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Am I doing the gym right - how can I up the ante
55

Changedagain876 · 02/06/2022 08:48

Started in January and go to 3-4 classes a week - kind of a mix of weights/hiit type stuff with some cardio - but my usual is 3 sessions a week to being so busy. Definitely noticed a decent weight loss and some muscle but definitely not where I want to be(flatter tum, bigger bum etc). I’m not overweight but had put on some weight at Xmas so am around 61kg and 5 foot 6 now.

Can anyone give me some pointers as to how to up the ante? Do I need to go more or should I work on diet?

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WreckTangled · 02/06/2022 09:02

If you want to increase muscle then you need progressive overload. HIIT and other classes just aren't going to do that. Flatter stomach will need fat loss, for many women it's the last place to go and often not worth the effort (not for me anyway). Bigger bum is going to be barbell hip thrusts and certain squats.

You need to be eating adequate protein (100g a day) spread over 3-4 meals. Unlikely to build much muscle whilst also in a calorie deficit but possible if you're new to lifting.

Have a look at ESG fitness on Instagram. She will also answer all your questions for free if you message her.

Also muscle growth takes time. I've been going consistently for a year (weights only, slowly increasing the load) and I'm finally seeing some biceps Grin I go three times a week, it is enough if you have the right programming.

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CloseYourEyesAndSee · 02/06/2022 09:03

HIIT and cardio won't build muscle so you need to get a weights programme and follow it.

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Changedagain876 · 02/06/2022 09:09

Ahhh thank you!!!!!

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EarringsandLipstick · 02/06/2022 16:02

CloseYourEyesAndSee · 02/06/2022 09:03

HIIT and cardio won't build muscle so you need to get a weights programme and follow it.

Oh don't listen to this! I'm amazed at the nonsense that is posted here at times.

So, yes, if you are talking significant muscle gain, like really getting very muscular, you need to build on your weight lifting, as the other posts said.

BUT that's not what most people want - typically people want muscle definition & you can absolutely get that with HIIT particularly where some weights are incorporated, but they don't have to be heavy or necessarily increase.

It is best done as part of a class, rather than trying to do it individually in a gym.

What that might look like is: weighted lunges, leg raises with a weight, kettlebell swings.

You'll gain toned, defined arms, chest, glutes etc that way.

If you can add in a pure strength & conditioning class, about 1 a week, then that would help & is where you can focus on the heavier weights.

Re flat stomach. Some of that depends on your own natural shape, and of course weight loss. For many women, they'll always have a bit of a tummy. Core work like planks, leg raises, crunches as part of HIIT training help massively.

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GallstoneGlory · 02/06/2022 18:07

Unless your body fat is fairly low already I am sorry, but I think @EarringsandLipstick may be being somewhat optimistic. I spent years doing boxing (which is damned high intensity) plus weighted lunges and kettlebell swings and the like, and made not the vaguest visible difference to my muscle definition even after losing weight to reach a healthy weight. Even now, after two years of properly programmed (by a weight lifting coach) weight training four times a week (with significant increases in weights over the period as I became able to manage it), and losing more fat you can only see the vaguest oblique lines on my abs and no other obvious musculature unless I flex.

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Lawntomeadow · 02/06/2022 18:53

GallstoneGlory · 02/06/2022 18:07

Unless your body fat is fairly low already I am sorry, but I think @EarringsandLipstick may be being somewhat optimistic. I spent years doing boxing (which is damned high intensity) plus weighted lunges and kettlebell swings and the like, and made not the vaguest visible difference to my muscle definition even after losing weight to reach a healthy weight. Even now, after two years of properly programmed (by a weight lifting coach) weight training four times a week (with significant increases in weights over the period as I became able to manage it), and losing more fat you can only see the vaguest oblique lines on my abs and no other obvious musculature unless I flex.

As someone who has been lifting "heavy" for the last 10 years, I would like to second the points above. I'm slimmer than I was in my 20s and I weigh less without every having deliberately tried to lose weight. I do not have rippling muscles or look like a she-hulk but I do have a relatively "toned" look. Years of circuits classes, bodypump, treadmill etc did not provide me with those results. Learning how to use a barbell and move heavy weights made a far greater difference to my physique and required less time than all of the classes I used to attend.

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EarringsandLipstick · 02/06/2022 19:03

Obviously it depends on the individual to an extent.

I do have low body fat, naturally, that's true.

However, my HIIT classes that combine some weights & core with high intensity work absolutely have given me the shape I want. But again, muscular for me, is having good shape & definition, being highly toned & without flab.

Also, for me, I need that high intensity interval work to get fit; I'm overall pretty fit as I've exercised a lot since my 20s but it's the rapid change in exercises that benefits me the most. If I was doing one type of exercise, I wouldn't get half as much out of it.

I think what I'd say is too much focus is put on heavy weights at times. They are absolutely worth doing but I feel strongly that most women will benefit from HIIT-style exercise, in terms of overall fitness & shape.

