Should you wait until you've lost weight for weights?

I recently got my body composition measured and the result was "solid build", as I have high levels of fat but also high levels of muscle. I am currently 235lbs and 5ft 7, but have a very defined hourglass shape and don't store much weight on my stomach (there's a 15 inch difference between my bust and waist and hips and waist). So I went ahead and took myself to the free weights section of my gym. I do cardio too but as an RN I'm used to being on my feet and running around for 13 hours a day. The cardio was tiring but not too challenging. I started doing walking lunges with substantial weights/squatting with weights and in minutes I was panting and my body was burning. I felt like that was more effective so favour weights. However a trainer at the gym told me I should NOT do weights until I've reduced fat. He said if I pack muscle over fat I will look huge and worse, and should cardio only until I've lost a substantial amount of body fat. Is this true?
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Replies

  • Ironandwine69
    Ironandwine69 Posts: 2,432 Member
    This trainer sounds like he knows his *kitten*. Not.
    Stay away from him.
  • tanny20171
    tanny20171 Posts: 46 Member
    sijomial wrote: »
    tanny20171 wrote: »
    However a trainer at the gym told me I should NOT do weights until I've reduced fat. He said if I pack muscle over fat I will look huge and worse, and should cardio only until I've lost a substantial amount of body fat. Is this true?
    This trainer is a clown - avoid like the plague.
    You won't pack on muscle in a deficit.
    You won't get bigger while losing weight.
    Now is always the time to do weights whether losing, gaining or maintaining weight. The only reason not to would be if you really detest it!
    Do it now for optimal body composition when you get to goal. Otherwise the risk is that in the future you join the vast ranks of people who say "I've got to goal weight but I'm not happy with my body...."

    The cardio was tiring but not too challenging. I started doing walking lunges with substantial weights/squatting with weights and in minutes I was panting and my body was burning. I felt like that was more effective so favour weights.
    That strength training may feel harder has nothing to do with the calories expended - it's a far lower calorie burn than even moderate cardio.
    Calories don't have feelings! :)

    Cardio is for health and fitness, not weight loss or fat burning.
    But strength training isn't for weight or fat loss either.
    That's a simple function of a calorie deficit over an extended period of time.

    Really? Thankyou I didn't know that. I thought the fact that I was working harder meant I was burning more calories. I also was way more out of breath squatting with weights when I wasn't actually moving than running in the treadmill.

    Can you suggest a routine to get me started? I went on the treadmill/cross trainer but it has a heart rate monitor, and it kept slowing me down/stopping because my heart rate was going to 200's. But my heart rate is often high, it's like 68-70 at rest but when I am at work and have taken my vitals my heart rate is always 120-140. The trainer I spoke to at the gym said to walk because I have weight but honestly I don't think walking will help much. Some days at work I get in 20,000 steps plus I am moving people all day moving beds running to pharmacy etc etc. I am fat because I eat ridiculous amounts of food. I tracked for one week and my average intake is 5-6000 calories per day. For example I regularly go to an all you can eat buffet and will have 3-4 plates of food followed by 2-3 plates of dessert. I'm always hungry and I eat the wrong food. Eating real food does fill me up, I can eat ten chocolate bars but never eaten ten pieces of salmon. So I would say the activity level is not the problem. But the people at my gym act like because I'm fat I would have never moved before and are telling me to walk on the treadmill when that doesn't help. I don't know what to do :-(
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,860 Member
    The crucial thing is you feel you are working harder. It's a total irrelevance - it's physics not feelings that determine energy expenditure.
    If a strong person moves xxxlbs easily and a weaker person really struggles to move the same weight they have done the same amount of work and burned the same calories.
    Remember though that for exercises like squats and lunges your own bodyweight is significant not just the weights on the bar or in your hands.

    You are getting enough walking at work - pointless to spend gym time doing the same thing. Spend that time doing an effective full body workout. Three times a week, full body, big compound moves predominately would be great for a beginner.

    Your cardio of choice should be complimenting your walking so moderate to higher intensity / HR but try to modulate that to a sensible level. Whether 200bpm is OK for you isn't possible for others to say - that's when perceived exertion is actually useful.
    I would have passed out long before that number but my brother could hit 200bpm well into his 50's.

    You have identified the big issue - eating too much! Admire your honesty. :flowerforyou:
    Personally I like the approach of about 80% of good nutritious foods I need, 10% mostly for taste, 10% pure (impure?) treats.
    Luckily I do actually enjoy the vast majority of the 80% too.
  • tanny20171
    tanny20171 Posts: 46 Member
    andri2 wrote: »
    Building muscle by lifting weights will help burn more fat than any amount of cardio on the treadmill. Your metabolism will continue to burn fat for at least 2 days after you've had a good weights session. Treadmill/cardio is good for your health but will not boost your metabolism for more than the day you do it. Please don't listen to that silly man je needs to go read up on effective exercises. All women should lift some weights. Apart from helping lose fat you change your body shape and you strengthen your bone density. All in all keep going. You can do it always believe in your abilities. I am a fitness and pilates instructor so you know I'm not just pulling things out of no where.

