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a question about using weights as part of a healthy lifestyle

Discussion in 'Introductions & Advice For Beginners' started by sudy, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. sudy

    sudy Active Member

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    hi :) I'm pretty new to eating clean and weight training, and the forum too, but I've been doing cardio on and off for a couple of years -- mainly off :/ I've been reading the forum and there's something I'm not clear about:

    what will happen if I don't increase weights? I'd like to know the pros and cons of increasing or staying at a set weight when lifting. if I alter my workout routine every month or so, will this be enough? I mean as an alternative to lifting heavy. I realise it sounds like I don't like the idea of lifting heavy but that's not really the case, I just want to find out if it's necessary for somebody with my goals. I intend this to be a lifestyle change, something that I can keep up indefinitely.

    my goal is to initially lose some fat and build some muscle, then maintain.. I'll be 40 in a few years and I'd like to stay healthy in old age... I don't mean 40 ;) I should probably add that I'm at a healthy weight already.

    *hopes the question hasn't been asked a hundred times and it's been missed during the search :o
     
  2. guava

    guava Elite Member
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    Basically, there are three main goals of weight training:
    muscular endurance
    muscular strength
    hypertrophy (muscular growth)

    In order to increase muscular endurance, a person's training goals would be to increase the number of repetitions in subsequent training sessions. To increase muscular strength, increase the amount of weight lifted in each rep. To stimulate growth, tear the muscle fibres to require them to repair themselves. As a short answer (extremely simplified) to how to encourage muscular growth, you sort of want to combine the techniques for building both endurance and strength (ie. lift heavier weights and in more repetitions for each work out)

    Generally, people who want to improve their body composition will ALWAYS want at least a little bit of hypertrophy. That can make as much of a difference to your muscular definition (tone) as fat loss can make.

    Basically, if you're lifting the same weight over and over again for the same amount of time, you're not going to be stimulating your muscles enough to be causing growth. Therefore, you're going to end up no stronger, and looking not much different after several weeks, months, or years of work. I might even say you're not even really "weight training". You're basically doing cardio while adding a bit of extra resistance to burn a few more calories. Women's fitness magazines are notorious for giving absolutely terrible advice in this regard.

    For more information on an ideal rep range and target percentage increases per workout, you might want to try searching the forums for hypertrophy.
     
  3. sevenatenine

    sevenatenine Active Member

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    Hi sudy, welcome to the forums!

    Since you said this is something you wanted to carry into old age I thought it might also be worth mentioning this. The average person loses 1% of their muscle mass per year after the age of 30. That would mean by the time your 70 you would have lost 40% of the muscle you had in your youth, no wonder so many older people are so inactive! This atrophy can be negated (to an extent) by weight training and leading an active lifestyle. I know one of my long term weight lifting goals is to still be strong enough to live an active lifestyle and enjoy myself up until the day I die. I know this doesn't address your question, but it certainly gives another perspective on lifting weights.

    My mom is 49 and I got her lifting heavy a few years ago. I get a chuckle when she tells me some of the things she can do now that she couldn't before. She was telling me that she can now lift a water cooler bottle up and change it, which itself isn't funny, but then she tells me that she has to do it when non of the other women in the office are looking because they all see it as something only the guys are strong enough to do. So she will be standing around with the women and they will be like "oh crap the water bottle is empty, someone better tell Tony", then when they leave she sneaks back in and changes it :lol:
     
  4. George

    George Senior Member

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    I think an emphasis on getting stronger is an important part of health. As you age, your strength and muscle mass is going to take a hit anyway due to changes in hormonal levels and other factors. It's better to start into the golden years with muscle and strength to spare. :)
     
