Weight and Resistance Training - A few questions from a newbie.

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01-13-2006, 04:21 PM
Hello everyone. My name is Gwena I'm 33 years old and not in the best shape. I started eating healthier at the end of last year and have lost 20 pounds. Once upon a time I was an athletic person, but I'm bound and determined to become a healthy person again. I attend college (yes, at my advanced age) and I just signed up for a fitness course. The requirements for this course are to do the approved workout at least twice a week in the college's fitness center.

The workout consists of 8 - 10 minutes of cardio (elliptical, treadmill, or stationary bikes), then you use the various weight machines, and finish off with at least 5 minutes more of cardio.

My questions (you thought I'd forgotten to ask them, didn't you?)

How many rep's should I start with, and at what weight?

Do you need to lift slow and steady with proper breathing or fast and furious? (I know this is probably a stupid question, but a lot of the guys there were just pumping away as fast as can be)

I do need to lose approximately 60 more pounds, but I would like to gain some nice muscles.

Thank you!! :D

01-13-2006, 04:24 PM
Gwena? cool name! Have your gone through all the stickies at the top of this forum? You'll get answers here, but there's a wealth of information there too.

01-13-2006, 04:43 PM
Gwena - congrats on starting back to fitness -- it's the BEST thing that you do for youself! :D

I second Susan's suggestion about reading through the stickies ... lots of good stuff there. :)

As for reps, my opinion is to start with sets of 12-15 reps. The weight you pick should be 'challenging' somewhere in the 12-15 rep range. If you only can do 6 reps at a certain weight, you know to drop it on the next set. If you can breeze through 15 reps and keep going, you know to pick a higher weight next set. It's trial and error in the beginning and it can be helpful to carry a little notebook around with you to keep track of things like weight and seat settings.

I'd start with a 2-0-2 tempo, which simply means a controlled two seconds up, no pause, and a controlled two seconds down. Ignore the morons throwing the weights around - they're generally using momentum to lift too much weight with bad form and are risking injury to themselves and the others ariound them. Remember: you always control the weight -- never let the weight control you.

Let us know how you're doing!

01-13-2006, 04:49 PM
Thank you ladies! I've been reading the stickies and, wow what a great amount of info. :)

Susan - Thank you, my Dad somehow came up with my name. It beats the one my Mom had picked out.

I had so much fun today and I did feel awkward because of my size, but I'll get over that soon enough.

01-13-2006, 06:00 PM
I was lifting weights at 262lb, and my gym has an enormous mirror right in front of the free weights area, which is in the body of the main gym. Try hiding in a corner when your as big as a baby elephant!

Apart from that Meg said everything I was gonna say and better! Just one tip about breathing, breathe out as you lift and in as you go down, really concentrate on your breathing. My final tip is really visualise the muscle (if your not an anatomy student even look up the muscles on the web or in an anatomy book) it makes a huge difference, in my opinion, otherwise you can be lulled into just following the motion but not really achieving anything.

01-13-2006, 06:06 PM
I would say 8-12 and hard to get to 8....when you can get to 12 pretty easy then up your weight

01-13-2006, 06:13 PM
Kykaree - One entire wall is all mirrors. :( There's nowhere to hide. :D

Great advice on the breathing. I work in the college bookstore and did look up the muscular system in an A & P book. Talk about fascinating!

I can't wait to go back again. :D

01-13-2006, 09:14 PM
I would reccommend renting a weight lifting video or two. The Firm and Cathe Friedrich are just a few good choices. You can learn a lot about good form that way.

01-14-2006, 09:09 AM
Don't be intimidated by the mirrors - they are there so you can continually check your form. Proper form and posture is how you don't hurt yourself (I am adverse to pain). If you cannot keep your form, lift with a lower weight. My secret is to keep looking at my form (shoulders and head aligned, knees not bowed and over toes, not extending past them...) and not my face. i know it sounds silly, but it helps me. Also, be sure to keep you abs engaged even though you are lifting with your arms or seated or whatever - keep them active. Good luck. I am so happy for you. I don't care what age or shape, I admire you for getting up and getting yourself to the gym. Great job.