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Move Weight VS More Reps

In the journey of weight loss, Should you be doing more repetitions with less weight or should you be doing a higher weight but less reps?

I am clueless as far as what to be doing at the gym. So far I am just doing cardio, but sometimes dabble with the weight machines. But I don't exactly know what to be doing.

Can anyone point me in the right direction?
Thanks in advance!


Wed. Feb 21, 9:33pm

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Given where you're at, which kind of program you do won't make a big difference in your rate of weight loss, if that's what you were wondering. There should be a tiny advantage to training for strength rather than endurance, but not enough to really matter.

When you're not training for something specific, you typically get best overall results by tilting slightly towards strength/power. 2 or 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps would be pretty typical. When you can do sets of 12-15, raise the weight.

A 1 hour session with a personal trainer would probably cost $50-80 and is worthwhile if you can live with the cost. You do not need to buy a package of many sessions up front, no matter how hard they try to sell you one. You can always do that later if it seems worth it to you. But a good orientation to the equipment and your routines is a good investment.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007, 11:21 PM

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There are good arguments for both approaches...

Heavy weights, lower reps (8-12 reps x 2-3 sets with the last reps being really difficult): Increases muscle mass, and muscle burns about 30 calories a day just to maintain itself (I think fat just needs 2 cals/day). Women just starting out can build about 3 lbs of muscle relatively quickly if they lift weights 3x a week but after that, it'll only put on about a pound of muscle a month if you're lucky - and aggressive about increasing the amount of weight you're lifting. The downside of this is that this muscle wants and needs to be fed, so you might have appetite problems. However, if you're over 30, progressive weight training is really important to counteract the effect age has on your metabolism, bone density, and probably a few other things I've forgotten.

Light weights, high reps (Like 1-2 set of 20-30 reps): anecdotally, I find that this works best for losing weight while maintaining but not increasing your existing musculature. Just don't do too many reps of the same moves to avoid developing a repetitive strain injury.

When I did cardio 5-6x a week and heavy weights 2-3x a week, I got great results for 2 months and then flatlined...so I won't say it doesn't work, but be prepared to change it up if you hit a wall. My current plan as an over-30 is cardio 5x a week, heavy weights 1x week, light weights 2x a week, abs most days.

Thursday, February 22, 2007, 12:04 AM

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What about over 50??

I have weight trained for years with progressively heavier weights. At one time I bench pressed 95 lbs. I am now 50 years old. I have been healing from a back injury and I get conflicting information. The Pilates instructors, one of them a former Mr Olympia competitor, tells me I should not be lifting such heavy weights. It will ultimately lead to injury to joints. The bulked up (and much younger) trainers at my gym are all about lifting heavier, cheering me on with every plate I add.

I do 30 min of cardio most days with lifting twice to 3 times a week. Private Pilates for 60 min twice a week. My goal has been to gain muscle to limit the effect of a slower metabolism as I go through menopause. With all this training and a careful diet, I have put on 10bs in10 years, about average for a pre-menopausal woman.

So what is a girl to do? I don't want to injure my joints but I want to fend off the ravages of weight gain as I age. Any advice??

Thursday, March 08, 2007, 8:14 AM

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You have one of two choices:
1) lift more weight/less reps and bulk up
2) lift less weight/more reps and tone

If you're looking to get in shape and lose some weight then try option 2. There is no way to bulk up and lose weight because your body can't do both at the same time. I agree with other posts here that 8-12 reps is a good goal. For best results make sure you push yourself to failure onyour last set.




Friday, March 09, 2007, 9:42 AM

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to the 12:04 poster..Thank you so much!! Iv'e been working out for a few years now. cardio and weights, and I love the refresher you posted here.

Friday, March 09, 2007, 9:51 AM

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