Weight and Resistance Training - New here and have a question




View Full Version : New here and have a question


hellcatjill
12-20-2005, 04:00 PM
First of all, hi y'all! My name is Jill and I can't wait to get to know the rest of you!

I joined a gym about a month and a week ago and have been working out about 4 times a week, 30 min. cardio and 30 minutes resistance, since then, excluding 2 weeks (not in a row) that I was sick. I am 5'10" and 141 pounds, which falls into a healthy weight range, but it's mostly fat and not muscle. Since I started working out, I have been able to tell that I am building muscle, especially in my arms, but I haven't lost any weight. Could this be because I am already a "proper" weight, and maybe I'm losing fat but building muscle that makes up for it on the scale?

I don't really care about what the scale says as long as I LOOK like I'm not overweight, but I thought that at least if the scale was showing less that I would feel like I was accomplishing something.

Any ideas?


RobertW
12-20-2005, 04:29 PM
You could be an incredibly lean and fit 140+ pounds if you focused on weight training. I would forget about cardio for a while and focus on lifting and getting my diet in order. You certainly don't need to lose weight; you just want to gain muscle.

hellcatjill
12-20-2005, 05:30 PM
But wouldn't I just have a lot of muscle covered by fat if I cut out the cardio? I know that lifting weights burns calories, too, and the more muscle you have the better your metabolism is, but I know that cardio burns more calories and thus more fat.

Anyone else? I'm really new to this; I can use all the help I can get!


Sheila53
12-20-2005, 05:52 PM
I agree with Robert. You need to build your lean muscle mass, which you will do with weight training.

RobertW
12-20-2005, 06:34 PM
But wouldn't I just have a lot of muscle covered by fat if I cut out the cardio? I know that lifting weights burns calories, too, and the more muscle you have the better your metabolism is, but I know that cardio burns more calories and thus more fat.

Anyone else? I'm really new to this; I can use all the help I can get!

Cardio also burns muscle. You won't see a lot of really muscular distance runners, for that very reason.

You don't need to burn fat so much as build muscle at 5'10" 141#. Only a fashion model would be considered heavy at that height and weight. Lift and EAT.

If you want to cut up later on you can bring back the cardio. I am pretty sure that is what a female bodybuilder would do. At 141# you can't be carrying all that much fat, and if you stay the same weight but add muscle you will be leaner.

ShannonM
12-20-2005, 07:17 PM
Cardio burns more calories during the workout, but weight training burns more calories the other 23.5 hours of the day. It speeds up your metabolism round-the-clock. More muscle = more fat-burning capability.

WaterRat
12-20-2005, 07:23 PM
Jill, I agree that you're a good weight for your height, and building muscle is the way to go. If I were in your position I'd do the minimum cardio to keep you cardiovasular system healthy (20 minutes 3x week or so) and spend the rest of your exercise time building muscles. :strong:

hellcatjill
12-20-2005, 08:01 PM
Cool! Thank you so much for your posts and advice!

So if I cut back my cardio, how much time do you think I should spend weight training per day/week?

WaterRat
12-20-2005, 08:50 PM
So you wrote that you're doing "resistance" now. What exactly is that? Are you using free weights? Machines? What? Does your gym give you access to a free session with a trainer? You'll find a lot of opinions here but I'd say as a general rule that many of us use free weights rather than machines. Some of what/how long you should do is determined by your general fitness, and by your age. Most people need to start out with a few exercises for each muscle group and build up in number of exercises, number of repititions (reps) and of course in the amount of weight. A trainer can help you with this, but there are a lot of books out there as well as several websites that can show you the various exercises and even help you design a routine. Look at the sticky threads at the top of LWL. There's one about beginning bodybuilding that will give you the websites. If - as it appears - you have 30 or more minutes 4x a week, you have plenty of time for a good weights routine. :)

hellcatjill
12-20-2005, 09:06 PM
Thanks, Pat. Yeah, I generally use the machines but also do a bit of free weight lifting. Our gym did provide a session with a trainer, but it was mainly to show us how to properly use the machines so that we didn't hurt ourselves ;)

I'll take a look at those sticky threads. Thanks!

ambabs
12-21-2005, 02:52 AM
Jill, just wanted to pop in and say that I'm glad you located the right section and I'm sure everyone will be of more help than I was. Welcome to the boards!!

hellcatjill
12-21-2005, 04:08 AM
Yeah, thanks for the link, Angela! I managed to find the right section okay, now I need to find some time to read through all the stickies.

RobertW
12-21-2005, 09:43 AM
Thanks, Pat. Yeah, I generally use the machines but also do a bit of free weight lifting. Our gym did provide a session with a trainer, but it was mainly to show us how to properly use the machines so that we didn't hurt ourselves ;)

I'll take a look at those sticky threads. Thanks!

