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Old 03-28-2012, 06:38 AM   #1
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Talking Feather weight-lifters!

Ha Feathers,

I know a few of you are good with weightlifting and I am gonna start with it as of today. I think a lot of feathers are scared to lift because it just seems like something women/small women don't do. Atleast, that's what it feels like for me.

I am super 'weak' due to having had health issues when I was 16 and never exercising since. I picked up exercise last summer and am getting in better shape, but my body needs some muscle. I notice with running and with core exercises how weak I still am.

I've read a lot of stuff so far, and I feel like I should perfectly understand WHICH muscles I am stimulating and why before I pick up a dumbbell. I am reading the "Dumbbell training for strength and fitness" from matt brzycki. I like how he explains everything. I don't wanna lift in the gym and we have dumbbell equipment at home, so it's perfect for me.

Few things I am wondering about is:
- Can you see results while you are eating at a calorie deficit?
- How long did it take for you to see results?
- How much did you lift in the beginning and how much did you progress?
- Brzycki says you should lift at a weight where you only barely can reach the end of each rep. Did you do this?
- Any other tips you have for a beginner?

Hope we can chat away about lifting here! Would love to hear how you girls are doing and obviously I want to report back with a report on my amazing new found abilities in a few days :P
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Old 03-28-2012, 08:15 AM   #2
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Philana, glad to see you're looking into lifting

When you're eating at a deficit, the lifting will help you maintain the muscle you already have. You'll lose the fat like you want to while keeping the muscle.

I started lifting before I started eating healthier, and even though I was obese I did see results fairly quickly. I remember my clothes fitting differently and having to go down a size. When I started eating better and lifting heavier I saw even better results. Now I'm trying to eat at a surplus while weight training. I've pretty much just maintained my weight (not quite officially, haven't officially weighed yet but I have peeked during the day) but I have lost a half inch off my hips and waist and a full inch off my underbust. My stomach is getting flatter when previously NOTHING was working.

I started out really small in the beginning, just 5lb hand weights and lifting about 30lbs with the dumbbells. I slowly got that up to 10lb hand weights and 40lbs with the dumbbells. In the fall I got serious and I've slowly been increasing the weight I lift each week. Right now I can lift 20lb hand weights (and I probably need to go higher) and the amount with the dumbbells varies with the exercise. Deadlifting I can get to 100lbs (and I'm so psyched I'm so close to deadlifting my own bodyweight!). I can squat 85lbs and lift 70lbs. I'll see if I'm stronger this week.

You should lift where you can barely finish the set. If you can finish it easily then it is too light for you!

Just don't be afraid and/or second guess yourself If something feels too easy, challenge yourself and go higher!

Getting stronger feels amazing. I'm tiny so I blow people away with how much I can lift and even do outside of the gym. Even yesterday I was able to adjust one of the seats on the spin bikes at the gym. One of the men had rode the bike and tightened the handle a lot, the other women couldn't adjust it, they asked me and I turned it effortlessly! They were totally shocked!

Last edited by sontaikle : 03-28-2012 at 08:18 AM.
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Old 03-28-2012, 08:20 AM   #3
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Lifting made a huge difference inch wise for me as well.
Now that I'm down to such a small amount left to lose I'm really focusing on strength gains. If I don't have something to work towards I can lose momentum.
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Old 03-28-2012, 08:57 AM   #4
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I am whit you , I am going to star WL as today too. So good luck to you too.
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:22 AM   #5
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I need to start lifting too, I don't think it's my weight I mind so much as my flab factor and knowing I will just dangle helplessly if a pullup bar is placed in front of me.

How do you get over the embarrassment factor? I don't have a gym membership and the other day I almost died doing 3 pushups.
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:45 AM   #6
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sontaikle: thank you so much for your advice and inspiration. You are so awesome! Hope to be like you someday with the weights

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Originally Posted by krampus View Post

How do you get over the embarrassment factor? I don't have a gym membership and the other day I almost died doing 3 pushups.
You managed to do 3? You are my hero! LOL. I can't even do one. But seriously, my few attempts at weights were at the gym and though my gym-instructor was supportive, after all my warnings that I am very weak he said he'd put on a low weight and then what he did, I could not do so he had to go lower still. So yeh, I feel like a real idiot.

