Any advice for strength training while losing weight?

My apologies if this is a question/topic posted so often that it's become an annoyance or against the forum rules or something.

I am fairly new to the site and have recently started myself on a diet and exercise plan with the goal of losing 125-ish pounds. After having browsed the success stories on this site for a while, I came to the conclusion that I should mix strength training in with my 5-6 days a week cardio, so that by the time I've accomplished my goal to become thin(ner) I might also be more muscular. This would also help to minimize the sagging skin problem that accompanies losing a great deal of weight, by filling it out. I mean no offense to anyone who has put in enough work to achieve such badges of honor, but I'd still prefer to minimize them as they develop. The problem (?) is that I have already bought and paid for a membership at Planet Fitness thinking all I wanted was access to cardio machines, and thus am limited to machines and dumbells. I don't know that that even IS a problem, at least for now.

What I'm looking for is general advice about what to do and how often to do it. There are a plethora of machines there that I have no idea about, but to be honest I'd be perfectly happy doing bodyweight and dumbell exercises. This being my first time in a gym since high school, all I can go by are youtube videos as to types of exercises I can do.

Would it be alright to do, say, upper body (chest, arms, back, shoulders, abs) 3x a week and lower body (legs... um... back of legs, front of legs, lower legs, etc.) 3x a week, or is that excessive? AFAIK muscle grows when it's repairing from use, necessitating breaks to facilitate "mad gains" but is a 1-2-1-2-1-2-off schedule enough off-time? Too much? I plan on continuing to use the elliptical/treadmill for 30-45 min a day, as my main goal is weight loss. would 20 minutes or so be enough strength training to help me develop a little bit during my many-months-to-go weight loss journey?

I'm pretty in the dark here, any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Replies

  • contingencyplan
    contingencyplan Posts: 3,639 Member
    My apologies if this is a question/topic posted so often that it's become an annoyance or against the forum rules or something.

    I am fairly new to the site and have recently started myself on a diet and exercise plan with the goal of losing 125-ish pounds. After having browsed the success stories on this site for a while, I came to the conclusion that I should mix strength training in with my 5-6 days a week cardio, so that by the time I've accomplished my goal to become thin(ner) I might also be more muscular. This would also help to minimize the sagging skin problem that accompanies losing a great deal of weight, by filling it out. I mean no offense to anyone who has put in enough work to achieve such badges of honor, but I'd still prefer to minimize them as they develop. The problem (?) is that I have already bought and paid for a membership at Planet Fitness thinking all I wanted was access to cardio machines, and thus am limited to machines and dumbells. I don't know that that even IS a problem, at least for now.

    What I'm looking for is general advice about what to do and how often to do it. There are a plethora of machines there that I have no idea about, but to be honest I'd be perfectly happy doing bodyweight and dumbell exercises. This being my first time in a gym since high school, all I can go by are youtube videos as to types of exercises I can do.

    Would it be alright to do, say, upper body (chest, arms, back, shoulders, abs) 3x a week and lower body (legs... um... back of legs, front of legs, lower legs, etc.) 3x a week, or is that excessive? AFAIK muscle grows when it's repairing from use, necessitating breaks to facilitate "mad gains" but is a 1-2-1-2-1-2-off schedule enough off-time? Too much? I plan on continuing to use the elliptical/treadmill for 30-45 min a day, as my main goal is weight loss. would 20 minutes or so be enough strength training to help me develop a little bit during my many-months-to-go weight loss journey?

    I'm pretty in the dark here, any help would be greatly appreciated.

    65993878.png

    As a beginner your best bet is to do full body workouts. Splitting by body parts is something really only advanced users who have built a strong base will benefit from ideally. If you're limited to what you have access to at PF, I recommend going with a dumbbell based regimen using the Spartacus workouts (app is available for your phone for like 2 bucks and the workouts are free on youtube).
  • TriShamelessly
    TriShamelessly Posts: 905 Member
    Do both in somewhat equal amounts - Cardio for heart/lung health, strength training to preserve muscle mass. Make sure you eat less than you burn in a day (on average) for weight loss. You'll get differing opinions on here as to which approach is better. I have done both and couldn't think of limiting myself to just one form of exercise. Most importantly, find something you love and will stick with regardless of what exercise it is. I like to boil down weight loss to four simple words: Move More, Eat Better. How each person implements it is more personal taste. And please read the forums here - there are tons of well educated, knowledgeable folks who can give you far more details than I can. They're pretty easy to identify as they typically back up their posts with scientific proof of what they are asserting. Have fun and good luck!