I have several friends through training who would all have the same experience as me, but that's of course not saying it's the same for everyone.

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EarringsandLipstick · 02/06/2022 19:07

I'd also say, in my opinion, doing a range of exercise is important. My week's training consists of 3 - 4 HIIT sessions, each different, 1 - 2 Spin classes, 1 Strength & Conditioning class, but post lockdown I've kept up walking & amazed to realise how important that is to my fitness / shape as well.

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BlusteryLake · 02/06/2022 19:14

How old are you OP? I have found, as have my friends, that as you progress through your 40s, diet becomes far and away the main factor in maintaining a healthy weight and physique.

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Pacidove · 02/06/2022 19:15

Weight training was the game changer for me. I go to the gym at least 3x per week and do 20-30mins of cardio followed by a weights session. I split the areas in to three and just focus on one per session doing 3 sets of 10 reps on each exercise.

Legs

  • squats
  • deadlifts
  • lunges
  • calf raises

Chest/Shoulders/ triceps
  • press ups
  • shoulder press
  • dips
  • tricep extensions

Back/Bicep
  • dumbbell row
  • lateral pull down or pull ups
  • bicep curls
  • cable row

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WreckTangled · 02/06/2022 19:29

EarringsandLipstick · 02/06/2022 19:07

I'd also say, in my opinion, doing a range of exercise is important. My week's training consists of 3 - 4 HIIT sessions, each different, 1 - 2 Spin classes, 1 Strength & Conditioning class, but post lockdown I've kept up walking & amazed to realise how important that is to my fitness / shape as well.

I think this is the thing 'in your opinion...'. In your first post you said you couldn't believe the rubbish spouted on here but have gone on to confirm that the information you gave was anecdotal whereas studies show that progressive overload is indeed needed for muscle growth. I do agree that cardio in the form of HIIT and spinning etc is great for overall health and endurance but if you want to build muscle (and I don't mean look like a body builder type muscle) you do need to lift proper weights to a proper routine. But I do get where you're coming from with the rubbish spouted on here sometimes, I'm sure someone will be along soon to tell OP she needs to go low carb and eat 1200 calories a day...

OP I was going three times a week and did push, pull, legs but found that once a week wasn't enough for legs really so changed to three full body work outs. If you want to work on your strength it's advised to not to cardio before a weights session but add it after if you so wish.

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Shmithecat2 · 02/06/2022 19:33

Up your weight training. It really works.

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GoodThinkingMax · 02/06/2022 19:41

BUT that's not what most people want - typically people want muscle definition & you can absolutely get that with HIIT particularly where some weights are incorporated, but they don't have to be heavy or necessarily increase.

Well, I could call this nonsense. But I'm not rude or dismissive of other people's advice in the Exercise section - I've learnt a lot. Not everyone in here trains the way I like to train (I lift heavy & do ballet, and have very lean abs and very strong glutes, as well as extreme flexibility) but it's always interesting to read about people's ideas, experience & advice.

What you're facing @Changedagain876 is a "plateau" - you've seen some of the results she's aiming for, but these seem to have stalled.

This is because - and this is not "nonsense" - your body has adapted to the stress you're putting it under. So YES, you will need to do something different - and adding weight is one of the most effective things you can do.

Personally, I could care less about a "big bum" - I'm just happy that my glutes are strong & hard, and support my movement.

OP you can't spot reduce or spot bulk. It needs to be part of a long slow programme of progressive overloading and progressive training to failure. If you want a "big bum" -you're looking at what is called "hypertrophy" - a scientific way of saying muscle growth (as opposed to "atrophy" or muscle wastage).

Perhaps look up exercise and hypertrophy on YouTube etc, and see what appeals?

I really like MegSquats, and this video about starting out at the gym, is gold.



She's not pushy in terms of her own programme: she gives really good straight forward advice & I always think that I can do a scaled down version of what she does.
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Lawntomeadow · 02/06/2022 19:45

EarringsandLipstick · 02/06/2022 19:03

Obviously it depends on the individual to an extent.

I do have low body fat, naturally, that's true.

However, my HIIT classes that combine some weights & core with high intensity work absolutely have given me the shape I want. But again, muscular for me, is having good shape & definition, being highly toned & without flab.

Also, for me, I need that high intensity interval work to get fit; I'm overall pretty fit as I've exercised a lot since my 20s but it's the rapid change in exercises that benefits me the most. If I was doing one type of exercise, I wouldn't get half as much out of it.

I think what I'd say is too much focus is put on heavy weights at times. They are absolutely worth doing but I feel strongly that most women will benefit from HIIT-style exercise, in terms of overall fitness & shape.

I have several friends through training who would all have the same experience as me, but that's of course not saying it's the same for everyone.

And that's brilliant. If it works for you and, most importantly, you enjoy it so you'll keep it up in the long-term then more power to your elbow. 😊And I agree that cardiovascular health and fitness should be balanced alongside strength training, at the very least to try and prevent osteoporosis as we age. Over focus on anything is rarely healthy, striking a balance is key and finding out what you enjoy.

