Hmmmm, I could probably jump in on this.
Out of curiosity, what's your shift pattern at work? (eg. 10 on 8 off, 7 on 4 off, etc.)
To start off, I can explain a few of the terms that people throw around, when talking about fitness;
flexibility and stretching
anything that makes your heart beat fast/hard
endurance activity (such as marathon racing, or lifting weights with high repetition patterns) - sometimes inaccurately referred to as 'cardio'
anything that requires your muscles to work hard enough to produce lactic acid (ie. what makes your muscles 'burn')
moving heavy stuff (often weight lifting)
High Intensity Training (related to HIIT:
High Intensity Interval Training), which is working your a** off for a short period of time, sometimes repeating
heavy stuff you move, that's not attached to a machine/lever (eg. dumbbells + barbells)
repetitions - usually referring to how many times you move a heavy thing
a group of reps
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness - the 'suck' the day after you workout (ie. sore muscles)
an exercise that uses two or more groups of muscles
an exercise that is 'targeting' a specific group of muscles
There are loads more, but that should get you started, and help address a few terms you might see on the forums. You'll probably see these all in your 'New Rules of Lifting for Women'; the book will also have lots of different exercises for you to try.
A serious HIGH FIVE for asking about warm-ups right off the bat though - many people try to skip warming up, and their workouts suffer for it. The point of a warmup is to increase blood flow, to literally 'warm up' a muscle so it's slightly more elastic and able to move, and to help address any mobility issues (ie. if you're not flexible enough for certain movements) so you can move your muscle through it's full range of motion (ROM). There are general warmups (like I'm about to suggest) and then movement specific warmups- those are usually low-weight reps of the lift you're about to do when resistance training, and help 'prepare' your body for moving a bigger weight.
But for general warmup, my #1 choice is Sun Salutation.
It's a series of yoga positions that, if done properly and mindfully, will get things moving and stretch all the most common problem areas for the modern individual (ie. hip flexors, hamstring, ankles, wrists, glutes, shoulders, thoracic and even neck). I'm not a yoga expert, and so I'll recommend you do a google search for a video and/or diagrams on how to perform it properly. If you don't have a lot of time to spare, I really enjoy doing this first thing in the morning when I wake up (it really is a proper 'Sun Salutation'
). If you get in the habit of doing it everyday, it won't take you long to learn the poses, and it's an easy way to integrate a little more movement into your routine.
I'll also recommend trying foam rolling
- this is literally rolling around on a foam cylinder. It's also sometimes called self myofascial release, and it's effectively a cheaper less targeted version of getting a massage - it helps your muscles/tendons become a little more pliable, and long-term can in theory help dissolve some scar tissue that could be restricting movement. Again, 'cause I'm not an expert I'll just recommend you google it for yourself, and see what works for you.
For cool downs
, I'm very low tech - I just walk around for a bit
As for workouts themselves, obviously you'll be following your book's recommendations. But if you find yourself having to pick and choose exercises, because of time constraints, here's a few tidbits that might help.
There are two 'categories' of strength training that I like to think about, purely in terms of what they work on your body (there are hundreds of different KINDS of resistance work though). Pull
movements are anything that aim for the back of your body (back, back of shoulders/triceps, glutes/hips, hamstrings, calves, etc.). Push
movements are going for the front (chest, front of shoulders/biceps, abs, hips, quads, etc.). You need a balance of BOTH movements, otherwise you can screw up your body's alignment. Actually, many people are already misaligned, with a weaker back side of their body than the front (usually from hunching over a desk or computer). Personally, if I only have time to hit one side of my body for the day, I will usually choose pull over push, because I find it helps me move better. There's also the much more obvious division of upper and lower work - I'll assume that doesn't need any more explanation.
The push/pull argument is an over-simplification, because your body uses lots of different muscle groups whenever it moves - in particular, it's almost better to think of your lower body as 'quad dominant' vs 'hip dominant' movements, because there is such a blurry line of which movement works which bit.
If you're stuck for time, compound movements will give you the biggest bang for your buck
. So, if I could suggest a few exercises for each 'section' (again, google is your friend, or better yet a personal trainer to make sure you're doing these movements properly!)
Pull-ups/chin-ups (vertical, or parallel in relation to your body)
Rows (horizontal, or perpendicular in relation to your body)
Shoulder press (vertical)
Push-ups/bench press (horizontal)
(or Hip dominant)
Deadlift (also acts as an upper pull)
Hip Thrusts (pretty much the most awesome exercise ever, to work your bum)
(or Quad dominant)
Squats (also works your bum at the bottom of the squat)
Lunges (also works hamstring/glutes a bit)
All of these can be done with dumbbells or barbells - I prefer dumbbells because it means I have to pay attention to both sides of my body.
Or just with bodyweight, or with bands, or wine bottles, or whatever you have lying around. Just moving your body to begin with is a great step in the right direction.
An important thing to keep in mind whenever you try to move something heavy (either in weight lifting or real life), is to 'engage your core'
. Your core is referring to the middle muscles in your body (tummy, back, abs, lower/mid lats, obliques, etc.) that protect and stabilize your spine and internal organs. Pretty much, you want to make sure that your spine is aligned properly, and you should help it out by tensing the muscles around it. By the same token, you don't want to push your organs into funny positions, so you should also tense the muscles keeping those safe. Core targeting exercises are usually planks, sit-ups/crunches (don't do these, by the way - they're horrible for your back if you're not super careful), medicine ball chops, v-sit, etc. Many women overdo core work, thinking that it will make their tummies smaller - it doesn't. Actually, if you overtrain your core you can end up building muscles that will make your waist wider, not smaller. Compound free weight movements naturally engage your core muscles
by virtue of having to stabilize your body in order to leverage the weight. Personally, I think that if you can hold front/side planks for at least 60seconds each, you can probably hold off on specific core exercises until you get a little more advanced in your training - but that's just me. I just don't think it's worth the time, when you're first getting into strength training for weight loss.
I will finally mention that I have a bias towards working glute muscles (your bum). Not only is it a nice idea to think that you're making your bum look nicer, but glute work tends to offer significant transference to any athletic activity you choose to take up. Plus, most people spend hours a day sitting on their a** - it needs a bit of extra attention. Hip thrusts, reverse back extensions, glute-ham raises, band-resisted hip abduction, kettlebell swings, step ups, etc. They are all surprisingly satisfying, easy to make fast progress on, and with the exception of the kettlebell swing, don't have complicated form (ie. they are easy to learn, and harder to screw up).
Sprints are also awesome -especially if they're uphill or up stairs. Sprints help with force development which leads to muscle recruitment (your muscles get more efficient, and can work harder), plus it causes way less wear and tear on your joints than running for long periods of time. Also 4-7 sets of 30seconds of sprinting matches jogging for 30minutes, in metabolism increase and improvement in cardiovascular health, as well as lung capacity. Let me repeat that: sprinting several times(4-7) for 30s each, is just as good as jogging for half an hour
. I can't comment on the calorie expenditure, because that's pretty dependent on the gait and the individual. But if you're short on time, sprints are pretty much the bomb
*sigh* This is turning into a thing, me writing essays like I actually know what I'm talking about. If you're curious about set/rep patterns, or how muscle building works, there's another thread, started by alaskanlaughter titled 'Muscle Questions' in the resistance training forum where a few of us are chatting about it. I hope this helps, and I wish you the very best for your weight loss journey.
DISCLAIMER: I'm not a doctor, dietition, fitness professional, etc. I just read too much, and apparently like to share.
Please do your own research, and make educated decisions about your diet/fitness plans. And check with a doctor before starting a new exercise routine?