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How you started strength training (beginners)

BlackPantherChick123BlackPantherChick123 Posts: 381Member Member Posts: 381Member Member
I am signing up at my local gym bc I'm now tired of doing hours of cardio that make me hungry, overeat, and have gained weight and lost so much muscle mass. I'm new to all the strength training and not sure where to start. I want to slim my thighs down, lose some unwanted fat, and get some strength back. What are yalls experience with beginning in strength training? What kind of diet or lifestyle you do? How much should you consume for strength training and doing about an hour of cardio a day? Do you do upper, lower body days, full body everyday? How often you do these workouts, and how long does it take to see results? Like I said, I'm new to all this and so many questions.


  • BlackPantherChick123BlackPantherChick123 Posts: 381Member Member Posts: 381Member Member
    I would not try to do an hour of cardio plus strength training in the same day. I started with 30 day shred, then ripped in 30, Denise Austin 3 week boot camp, and The Firm super cardio mix. All of these workouts are a combination of cardio and weights, ranging from about 20 min to an hour long. Then, I was invited to join in on a power lifting team's workouts. That is where I learned basic lifting with free weights (squat, deadlifts, bench, ohp, good mornings, etc). From there, I started Stronglifts 5x5 on my own. I would alternate cardio days and strength days, or at least split them am/pm.

    I wanted to do strength training in the morning and cardio at night. Still not a good idea?
  • estherdragonbatestherdragonbat Posts: 3,359Member Member Posts: 3,359Member Member
    I started with resistance bands and tubes and a video off of YouTube. Then I bought a book on strength training. It's mostly light (up to 2x12lb) dumbbells with some body-weight and some other equipment, like a cardio step, a 7" rubber ball, a mat, etc.

    I've recently started going beyond the book with a pair of 15s.

    Generally, I do a full-body workout three times a week. I'm working to reduce the amount of muscle lost as I lose weight. As far as diet, I'm a kosher ovo-lacto vegetarian. Within that way of eating, I try to hit my protein and iron and let the rest fall where it falls.

    Now, I work out at home and don't have anybody to compare myself to, so I have no idea whether my results are typical. What I have noted are:
    • Some muscle definition on calves and thighs. Everything feels 'tighter'. (I should probably mention that my main cardio consists of walks of 2 hours or more daily. I suspect that's helped a bit with the leg muscles, too.)
    • Increased walking speed and stamina. A walk that used to take me 40 minutes now takes 30.
    • Visible deltoids and 'harder' arms. I think I can see my biceps and triceps, too, but definitely delts.
    • I had bladder surgery last month. In post-anesthesia recovery, the nurse asked me to try sitting up while he cranked up the bed so that I could be somewhat upright to drink some juice. When I was able to do so immediately, he complimented me on my trunk muscles.
    • When I'm at Canadian Tire (combo hardware/sporting goods/automotive/garden centre), I usually go to the dumbbells and see what I can pick up enough to do 10 biceps curls. In the nine months since I've started, I've seen that go from 8 to 15lbs and I can lift a 20 in each hand without feeling like I'm going to slam it back onto the shelf. Which tells me that I'll be buying a pair of them shortly...

    It's unlikely that you'll be able to build much muscle in a deficit, but you can strengthen and preserve what you've got. And as the fat goes, the muscle beneath it will be more visible (see my point about about the delts. I didn't 'build' them, I just revealed them).

    Good luck!
  • heybalesheybales Posts: 15,712Member Member Posts: 15,712Member Member

    Full body 3 x weekly, major muscles with compound moves before minor (which usually get worked anyway with major).

    Doing both lifting and cardio?

    Pick a focus and confirm the other won't interfere. Sounds like you want lifting to be focus though.

    Like if in a diet too, lifting will be the easiest to suffer and not get the maximum benefit out of it - in which case confirm the cardio doesn't put a load on the body requiring repair also. Perhaps you just want it for sanity and stress - great - keep it calm.

    If not in a diet, then confirm eating enough, may recover enough to do lifting the next day.

    Since the lifting should always feel like you are giving it your all - it's very hard to tell when your all is limited by lack of recovery and tired from other exercise, when actually in that state.
  • ecjimecjim Posts: 448Member Member Posts: 448Member Member
    I agree with what Heybales said - focus on a fullbody weight training 3x per week - look at Starting Strength or Strong curves , pick one and follow it - you can still do cardio but not so much - maybe on off days - Eastcoast Jim
  • tinkerbellang83tinkerbellang83 Posts: 4,314Member Member Posts: 4,314Member Member
    I started with some beginners routines from HASFIT, the one I used was aimed for use at home, but there are plenty of routines that can be done in the gym from them and other free programs.