I did my first routine today and I have decided to just go with it the same way I approached running. One tiny step at a time. The first time running I couldnt even get to the end of my street. Now I run 10k. So yeh, some parts of the routine (like wallsit and lunges and crunches) I just did without the dumbbells because I just couldnt do it with. But I figure if I just stick with it eventually I can use weights!

It just sucks that my body is so weak. I was very ill when I was 16 and haven't done any sports ever because of it. Up until I started running I couldn't even comfortably stand for an hour or longer. Now I am feeling stronger because of the cardio, and I just can't even imagine what strength training will change in my body!

So yay. I will just stay positive! LOL.
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Old 03-28-2012, 01:18 PM   #7
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Philana - yay, congrats on getting started on weight lifting!! I really enjoy it, I started about 6 weeks ago. I'm doing New Rules of Lifting for Women and enjoying it. I haven't lost any weight but I'm down an inch around my waist and hips. I also feel like I look a little better.

I still feel a little embarrassed going into the weight room so I try and go when it's not busy. I don't know whether the guys are laughing at me or not, but I try not to worry about it.

I haven't been doing it very long but hand weights I started with 8lbs and I'm up to 12lbs. For lunges and squats I started with just bodyweight and I'm slowly moving up. I have had several knee injuries and I broke my foot over the break so my balance isn't good so I'm just trying to regain strength.
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Old 03-28-2012, 02:25 PM   #8
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OMG I AM HUNGRY!
I ate plenty already but I am sooo hungry. This is crazy. I should have planned the eating around my workout a bit better. Don't have any protein-boosts around the house right now. I am gonna just die. LOL.

This is the weirdest thing ever. I've had plenty of days with 1000 calorie burns this week and not be this hungry. Help?
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Old 03-28-2012, 02:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philana View Post
- Can you see results while you are eating at a calorie deficit?
Heck yeah! As mentioned above, resistance training is one of the only tools in our toolbox that helps with muscle preservation while dieting. A lot of people wind up reaching their "goal weigh" dissatisfied with the reflection staring back at them in the mirror, and one of the primary reasons this tends to happen is focusing on weight over body composition.

Quote:
- How long did it take for you to see results?
As a novice to resistance training, you're very lucky. Lucky because you'll be able to experience the fastest rate of progress. One way of thinking about it is - the less adapted your body is to resistance training, the higher the rate of progress will be.

I train people for a living and without fail, all of my clients realize "strength gains" within the first two weeks. I put strength in quotations because the actual gain in strength is triggered from a lot of variables... improved coordination of exercises, improved nervous system output which essentially triggers muscle contraction, etc.

In terms of visible improvements, it really depends. People carrying less fat tend to see the results faster, which makes sense given the fact that subcutaneous fat resides below the skin and on top of the muscles. So the more of it you have, the less you're going to notice changes in muscle volume.

My relatively thin clients will often see results in the first month. Just keep in mind that muscle growth happens much slower than fat loss. Given the fact that you're eating a calorie deficit, that merely compounds this fact.

Quote:
- How much did you lift in the beginning and how much did you progress?
Just my two cents here, but I would err on the side of overly conservative. How much you're lifting in the beginning isn't anywhere near as important as how you're lifting. Quality vs. quantity.

Many of the exercises will be new to you, so using solely your body weight or very light loads that allow for 15-20 reps is important. Movement quality is like the foundation of a house. If you go throwing lots of weight at a foundation that lacks movement quality... it'll eventually crumble.

Learn the movements. And when you're 100% comfortable with them, start increasing the load by small increments (5-10 lbs) until you find weights that keep you in the rep range you're shooting for.

