Ok, so I'm in kind of worst-case scenario situation.
I'm a former "fat athlete" - I've always been on the chubby side, but was very active through high school and into college, and off and on since then. Over the last couple years, however, I've been essentially inactive, especially on the lifting side of things. (Basically mentioning this to explain that I know how to lift and do it safely... but I'm practically a beginner as far as current lifting status).
So, with all sorts of excuses (I refuse to call them "reasons" - it's a matter of priority), I've been inactive and eating poorly over the last few years. I finally hit my wall and started making the proper changes that I know I should around the end of January, and I've been eating well, easing back into running/swimming (mixed with cardio machines when needed), and have dropped the first 15 pounds in the last month. I'm feeling good and ready to keep going (though I realize that the weight loss will/should slow down!)
I've been planning to add weight-training back in, but I've now got a big boost to get going on it. I'm getting married May 9, and discovered last night that I have a definite roll of back flab that bulges over my bra (though I spent most of the weekend finding the best-fitting, most smoothly/non-bulge-enhancing strapless bra I could get!). This is the area that will be exposed at/above the line of the dress, which means it's not something that can be adjusted by spanx or other shapewear stuff.
So, to get to the point - I've got 10 weeks until the wedding. I know that, while the layer of subcutaneous fat isn't going to magically disappear, building up the back muscles underneath can help smooth out that line and make things look better. And I'm coming across some claims that arm/shoulder muscles can make some real progress in a short time. But I'm just curious about real people's experiences - how long does/did it take you to see progress/definition, especially when first starting out?
Any specific tips on this area? I'm certainly not going to exclude the rest of my body when lifting, but I want to be sure to get the best back experience I can. My plans are to continue with the healthy habits I've started (moderate healthy eating, increasing "life" activity and alternating running/swimming in the mornings), but add weight-training, lifting "real" weights with good form (i.e. not the 3-pound dumbbell rows I came across on a "bridal workout" website), and making sure I get in rows and pulldowns in my upper-body days. I'm planning on a pretty standard approach - 3 sets of 8-12, working to fatigue, alternating upper/lower body days. Any other good upper-back lifts I'm not familiar with?
Any comments or suggestions at all? Can I make a visible difference in 10 weeks' time? Anything I should change/tweak?