Exercise! Love it or hate it, let's motivate each other to just DO IT!

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Old 07-27-2011, 06:21 PM   #1  
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Default Strength Training/Toning Woes.

So by next month, I will be back at college. Which means I have access to a gym!

That gym is where I lost the majority of my weight at so far. I lost weight rapidly, and I have excess skin. I still want to lose weight, but I would like to tone up as well. I hate all this flab >:/

My problem is, now I'm nervous and I don't know what to believe. The Eating Disorder program I was in gave me three free sessions with a personal trainer the last 3 weeks of school, and she recommended me use a lot of those machines (like the abductor/aductor is an example). But then the sticky of "useless workouts" (or whatever it was called) listed half of the things I did.

I'm so flustered. If those machines don't work, then what will? I just want my excess flab to go away But I don't want to waste time doing things either.

So can anyone please give me some strength training/toning exercises I could do? Ones that have helped you? And the amount of reps? I appreciate it SO much!

Last edited by ZebraBri; 07-27-2011 at 06:23 PM.
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Old 07-27-2011, 07:15 PM   #2  
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My trainer (I worked with him for a year, and I had great results) suggested free weights instead of machines. He started me on machines for a few weeks so I could learn the movements, but using free weights requires more of your muscles because a machine isn't doing any of the work for you. You can usually do a free weight version of most machine exercises (bench press, shoulder press, etc.). There are some, of course, that you can't use free weights for like a leg press. My trainer still had me do the adductor/abductor on occasion, but he also acknowledged that these were two of the least beneficial machines, and I wasn't using them for "spot reduction".

Is there a different trainer you could work with? Even if you have to pay for a couple visits, it might be worth it to start you out, and then maybe visit them every two months after that for a workout revamp.

Toning does help a lot. Before I had my baby, I lost 70 lbs., and I had very little trouble with excess skin except a little in my upper arms. Every body is different, of course, but I really do think weights helped a LOT.
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:03 PM   #3  
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My personal opinion is that if a trainer is telling you to use machines then they aren't a very good trainer. The good news is that there are resources for effective weight training.

This website is a good one:
http://www.stumptuous.com/category/s...eight_training

Also, The New Rules of Lifting for Women is a good book with a 6 month program to follow.
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:09 PM   #4  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tkdtara84 View Post
You can usually do a free weight version of most machine exercises (bench press, shoulder press, etc.). There are some, of course, that you can't use free weights for like a leg press. My trainer still had me do the adductor/abductor on occasion, but he also acknowledged that these were two of the least beneficial machines, and I wasn't using them for "spot reduction".
Squats and lunges are a better option than a leg press. In fact, women shouldn't really be using the leg press as it emphasizes our quads which are usually overdeveloped already. Hamstrings on the other hand are underdeveloped and are worked through squats and deadlifts.
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Old 07-28-2011, 01:20 AM   #5  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nelie View Post
My personal opinion is that if a trainer is telling you to use machines then they aren't a very good trainer. The good news is that there are resources for effective weight training.

This website is a good one:
http://www.stumptuous.com/category/s...eight_training

Also, The New Rules of Lifting for Women is a good book with a 6 month program to follow.
Thanks for the site! And it's a student trainer, so that might explain it haha.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tkdtara84 View Post
My trainer (I worked with him for a year, and I had great results) suggested free weights instead of machines. He started me on machines for a few weeks so I could learn the movements, but using free weights requires more of your muscles because a machine isn't doing any of the work for you. You can usually do a free weight version of most machine exercises (bench press, shoulder press, etc.). There are some, of course, that you can't use free weights for like a leg press. My trainer still had me do the adductor/abductor on occasion, but he also acknowledged that these were two of the least beneficial machines, and I wasn't using them for "spot reduction".

Is there a different trainer you could work with? Even if you have to pay for a couple visits, it might be worth it to start you out, and then maybe visit them every two months after that for a workout revamp.

Toning does help a lot. Before I had my baby, I lost 70 lbs., and I had very little trouble with excess skin except a little in my upper arms. Every body is different, of course, but I really do think weights helped a LOT.