Most people's goals will put them in the 5-12 rep range, but in all honesty, it depends.

Quote:
- Brzycki says you should lift at a weight where you only barely can reach the end of each rep. Did you do this?
Working hard is definitely important. But I wouldn't make that recommendation to a beginner ever for a variety of reasons - some of which I mentioned above.

Let's put it this way...

In the research we'll see where people who have been sedentary for a long time actually gain muscle in their legs in response to a structured walking program. Most wouldn't think of walking as an exercise that elicits muscle growth. But the point is, novel stresses can do all sorts of neat things.

So again, be conservative and worry more about form than you do about load in the beginning. When the time is right, maybe a month or so down the road, you can emphasize the loads you're using. And don't get me wrong, load will eventually be very important... arguably the most important variable.
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Old 03-28-2012, 03:19 PM   #10
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Read what I said in my above post about quality before quantity. What I'm referring to there is form. You need to have a very solid base of movement quality (form) before you go throwing progressively heavier loads around.

Weights on top of poor movement quality only stand to magnify the poorness.

Exercise form is, in a way, like any other habit. If you learn the habit incorrectly in the beginning, it's going to be very hard to correct down the road. This has to do with something referred to as motor pattern learning. Essentially your brain "molds" itself in ways that are specific to what you're doing. And once it's "molded," it becomes very hard to change.

Which is why it's so important to get form right from the outset. Thus, be conservative with your loads in the beginning.

I find a lot of people are way too overzealous and think I need to "kill my muscles" with loads that are far more than they're either ready for or far more than they need and they wind up overtrained, injured, etc.

What's funny, if you came into my gym and witnessed me training one of my clients who has been working with me for a while, you'd think, "Wow, she's lifting a lot of weight."

But those weights have been built on top of a lot of movement quality work.

Make sense?
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Old 03-28-2012, 06:06 PM   #11
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It's certainly challenging. The good news is once you have those movement patterns grooved, things will be a lot easier.

I'll also add that on other forums it's common to have people post links of their exercise form. They'll actually film themselves, upload the video to youtube or something, and then post it on the forum for critique. It actually works out pretty well.

That said, I know some people hate the thought of putting themselves out there like that. I always offer that you can upload the video to youtube and set it to unlisted or private so that only people with the link can see it. Heck, I'd be open to critiquing it if you weren't comfortable posting it on the forum... just private message it to me or whatever.

Maybe posting exercise form check vids is commonplace around here too... I don't know. I'm brand new here.

Just a thought.
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Old 03-28-2012, 06:19 PM   #12
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Few things I am wondering about is:
- Can you see results while you are eating at a calorie deficit?
For sure. As you cut the fat you'll actually see MORE results. I gained a lot of muscle over the winter eating at a surplus and lifting heavy. My weight didn't really change but I know I was eating beyond my BMR a lot of days. Now that I'm eating in deficit I'm seeing a lot more definition forming.
- How long did it take for you to see results?
Be patient. I've been at it, this time, since last June? I can't remember... it's been a while. I didn't notice anything but soreness for several months and then suddenly I realized parts of my body were hard, that had been squishy before! Now I can see definition in my arms, legs, and abs. It becomes more obvious every day it seems, now!
- How much did you lift in the beginning and how much did you progress? I was lifting prior to June but very light weights. I took weight training classes in High School and College so I have a pretty good idea of what I'm doing. I lift pretty heavy now. It's been a progression. Upping my weights a little each month. I definitely agree that you should have a trainer show you proper form or post on some of the bodybuilding forums to get advice. It could mean the difference between good results and major injury.
- Brzycki says you should lift at a weight where you only barely can reach the end of each rep. Did you do this? I max out my weights about once a month. During a regular workout I lift what I can do 3 sets of 8 with before reaching fatigue. When I max out I keep increasing until I reach failure. I wouldn't recommend doing this too often, you definitely feel it the next day!
- Any other tips you have for a beginner? Don't be afraid to try new things! Spend some time watching videos of people lifting with correct form. Also, free weights are soooo much better than the machines. Lifting a barbell above your head activates all your stabilizing muscles. Doing the shoulder press machine only works your shoulders. There is no comparison! Edit* BREATHE! Maybe this is just me. But a couple months ago one of the big muscle bound guys walked up to me and said "you're doing such a great job but you're holding your breath!!! Breathe!, Make some noise!!!" Weight lifting isn't always pretty, but holding back will only make it harder on you. I have to remind myself to breathe with each rep. It does make a gigantic difference in the amount I'm able to lift!