    Edited to add:
    P.S. I don't have it bookmarked, but there is a very good beginners post along the lines of "your guide to getting sexy pants" or something like that. I am certain someone will post it shortly for you.
  • Jerseygrrl
    Jerseygrrl Posts: 189 Member
    I would recommend a beginning strength program such as StrongLifts 5X5 or Starting Strength. You can Google both and get great information as well as instructional videos. You can also use the search function here, but sometimes you get back so many matches it's hard to filter through them.
  • Jake_82
    Jake_82 Posts: 12 Member
    If your completely unfamiliar with the machines in a gym, it may be worth while to hire a personal trainer for a session or two and have them show you around the gym and explain what everything is and how to use it, alternatively if you have a friend who frequents the gym go with them and have them show you around.

    3x a week for upper body doesn't sound to extreme to me, but then again it really depends on the intensity of the workouts. If you're just starting out with weight training you may want to ease into it, DOMS can be real demotivator. 3x a week working legs, in addition to your 45mins of carido each day is a bit excessive imo.

    You may want to check out some of the programs available at http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/workout/programs.html. Tons of useful information there, beginner,intermediate and advanced training programs available for free. Not to mention the new nutrition database they just revamped.

    Just my .02 cents. Best of luck to ya!
  • Ceniccolapartyof4
    Ceniccolapartyof4 Posts: 2 Member
    I highly, highly, highly recommend T25 in addition to counting calories!! I have been using it since May 9th and I have lost a combined 24 inches all over my body. I never thought I could ever get these results!! I also began drinking Shakeology (it's a meal replacement) on July 1st and I am loving the feeling I am getting of complete energy and no cravings whatsoever until it's time for my next meal!! I am also planning on starting PiYo right after I finish the 10 weeks of T25 next week. Let me know if you need any more advice, I am quite knowledgeable in Beachbody products!

    Jen
  • Clovermoth
    Clovermoth Posts: 33 Member
    two very helpful links!
    http://www.myfitnesspal.com/topics/show/1080242-a-guide-to-get-you-started-on-your-path-to-sexypants

    http://www.myfitnesspal.com/topics/show/1097374-47-things-learned-in-a-decade-of-trying-to-lose-weight

    Also I just started strength training. I am doing stronglifts 5x5's 3x a week, cardio(walking/cycling on those days too!), HIIT (shred/yoga) 2x's a week and two "off" days in which I just take a walk ;)

    Hope this helped!
  • puddingsteel
    puddingsteel Posts: 147 Member
    Get in touch with the trainer on staff at PF. At the very least he/she should be able to show proper use of the machines and proper form with the dumbbells/freeweights and come up with at least a basic workout routine that fits your goals. Congrats on taking steps toward getting fit! ????
  • katerams
    katerams Posts: 50 Member
    Depending on your weight.. I would suggest building up your fitness before heading into heavy weights.

    I am fairly fit, and I incorporate weighted exercises into my "cardio". I do MAYBE 15 minutes of "cardio" a day, and these are usually sprints/tabata/HIIT style exercises, and a 5 minute warm up walk/jog.

    The rest of my workout is in the form of Tabata, AMRAP (as many reps/rounds as possible in x minutes) or xyz AFAP (as fast as possible). When I first started, these sets involved body weight exercises, and I have no progressed to having them weighted with dumbells or weight plates.

    Basically, I would recommend doing compound movements (squats, push ups, box jumps, planks, burpees etc) as they work alternating muscle groups, build muscle strength the fastest and burn a LOT of calories.
  • ChunkLaFunk
    ChunkLaFunk Posts: 38 Member
    Looks like you're off to a great start with your weight loss so kudos for that. The cardio seems to be working and you want add some strength training to the mix. My suggestion would be to add a strength circuit at the end of your cardio session three times a week to start. Start "easy" with 10 minutes total and see how your body responds. Try two rounds of five exercises for 20 seconds, then rest for 40 seconds. If you're too out of breath, rest for 60 seconds. If it feels too easy, drop the rest to 20seconds.

    Pick a mix of exercises that work the upper & lower body.

    Eventually work it up to 20 minutes of circuit training so your total session will be over an one hour. As long as your losing weight and gaining strength, no need to change the format.

    The purpose is to get your heart rate into the anaerobic zone which really amps up your metabolism.

    If you stop losing, then change your workout. For example, more of a weight lifting workout, reducing the amount of cardio but
    increasing the intensity. 3X a week is fine for the weights, especially if you're pushing up the weights and doing intervals on the other days.

    Planet Fitness should answer questions about the equipment so you can use it safely. They'll probably try and sell you a personal training package so you'll have to decide if that's of interest to you.

