Starting A Weight Lifting Program

As this podcast deals with exercise, let me remind you to contact your doctor before starting an exercise program. This information is for entertainment purposes only as I am “just a dude” in the basement trying to lose weight like you.

I recently decided that as much as I HATE weight lifting, it is a necessary evil. However, once again knowledge comes into play here.

1. It's very hard (if not impossible) to gain muscle and lose weight. This means I'm going to need to be patient.

2. In the long run, I will have a better “butter burning machine” and be able to eat MORE and have it no effect my weight (muscle burns more calories than fat).

3. You do not burn as many calories weight lifting (as in doing the exercise) as you do on a treadmill, but from different reports I've read you burn more calories resting when you have more muscle. So you may burn more calories after your exercise when you weight lift.

I wasn't sure how much weight to lift, and how many reps to do. I found this on (they have all sorts of fitness books).

“You can’t design a strength-training (or weight-training) program without knowing two terms: rep and set. Rep (repetition) is one complete motion of an exercise. A set is a group of consecutive repetitions. For example, you can say, “I did two sets of ten reps on the chest press.” This means that you did ten consecutive chest presses, rested, and then did another ten chest presses.

How many reps should I do?
The number of reps you should do depends on where you are in your training (new, experienced, coming back from a long layoff) and your goals. To become as strong and as big as your body type will allow, do fewer than 8 or 10 reps per set. To tone your muscles and develop the type of strength you need for everyday life — moving furniture or shoveling snow — aim for 10 to 12 repetitions. Doing dozens of reps with ultralight weights (weights you can barely even feel) doesn’t bring good results of any kind, because you’re not stressing your muscles enough.

No matter how many repetitions you do, always use a heavy enough weight so that the last rep is a struggle, but not such a struggle that you compromise good form. After about a month of strength training, you may want to go to muscular failure (that is, your last repetition is so difficult that you can’t squeeze out one more).

If you have a few different goals in mind, you can mix and match the number of reps you do per workout. If you want to get bigger and stronger and also improve the endurance of those muscles, you can do a heavy workout one day and a lighter workout the next time out. Keep track of how you feel; your body may respond better to one type of training than another.

Be sure to adjust the amount of weight you use for each exercise. In general, use more weight to work larger muscles like your thighs, chest, and upper back, and use less weight to exercise your shoulders, arms, and abdominals. But even when doing different exercises for the same muscle group, you’re likely to need a variety of weights. For example, you typically can handle more weight on the flat chest-press machine than you can on the incline chest-press machine.

Write down how much weight you lift for each exercise so that next time around, you don’t have to waste time experimenting all over again. But don’t lock yourself into lifting a certain amount of weight every time. Everyone feels stronger on some days than on others.

(This is one of the reasons I loved using the vidaone software – Dave).

How many sets should I do for each muscle group?
There’s no simple answer. Several studies show that doing one set per muscle builds just as much strength as doing three sets per muscle, at least for the first three or four months of training. If you’re a novice or if you’re starting again after a layoff, begin with one set of 10 to 12 repetitions, and make sure your last rep feels challenging. You should feel like you have control of the weight but if you did one more rep, you may not be able to make it all the way.

Most people can increase their initial weights after two to four weeks of training; at that point, consider adding a second or even third set for each muscle group. However, if your goal is simply to build enough strength for good health, one challenging set may be sufficient.

How Much Weight to Lift
If you are using weight training to increase your strength, you need to lift an amount of weight that stresses your muscles. This should be enough weight so that you feel challenged as you’re lifting, and so that the last rep (repetition) is difficult to complete — difficult, but still possible and still using good form.

After about age 30, you lose bone mass for the rest of your life. But don’t let that frighten you, because there is a solution. To maintain bone density (that is, to build enough bone density to offset the loss of bone density that occurs as you age), you need to perform weight-bearing exercise.”

How Long To Weight In Between Sets?
According to “Higher intensity (i.e., when lifting heavy) exercise requires a longer rest. When lifting to fatigue, it takes an average of 2 to 5 minutes for your muscles to rest for the next set. When using lighter weight and more repetitions, it takes between 30 seconds and 1 minute for your muscles to rest.”

Some of this information is paraphrased from the fitness for dummies book.

Listener Feedback

Mio Strapless Heart Rate Monitor

Dmed on the forums said this about “Whats working for them.” What's working is using a Mio strapless heart rate monitor.
This is just a watch. No chest strap. YEAH!  It gives you your heart rate when you hold with your thumb and index finger.  It takes just a few seconds and when it displays it automatically shows your percentage of maximum heart rate.  It has several timers on it.  Even though I work out on an elliptical, I started using the double timer on the watch to do my workout.  That way I don't have to break my intervals into full minutes.  Therefore, I can slowly increase the running part of my interval  without jumping a full minute.  It, also, counts calories burned while I use the timers.  This has really allowed me to gradually improve my workout.  For some reason I have improved my workout alot since I started using the mio watch.  It also has a recovery check on it, which I was using a lot when I first got the mio.

For more information check out mio heart rate monitors at

Exercising off Your Food For the Day

David_Sydney from the forums said,
“I know I can't control my eating, but I can count my calories.Confused

I exercise down to my weight loss calorie intake each night. Depending on my motivation I burn anywhere between 1,000-3,000 calories a session.

When I am disciplined I have been losing around 1.5kg a week. A few years ago I tried not eating/meal replacement and I found that although when I stuck to the plan I lost weight, most of the time I spent trying to get onto the ‘fast' side I failed, felt guilty, overate and was not motivated/did not have the energy to exercise and put on weight in off weeks.

It's great – I don't feel guilty when I eat, I can see the purpose of the exercise, and the pain of the exercise makes me think twice before I overeat.Cool”

My reply is, “What happens if something happens and you don't make it to the gym?” Also different experts have advised not exercising over 90 minutes (Which I'm assuming you do to burn off 1-3,000 calories). Be careful with this plan, you could find some pitfalls.

As always consult your doctor before beginning an exercise program.

Maximize Your Exercise!

I mentioned previously how I'm not going to have as much time exercise as I would like. So I thought, “How do I maximize my exercise?”

So logically I thought, “Muscles burn calories when we move.” So if I want to burn more calories, one way to do it is to have bigger muscles. While I may not have time for my walk today, I have 3 minutes to do some leg lifts, some sit ups, or other exercises. You may think, “Oh these are doing any good.” Then you wake up the next day and say, “Hey I feel something there.” So by having bigger muscles, when I DO exercise I will burn more calories than before.

So I may not have time to do my hour long walk, but when I take my 10 minutes to walk while I'm talking on the phone I will burn more calories because of the strength training I've done in just minutes at a time.

Believe in yourself. It's not who you are that holds you back, its who you think you're not. – anonymous.

Here is the “Plank” exercise I was speaking of.

Plank Modified

Here is a great list of exercises at Spark People

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