We all have our own opinions and preferences in our personal fitness, I just thought your first comment to @CloseYourEyesAndSee came across rather dismissively or even rudely, whether you intended to or not. Although I agree a lot of "nonsense" is posted on here, that definitely wasn't a post I'd single out! Now, if they'd come on to say the OP should only be eating 1000 calories and never eat any carbs, other than rice cakes, then that would be nonsense. And I'm quite sure I've seen some variaton of that "advice" on MN before.πŸ˜ƒ

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GoodThinkingMax · 02/06/2022 19:46

Years of circuits classes, bodypump, treadmill etc did not provide me with those results. Learning how to use a barbell and move heavy weights made a far greater difference to my physique and required less time than all of the classes I used to attend.

Me three!

I do have visible muscles in arms, shoulders, back & abs (at early 60s) and if I'm attending to my diet properly (I always hover about 5kgs above my target weight, darn it!) you can see the definition of my hamstrings. I don't have a visible 6-pack because I'm not "shredded" but I do have the definable lines either side of my navel, and across my abs - you can see the muscles, and the definition.

That's a combination of 4 years of twice weekly strength/lifting heavy, plus HIIT, ballet, and sometimes a bit of Bodypump for fun.

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CloseYourEyesAndSee · 02/06/2022 19:49

Lawntomeadow · 02/06/2022 19:45

And that's brilliant. If it works for you and, most importantly, you enjoy it so you'll keep it up in the long-term then more power to your elbow. 😊And I agree that cardiovascular health and fitness should be balanced alongside strength training, at the very least to try and prevent osteoporosis as we age. Over focus on anything is rarely healthy, striking a balance is key and finding out what you enjoy.

We all have our own opinions and preferences in our personal fitness, I just thought your first comment to @CloseYourEyesAndSee came across rather dismissively or even rudely, whether you intended to or not. Although I agree a lot of "nonsense" is posted on here, that definitely wasn't a post I'd single out! Now, if they'd come on to say the OP should only be eating 1000 calories and never eat any carbs, other than rice cakes, then that would be nonsense. And I'm quite sure I've seen some variaton of that "advice" on MN before.πŸ˜ƒ

Thanks!
the advice I gave was based on the advice of my qualified personal trainer but πŸ€·πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ

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GoodThinkingMax · 02/06/2022 19:51

whereas studies show that progressive overload is indeed needed for muscle growth.

This. It's pretty basic exercise science.

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GoodThinkingMax · 02/06/2022 19:55

@CloseYourEyesAndSee like you, my advice comes from my qualified personal trainer, who also have a degree in Sports Science. He's very much into keeping it simple: move about a lot, work on progressive programme of overload in compound lifts (squats & deadlifts), add in metcon to really push the body, and train to failure.

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EarringsandLipstick · 02/06/2022 20:08

I think this is the thing 'in your opinion...'. In your first post you said you couldn't believe the rubbish spouted on here but have gone on to confirm that the information you gave was anecdotal whereas studies show that progressive overload is indeed needed for muscle growth

You misunderstand me.

In most cases, when women discuss gaining 'muscle' they are not referring to the muscle growth you are.

They mean they want to be defined, have a good shape & be toned.

That's achievable with appropriately balanced HIIT, and simply weight training misses the very significant cardio benefits that I think are key to overall fitness and definition for women.

It is too glib to say that only weight training of a specific kind builds muscle - the point I responded to.

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EarringsandLipstick · 02/06/2022 20:08

Well, I could call this nonsense.

You could - but it's not.

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EarringsandLipstick · 02/06/2022 20:09

adding weight is one of the most effective things you can do.

'One of'

Others include increasing intensity, joining classes or being trained, varying sets, and reps.

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EarringsandLipstick · 02/06/2022 20:11

This is because - and this is not "nonsense" - your body has adapted to the stress you're putting it under.

Agree with this.

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Lawntomeadow · 02/06/2022 20:13

Not all CloseYourEyesAndSee, there was nothing wrong with what you said. HIIT and cardio burn fat first, they'll improve your cardiovascular system which is important for your health but HIIT is not an efficient way to build muscle in comparison to traditional strength training.

@GoodThinkingMax I can't find a high-five emoji but I want to be exactly the same as you when I'm in my 60s. I want to alarm the young guys in their 20s by still deadlifting and squating heavy.πŸ˜‚

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EarringsandLipstick · 02/06/2022 20:13

I just thought your first comment to @CloseYourEyesAndSee came across rather dismissively or even rudely, whether you intended to or not.

On reflection that's a fair point.

Sorry @CloseYourEyesAndSee I should have phrased my point better or differently.

I have a thing about the 'weights above all else' approach that gets pushed out here. It's not wrong, at all. But for many people taking on moderate exercise, it's not great advice.

But your post is actually right & I apologise.

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CloseYourEyesAndSee · 02/06/2022 20:16

No worries
OP wants to build her glutes. She's not going to achieve that at a HIIT class. That's a fact.

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