  5. sudy

    sudy Active Member

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    thank you guava :) your explanation has made things much clearer for me. I'll do some searches for hypertrophy *commits new word to memory ;) also I'm really glad you replied to me because it was reading your posts that got me started in the first place :)

    hi sevenatenine :) and thanks! what you write does address my question.. at least the question that I had coming next :p this is something that I do consider to be a lifelong commitment and I was concerned about increasing weights as I age.. like over the next 70 years [yes, I'm optimistic ;)], how much muscle a woman could build without intentionally bulking, or would I get to a point that would require a limit with weights or even a decrease, and the effect it would have on my health and appearance etc. I guess the muscle loss, although in itself a bad thing, I guess it takes care of my concern ;)
    haha, that's funny what your mom said :) that sounds a bit like me lol. I've tried to encourage my mum to take some action too but I haven't been successful.. yet *sigh

    hi george :) getting stronger is something that I would like to achieve.. I don't even want to consider the changes in hormone levels that will inevitably come in the future *shudder. tbh, my biggest concern is to stick with what I'm doing so far because initially I can be really enthusiastic about lots of things, but keeping them going is another thing altogether.. I'm sorry to admit that I sometimes lack motivation and I can be a bit lazy :/ so far I've established a routine that I believe I can keep up with, I mean with regards to the amount of time required.. I was partly concerned about increasingly longer workout sessions which I feel could ultimately mean that I'd quit :( *blush*

    ..but this time I'm determined I'll keep it up!! :)
     
  6. Robert2006

    Robert2006 Active Member

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    You don't need long sessions. 40 minutes is more then long enough. Actually even that isn't a short session.

    You hike weights to keep challenging your body. It's like anything else. If you don't challenge you don't improve.

    You won't get bulky. Even with LOTS of effort.
     
  7. jbivens

    jbivens Active Member

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    Couldn't have said it any better than this. Bulking takes a concentrated effort involving diet as well as lifting. You definitely will not get bulky unless you are eating a diet designed to do so as well as lifting very heavy. If it was that easy, I would be MASSIVE. :D

    Getting stronger can definitely be done without getting big. You should be striving to challenge your muscles every workout.
     
  8. sudy

    sudy Active Member

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    hi :) yeah, I've been running 3-4 40 mins a week but lately, since I started with the weights too, something's changed, I'm finding 20 min sessions hard.. at least for now ;)
     
  9. jbivens

    jbivens Active Member

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    Are you lifting weights and running on the same day? You could remedy energy issues two ways here - 1. Change your diet to add more healthy carbs. 2. Lift one day, run the next. Also if you do both on the same day, always lift first. Dont' exhaust yourself doing cardio prior to lifting.
     
  10. sudy

    sudy Active Member

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    some days I lift and run, others I just lift or run but I've been doing weights first. actually, that explains why I'm finding the cardio harder -- wednesday I run; that's the day after doing leg weights.. I find that pretty hard, and friday I do both.. I feel great later on, after I recover ;)
     
  11. jbivens

    jbivens Active Member

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    Do you have a rest day where you do nothing? I would recommend making the day after you lift legs just that. Using your legs to run the day after lifting them hinders the healing process. Just a suggestion, but I would rest completely the day after lifting legs. That or lift upper body parts and switch cardio with another day.
     
  12. sudy

    sudy Active Member

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    well atm: m - upper body and cardio, tu - lower body, w - cardio, th - upper body, f - lower body and cardio, sat/sun - rest.
    I'm sure this could be improved but I'm in the middle of a 100 challenge so I'm sort of tied to it, at least till the end of the month :)
     
  13. guava

    guava Elite Member
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    It can happen. I hesitate to talk about it much because I don't like to discourage anyone from lifting. But I think the point of muscularity that could in some cases be undesirable for a woman might be predicted by her strength standards rating. Here's a strength reference chart that I like quite a lot. I could be wrong, but I imagine that most fitness models probably lift somewhere around the "Great" range, so if that's the type of body you're aiming for, that's the type of strength you should be aiming for. But if you find the look of a fitness model too masculine or bulky, you may feel better sticking with maintenance once when you're closer to somewhere in the "Good" range.
    http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/are_you_strong_find_out_right_now_with_these_strength_standards;jsessionid=2B177D345C622553B4D69F525852340B-hg.hydra

    But that kind of muscle won't sneak up on you and be visible over night. It's really not something you could do by accident.
     
  14. sudy

    sudy Active Member

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    thanks guava. I'd like to be stronger than I am and I don't feel discouraged from lifting. I'm glad to have the facts about it though as I also like to look ahead so I can sort of pre-plan how to progress. btw, it's not like I'm anywhere near my goal where I should be concerned :) and as you say, it won't just appear overnight. I'll check that link when the page eventually loads :) thanks!
     

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