You'll love it!
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Old 03-29-2012, 09:34 AM   #13
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God.

I've been postponing starting weight for months.

And now even this thread is haunting me!

I really gotta start this up... with bodyweight stuff first, I'm sooo weak, it's shameful.
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Old 03-29-2012, 10:53 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philana View Post
I am super 'weak' due to having had health issues when I was 16 and never exercising since. I picked up exercise last summer and am getting in better shape, but my body needs some muscle. I notice with running and with core exercises how weak I still am.
When I started strength training, I was also very weak (I didn't exercise until age 28, haha). Pushups from my knees were hard. Now I'm strong as crap. I can bang out a bunch of clapping pushups, and a chinup, and other awesome things. It takes time, but it will happen.

Quote:
- Can you see results while you are eating at a calorie deficit?
Yes, though I see the best results when I am eating at a small deficit or eating at maintenance.
Quote:
- How long did it take for you to see results?
I started getting stronger / lifting more right away. In terms of seeing it physically on your body, I'll just say, give it time. Don't give up. If you don't see results right away, you will after a while. I was sometimes disappointed with the speed of results, but now, ~21 months later (and about 12 months after I started lifting heavier / training harder), the difference is huge. And looking back, the time flew by.
Quote:
- How much did you lift in the beginning and how much did you progress?
For the first 6 months or so, I did the machines at the gym and did videos at home, of the low-weight-high-rep variety. I saw some progress, but I wasn't entirely happy, and I certainly couldn't do pushups or anything like that. The next 3 months, I started to do more free weight work & body weight work. Then for the last year I've been doing heavy lifting with free weights & body weight stuff too, with more focus & structure. My progress has exploded! And it's so fun now. I LOVE my lifting days. (Honestly, it wasn't much fun for me in the beginning. Stick it out. You may find you start to enjoy it more.)
Quote:
- Brzycki says you should lift at a weight where you only barely can reach the end of each rep. Did you do this?
I assume this means you can barely reach the last rep of each set? Yes, I generally did this (even when it meant 24 reps with a 5-pound dumbbell).
Quote:
- Any other tips you have for a beginner?
1) Do whatever you feel comfortable with. Yes, you'll get better results with free weights & going as heavy as you can. But I started out with machines and light weights, and it was helpful for me as a beginner, and it got me comfortable with strength training. When I started heavying up a year ago, I worked out at home for months. Now that I want to lift at the gym, so I have access to barbells and heavier dumbbells than I have at home, I'm comfortable doing so.
2) Stick with it, and try to see the long game in terms of body changes. Shifting my focus from "I want my body to look perfect right now" to "I want to get stronger / do a chinup / deadlift my bodyweight / etc" has been helpful for me; when I have a bad body image day, I just say, well, my body does awesome stuff, so, who cares...

PS GO YOU!!!

Last edited by sumire : 03-29-2012 at 10:57 AM.
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Old 03-29-2012, 10:57 AM   #15
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For those of you lamenting that you're weak, don't fret! It takes work to get up to lifting heavy but we all had to start somewhere. I remember struggling to lift 5lb weights and not even being able to do a pushup.

Just like when I began running I would struggle to run 100ft, let alone the 4 or 5 miles I can do without breaking a sweat now.

We all started somewhere. I know how scary it is to try something new and uncomfortable, but it's TOTALLY worth it. I'm sore from my weight training last night but IT FEELS AWESOME
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