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07-14-2011, 03:26 PM   #1
Cat-a-Tonic
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Question about lifting weights

Before I became ill, I'd work out 3 times per week in the gym, and I also went kayaking a lot. I was pretty fit. All that went out the window in Oct 2009 when this gut illness hit. I'm finally to the point where I'm starting to feel like I'm heading into remission, and I've started working out again to try to continue regaining my health. There's a little gym at my workplace with some weight machines, so right now I've been lifting twice per week. I just started up again and I realized that I don't know which is better (or whether they're equally good) - more reps with less weight, or fewer reps with more weight? Or does it even matter? I am not looking to lose or gain weight, I'm just looking to be fit and feel really healthy again. If I get toned that's an added bonus, but not my #1 goal. I should mention that I'm a female so I'm not looking to get huge bulky muscles by any means. Any pros/cons or opinions as to whether I should be doing more weight/less reps or less weight/more reps? (I've also been jogging on the treadmill, riding the stationary bike, and doing a bit of yoga, so I'm getting a well-rounded workout with more than just lifting.)
07-14-2011, 04:11 PM   #2
Graf
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Less than 8 reps you're typically going to bulk
8-12, Add a little muscle and tone
More than 12 you're going to tone and condition.

Typically after lifting is the best time to do cardio and when you will target fat loss where as the opposite can result in muscle loss depending on how intense your workout is.
07-14-2011, 04:18 PM   #3
Mr. Izzy
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Less weight, more reps. Target should be getting weight that allows you to do between 12 - 15 repititions. If you get to 15 and you could of squeezed out 2 to 4 more, then thats too light. This target range is for health(cardio vasular, and skelatal muscle), also for leaning down. Bulking up range would be heavy 6-8 reps. Plus a woman doesn't have enough testosterone to ever be bulky like you are thinking. All those woman you see in bodybuilding are taking steroids. All of em. lol.

More importantly, make sure a goal of yours is to try and keep the rest periods between sets to a min of 45 seconds. This will ensure that it stays fit/cardio vasular exercise as apposed to a bulking one. Let 30 second rest periods be your eventual goal. 2 Exercises per major muscle group, with 2 sets each. Thats a great starting goal. Make should you do some googling about static stretching. You will do this for 2-5 min before the work out and it will prevent injury.

Good luck!
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07-14-2011, 04:24 PM   #4
Mr. Izzy
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Mon - Startic stretching, work legs + arms followed by cardio (any running/cycle machine ect) for 20 min

Tue - Off day

Wed - Startic stretching, chest + back followed by cardio (any running/cycle machine ect) for 20 min

Thurs - off

Fri - Startic stretching, Legs and cardio followed by more cardio (any running/cycle machine ect) for 20 min

Sat - off

Sun - off


This would be something a trainer would start you off on, if you were a new beggining client with your goals.
07-14-2011, 04:27 PM   #5
Cat-a-Tonic
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Thanks Graf and Mr. Izzy! That sounds like good advice, I had been aiming for 20 reps on each weight machine so it sounds like I was pretty much doing the right thing. Although I've been resting for more like 2 minutes in between doing each machine because I'm still pretty out of shape, so I'll try to start cutting that time down.

Mr. Izzy, that made me laugh about the female bodybuilders taking steroids - for a second I pictured them all taking pred and then I realized you were talking about the other kind of steroids! Ha ha
07-14-2011, 04:34 PM   #6
Mr. Izzy
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Lol. I actually didn't know they were any different when I was first prescribed pred years and years ago. Both make you gain weight. One though manipulating cortisol levels and one through manipulating testosterone.

