Thinking about strength training

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Sports and Fitness MoneySaving
9 replies 1.5K views
Angry_BearAngry_Bear Forumite
2K Posts
PPI Party Pooper
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Sports and Fitness MoneySaving
I've lost a significant amount of weight (although I still have a bit to go) and I'm starting to think more about things like loose skin when I reach a healthy weight.

I've been doing lots of exercise, mainly cardio and circuit training, but I gather that the best way to "hide" loose skin is to build up a little muscle to take up the slack (if you see what I mean).

However, I'm not really sure where/how to start and when I look for beginners guides on the internet I either come up with something tryng to perrsuade me strength training is good - but no instructions, or something with beginner routines but no answers to my real questions. I know there are a few people on here who are very into strength training so I wondered if you could help me work out if strength training is for me, and if so, how to get started:

Things I could/would do:
  • Invest in some equipment (I have a small budget to get some equipment - I reckon I could get some dumbells, a weight bench and a squat rack from ebay). Advice on what to look for would be good - e.g. what range of weights would keep me going for a while.
  • Work hard - I currently do cardio/circuit training for 90 minutes 4 days a week, swim for 1 hr 2 days a week and rest for one. I'd be able to easily switch the cardio and circuit for strength.
Things I couldn't/wouldn't do:
  • Go for a fussy diet: I doubt I'd stick with protein shakes, weighing my food etc. However, I gather this only becomes really important if you want to seriously bulk up, which I don't.
  • Go to a gym. As I say, I can invest in some equipment but I just would not be comfortable going to a gym. I could possibly go for a couple of sessions to get me started but even thinking about that makes me uncomfortable.
Things that worry me:
  • I hear that you can't lose fat and gain muscle, you either lose muscle and fat or gain muscle and fat. Obviously I've still got a fair bit of fat to lose ... should I wait to do strength training until I've slimmed down?
  • What are the pitfalls of strength training on my own? I'm pretty careful and would spend time finding out how to do the exercises properly and practice form with lighter weights, but is it still a bad idea?
Sorry for the long post! Thanks for any advice you can give.
Do you not know that a man is not dead while his name is still spoken?
― Sir Terry Pratchett, 1948-2015

Replies

  • paulineb_2paulineb_2
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    I take a protein shake. They dont bulk you up as far as Im concerned. I know some people think they are a waste of money, but I dont eat meat and dairy and it was suggested to me that I take a protein shake after training.

    As for not wanting to go to a gym. I think thats something you should reconsider, because absolutely no way would I want to buy gym equipment and start lifting weights at home without having someone to look over my programme to see if I was working out correctly. Technique and safety. I got a gym programme done at my local gym and I get it updated every 6 weeks. I wouldnt have been able to put that together on my own.

    Im not an expert about muscle and fat, but why wouldnt someone be able to lose fat and gain muscle? My brother is a PT and he has muscle definition, you only need to look at him to see that, his body fat percentage is about 14 per cent at the moment I think. There are so many exercise myths knocking around, again thats why I think its important that you speak to someone qualified.

    Ive lost over two stones in the last 8 months, my body fat percentage has dropped, but I lift weights as well as do cardio. If Id waited to lift weights until I lost weight Id still be sitting here now doing cardio and nothing else.

    Pitfalls. Safety and technique. Safety especially if you are lifting heavy weights. I could lift around 55kg on my own if I were deadlifting but if Im squatting, anything over about 25kg, I need to use a squat rack.

    I know people have home gyms and get on ok, but I would consider getting a couple of sessions in a gym just to get a gym programme made up because its worth having someone who knows how to put exercises together so you are getting the most out of it and someone who can show you the best form rather than trying to work it out yourself.

    Also, the more strength training you do, Id say you could take more rest days. You are training 6 days a week just now, I think you could cut that down to 5 or 4 if you lifted and get the same or better results.
  • paulineb wrote: »
    I take a protein shake. They dont bulk you up as far as Im concerned. I know some people think they are a waste of money, but I dont eat meat and dairy and it was suggested to me that I take a protein shake after training.
    I wouldn't absolutely rule out the occasional protein shake (for example) but knowing myself I wouldn't be able to stick a really restrictive diet long term. And if you can't do it long term, then what's the point? My current diet is healthy (finally!) and easy for me to stick to, I do eat meat and dairy so maybe I could just tweak the levels I put in my meals.
    As for not wanting to go to a gym. I think thats something you should reconsider, because absolutely no way would I want to buy gym equipment and start lifting weights at home without having someone to look over my programme to see if I was working out correctly. Technique and safety. I got a gym programme done at my local gym and I get it updated every 6 weeks. I wouldnt have been able to put that together on my own.
    It's partly cost, but it's more that I'm very intimidated by the thought of even stepping foot in a gym, and I can't imagine committing to a program that would mean doing that on a regular basis :eek:. However, with your comment below, maybe it woulf be worth braving every couple of months to check 'm doing things right and get a suitable programme for me.
    Im not an expert about muscle and fat, but why wouldnt someone be able to lose fat and gain muscle? My brother is a PT and he has muscle definition, you only need to look at him to see that, his body fat percentage is about 14 per cent at the moment I think. There are so many exercise myths knocking around, again thats why I think its important that you speak to someone qualified.
    I gather the logic basically is that either you have a calorie deficit (so you're losing muscle and fat) or you have a calorie surplus (so you're gaining muscle and fat). It's something I'll look into a bit more.
    Also, the more strength training you do, Id say you could take more rest days. You are training 6 days a week just now, I think you could cut that down to 5 or 4 if you lifted and get the same or better results.
    That sounds nice ;)