    Stay strong.
  • FindingAmy77
    FindingAmy77 Posts: 1,266 Member
    I like to use circuit training in the gym for my weigh resistance training that also combines cardio into it. Look it up on youtube from fitness trainers's videos. I walk to the gym and back for my warm up and cool down. 20 mins each way then go do a whole circuit of 8 machines (upper and lower body muscles) then do a five minute run on the treadmill and do another set before I go walk back home. I think combing both is great for weight loss, well it is for me anyways.
  • nutmegoreo
    nutmegoreo Posts: 15,532 Member
    I highly, highly, highly recommend T25 in addition to counting calories!! I have been using it since May 9th and I have lost a combined 24 inches all over my body. I never thought I could ever get these results!! I also began drinking Shakeology (it's a meal replacement) on July 1st and I am loving the feeling I am getting of complete energy and no cravings whatsoever until it's time for my next meal!! I am also planning on starting PiYo right after I finish the 10 weeks of T25 next week. Let me know if you need any more advice, I am quite knowledgeable in Beachbody products!

    Jen

    These are not necessary.

    Read the sexypants link. Tons of great information in there. Ask for help at PF, you should be able to get results there (you may get mixed reviews about the place). There are many beginner strength training programs listed here already, pick one. If not, you can look into "you are your own gym" or "convict conditioning" for bodyweight exercises which will help a lot and require no/minimal equipment. Eat at a moderate deficit only. If you try to cut too low, your body will not be getting enough fuel for your workouts and those will suffer.

    It is a slow process, but well worth it! :flowerforyou:
  • jimmmer
    jimmmer Posts: 3,515 Member
    1) Established progressive routine:

    Barbells: Starting Strength, Stronglifts 5x5, All Pro's SBR

    Kettlebells: Simple and Sinister, RKC PM/ROP

    Bodyweight: You Are Your Own Gym, Convict Conditioning, Never Gymless

    2) Moderate Calorie Deficit (say between TDEE-20% and TDEE-10% depending on how much weight you have to lose)

    3) Adequate Protein Consumption: 1gm/1lb of bodyweight per day.

    4) Time, Patience + Consistency

    5) Success.
  • Anniebotnen
    Anniebotnen Posts: 332 Member
    1) Established progressive routine:

    Barbells: Starting Strength, Stronglifts 5x5, All Pro's SBR

    Kettlebells: Simple and Sinister, RKC PM/ROP

    Bodyweight: You Are Your Own Gym, Convict Conditioning, Never Gymless

    2) Moderate Calorie Deficit (say between TDEE-20% and TDEE-10% depending on how much weight you have to lose)

    3) Adequate Protein Consumption: 1gm/1lb of bodyweight per day.

    4) Time, Patience + Consistency

    5) Success.

    My understanding is that Planet Fitness does not have barbells, and only light dumb bells. Also, most evidently do not allow deadlifts. So any of the routines requiring these, like Starting Strength or Stronglifts will not work for the OP at this time.

    OP, I think your best bet for now is to have one of the trainers show you a total body circuit on the machines, or try the Spartacus routine suggested above, and perform these 3 days per week, with cardio on other workout days. Then consider switching to a more fully equipped gym as you get stronger and more comfortable with weight training.

    Good luck!
  • jimmmer
    jimmmer Posts: 3,515 Member
    1) Established progressive routine:

    Barbells: Starting Strength, Stronglifts 5x5, All Pro's SBR

    Kettlebells: Simple and Sinister, RKC PM/ROP

    Bodyweight: You Are Your Own Gym, Convict Conditioning, Never Gymless

    2) Moderate Calorie Deficit (say between TDEE-20% and TDEE-10% depending on how much weight you have to lose)

    3) Adequate Protein Consumption: 1gm/1lb of bodyweight per day.

    4) Time, Patience + Consistency

    5) Success.

    My understanding is that Planet Fitness does not have barbells, and only light dumb bells. Also, most evidently do not allow deadlifts. So any of the routines requiring these, like Starting Strength or Stronglifts will not work for the OP at this time.

    OP, I think your best bet for now is to have one of the trainers show you a total body circuit on the machines, or try the Spartacus routine suggested above, and perform these 3 days per week, with cardio on other workout days. Then consider switching to a more fully equipped gym as you get stronger and more comfortable with weight training.

    Good luck!

    Well, I know of people that have done All Pro's with dumbbells, since it's higher rep than the other routines it can scale to dumbbells initially.

    Planet fitness has kettlebells though? So one of those routines would be a goer.

    Bodyweight routines you could do at home for free.

    If you are truly stuck with machines only, LM has a beginner's routine that utilises machines:

    http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/muscle-gain/beginning-weight-training-part-4.html

    (right hand column of the table)

    Failing all of the above, find a new gym. Or quit the gym and do bodyweight focused routines.