Yeah no-one starts out hitting all those goals i mentioned straight off the bat. That's why they are called goals right
I'm starting back also. Geez i think the first 3 weeks is always the hardest.
07-15-2011, 12:30 PM   #7
Graf
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Mon - Startic stretching, work legs + arms followed by cardio (any running/cycle machine ect) for 20 min

Tue - Off day

Wed - Startic stretching, chest + back followed by cardio (any running/cycle machine ect) for 20 min

Thurs - off

Fri - Startic stretching, Legs and cardio followed by more cardio (any running/cycle machine ect) for 20 min

Sat - off

Sun - off


This would be something a trainer would start you off on, if you were a new beggining client with your goals.
Move back and chest to Friday, both of these muscle groups use your arm muscles (chest = triceps, back = biceps) and if you hit them within 48 hours your not allowing for proper rest and are doing more harm than good.
07-15-2011, 03:12 PM   #8
Mr. Izzy
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Move back and chest to Friday, both of these muscle groups use your arm muscles (chest = triceps, back = biceps) and if you hit them within 48 hours your not allowing for proper rest and are doing more harm than good.
Thanks for your advice. Let me explain my logic, backed by the national acadamy of sports medicine, and about 10 other certifications i have in my closet.


First the only reason you would do that spit routine is if she was trying to bulk and add pure muscle. She is not doing that. That is what YOU trained for i am assuming? When you add muscle, your goal when working out is to break down the muscle fibers so that you can eat and grow back more tissue (more muscle mass). To break these tissues down and make them grow, you need heavy heavy weight, with a range of 6-8 repititions to complete failure, and eat enough to handle it. When someone does that to a muscle, they need a full week for that muscle to rest/recover/grow. This is NOT the case for her as she stated. For her goals we both agreed a lighter higher rep range is more suitable, and most definitely not to complete failure. Because of that reason, her secondary momentum muscles are not going to need a rest for an entire week. They are not broken down, in the ways you work out with rep ranges of 8. If anything, she can change monday and friday, if she need to, until she builds endurance in those secondary muscles. But 2-3 days rest for muscles considering her goals is quite ideal actually.

Reason 2 why your schedule is flawed for her goals - You burn most of your calories in working out, when you work the 3 biggest muscles (back, chest, and legs). She is using TWO of those major muscle groups in 1 day(with ur advice), thus not distributing the calories burned throughout the week, leading to muscle loss on the chest+back days, and not getting a sufficient workout on the day without a major muscle group in the mix. Remember she is not eating all the "extra" calories trying to putt on muscle. Her fitness program should be custom to the goal and diet. Not custom to goals that you made for you and researched .
07-17-2011, 11:34 AM   #9
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As for me, I've been weight lifting for as long as I can remember. I started not long afer I had surgery to remove a complete obstruction of my intestines in the area of my Ileum. That was some 30 years ago and I've never stopped working out. Like yourself, I'm not interested in winning any contests, but I lift enough to really get my heart beating and to where I'm really panting. I've found that this effort has really helped me to both control my Crohn's but also give me the kind of physique that I'm proud to have at age 60. Consistant vigirous workouts has also helped me to control stress effectively. In my job as a technical recruiter, stress is a real issue. Control the stress in your life and you go a long way in controlling the Crohn's. Sincerely, Jim
07-17-2011, 02:02 PM   #10
Entchen
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Hi Cat! I am loving doing more reps with lighter weights. For the first time in my life, I'm starting to see little mini mini mini muscles pop up in my arms! Pre-Crohn's, my legs were toned from running and dance, but my arms were always wimpy and, dare I say it, kind of floppy. But since starting weight training in January, my body has become quite toned for someone who is still so overweight from the Crohn's/treatment (am dropping a little weight each week but expecting many months till goal weight is reached). I felt a bit proud last week when I looked at a picture of myself, because even though my face said "chubby girl," my body said, "hey, this girl works out!"

