...well just thought it may be helpful to see another point of few and experience.:)

03-25-2011, 01:22 PM
it's refreshing to know I'm not the only one who eats better when exercising (and for me I've never seen any connection between the type of exercise, just exercise in general). I hear so often on 3FC about how weight loss is 90% clean eating. Now while that's true, mentally I can't get to an appropriate level of clean eating without exercise. Days that I've gotten a good workout in, I'm too busy doing other things to focus on food as much. When I don't workout I just don't have as much energy so I'm sitting around more, which leads to a wandering mind and then I find myself starring at the fridge. :nono:

Today was an off day for me from lifting/HIIT so I went to the pool here for the first time and it was wonderful! I think I'm going to work on alternating between swimming one day and the lifting/HIIT. I took a really nice relaxing swim and stretched between every 2 laps and I feel so refreshed now I just want to go back down there! :D

Oh, and very cool news. DH was in the gym last night and he was talking to one of the trainers there. The guy said that if we were interested he would train both DH and myself at the same time and charge us the same price for one person. The price was A LOT less than I expected and would be something doable 2-4 times a month. I think I'd probably be ok sticking to my routine but I really think DH needs to hear solid advice from a trainer since he doesn't research things related to weight loss and doesn't want to hear it from me. :p He got the guys card and once things settle down around here financially I'm going to try and get him to set up a time to meet the trainer. :carrot:

04-11-2011, 08:10 PM
I posted this 3 weeks ago and since then I've been doing weight lifting every other day and then sometimes either doing HIIT afterwards or doing it the next day (depending on time). Here's the thing, I'm feeling bored in the weight room. I don't have a trainer (maybe eventually but that won't be for a few months at least) and I'm having problems pushing myself. I also don't have anyone to spot me so I feel a bit lost there. I know of some good exercises to do and even though I try to get heavy weights it just feels like I'm going through steps instead of pushing myself. So here are my questions:

1. I'm thinking of just doing weight lifting 2x a week and doing cardio the other days (so 3-4x a week). I'll probably do HIIT at least 2-3x and maybe just some swimming the other days. My thought was if I do weights only twice in the week maybe I'll be able to push myself harder on those days?

2. I'm trying to get into swimming more. Any tips on maximizing a workout in the pool?

3. I'm thinking of picking up the book New Rules of Lifting for Women. Would you recommend this to someone like me? I'm 35lbs away from a healthy BMI and am definitely up to lifting heavier weights/trying new things in the weight room.

4. Is there a time limit after which cardio just isn't worth it anymore? I know I've heard often for long distance runners that eventually your body gets used to the workout and you don't burn as much calories. I'll probably do 1-2x just normal cardio workouts a week and I'm just trying to figure otu what would be best?

5. What are your thoughts on crunches/workouts that work your core? I know you can't spot reduce so are these things really needed? Wouldn't it be better for me just to focus on keeping my abs tight throughout my usual lifting routine? Thoughts?

Thanks in advance!

04-11-2011, 08:34 PM
I want to address only one aspect of your post, and that is "crunches." My belief is simple: NO.

Do planks instead. Do planks with your belly toward the ground, do them to the side, do them with a leg and an arm out, do them in any form, but do them. One minute each is enough...3-5 times a week.

04-12-2011, 01:44 PM
Running: Wonderful job with getting in your workouts for the previous three weeks. I'll do my best to address your questions.

1.Full body workouts 2x/week is just fine. Its enough stimulus.

a. Feeling bored? How about checking out new websites for alternative ways to work the muscle groups you are using. Sometimes a new routine, or some toys like a Bosu, Swissball, kettlebells, bands, and a few youtube videos will inspire some pretty cool workouts.

