Do I need a plan yet?

So I am very new to working out. I have lost 20 lbs. in the last 4 months (280 to 260) through diet and minimal exercise. I am looking to amp up the exercise. Right now I go to Planet Fitness with a goal to get sweaty and sore. I have been utilizing the 30 minute circuit, so 10 different weight machines for a minute each, with an aerobic step in between. I usually do high knee steps as the in-between, but I will throw in some body weight squats when I feel ambitious. I have been increasing the weights each workout. I usually spend 15-30 minutes on the elliptical or treadmill after and just shoot to get nice and sweaty.

I like the idea of starting SL 5x5, but I am super intimidated by the free weights. And the guys who frequent the gym after 11 pm (the only time I can consistently go)

So, if I am seeing results, do I need a real plan? How long can I just wing it? My thought process right now is that any movement is better than none, but will this bite me in the a** in the long run?

I know this will get bashed just for being Planet Fitness, but this is the only gym in my area with late hours that I can come close to affording right now. And my tiny apartment (and nosy toddler) are not conducive to home workouts.


  • cafeaulait7
    cafeaulait7 Posts: 2,459 Member
    Check out their dumbbells and see how high they go (my local one went pretty high, I believe). There are specific dumbbell plans, or most plans do well with dumbbells up to a certain point. You can also supplement with machines, sure (imho). It's certainly better than not lifting, and you can think about how to arrange moving to barbells later.
  • lcuconley
    lcuconley Posts: 734 Member
    The real question is whether you are happy doing what you are doing and if you are REALLY pushing yourself by upping your weights and increasing your cardio speed. You can continue!

    I LOVE free weights and SL 5x5 is an excellent program, but it's "better" only if you will do it.

    You need to get a little education on free weights (a few personal training sessions would be great!) and then just do it. Once you have a few sessions under your belt, the intimidation factor will seriously fall away. The guys will ignore you and you will focus on your workout.
  • tillerstouch
    tillerstouch Posts: 608 Member
    Firstly don't be intimidated by those guys. Secondly does your planet fitness have a squat rack/barbells? Because the ones I've been to only have smith machines so you wouldn't be able to do the exact SL but you could adapt it to what p.f. has.

    Whether you should do a program really depends on your goals. If you want to get stronger or make your muscles larger then yes start a program. If you don't really care then I'd say just keep up what you're doing but make sure you're hitting every muscle group.
  • HeidiThe9
    HeidiThe9 Posts: 48 Member
    No squat racks or barbells. I think the Dumbbells go up to 60lbs. so I would have to do a modified program anyway.

    I am a 34 year old woman, and I could care less about getting really bulky, or how high a weight I can lift. I just want to get to a healthy weight and not lose any muscle mass in the process. Tightening up any loose skin a flab would be awesome.
  • tillerstouch
    tillerstouch Posts: 608 Member
    I would go onto a site like and find a workout routine that you can do with the equipment at planet fitness without having to modify a program too much. Stronglifts is based almost entirely of barbell workouts even though most of the lifts you can do with dumbbells I think a different program might be better suited.

    You should try to find a dumbbell routine or maybe even a body weight routine, in my opinion. I'm sure someone else might be able to give some suggestions of actual programs. Goodluck!
  • ElizabethOakes2
    ElizabethOakes2 Posts: 1,038 Member
    Hi! Awesome on you for leaping in and making changes!

    You might look into reading Joyce Vedrals "Weight Training Made Easy" and "Complete Weight Training" and Lou Schuler's "New Rules of Weight Lifting for Women".
    (I find Schuler to be a pompous jerk and was put off in the first few pages, but there are a lot of women lifters here who swear by it.)

    Find a program you like that you can have fun with, then have fun watching your body transform!