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View Full Version : Weightlifiting newbie - please help!



M Calavera
09-29-2004, 11:26 AM
Hi everyone!

Right, here's my problem. Just recently I've lost a lot of weight by combining eating healthily with doing more excercise. At the gym I've also started on free weights. The thing is, I've just realised I want a lean, defined and toned shape, and even wish to bulk up a little.

Now, here's where I get confused: What do I do first? Do I stick to cardio to try and lose all my excess fat first and only then even contemplate weightlifting to bulk up?
Or can you tone up and gain muscle at the same time?
Or Should I even forget toning and just start on a weightlifting routine?

Please help someone - I'd be most grateful for any advice.

Also, here's another small question. I've been doing crunches and other abs excercises for a long long time now, and I feel my abs muscles are very strong. However, I don't actually have a six pack or the definition of one because there's a lot of fat on my stomach. How can I get rid of this excess fat? Is there even a way to get rid of it? Please help out here.

Laurie
09-29-2004, 06:34 PM
BuffCat's sticky has the best advice.

But to answer your question. Dont wait to lift...do it now. You build strength, get "toned" (awful word for building "muscle") and lose that excess all at the same time. "Toning" is just an advertising buzzword for Weightlifting...period.

Lifting forces your body to work harder to burn more calories than just cardio alone.

I had been lifting for two years now when I turned 50 (just turned 53). Started with a college women's strength class for a year after I found I like lifting. Got an Olympic bench and have been working out at home. Went from 245 to 175lbs, in that first year, with a 5'6" largeboned frame. Dropped several inches/pant sizes while building muscle, getting my flexibility back and more.

Never did any cardio. Just lifted three days aweek, 3-4 sets of 12 reps at first with moderately heavy weights for a hour. Later, as my strength built up, lowered my reps while lifting higher weights. Now, at home, it is lifting at least two times a week to keep what I have gained in strength. Built up some muscle over those two years but wearing clothes I have not been able to wear since before marriage, two kids by ceasearean and not eating right 32 years ago.

By the way, it was my husband who found/bought the Olympic bench, bar and plates at the end of my first semester. He likes the changes.

M Calavera
09-30-2004, 02:51 AM
I'm assuming that's another user on here... anyhowz, I'll take a look around...

Thank you so much for your advice! See, that's what I thought - that you could do it all at the same time - but I really wasn't sure. I think I'll need to stick with the cardio to get rid of some more body fat around my stomach, some on my arms etc. I've started with small weights but I'm doing 3-5 sets of 15 reps each. Whenever that becomes too easy I'll move up.

Your story was very inspiring - it's self testimonies like those that really motivate me and make me want to get started. So thank you. :)

Laurie
09-30-2004, 05:03 AM
http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=290201

Read this and you will get loads of good advice on both trainng and nutrition.

As for your 3-5 sets....what are you lifting? 15 reps puts you in cardio and 5 sets is too much. Strength is built up with 8 to 10 reps at 3-4 sets. Once you are able to complete the the final set in good form, move up 5lbs (if you are using dbls.)

The classes, I went to, had mostly older women who were there for a variety of reasons. We all started out with 3-5lbs dbls for bicep curls (for example) and 10lb dbls for bentover rows/flyes. We were started out on chest press, shoulder press and leg press Universal machines for easing us in and safety reasons. I carry my fat up in my shoulders/back and stomach rather than in my hips/thighs and butt. Classic "H" shape rather than a "hourglass". I had been as heavy as 260lbs for several years while the kids were growing up. After menopause in my early 40s, I drifted down to 245.

By the second week, I found these lower weights way too light. So the instructor had me use 10lbs for curls and 20lbs for bentover rows seeing I was naturally strong and figured I could do this. Went quickly upward and by the end of the first semester, I began using the bench for chest presses as I was dissatisfied with the progress with the machines. Mostly because my left arm was weaker than my right (normal..one side is stronger than the other) and was compensating pushing up the bar. Doing dbl bench chest presses helped strengthen the support muscles of my weaker left. Then went to using the Olympic bar and plates (the bar alone is 45lbs).