    Thankyou, I had no idea fat continues to burn post weights session so that has given me more motivation. Thanks for your post :)
  • tanny20171
    tanny20171 Posts: 46 Member
    sijomial wrote: »
    The crucial thing is you feel you are working harder. It's a total irrelevance - it's physics not feelings that determine energy expenditure.
    If a strong person moves xxxlbs easily and a weaker person really struggles to move the same weight they have done the same amount of work and burned the same calories.
    Remember though that for exercises like squats and lunges your own bodyweight is significant not just the weights on the bar or in your hands.

    You are getting enough walking at work - pointless to spend gym time doing the same thing. Spend that time doing an effective full body workout. Three times a week, full body, big compound moves predominately would be great for a beginner.

    Your cardio of choice should be complimenting your walking so moderate to higher intensity / HR but try to modulate that to a sensible level. Whether 200bpm is OK for you isn't possible for others to say - that's when perceived exertion is actually useful.
    I would have passed out long before that number but my brother could hit 200bpm well into his 50's.

    You have identified the big issue - eating too much! Admire your honesty. :flowerforyou:
    Personally I like the approach of about 80% of good nutritious foods I need, 10% mostly for taste, 10% pure (impure?) treats.
    Luckily I do actually enjoy the vast majority of the 80% too.

    Thanks for your reply, yeah I'm under no illusion I eat too much lol. The whole of everything I do revolves around food so I'm gonna try to swap that for exercise/activity....instead of going out to dinner going for a hike or walking around the park. It's a big change but all the advice I'm getting from peeps on here is really helping. Thanks again for your reply :)
  • rybo
    rybo Posts: 5,430 Member
    Salasel wrote: »
    It depends on your strategy. If you are going low calorie and have decreased your intake to the point where any activity will cause a catabolic state then yes hold off on training till your goal is reached. If you are balancing your calorie intake with additional activity to allow for muscle growth then you can train and see results. Clean eating and portion control is critical if you go this route and you might even gain a little weight I would recommend following your body fat percentage more then your weight if your lifting and trying to reshape your body.

    No, no it doesn't depend on your strategy. Always strength train. In a deficit it preserves muscle.
  • Mezzie1024
    Mezzie1024 Posts: 380 Member
    I sincerely hope you were not paying that trainer for that horrible advice.

    Possibly more important than the physical benefits of weight training (of which there are many) is the fact that you enjoyed it more and felt challenged. That sounds like it'll be something you stick with.

    My husband gets all his cardio in at work and weight trains almost exclusively for his intentional exercise, and it works great for him. By the way, he started before he reached his goal weight and never looked bad at all. My work is more sedentary, so my exercise time is split between lifting and cardio. That works great for me. People throwing out generic (and bad) fitness advice without even taking into account what kind of work you do probably aren't worth listening to. :smile:
  • pondee629
    pondee629 Posts: 2,469 Member
    "Can you suggest a routine to get me started?"

    I use Strong Lifts 5x5. I like the program and I like the app on my iPhone. There are several. Search for beginner lifting programs, pick one, try it. If you like it, continue. If you don't like it, try another.
  • rbiss
    rbiss Posts: 422 Member
    Do not listen to that trainer. He is very very wrong. Lifting weights in a caloric deficit will help you retain the muscle or at least minimize muscle loss while you are loosing weight.
  • BoxerBrawler
    BoxerBrawler Posts: 2,046 Member
    Lift weights.
    The end.
  • tanny20171
    tanny20171 Posts: 46 Member
    edited August 2017
    Thankyou so much for your post. I am now more convinced than ever that I should be lifting weights from the start. I know it may influence me losing but I'm gonna try not to get caught up in the numbers game. I think I'll always weigh more than some other women. At the moment I am 235lbs (I've included pics below) but I still wear smaller clothes sizes than some women I know that are 30lbs lighter. And I think that's due to having natural muscle. I've seen pics on Instagram of women that weigh LESS than when they started lifting but after lifting look 50lbs lighter. I think I just wanted clarification because I am big and I didn't want to get bigger but after what people have kindly posted I don't think that's likely to happen. Also, I've decided to make my piece with being what I call a man beast (no wish to offend anyone). It used to embarrass me when male staff at work would ask me to crush tablets for them if they couldn't manage it but I'm just gonna go with it now, I am what I am so if I do end up even stronger lol so be it. Thanks again to all that have posted :-)
  • Muscleflex79
    Muscleflex79 Posts: 1,919 Member
    tanny20171 wrote: »
    Thankyou so much for your post. I am now more convinced than ever that I should be lifting weights from the start. I know it may influence me losing but I'm gonna try not to get caught up in the numbers game. I think I'll always weigh more than some other women. At the moment I am 235lbs (I've included pics below) but I still wear smaller clothes sizes than some women I know that are 30lbs lighter. And I think that's due to having natural muscle. I've seen pics on Instagram of women that weigh LESS than when they started lifting but after lifting look 50lbs lighter. I think I just wanted clarification because I am big and I didn't want to get bigger but after what people have kindly posted I don't think that's likely to happen. Also, I've decided to make my piece with being what I call a man beast (no wish to offend anyone). It used to embarrass me when male staff at work would ask me to crush tablets for them if they couldn't manage it but I'm just gonna go with it now, I am what I am so if I do end up even stronger lol so be it. Thanks again to all that have posted :-)

    lol...interesting pics - these were supposed to show your "natural muscle mass" ?? as someone said above, you likely don't have nearly the amount of muscle mass as you keep stating (and these pics don't suggest anything different).