How do I get started?(22 Posts)
I go to the gym a couple of times a week, mostly cardio and use the strength stuff that's there.
But I want to start lifting; should I start with a personal trainer? I've no clue what I'm doing.
If you can get a few sessions with a trainer, that's awesome. Be sure to tell them that you want to learn to lift weights by yourself. Some people pay trainers to stand over them and compel them to work. Nothing wrong with that. But you need to make it clear that you will be working out by yourself as soon as you're ready.
What do you want to achieve physically? And how much time do you have available?
Well, I've lost two stone in the last year and I still look exactly the same. I'm wearing the same clothes although they are slightly looser. So I guess I need to get toned, and also continue to lose weight (could still stand to lose another stone at least).
I can get to the gym 2, maybe 3 times a week.
If you can do three days a week, an hour each time, you'll have plenty of time for a beginners strength program.
Most people recommend starting with a basic strength program that focuses on what are called the main "compound lifts." These are movements that employ more than one joint and require you to focus on your form and overall stability. The main compound lifts are the deadlift, the squat, the row (or the pull up) , the bench press and the overhead press. You're generally encouraged to use a barbell and plates, although there are dumbbell versions of them all. The beginner programs don't generally work on isolated muscles... There are no bicep curls, for example. The idea is to build a foundation of basic strength and understanding of proper form. The biceps, triceps and even the abs get worked as accessory muscles in the main moves and no specific attention is required.
As a beginner, you'd be expected to start with light weights (the empty barbell, even) and gradually add a small increase in weight each week. Beginners generally progress in a linear fashion for several weeks or months. Once those "newbie gains" stall, you may be ready for an intermediate programme and even start experimenting with other lifts that isolate or enhance the smaller muscles.
Common starting programmes that you can Google include Strong Lifts, Starting Strength and New Rules of Lifting. There's a New Rules of Lifting for Women that is very highly regarded and another programme beloved and revered by women is Strong Curves.
Women don't need special programmes. They can do the same thing the men do. However, sometimes it's helpful to keep in mind that the weights and increments are smaller for us. And Strong Curves, in particular, is specifically aimed at increasing the size of your bum (although men can and should do all of the same exercises.)
Thanks so much, that's really helpful.
<staying FAR away from Strong Curves>
I know this is a slightly old post, but having read this thread I have found it helpful. If anyone could answer a couple of further questions that would be great...
Is it possible to buy weights and start this at home? I could afford a session or 2 a month with a PT to check my form although I have done various fitness in the past (including some work with a PT).
My main aim is to tone, build some strength for future proofing my health and to help with some PMT.
I was thinking an hour 3 or 4 times a week. Budget, I was going to start with the basics and add as time went on.
Sadly not. Perhaps I need to re think the gym. It's mainly a confidence thing that's stopping me tbh, which feels like a really silly reason NOT to do something.
Don't worry. Not necessary even if a rack is best for heavy weights and pull-ups etc. I was testing to see what you could cobble together.
Well there are other things you can do that don't take up space:
- skip rope for aerobic training
- get a mat and do yoga - key for mobility
- kettlebells are great bc very versatile
- sandbags also
- pull-ups - get a pull -up bar and install outside maybe
But the key in any exercise routine:
- hit mobility to stay strong through a flexible pose. Yoga is v good for that
- strength. deep squats and deadlifts are paramount, but these can be done with kettlebells for which there are a ton of exercises. I had not used them until a few months ago - they are truly excellent. Body Rip brand seem good value and covered in plastic so won't rust
Sandbags are good for that too. very hard because the sand moves around.
- cardio: need a combination of aerobic and anaerobic. skipping rope, sandbag work and kettlebells are a tough mix! And cheap and don't take up space.
Hope this helps.
PS: I agree with @JustGettingStarted. Women don't need special exercises. In many cases, women are stronger than men ...
Also agree with JustGettingStarted's various other comments - clearly experienced in the field.
Fantastic, thank you! I think I've ordered New rules of lifting for woman as there seems to be advice on food too (my diet has predominantly been weight loss based and I often feel a bit lacklustre). I'll also take a look at strong curves...the vain part of me would like not to get a flat bum when I'm older!
Feeling lacklustre can be because of many reasons.
Undereating most often - eg low cal diets definitely work for weight loss but can be unhealthy w the wrong food macro combination.
Sluggishness can be also due to low carb diets (generally 'healthier' than low fat) in combination with high intensity exercise (where your muscles need to carb up).
In my experience the 'best' combination of food macros is v low carb, managed protein and high fat. It's because I personally choose to stay lean and also benefit from the large number of (scientifically) proven health benefits of fuelling my body mainly via fat (ketones) vs sugar (glucose). I do eat carbs to restore muscle and liver glycogen post hard workout so I'm not sluggish; one has to face the facts of human biology.
But it's not for everyone. Maintaining this 'discipline' appears to be hard to maintain for some.