Anyway, on Mondays I do an hour long group strength training class. The class mostly uses barbells and hand weights but every week things are mixed up so we're doing other things (such as using our own bodies as the "weights"), too.
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07-18-2011, 12:03 AM   #11
Manimation
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I'm always trying to bulk because I weigh so little, but lately a friend has gotten me into gymnastic type holds and bodyweight stuff. Pullups are the best way to test your improvement so don't forget pullups, pushups, dips, and anything else that uses your own weight as the tester. If they have assisted pullup/dip machines those are great for getting you up the level. Also Honey within 15 minutes after a workout provides an insulin spike that seems to really help me recover quickly and I don't feel sore anymore, even with heavy weight training.
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07-18-2011, 03:32 PM   #12
Cat-a-Tonic
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Thanks everyone for the advice! And Kelly, I'm glad to hear a female perspective and it's encouraging to hear that the lower weight/more reps thing has been working well for you! And I've heard that mixing it up like you mentioned is good too so that the body doesn't get stuck in a rut and plateau in terms of weight loss, muscle building, etc. I'm personally not really looking to lose weight (I'm at a pretty good weight right now, no longer underweight thanks to Entocort - I'm currently at about 135 lbs and 5'8" tall) but I don't want to get bored with my workout so I will look into ways to mix things up for myself as well. I really want to do a little kayaking again soon which would be a good way to mix things up - last summer I was too ill and was afraid I'd be out on the water somewhere and would need a bathroom. But I think that I'm finally confident enough to go kayaking again (with some wet wipes and a change of pants along with me just in case my conficence is misplaced! ).
07-18-2011, 09:17 PM   #13
tiloah
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This website is a great resource for women who want information on working out. I think the Lies in the Gym article is particularly relevant:

This school of thought says that if you lift heavy, you’ll get huge, and if you lift light weights with high reps, you’ll just “tone”... Muscles only know how to grow one way, and just how big they get depends on gender and genetics... ultrahigh rep training is a complete waste of your time.
I could max bench press my body weight in high school and my muscles still weren't visible.
09-21-2011, 05:03 PM   #14
Cat-a-Tonic
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Quick update - I've been keeping up with weight lifting, and doing well! I had started at 2 gym days per week but moved up to 3 days per week pretty quickly. I'm enjoying it and starting to see results! I went shopping yesterday and tried on some clothes - when I glanced at myself in the mirror in the changing room, I thought, "Arm muscles??? Arm muscles!" I'm definitely starting to get toned and I feel good.
09-21-2011, 06:19 PM   #15
tiloah
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That's awesome! Yay.
10-03-2011, 08:14 AM   #16
CollegeStudent
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I recommend the HST, hypertrophy specific training, to get toned and gain lean muscles the fastest way.

It works!
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Suffered from severe narrowing of the ileum and ascending colon in the past years. And unknown left-sided colitis for the last 2 years. Severe Crohn's.

Previous on: Pentasa, Asacol, Colazal, Canasa, Prednisone, Remicade, Azathioprine, 6mp, Entocort, Humira

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10-03-2011, 09:33 AM   #17
David
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That's fantastic, good for you Cat!
10-05-2011, 01:49 PM   #18
crazycanuck
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Good for you for getting back into it. I started doing this recently as well.

Mr. Izzy is entirely correct and those certifications he's got are what I'm going through in a year or so with my schooling and this is something we talk about a fair bit.

I completely agree with the 12-15 reps. I'm a big promoter of a cardio type warm up even if it's just for 5 or 10 minutes on a bike or treadmill. I just believe it sets your muscles and systems up for a weight work out much better then just walking in and doing weights although you are probably doing it already just wanted to mention that.
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10-05-2011, 03:49 PM   #19
Cat-a-Tonic
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Thanks David!

Crazy Canuck, yes, I always warm up by jogging on the treadmill for a few minutes prior to lifting. I also cool down after lifting - I have arthritis in my hip, so after lifting I'll do my physical therapy exercises on the mat, and then I usually do a few minutes on the exercise bike to cool down. The gym at my workplace is really small (7 weight machines, 2 treadmills, 1 bike and a mat in front of a mirror) so I try to take advantage of everything in that gym. I'm too poor to join a regular gym so I have to make do with what I've got available to me. In spite of being somewhat limited with my lifting options, I'm doing really well! I feel good and I'm starting to see muscles.
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