    Thanks for the advice, it's something I am quite keen on trying but I'm feeling quite intimidated by all the information and conflicting advice. I had a look at some of the bodybuilding and weight training forums but I didn't feel quite comfortable asking there yet. I thought I'd start somewhere I know there are friendly people :).
    Do you not know that a man is not dead while his name is still spoken?
    ― Sir Terry Pratchett, 1948-2015
  • paulineb_2paulineb_2
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    Id also say, buy a couple of kettlebells. You can do a lot with a kettlebell and you can get them cheaply.

    I understand what you mean about the gym, I did classes for years and was terrified setting foot in the gym. Im only 4 months into a gym programme and its fine now. No one bothers me, I just pick the weights up and get on with my programme.
  • belfastgirl23belfastgirl23 Forumite
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    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper I've been Money Tipped!
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    I would say have a look at New Rules of Lifting for Women. It's a progressive programme that takes you through weight training. It's a while since I did it but there's a fair bit that's bodyweight or dumbell type exercises. You can use youtube to show you how to do them as well. I found it really helpful when I first started weightlifting. And it's a six month programme so pretty good for the cost.

    Also you will find online forums to support you if you do a quick google.

  • What you have to realise with the gym is that honestly...nobody cares that you're there, because they're concentrating on themselves. :)

    Second paulineb's comments about technique, and also if you get into lifting fairly seriously you just won't be able to get the right equipment for home. My home bar only takes about 50kg max before it's got a bend in it :)

    But also - good luck with it. Weight training is awesome (I started powerlifting last year, and despite doing gymnastics and cheerleading too I get grumpy if I don't lift at least twice a week!) and incredibly beneficial to your body :)

    HBS x
    "I believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another."

    "It's easy to know what you're against, quite another to know what you're for."

    #Starmer4PM #Bremainer
  • What you have to realise with the gym is that honestly...nobody cares that you're there, because they're concentrating on themselves. :)
    It's not quite that that bothers me, it's more that people might want to chat or give unsolicited advice (I'm kind of anti-social). And if there was a queue for a piece of equipment I was on I'd rush or finish early even if everyone was really polite :o.
    Second paulineb's comments about technique, and also if you get into lifting fairly seriously you just won't be able to get the right equipment for home. My home bar only takes about 50kg max before it's got a bend in it :)
    I doubt I'll have the serious equipment problem for quite some time, if ever. But I take both your points about technique. I've braved my local gym and booked an introductory session to get some tips. I may book a session with a personal trainer, but it will depend on how I feel about the gym.
    But also - good luck with it. Weight training is awesome (I started powerlifting last year, and despite doing gymnastics and cheerleading too I get grumpy if I don't lift at least twice a week!) and incredibly beneficial to your body :)

    HBS x
    Thanks :)
    Do you not know that a man is not dead while his name is still spoken?
    ― Sir Terry Pratchett, 1948-2015
  • dandelionclock30dandelionclock30 Forumite
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    Well I've been to council gyms and Virgin in the past and people dont come upto you wanting to chat in my experience. They are just there to do their exercises.
    I think if you do classes its different to the gym.
  • nlj1520nlj1520 Forumite
    619 Posts
    Go for it, find a time that the gym is fairly quiet to reduce stress (which interferes with muscle building) and get someone qualified to teach you the techniques. Then you could train alone at home if you choose. In about 2 months I have gained a set of tummy muscles and lost my beer belly (and I am female!), gained muscle definition in my arms, back and legs but still have a fair amount of fat to get rid of. I do eat most of the time on a diet my trainer recommended, but
    not all the time as like you I just can't be a**ed to weigh, calculate etc.
    I feel tons better, stronger physically and mentally. I shared a little of your feelings bout the gym at the start, but now I don't even notice anyone else......I just go, do my stuff, occasionally ask someone how many sets they have left if i want the kit they are using or reply if they ask me, but I am concentrating so hard I don't register anyone else. So I guess they are in the same zone and don't register me.
    Well done on getting fitter, losing weight and finding ways to 'take up the slack'!!! Good luck.
    'Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.' T S Eliot
  • cherryblossomzelcherryblossomzel Forumite
    500 Posts
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    I second New Rules of Lifting. It's an excellent resource. Also - I think you can work effectively at home if you've got the space etc, and maybe just use a PT to set up a programme and teach you proper form? You might have to see him/her a few times but once you gain some confidence, and with a bit of help from books/good internet sites you can switch up your routine yourself.

    This site is excellent http://www.exrx.net/Beginning.html. This is specific to beginners, but they also have lots of other bits as you gain experience.

    You could save yourself lots of time by lifting heavy things, I'm in and out of the gym in 45 minutes, but still manage to work up a sweat, get my heart rate and breathing up etc.

    Just one thing to know (you probably know this already): when you start a new form of exercise your muscles tend to hold on to water for a while (apparently as long as 6 weeks), which could make it seem like you're not losing weight according to the scale. Don't get discouraged by this. Start measuring progress in other ways like how your clothes fit and how your strength improves.
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