So when you decide on your 'diet' - which is essentially a choice about which fuel you use - glucose or fat - and thus which food macro combination you are going with, you should consider your objectives.
Do I care only about weight loss? Or also health? Can I get both (yes)? And under what conditions (compromise and discipline needed)?
My children kept interrupting me so I have had to read this a couple of times! Thank you for this information.
Currently I eat a lower carb diet, I think that the protein element is a bit hit and miss at times and I could eat more (healthy) fats.
Usually I top up with supplements as well (vitamin D at this time of year, a pmt one, vitamin c etc). I add hemp protein powder, or Solgar protein powder to smoothies but I'm not sure how much that helps.
I'm reading the kindle sample of New rules while I wait for the paper copy, very good so far, I used to to a circuit class mainly aimed at men...I can see now get the results I got were so good! Sadly the class is no more.
What do you consider healthy fats? Which ones are good and which ones are unhealthy in your mind?
So in the healthy list, based on what is in my cupboard:
hemp oil (in a bottle called good oil)
coconut oil (in moderation)
the oil in oily fish
olive oil - in moderation
Not so healthy:
anything refined and saturated
animal fat, so I tend to grill meats
I feel as though I could be missing some there though!
Interesting. I mostly agree though hemp oil - I think - is high in Omega 6 which isn’t brilliant as associated with heart disease. I believe it’s high in polyunsaturated fat which as a category are more heavily processed than monounsaturated fats - eg soybean, sunflower, safflower, corn vs olive oil, avocado oil.
Why do you consider coconut oil (which is saturated and I find fantastic I agree) as better than saturated animal fat? Isn’t your body fat saturated animal fat? Why would such a fat be bad in your view? Does the body process coconut oil sat fat differently from animal fat?
I have to be honest my knowledge of fat has never been fantastic, I do remember butter and other animal fats being very 'out of fashion' or perhaps rather getting a bad press. I have also tried going vegan in the past but have never found a way to do it without completely running out of steam.
The hemp oil was recommended about 10 years ago when I went to see a nutritionist, I wonder if advice and knowledge may have changed since then (I also didn't realise it was that long ago that I'd started buying it) so I'm happy to swap that one out. I don't remember coconut oil being as widely used then.
I wonder if the coconut v animal fat has aldo come from reading about the health benefits of a vegan diet. Nothing like confusing oneself
My understanding from the literature is as follows. I may not have all 100% right but I think the ‘directionality’ is there.
Hope this helps.
First a need to provide important context.
- you should know that fats make the effect of carbs worse on the body. There is hormone interplay generated by carbs and fats that make them worse together than
On their own - I looked this up for a friend a few Months ago. At the same meal seems worse than part of the same ‘diet’ (a diet being a combination of macro nutrients- fats, proteins and carbs).
So when you hear ‘fats’ are bad it’s not an altogether false statement even though the media are now saying fats are good without context. In my mind it’s a bit disingenuous however because it’s really the carbs doing the damage: a diet with v heavy carbs content is unhealthy but a diet w heavy fat content is healthy. And yes there is science that shows this. The biochemistry also backs this up too - the endocrine hormonal effect is completely different for a carb heavy low fat diet vs a carb light high fat diet.
This is why if you choose fat as a fuel you should know about the various qualities. It’s a bit less true for glucose as a fuel because of the less healthful interplay of hormones I mentioned above. It is v possible that saturated fat is ‘worse’ with carbs than mono or polyunsaturated fat - I have not checked this so be mindful of this qualification. In other words the current saturated fat phobia may be completely justified in the context of the modern low fat high carb diet.
- so ... fats on their own - ie in the context of restricted carbs (incl protein) are v ‘healthy.’ There is a ton of research to show that inflammation goes down, cholesterol markers improve, blood pressure normalises etc. Also you can access your own body fat for fuel which you cannot do biologically if glucose is your main fuel. This is what I mean by ‘health’.
The ‘best’ fats in the context of fat as body fuel tend to be saturated because they are easier to break down. Doesn’t matter if animal or plant. Your body fat - which I hope you agree we should be using as fuel as often as possible - is saturated animal fat - I hope you agree nature would have made this safe to metabolise! Also think Omega 3 fats from fish. These should be good for you.
Next best fat type are those high in monounsaturated fat. Cold pressed oils like olive oil and avocado oil are great bc Relatively easy to break down.
Oils high in Polyunsaturated fats are those which tend to be processed - in some cases solvents are used to extract them. High in Omega 6 which I have read has strong associations with heart disease if you consume too much. Omega 6 is essential- you die if you don’t eat it but high proportions seem to be bad for you. Harder to break down. Soybean, corn, sunflower, safflower as examples. Makes sense that the body struggles to metabolise if a solvent had to be used to make them.
- finally trans fats are just poison and should never be eaten. Anything ‘hydrogenated ‘ you find in packaged food like crisps or peanut butter. Hydrogenated means humans added a hydrogen atom to make the food keep longer. Your body can’t break the rubbish down at all. Really should be illegal.
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