    I'd do a 10 min low impact video as a warm up and then they had a 20 minute full body routine that I was doing with 3kg dumbells, Iwas doing this 3-4 times per week and worked my way up to 5kg dumbells.

    I am now doing a split routine instead, still 3 sessions per week, I do around 25 minutes of Arms & Shoulders/ Abs & Back/ Legs and if I am feeling really keen an extra full body workout.

    I cut down on my intentional cardio more when I am focusing on my strength training, as it's easy to overdo it if you're doing both and I walk a lot outside of intentional exercise (Around 12000 steps per day). I make sure I get at least 100g protein per day, hit my minimum for fats and make the rest up as it goes.
    edited December 2017
  • sbilyeu75sbilyeu75 Posts: 567Member Member Posts: 567Member Member
    When I started strength training, I started with the book The New Rules of Lifting for Women. It is now my "go to" when I've taken time off due to children, life or injury. It was one of the best $15 purchases that I have made.
  • ccruz985ccruz985 Posts: 629Member Member Posts: 629Member Member
    I followed ChaLean Extreme when I started lifting. An hour of cardio is a LOT, especially when you're lifting too.
  • kgb6dayskgb6days Posts: 789Member Member Posts: 789Member Member
    Does your gym have coaches that you can get to help you learn form? Proper form is important to get not only the results you want but to prevent injury.
  • AuthorNinjaAuthorNinja Posts: 54Member Member Posts: 54Member Member
    I still consider myself a newbie, and I've started my strength training journey months ago. I started out doing all calisthenics, but now I've mixed them in with dumbbells, 15 and 12 pounds that I squat/overhead press with. For me, I just chose certain exercises that I do three sets of for either 10-20 reps and my strength workout usually ends up being 25 minutes. Of course, my goal is to add on to the reps as I get stronger. I don't use any machinery out of personal preference, but I'm open to it one day! The other members who have posted about programs and youtube videos are good ones to listen to :) I appreciate the suggestions that others have made!

    (Edit: I love running, so I came from a very cardio-oriented mind set. I bought into the myth that if I lifted I'd get "big", as much as I hate to say it, hahaha. I still run, but on the days I do strength training I'm sure to do that first and then run. When I run after my strength workouts, I'm already partially fatigued, which makes running a lot harder on me. I like the added difficulty)

    Good luck!
    edited December 2017
  • pondee629pondee629 Posts: 2,060Member Member Posts: 2,060Member Member
    Do a web search for beginning weight lifting routines, (I picked Strong Lifts 5x5), pick one, try it, if you like it, continue, if you don't try another. Continue until you find one you like and will stay with, then do it.
  • TroutsyTroutsy Posts: 274Member, Premium Member Posts: 274Member, Premium Member
    ecjim wrote: »
    I agree with what Heybales said - focus on a fullbody weight training 3x per week - look at Starting Strength or Strong curves , pick one and follow it - you can still do cardio but not so much - maybe on off days - Eastcoast Jim

    I agree with the above. Strong lifts 5x5 is also a good starting point. It's a full body workout 3x a week alternating between 2 workouts. The app is free for iPhone and Android.
  • thunderztormdkthunderztormdk Posts: 51Member Member Posts: 51Member Member
    I just started a month ago, following aworkoutroutine's beginner program. So a 3 day full body split, doing 3-5 exercises on each day.

    My main advice:
    Find, and follow, a good beginner program. I'd probably follow that for the first 6 months, maybe even more depending on progress.

    Make sure you get enough protein (~1g pr body weight - note, that this is based on your target weight, not current weight).
  • canadianlbscanadianlbs Posts: 5,200Member Member Posts: 5,200Member Member
    i started out doing stronglifts and i kept that rep/set format, but i felt lost about form until an mfp friend sent me mark rippetoe's book starting strength.

    for the other questions, i kept up an aggressive deficit and was riding about 20 miles a day too for a while, but it probably only worked because on the lifting front i was tinkering with my form too much to keep adding more weight. as soon as i did start to add weight to my lifts, i discovered i needed to eat a lot more than 1200 calories.