By the second semester, I went from using the leg press to doing squats. Or trying as I could not get to parallel at first. I have long legs for my height (and long arms) and kept raising my heels. Found a site showing how to do Box squats and that broke my heel raising problems. At home, this is what I do most for "leg day" although my bench does have a leg raise/hamstring curl attachment. Squats are an excellent compound exercise along with chest presses.

I found doing reverse crunches hurt my lower back too much....have some arthritis there. The class gym did have a Nautilus ab machine and used it instead and doing Lat pulldowns/other back exercises did strengthen the support muscles there. No more pain anymore. At home, I still do not do reverse crunches but the other back exercises keep the muscles in shape. My abs are a mess with having had both traditional and bikini cut ceasareans. But all the exercises have made them stronger overall.

At my height/bonestructure, I am supposed to be 135 but I just do not see myself that "thin". Just before was married I was 165 and, although considered "hefty", was in good shape from riding a 10 speed all over San Diego and to college. This at a time when "Twiggy" was the model and lithesome "hippy girls"....and heaven forbid if we ever thought about poking our heads in a weightlifting gym. Sorry, but we "farmstock" types were just out of luck trying to get to those sizes without looking like boneracks in our minds. So glad all those old "Female myths/lifting weights" has gone by the wayside.

Right now, I do sulpinating bicep curls with 25lbs for 8 reps and 35 for 2. Flyes are done with 30lbs. Flat benchpress with 125lbs and Incline with 105. Have gone as high as 275 with the squat in class but 225 at home (warmup with 135) These have been consistant for some time now. Some would say "plateau" but in the long run, these do help me stay in shape. I am not looking to Bodybuild but just to keep my gains while keeping my fat down. I live in a very rural area and raise some farm animals when not helping my husband by decorating the traditional handforged historical weaponry he makes (swords, daggers and other edged weaponry). We are history reenactors as a hobby.

At 175, as said, I am wearing clothes sizes now I wore back before marriage....with the extra being more muscle gained from lifting. I have better health, flexibility back and live with myself. At an age where I dont give a dang what others think. I just do not what to go hobbling around in my old age like so many "snowbirds" I see with age related injuries, no exercise and bad eating habits.

moody_weasel
09-30-2004, 11:25 AM
Now, here's where I get confused: Do I stick to cardio to try and lose all my excess fat first and only then even contemplate weightlifting to bulk up?
Or can you tone up and gain muscle at the same time?
Or Should I even forget toning and just start on a weightlifting routine?
Also, here's another small question. I've been doing crunches and other abs excercises for a long long time now, and I feel my abs muscles are very strong. However, I don't actually have a six pack or the definition of one because there's a lot of fat on my stomach. How can I get rid of this excess fat? Is there even a way to get rid of it? Please help out here.


Question 1: You can lose excess fat first by weightlifting. You can also do cardio but limit it to 2 to 3 times a week. Lifting helps you build muscle, muscle burn more calories. Read BuffedWildCats guidelines on the "newbie with questions"-thread on the diet and nutrition forum (check Laurie's link!) then you'll find a lot of good information.
If you're already in OK shape you could do HIIT (high intensity interval training), nothing burns fat better than that, although, diet is key, even with HIIT.

Question 2: You can lose weight and build muscle at the same time if you're a newbie and then only for a short time i.e. maybe 6 months.

Question 3: Lift weights!!! :)

Question 4 (abs): you're only going to see your ab muscles if your body fat is low enough. All the ab exercises in the world do nothing if your abs are covered with a layer of fat.

To sum it up: I suggest you keep working with free weights and lose some more bodyfat before you start bulking seriously. Bulking up is hard for women so expect to gain some fat along with muscle. If your bodyfat is low (i.e. you can at least see some of your ab muscles) that's a good time to start bulking. Don't try to bulk while your body fat is too high. It may only lead to frustration.