When I resumed lifting 4-years ago after a nine year layoff I trained on the Cybex machines at my gym for about three months to build my strength up enough to start handling free weights again. If you prefer machines, and are not planning on competing as a powerlifter or bodybuilder, don't feel that you have to train with freeweights. It is unlikely that you are going to get too strong to benefit from training on the machines. Some people, however, find that certain machines cause joint issues and injuries because the mechanics of the machine are wrong for them. None of the Cybex machines bother me, all though the weight stacks are bit too light for me on some of my stronger movements.

The main thing is to choose a plan and stick with it for a while. Try to take some before photos now, as well, since you are mainly going to be looking for changes in your physique rather than weightloss.

hellcatjill
12-21-2005, 03:19 PM
Yeah, I hardly make a dent in the weight stack on the machines, so I don't expect to have a problem with having the weights be too light. I do a little bit of free weight lifting with dumbells, but spend most of my time on the machines. I really am noticing a difference with them so far, so I believe I'll continue what I'm doing for now (varying every few workouts so my body doesn't get too used to the exercises) as far as weights go but maybe cut down on the cardio some and spend more time in the weight room.

I did have my husband take some before pictures of me early in the month (scary!) and also took some measurements, so I'll be checking those every month or so, I guess, to see if there's been any change. Hopefully I'll start to see some changes soon.

Thank you so much for your reply!

RobertW
12-21-2005, 04:05 PM
Yeah, I hardly make a dent in the weight stack on the machines, so I don't expect to have a problem with having the weights be too light.

If the jumps in weight are too big, you should see if they have any small weights (2.5-5#)you can add. I use little magnetic weights (plate mates) on my dumbells, but I am sure they work on weight stacks if the gym doesn't have any little weights to add.

Good luck with your training!

Mel
12-21-2005, 04:35 PM
I really would suggest moving to free weights instead of the machines. The issue isn't which will make you stronger, but which will make you fitter. Machines are excellent for isolating one particular muscle or muscle group, but do nothing to improve your core strength, your balance, neuromuscular feedback, etc. The motions that you can do with machines are much more limited than free weights. Learn some of the big compound joint exercises like squats- you will develop far more strength and muscle that doing leg extensions. Machines were developed for bodybuilders to improve isolation and hypertrophy of individual muscles.

Please don't give up cardio entirely. Your heart is a muscle that needs exercise, as well as the rest of your vascular and respiratory systems. Pat mentioned 20 minutes 3 times a wook- I'd consider that minimal. Make sure you are working hard enough to make it count!

Mel

hellcatjill
12-21-2005, 08:54 PM
Robert--I had no idea there was such a thing as those magnetic plates you are talking about. For the most part, the jumps aren't too bad, but I'll look into it if the need arises.

Mel--I won't give up my cardio completely. After all, I kind of enjoy it :) I have a problem doing exercises like squats because of my knees, which is one reason I like the machines for leg exercises. I've been doing a lot of leg extensions to help my knees, as the "gym guy" recommended and they do seem to be getting a little stronger already, so I might be able to move on to squats pretty soon.

WaterRat
12-21-2005, 09:47 PM
Jill, some folks actually recommend squats for knee problems, especially patellofemoral pain syndrome or PF (I don't know what your actual problem with your knees is) . Check out Krista's site, here,
http://www.stumptuous.com/weights_index_revision.html

Here's a portion of what she says:

Despite all that stuff about squats supposedly being bad for your knees, full depth squats are actually great for knee rehab. They strengthen all the leg muscles with a compound, natural movement. If you can squat without pain, then by all means do so, even if you can't use any weight. If you can't squat the full range, squat in the range of motion that is pain-free for you, and gradually try to increase the range. Front squats are an ideal exercise, both because they put more emphasis on the quads, and because they seem to put pressure differently on the knee joint. When I was having real PF problems, I could do full depth front squats with no difficulty whatsoever.

Some folks recommend leg extensions, but I am very hesitant to recommend these. Putting frontal/lateral as opposed to downward force along the shin (tibia) can actually worsen knee problems with the shearing force that is created in the joint. If you choose to do leg extensions, do them with very light weight, and only the top 1/3 of the movement (like from nearly straight leg to straight leg) and don't lock your knee.

I have chondromalacia patella, which refers to a wearing of the cartilage under the kneecap, and while I have to be careful, I find that doing squats does actually help strengthen them. The key is maintaining good form. The worse things I found for my particular problem is any movement that requires twist the knees quickly, especially with weight such as many movements done in aerobics and step classes. Squats done slowly and correctly doesn't hurt them.

Good luck with your weight training! :)

Mel
12-21-2005, 09:48 PM
Many trainers consider leg extensions to be about the worse thing you can do if you have bad knees. Why do you have problems doing squats? you can do body weight squats holding on to resistance tubing looped around a post of some sort if you can't use weight yet. Do you have actual knee problems or just lack of strength at this point?