    to put that in context though, by the time i quit counting calories i was already below 125 pounds at 5'3" so i was basically only still 'dieting' for vanity reasons.
  • cyndit1cyndit1 Posts: 97Member, Premium Member Posts: 97Member, Premium Member
    I hired a trainer so I could learn from her and also have my form checked. That was 5 years ago and I still lift religiously. I switch things up so right now I'm doing a all over day, a leg/shoulder day, and upper body only days. I'm an endurance runner and I've seen a huge improvement on my running form from lifting. I do run and lift on the same day but not on long run days. Other weight days I do spin class so my run/lift is only once a week. My schedule is Sunday - spin/lift, Monday - run/spin, Tuesday - run/lift, Wednesday - lift, Thursday - run, Friday - spin/lift, Saturday - long run.
    Hope this helps.
  • MegaMooseEsqMegaMooseEsq Posts: 2,250Member, Premium Member Posts: 2,250Member, Premium Member
    Back in maybe September I started doing sets of wall pushups 2-3 times a week. After a few weeks I added in squats and lunges, and then maybe six weeks ago I started doing the Nerd Fitness Beginner Bodyweight workout every other day. It’s actually a lot of fun, and I have noticed that I feel more stable in my body (if that makes sense?) and stronger all around. I’m still pretty overweight, but I am seeing a little more definition and have actually been getting some compliments from people who hadn’t seen me in a couple of months. Other than that, I don’t follow any particular diet or whatever - I track calories and eat at a moderate deficit to lose 3-5 pounds a month. I try to do about 15-20 minutes of cardio on the days I don’t do bodyweight - I had been running, but have switched to an exercise bike as the weather got bad.
    edited December 2017
  • sijomialsijomial Posts: 12,364Member Member Posts: 12,364Member Member
    What are yalls experience with beginning in strength training?
    I started in about 1974 with a strange spring and cable device called a Bullworker. Then added bodyweight exercises, then started going to the gym with my older brother where I lifted too hard, too badly, too competitively, no plan or program - but still made rapid progress (like most teenage boys can despite horrible routines). Injured myself a few times too.

    What kind of diet or lifestyle you do?
    I eat a wide and varied diet that has no label, I don't log my food but do keep calories and protein in mind, recently retired and more active than ever as I have more time to do the things I enjoy.

    How much should you consume for strength training and doing about an hour of cardio a day?
    You do realise that's completely individual? Size, gender, fitness, types of exercise.....
    For me very roughly 3000 cals/day but big variations day to day.
    Your weight trend over time tells you if by luck or judgement you have got all the various estimates balanced.

    Do you do upper, lower body days, full body everyday?
    This is my routine for my peculiar goals (to be a good long distance cyclist whilst still having a decent amount of muscle) and injuries (knee and back injuries which mean I'm limited on lower body lifts). Definitely not a recommendation.
    Mostly upper body (primarily compound lifts) strength training with a balalnce of push and pull plus cycling (wildly differing duration and intensity) on alternate days. Very limited lower body work in the gym as I'm mostly recovering from the previous day's riding.

    How often you do these workouts, and how long does it take to see results? Like I said, I'm new to all this and so many questions.
    Three strength sessions a week about an hour at a time.
    Coming back from a period off training I would expect strength to increase very rapidly and within a couple of weeks. That will taper off after a period of weeks or months when I hit my lifetime "normal trained" levels and then becomes glacial progress.
    Visually it depends to a large degree on how lean I am, a layer of fat very effectively masks muscle growth. That's where a tape measure helps.

    My advice would be pick an established beginner routine, don't do cardio the same day.
    "I wanted to do strength training in the morning and cardio at night. Still not a good idea?"
    Depends what your cardio is!
    Recovery is a limited resource and as a beginner you will be making your body adapt quickly and that needs adequate recovery time. There's a world of difference though between a gentle LISS session or very long duration exercise or very high intensity cardio.
    Decide on your priority and think quality of training rather than volume.
    As a generalisation I would say strength and (non-taxing) cardio on alternate days. Listen to your body as capabilities are different.
  • evilokcevilokc Posts: 221Member Member Posts: 221Member Member
    what I tell noobs heading to the gym is to spend the first week learning what each piece of equipment Is for and how to properly use it. one of the first and most important things about getting into the gym getting comfortable. if you go in and feel awkward you wont be able to concentrate on your workout because you feel out of place. once you know what and where things are you can more easily relax and put together a program that suits your needs and goals. once the gym becomes YOUR gym you will be able to get some work done. good luck you got this.
  • BlackPantherChick123BlackPantherChick123 Posts: 381Member Member Posts: 381Member Member
    A few more questions, what do I do with muscle pain recovery, do I rest and take a break off from cardio, or work through the pain? Should I go 3x a week like for an example, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday? Can a professional trainer give you a body check and give you the nutrition and information I need for strength training and to reach my goals? Sorry for so many questions
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