I find that the more time I spend preparing ahead for my workouts with regard to programming the happier I am once I'm in the gym.

b. Difficulty pushing yourself: Hmmm. Well, I use a workout log book. I list each exercise I'm going to do, and plan ahead how many sets and reps within the set for my goal. I set it a little higher some days...I do my best to hit those goals. If I don't I keep trying the next week until I can. (so long as it's reasonable) I've found that having a written record of past workouts are really important too. I've got them back almost five years...since I've changed gyms it's been helpful for me to glance back at my workouts from a year or two ago and measure just where I am with regard to strength and endurance. Keeps my head in the right place. There are days where I feel like I'm just not as strong...I look back in my book and realize I'm perfectly fine. If I have a week/month where I feel like things are too diffucult I review my past efforts and discover that a year or two ago I was doing a lot more and not complaining about it....it just a tool for organizing this information and keeping your head in the right place as well.

2. I can't swim. I sink. Can't help you there. Anyone else?

3.New Rules of Lifting for someone like you? Absolutely I totally love this book and have broken the binding on mine it's been used so much. Check it out from the library if you are uncertain. There is just SO MUCH GOOD INFORMATION in there. In addition to the programming which is very reasonable I found myself smiling often the first time I read it because so much of it rang true to my own trial and error experiences. I kind of felt like saying "Thank goodness...people who get it and think it's okay from me to do what I do" Validated. :goodvibes: Go look at the book.

4. Time limit for cardio...are you referring to how long the session should be before the rate of return declines or...are you referring to longer term like weeks, months etc.

Here's my thought on this overall. MIX.IT. UP.

If you do the same thing with the same effort every day your going to top out. The body strives to meet the demands that is placed upon it. That is, in the beginning, yes the cardio workouts are effective without any changes because your body is in the process in adaptation. But, after that adaptation has been reached...your body is thinking Great. I met the challenge and this is good enough.

This is why we do the HIIT intervals and explore other ways to do our cardio workouts such as swimming, running, skipping rope, spinning, hill work.

I do want to put in a plug for cardio endurance training though. Some may poo poo it. But my experience has been that its good for the mind as well as the heart. It has its place as a wonderful recovery from a tough workout the day before and just for getting your head real happy. So if your having a day where you thought you should be doing HIIT or working a little harder and you just don't have it in the tank be fine with where you are. Do the endurance cardio session and enjoy all the gifts that it also has to offer.

5. Crunches. Rhonda is right on track. I do them on occasion so don't anyone call me out on this if you see me at the gym with crunching with a swiss ball under my feet and a med ball over my head. :lol3: Mostly because once in a while I miss doing them. But for the most part my core training is done through resistance or stabilizing myself against a weight.

Ideas for workouts...www.EXRX.net, www.trainwithmeonline (this is a membership site now but really well organized with videos) Brian Devlin is a good one to follow too. This is a link to a video he has up on Youtube. There are many others you can find for ideas from him as well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXD69lc1OTY

Now. Can anyone suggest how to keep the deer out of my hostas. I've watched them eating through my backyard the entire time I"ve been composing this. Grrrr.

04-14-2011, 11:03 AM
I recommend New Rules, too. I bought it a few? years ago and have been recommending it to my clients, who seem just like you!

Here's the thing with "does it work?" questions. Every "thing" works for *some*body. When it doesn't work, it is my belief that A) It wasn't a healthy "thing" in the first place, B) Enough effort and time was not given, C) Your body responds in it's own unique way so try a new "thing".

I have been dedicated to weight training for years. A lot of years. When people tell me they want arms like mine, I tell them it takes time, dedication and a dash of genetics.

You seem to be doing well. This is a lifestyle change. Hopefully your life is nowhere near ending, so you have plenty of time to dedicate to yourself. Be patient and keep going!!!

04-14-2011, 01:27 PM
I recommend this book for exercises, not lifting. There are a lot of really good core exercises in it:

The Women's Health Big Book of Exercises published by Rodale, 2010.

Lydia, I suggest that you reframe how you see your backyard. For example, I now see mine as the feeding trough for every bird and squirrel in the county. :lol: