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  1. #1
    Registered User Thatdarndragon's Avatar
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    38F, new to lifting! Newbie questions (Oh no!)

    So at 38 years old, I decided I needed to change my life. I've recently lost 35lbs doing keto diet and light exercises. Now I am stuck at my current weight and decided to kick it up a notch. or several notches.

    I've hired a Personal Trainer, and he threw me on the Barbells. I've never, ever touched barbells in my life (dumbells yes but not much). And wow, what a workout! And I am loving it. I wish I tried this out years ago- I never had the confidence to try until my PT trainer put me there. While I am still uncomfortable with my squat form (getting my PT to give me a recap and spot next time), lifting has become routine 3x a week for me.

    So the reason why I am posting.. I am probably reading too much into this stuff as there's so much info out there with conflicting info that gears mostly to men who's really looking to build, but help a gal out?

    I am on a mild-ish form of Keto, following Profile by Sanford diet with their shakes and Protein bars. I am planning on stopping their shakes and bars because it's just too expensive to continue with (if anyone has alternative shakes and bars, let me know!).

    I am reading that carbs are needed to build muscle. Muscle is good for weight loss.. clearly I am not looking to bulk up, I just want to drop 25 more lbs. Do I still need to eat carbs before lifting for maximum benefits, or continuing with a keto is alright? I feel like I do need carbs because either I am a newbie still and I don't want to hurt myself, or my muscles take too long to recover (it took 3 days for my legs to stop screaming at me to where I can walk comfortably), Right now I eat a the Profile protein bar about half an hour before I lift which does not have much carbs at all.

    Any advice for a newbie when it comes to eating for weight loss and muscle building? Should I put fruit back in my diet? Protein shakes a must-have (I like it for breakfast, its convenient at work)?

    please and thank you!
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  2. #2
    Registered User NearlyBigAngus's Avatar
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    Good on you for taking charge and making some changes.

    Worry less about carbs and keto - and focus more on calories in/out because that is what drives weight loss. The good news is that you can save all that money on shakes and bars because you don't need them!

    You need to get yourself into a moderate caloric deficit to lose weight - lift weights at the same time to hold on to as much muscle mass as possible (don't worry you won't blow up like the Hulk). Choose a beginners program that you like and stick with it.

    Have a read of the nutrition section stickies

    https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showt...hp?t=173439001

    https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showt...hp?t=136691851

    Then, if you haven't already head on over to My Fitness Pal and create a free account so you can log your meals and track your calories. If you haven't weighed and logged food before you might be in for a surprise!

    If you still have questions after reading those ask away...

    PS: You might want to edit your title - as a female on BB.com you're guaranteed a lot of attention, but with 38F in the title I can't imagine what your inbox will be like
    Last edited by NearlyBigAngus; 01-18-2020 at 11:19 AM.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Plateauplower's Avatar
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    Carbs are an individual thing. I use keto when I diet and don’t find that it has a negative effect on my training. You will adapt and the soreness from lifting sessions will go away. The best way to avoid being sore is hitting muscles 2X per week at least. Frequency reduces /eliminates DOMS. Sounds like you are starting off correctly with compound barbell lifts. Lots of info on here.
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    Registered User Thatdarndragon's Avatar
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    thank you both for the replies! I had a feeling I may be reading too much into the diet along with lifting. So the main thing is about calories (With healthy foods of course)? Much simpler than trying to do the math with fat, protein, carbs! Thanks to the Profile program, I've learned much healthier eating habits and I feel confident in that (after all, I did lose 35lbs without exercising much).

    I will check out those nutrition links! Thanks so much! I've gotten used to the keto diet (Without being 110% dedicated) that I don't feel the need to deviate much away from it unless I have to

    Cardio on my off-lifting days is OK, right? More of speed walking/light jogs for half an hour or so is okay, right?

    PS: RE: 38F bit- Bring on the single men! Gotta meet them somewhere!
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    Originally Posted by Thatdarndragon View Post
    thank you both for the replies! I had a feeling I may be reading too much into the diet along with lifting. So the main thing is about calories (With healthy foods of course)? Much simpler than trying to do the math with fat, protein, carbs! Thanks to the Profile program, I've learned much healthier eating habits and I feel confident in that (after all, I did lose 35lbs without exercising much).

    I will check out those nutrition links! Thanks so much! I've gotten used to the keto diet (Without being 110% dedicated) that I don't feel the need to deviate much away from it unless I have to

    Cardio on my off-lifting days is OK, right? More of speed walking/light jogs for half an hour or so is okay, right?

    PS: RE: 38F bit- Bring on the single men! Gotta meet them somewhere!
    “Healthy” foods don’t matter for weight loss - only net calories. They do matter for overall health, though, so eating lean protein (which also helps fill you up) and fruits and veggies helps you get the nutrients your body needs not to succumb to problems other than fat gain.

    Cardio is fine. Do too much of it and you’ll cause a bigger caloric deficit and lose muscle in addition to fat, but that’s unlikely to be a problem for most people trying to lose weight for the first time - if you start losing more than about a pound or two per week (I’d err towards the bottom of that) either do less cardio or eat more. Cardio is great for overall health as well.

    If you start doing HIIT it might impact your recoverability and impair lifting if done in excess, but what you’re describing is well within the safety margins.

    Good luck!
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  6. #6
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    In general, very light cardio is OK. It's more for peace of mind and active recovery than losing weight. Learning the lifts and gaining muscle should be priority. Also, switch from using the scale to using the mirror for measuring success. You can also use a tape measure. Take pictures once a month in same place with same lighting.

    Also, search hash tags on Instagram. Even the #powerlifting has more women than men posting amazing lifts. It can be very inspiring.
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  7. #7
    Focus on yourself kimm4's Avatar
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    If you been stuck at your weight your need take a closer look at your deficit. Adjust your calorie intake if needed and track everything accordingly. The longer we diet, the more we lose things start to get a bit more difficult and there's less room for error. Invest in cheap food scale to to weigh, measure and track everything going into your mouth. Use a wide variety of whole food sources you enjoy but understand no foods need to be off limits. Learn to enjoy anything in moderation and create a healthy balance. There's nothing wrong with carbs but if you choose not to have them that's fine too. Number of meals you choose to eat, times, etc...is a personal choice and makes no difference in the end result. Focus on hitting your daily calories and you're good to go.

    Hit your calorie deficit, stay consistent with your exercise and you'll continue making progress.

    Keep it simple because the basics work.
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  8. #8
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    Originally Posted by NearlyBigAngus View Post
    Good on you for taking charge and making some changes.

    Worry less about carbs and keto - and focus more on calories in/out because that is what drives weight loss. The good news is that you can save all that money on shakes and bars because you don't need them!

    You need to get yourself into a moderate caloric deficit to lose weight - lift weights at the same time to hold on to as much muscle mass as possible (don't worry you won't blow up like the Hulk). Choose a beginners program that you like and stick with it.

    Have a read of the nutrition section stickies

    https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showt...hp?t=173439001

    https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showt...hp?t=136691851

    Then, if you haven't already head on over to My Fitness Pal and create a free account so you can log your meals and track your calories. If you haven't weighed and logged food before you might be in for a surprise!

    If you still have questions after reading those ask away...

    PS: You might want to edit your title - as a female on BB.com you're guaranteed a lot of attention, but with 38F in the title I can't imagine what your inbox will be like
    This is great advice. I’ve helped my mom and her friends generally starting with the sparkpeople app rather than my fitness pal, you can put in your calorie and macro needs and they make daily meal plans, but you can switch things out and add recipes from the site, the most important thing is enough protein and fat to meet daily requirements but still be at a deficit. Also, cardio after your workouts or first thing when you wake up every day is totally fine, start with low impact like biking or walking at an incline in the treadmill, if you have a fair amount to lose weight wise you won’t lose much muscle cause your fat is much better fuel.
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  9. #9
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Thatdarndragon View Post
    thank you both for the replies! I had a feeling I may be reading too much into the diet along with lifting. So the main thing is about calories (With healthy foods of course)? Much simpler than trying to do the math with fat, protein, carbs! Thanks to the Profile program, I've learned much healthier eating habits and I feel confident in that (after all, I did lose 35lbs without exercising much).

    I will check out those nutrition links! Thanks so much! I've gotten used to the keto diet (Without being 110% dedicated) that I don't feel the need to deviate much away from it unless I have to

    Cardio on my off-lifting days is OK, right? More of speed walking/light jogs for half an hour or so is okay, right?

    PS: RE: 38F bit- Bring on the single men! Gotta meet them somewhere!
    If you enjoy keto, and it helps you stick to your calorie goals, then it's a good thing. There's nothing magical about it otherwise. Make sure you get adequate protein and micronutrients, and you're fine. Yes, the other forms of exercise are great. Kudos to your PT for introducing you to barbells. And squats. I'm usually suspicious of trainers that you pay at the gym, but it may be that you got a good one.

    Definitely include fresh fruit in your diet. Carbs or not, they're valuable for general health and nutrition. You don't need protein shakes, but if you like them and they're convenient, go for them.

    And like was said above, no matter how intensely or heavy you lift, you will not "bulk up." You'll be muscular for a woman, but I guarantee you it will look good on you.

    Sounds like you're off to a good start!
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  10. #10
    I love my power hour MrCarrot's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ElrondHubbard View Post
    And like was said above, no matter how intensely or heavy you lift, you will not "bulk up." You'll be muscular for a woman, but I guarantee you it will look good on you.
    Yep this is true. If it were that easy then every man would be walking around looking like The Incredible Hulk, but sadly gaining muscle is not an easy thing (whereas losing fat is).

    Whilst there's no such thing as "toning" muscle, I think the notion probably comes from someone losing fat and gaining small amounts of muscle, hence looking more toned.

    Also, unless you enjoy the protein bars and shakes, you don't need them and can replace them with real food if that's cheaper. I eat a protein bar every evening but only because I like chocolate!

    Oh and as someone else mentioned, take progress photos once a month (same location and lighting). It helps in months to come when you still think you look like sh*t, but then you look back at your early photos and realise you actually look great. Don't delay in doing this otherwise you'll lose the opportunity to have true "before" pictures.
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    Registered User Thatdarndragon's Avatar
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    thanks again everyone! I am not worrying so much about food after this, its more of calories in/out. And I am glad to hear shakes aren't required! I'll probably use it for breakfast at least since its easiest to do while at work.

    I have sparkpeople where I log my food. I should compare with myfitnesspal and see if that's better than spark.

    As of bulking up, I am not worried about looking like the she-hulk! lol. I want to look nicer. I am not aiming for the perfect bikini body, I Just want to get healthy an more confident about my body. A before photo is a good idea. I'll snap one today or tomorrow.

    If anyone still have advice, send my way!

    Like.. any advice on how to speed up muscle recovery? Lessen or shorten the pain?
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    Originally Posted by Thatdarndragon View Post
    thanks again everyone! I am not worrying so much about food after this, its more of calories in/out. And I am glad to hear shakes aren't required! I'll probably use it for breakfast at least since its easiest to do while at work.

    I have sparkpeople where I log my food. I should compare with myfitnesspal and see if that's better than spark.

    As of bulking up, I am not worried about looking like the she-hulk! lol. I want to look nicer. I am not aiming for the perfect bikini body, I Just want to get healthy an more confident about my body. A before photo is a good idea. I'll snap one today or tomorrow.

    If anyone still have advice, send my way!

    Like.. any advice on how to speed up muscle recovery? Lessen or shorten the pain?
    invest in a foam roller and YouTube how to use it, a tennis ball for shoulders and epsom salt baths can help. If your like me and have crappy joints and arthritis glucosamine supplement can help (works on dogs and cat too, fun fact)

    Also, seconding what everyone said, you will not look like she hulk/the women on the CrossFit games or bodybuilder. They are doing things on a totally different level.
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    Originally Posted by Thatdarndragon View Post
    Like.. any advice on how to speed up muscle recovery? Lessen or shorten the pain?
    Working out regularly and consistently will see to that - the first couple of times you do a movement you're likely to get delayed onset soreness the next day but your body adapts and gets less sore (unless you push yourself super hard). If you take a week off you will notice the soreness returns for the first couple of times when you re-start... then you get back to normal again.

    Eating enough protein and getting enough sleep are the key considerations to recovery time.
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    Originally Posted by MrCarrot View Post
    Yep this is true. If it were that easy then every man would be walking around looking like The Incredible Hulk, but sadly gaining muscle is not an easy thing (whereas losing fat is).

    Whilst there's no such thing as "toning" muscle, I think the notion probably comes from someone losing fat and gaining small amounts of muscle, hence looking more toned.

    Also, unless you enjoy the protein bars and shakes, you don't need them and can replace them with real food if that's cheaper. I eat a protein bar every evening but only because I like chocolate!

    Oh and as someone else mentioned, take progress photos once a month (same location and lighting). It helps in months to come when you still think you look like sh*t, but then you look back at your early photos and realise you actually look great. Don't delay in doing this otherwise you'll lose the opportunity to have true "before" pictures.
    This last piece of advice is absolutely spot on. My wife tends to get discouraged at times when she's not feeling as well as she'd like to, and I have to regularly remind her of how far she's come. Four years ago she could barely walk, and now she's rucking and gardening and doing lots of things happily that used to cause her pain. We need those reminders.
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    Things that are necessary:

    1) Calorie deficit
    2) Eat sufficient protein & fats
    3) Lift weights
    4) Don't quit

    Pretty much everything else is optional. Protein and weights help you retain lean mass in a calorie deficit while fat intake keeps your hormone system from shutting down.
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    I love my power hour MrCarrot's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Thatdarndragon View Post
    Like.. any advice on how to speed up muscle recovery? Lessen or shorten the pain?
    With regular training the doms (delayed onset muscle soreness) becomes less and less. The first time I lifted again after a 10 year break, I couldn't straighten my arms for a week.

    Train regularly, eat and sleep well and it'll become less of an issue. I find stretching throughout the day helps too.
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    Have you recently checked TSH, free T3 and free T4?

    That is where I would start after stalling on keto.
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