Weight and Resistance Training Boost weight loss, and look great!

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Old 06-22-2015, 01:46 AM   #1  
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Default How Much Time Lifting Weights

I am currently just a couple of pounds from reaching a normal weight range. I'm now at a point where I'm more concerned with body composition than weight loss. I still have way too high body fat (about 39%).

Currently, I am doing the following for exercise:

1. 3 days a week I do 30 minutes of strength training. Two sessions are with a personal trainer, the other by myself. This is a mix of machines/free weights. My left kneecap is bone on bone so I'm very limited in the leg exercises I can do (no squats, no lunges). Basically I can do leg press, leg curls, and step ups.

2. On the 3 days I do strength training I do 30 minutes on the elliptical.

3. On 3 non-strength training days, I do 60 minutes of treadmill or, occasionally, exercise bike. I walk on the treadmill not run (knee again).

I am about to finish out my first set of personal training sessions and am trying to figure out how much weight training to do in order to maximize working on my body fat composition. I need to lower my body fat, but also need to ideally build muscle (and certainly not lose any more).

I'm 61 so I'm not young, but I'm in good health (other than the knee).

Choices I see are:

1. Keep on with what I'm doing. The only negative is that I sometimes feel I don't get enough done in a 30 minute weight training session. That said, the sessions are pretty intense so I'm usually tired at the end of the session. If I did an hour session, I would need to rest more. Right now I do a circuit and don't rest between exercises, except walking from one exercise to another.

2. Switch to 3 sessions of one hour each. I would do one with the trainer and two on my own. That would allow me to do more exercises. I would probably not do the circuit any more since I would have more time to rest between sets. But, I would overall be able to do more.

3. Stick with 30 minute sessions but do 4 sessions a week. I would not do the whole body in a 30 minute session. I would half the body in one 30 minute session and then the other half on another day. This would mean working each body part only 2 times a week. But I would get to do more exercises.

Any idea which approach would work the best for my goals?
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Old 06-22-2015, 02:32 PM   #2  
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I cannot visualize your options.

But to lose fat, you need to do cardio and cut the calories.

To build muscle, you need to do strength training and eat lots of lean protein.

I would maximize your cardio and strength training but try to divide the sessions up. I find it hard to do strength and cardio in one session becuase it tires you out for the other. In other words, it's hard to max out the weights when you have just done 30 minutes of elliptical and vice versa.

So, I often do 60-90 minutes strength training in the morning with 30-40 minutes cardio before lunch.

Don't worry too much about taking plenty of rest during a long weights session. I try to lift as heavy as I can and often take 2-3 minute breaks between sets!
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Old 06-22-2015, 02:45 PM   #3  
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I'm definitely not an expert, but I tend to agree, it's definitely not about how long, it's how intense/heavy. Since you say you're tired, it sounds like any longer, then you might be playing with possible injury.

It sounds like it would be a really good idea for you to check out a book program to take with you to the gym and to have an idea why you're doing the exercises. I've completed New Rules for Lifting and have restarted it twice. I get so sore that I find light cardio or yoga or swimming laps in between days gives me amazing results if I lift just twice a week. Not just for building muscle, but weigh loss too

There are so many book choices out there, I bet you'll find one that you'll like. Hopefully someone can help you more than me

Last edited by HIheart; 06-22-2015 at 02:48 PM.
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Old 06-22-2015, 02:46 PM   #4  
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I highly recommend this book and way of weight training (and it talks about cardio too).

New Rules of Lifting for Life.
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Old 06-22-2015, 02:55 PM   #5  
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If you're working with a trainer, what does your trainer say?

I'd echo Ian. I think an important thing to consider is your diet alongside these workouts. You have to eat differently to build muscle versus losing fat (protein!). You may be putting the effort in your strength workouts, but if you don't feed your muscles, you won't reap the rewards quite as easily.

I'm not an expert by any means. At this point in my journey I only strength train once a week and focus on cardio. But based on my limited knowledge I do think it is much more complicated than the choices you laid out.
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Old 06-22-2015, 05:42 PM   #6  
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My diet is good, very happy with it. I've upped my protein so feel OK on that.

I do own the New Rules of Lifting for Women, but much of that is inapplicable for me due to limitations because of my knee.

I'm happy with the type of strength training I'm doing now (mix of free weights/machines). The only issue is how long each week to spend at it. I'm regularly increasing the weights that I use and know that I'm lifting as much as I can (8 to 12 reps - 3 sets).

As for cardio, I spend about 270 minutes a week on cardio. 90 minutes, elliptical, most of the rest treadmill but occasionally doing the exercise bike or videos. I'm happy with that also. I wear a heart rate monitor so I monitor the intensity and it is going well.

Basically what I'm wondering is whether 90 minutes a week strength training is enough or should I double it (3 days of 1 hour) or should I add another 30 sessions making it 120 minutes exercising each body part twice a week instead of 3 times a week?
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Old 06-22-2015, 07:42 PM   #7  
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imo, 210 minutes cardio a week is more than adequate i.e. 30 minutes a day.

You could even get this down to 180 minutes a week and take a rest day without noticing any difference in fitness.

So you could use the time difference to up the weight sessions. I probably do 300 minutes weights a week (5x60 minute sessions).

More sessions is better than longer ones imo also as it gives the body time to rest and recover.

Last edited by IanG; 06-22-2015 at 07:48 PM.
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Old 06-22-2015, 08:09 PM   #8  
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I actually think the ideal time for me for weights is about 45 minutes. But, that isn't available at the Y with a trainer. I can do 30 minutes or 45 minutes but not between.

Right now, I am sort of leaning to 4 sessions of 30 minutes for my next 6 weeks. I would work with the trainer for 2 sessions of 30 minutes. One session would do half the body, the other would do the other half. Then, I would do another 2 days of 30 minutes each on my own.

I do plan to talk to the trainer and get his thoughts, but just wondered about any insight I could get here.

Edit: I do take a rest day. Other than that, basically on non-weight lifting days I usually do 60 minutes of cardio. So 3 days I do 60 minutes of cardio. Then on the other 3 days I do a mix of cardio (usually elliptical) plus the strength training.

Last edited by Koshka; 06-22-2015 at 08:11 PM.
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Old 06-22-2015, 08:13 PM   #9  
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Sounds good. The only reason I take 60 minutes a session is I take bad ar$e breaks in between sets. You are clearly not doing that, which is great.
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Old 06-27-2015, 09:39 AM   #10  
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I am in and out in under and hour with my weight training sessions. I do 2 or 3 full body week. But I do squats and dead lifts. Do you wear knee braces when you work out? if not you should, I have a bad knee and can do a much greater range with my knee with it on.
Congrats on losing so much weight. It sounds like you need to build muscle more than anything at this point, you weight will naturally continue to drop if you focus on weights.
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Old 02-18-2019, 06:03 AM   #11  
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30 minutes a session for a beginner. You can work out longer with weights, but don't over-train the muscle, three exercises per muscle group is plenty (advanced). If you weight train for more than 60 minutes your probably doing one of two things, over-training or talking too much.
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Old 12-05-2020, 05:04 PM   #12  
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Beginners can improve their basic strength by performing two to three sessions per week, lasting about 20 to 30 minutes each. More experienced lifters can still benefit from a basic strength program but should aim for three to four sessions each week, lasting about 30 to 40 minutes. And that can be the best way
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