Mel

Mel
12-21-2005, 09:49 PM
Pat- we were posting at the same time. Great answer :)

Mel

hellcatjill
12-22-2005, 02:41 AM
I wish I could remember what my doctor called my knee problems. :?: Basically, though, my kneecaps are more towards the outside than toward the middle, where they should be, if that makes sense. She said it would eventually get so bad that I would need surgery, if I didn't do anything about it. She suggested squeezing a ball between my knees and holding for 10 seconds (like Suzanne Somer's thigh master), and doing several reps of these. I do the same thing with one of the machines at the gym and am up to 40 pounds. Basically, it's to strengthen the inner thigh muscles (you can tell I don't know much about weight lifting--don't know the names of the muscles they work) to kind of pull the kneecaps back where they are supposed to be. Anyway, since my kneecaps are not in line where they should be, when I squat down (even without weight, just to get something off a low shelf or whatever) my knees pop and crack and cause me pain. Kind of a grinding feeling.

The leg extensions are seeming to help so far. I do them very slowly and with very light weight. I wouldn't be opposed to doing squats, I just don't want to hurt myself. I'm so new to this I just want to kinda ease into it.

BTW, I noticed today that my legs are really getting firmer to the touch (underneath my flab, that is). It's so exciting!

RobertW
12-22-2005, 11:28 AM
I wish I could remember what my doctor called my knee problems. :?: Basically, though, my kneecaps are more towards the outside than toward the middle, where they should be, if that makes sense. She said it would eventually get so bad that I would need surgery, if I didn't do anything about it. She suggested squeezing a ball between my knees and holding for 10 seconds (like Suzanne Somer's thigh master), and doing several reps of these. I do the same thing with one of the machines at the gym and am up to 40 pounds. Basically, it's to strengthen the inner thigh muscles (you can tell I don't know much about weight lifting--don't know the names of the muscles they work) to kind of pull the kneecaps back where they are supposed to be. Anyway, since my kneecaps are not in line where they should be, when I squat down (even without weight, just to get something off a low shelf or whatever) my knees pop and crack and cause me pain. Kind of a grinding feeling.

The leg extensions are seeming to help so far. I do them very slowly and with very light weight. I wouldn't be opposed to doing squats, I just don't want to hurt myself. I'm so new to this I just want to kinda ease into it.

BTW, I noticed today that my legs are really getting firmer to the touch (underneath my flab, that is). It's so exciting!

Mel and Pat are right about the squats being really good for your knees if done with good form. Unfortunately squats are one of the more difficult exercises to get right, especially for tall people like yourself.

I wonder if you might benefit from doing full squats (all the way down) with dumbells? I would imagine that it would be easier to do these with good form without much coaching. Overhead squats and front squats would also be good, especially if you don't find using dumbells challenging enough.

Box squats really helped my squatting form, although lately I have been doing full squats on a plate loaded machine (Preco "Super Squat").

Tall people are generally good deadlifters and lousy bench pressers and squaters, so you might give deads a try as well.

Mel
12-22-2005, 12:22 PM
Usually that condition is caused by having underdeveloped hamstring muscles in relation to the strength of your quadriceps. Doing leg extensions will make it worse. You need to do some exercises to strengthen your hamstrings as well. Deadlifts, lying or standing hamstring curls, very deep squats (not good for a beginner), 45 degree angle leg press with your feet high and wide on the platform, deep hack squats. And more deadlifts :)

If you can swing it, I'd suggest a few sessions with an experienced trainer.

This is a really common problem among distance runners.

Mel

ShannonM
12-22-2005, 12:42 PM
Unfortunately squats are one of the more difficult exercises to get right

Why so? They've always seemed pretty intuitive to me, but now I wonder if I've been doing 'em wrong.

hellcatjill
12-22-2005, 02:05 PM
Okay, I've done some digging on the internet. They say squats and leg presses are good exercises for strengthening quads, which is necessary for keeping my "unstable kneecap" in place. I have been doing the leg presses (the kind where you lay almost on your back and press up) and I can definitely tell my legs are getting stronger.

I've been trying to find little diagrams ;) online for doing deadlifts, since I'd never even heard of them. Do you keep your legs straight when doing them or bend them? Or should I do both, since the stiff-legged ones are supposed to be good for my butt? ;)

RobertW
12-22-2005, 02:30 PM
Why so? They've always seemed pretty intuitive to me, but now I wonder if I've been doing 'em wrong.

For some people it comes natural. Somebody like Fred Hatfield or Paul Anderson are just built for sqautting. Most tall people are built more for deads.

I have an exceptionally long torso, even for somebody 6'4" which really screws me up if i lean to far forward. That combined with weak quads gives me alot of problems when i squat. I have heard other tall people also say they do better with front squats because it helps keep them upright.