Can you give me an example of some free weight exercises? And congrats on your baby


Also, does anybody know if crunch machines work? I usually use them or don't do them at all, because they hurt my upper back and neck. Or is it a pain you have to get over?
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Old 07-28-2011, 01:57 AM   #6  
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Don't use the machines--especially the crunch machines! Use a ball, do squats, lunges, deadlifts, do presses with dumbbells, work towards push ups. I cannot imagine the trainer who orders you to do the hip ab/aductor machine! I agree with Nelie--it's madness! (There's also something really counter-intuitive about doing all your leg exercises while sitting down...Legs are for standing on!)

I want to second the "New Rules of Lifting for Women" book. The program has you doing full body exercises 2 or 3 or 4 times per week and it has explanations of the exercises, an exact guide to how many reps and sets you should do each day. Plus, it's really fun to do!
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Old 07-31-2011, 06:03 PM   #7  
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Thank you all so much for the feedback.

This is probably going to be an annoying question, but what's the purpose of the exercise machines if they should be avoided altogether? So they don't help at all?
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Old 07-31-2011, 07:13 PM   #8  
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In the gym world it isn't that they don't help.. just that free weights are much better. People are starting to realize that.

Another thing that's great for strength training is circuit training. There's quite a number of different circuit ideas out there. Try those or put one together that you like. For pure crazy ones check out bodyrocks.tv. INSANITY!!
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Old 07-31-2011, 07:33 PM   #9  
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As much as I respect the opinions of everyone here, I can't get on the "machines are worthless" bandwagon. Free weights might be better, but I've had great results with toning up while using the weight machines at our gym. Obviously lots of other people have too, which is why they keep using them. (If people weren't getting results, they wouldn't use the machines, and the gyms would stop buying new ones.)

I think the consensus here (from what I've read) is that free weights work more than one specific muscle, and they're a more natural way to exercise. You're working lots of muscles at once with free weights. Also, you have less chance of injury with free weights.

Since you're starting from scratch, you should do free weights. I've only ever used weight machines (Mom taught me), so I've been reluctant to completely up-end my workout routine. Good luck!
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Old 07-31-2011, 07:34 PM   #10  
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Quote:
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This is probably going to be an annoying question, but what's the purpose of the exercise machines if they should be avoided altogether? So they don't help at all?
Here is a sticky in the Weight & Resistance training forum to an article about weight machines:
http://www.3fatchicks.com/forum/weig...-machines.html

A book I'm reading had a similar discussion about weight machines but I can't find an excerpt online. Basically, the gym world used to belong to trainers who trained and fairly inexpensive free weights. Then machines were invented and marketed as being able to herd people through a series of machines in a short period of time and no trainer required. That way gyms could reduce costs by hiring minimally trained support staff and increase their user volume. Trainers could still be hired but even they could choose to stick their customers on machine if they wanted.

So what are the purpose of machines? To make gyms and manufacturers money. There are limited valid uses for machines, usually in physical therapy when there is a pronounced muscle weakness that needs to be strengthened in isolation.

I think in the past few years, we've heard a lot about 'core' work because we realized that machines often took the core out of weight lifting so you could lift various weights in isolation but the isolation took out important muscles and left them weak. Having a weak core increases your chance for injury but it is only one area that was neglected.

I also don't mean to be too harsh towards trainers who have clients that use machines. Personal training is a client based business so ultimately what the client wants, the client gets. A lot of women do feel intimidated by free weights but I do think that has somewhat to do with how gyms are set up these days. Anyway, personal trainers may have clients use machines if it means their client is happy. A good personal trainer though will introduce their clients to free weights.

There are gyms popping up and that have persisted for decades that don't have machines. They are usually small and tend not to advertise themselves. I belonged to one for the past year. I've also been looking at options lately and there are more of these gyms than I previously thought. Right now I'm back to working out at home but I think in the future, I'd join a gym without machines again vs one with them unless the gym has an awesome free weight section.
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Old 07-31-2011, 08:02 PM   #11  
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I've had great results with the abductor machine you are speaking about.
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