How much to excersize?

Patty347December 26, 2001

We just got a weightbench with the butterfly and leglift extentions, and I have a ThighMaster, and I intend to use both of these to help in my weight loss.

I'm 5'4" and I weigh 143 pounds. My ideal weight is 121, so that is my goal weight. I guess I'd be happy to lose a pound a week, though more would be nice! Due to budget constraints, eating healthy is not really an option. Can anyone recommended how much I would need to lift/use the thighmaster? I am currently doing 150 front leglifts using 40 pounds, 150 back leglifts using 30 pounds, 150 butterflies with 10 pounds on each arm,100 reps on the thighmaster and 100 squats with 10 pounds on a 20 pound bar, but my husband says I need to increase the weight on all of these. If I increase the weight, it's too hard to do any more than 50 reps on any of these! So what do you recommend? Oh, and I do these every other day to let my muscles rest.

Also, I heard somewhere that if you excersize but don't diet, you won't lose weight. Is this true?

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In my opinion you can lose weight by exercising depending on the exercise that you do without dieting. If you do an exercise where you are moving constantly for a length of time and getting your heart rate up you will definitely burn calories. I love to walk and jog for an hour as often as I can and in the past I did it often enough and my weight was always low without dieting. Until recently I hadn't done this in some time and my weight jumped so now I am trying to get back into this because I am not much for strict dieting. My opinion of weight lifting is that this will not help you to burn calories but it will tone you up. You really need to do an arobic exercise which will burn calories. What you might want to consider is combining an arobic exercise(biking, jogging,pep-stepping, etc.) along with your weight bench exercises. Also if you make sure you cut out in between snacking of non healthy foods and late night snacking you should be able to lose with no problem. Also don't forget to drink plenty of water!! Good luck to you...

    Bookmark   December 26, 2001 at 8:40PM
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Actually new research (and not-so-new research) shows that strength training will burn MORE calories than cardio.

One important thing I've learned in this past year is that it's not how much time you're spending on cardio and weights, but the INTENSITY that you put into it. I was a total cardio bunny up to April of this year - spending an hour or more on the elliptical or treadmill, working up a sweat - and still not losing weight or firming up!

I've been doing the Body for Life thing since April, and believe me it was TUFF for me to get over the "more cardio is better" mindset. But with the results I've had (down to a SIZE FOUR as of Monday 24 December!!! YEAH!!) I doubt no longer!!!!

I suggest you check out a couple of great websites. The first one (I'll post here) is a website operated by Dr. John Hussman - answers a lot of questions about strength training and burning fat:

The other one which I've just discovered a few weeks ago, is a MUST READ. The Krista Smash! website. Great fun reading and lots of terrific info - my favorite pages are "The Crap Page" "The Cottage Cheese Page" and "No Fat Chicks: Why Overweight Beginners Rightly Hate Aerobics Class, and What You Can Do About It". In fact, I'm going to quote part of that article here (hoping of course that you'll go check the rest of the site out!):


You know the drill. "Do 30-60 minutes of aerobic activity 3-6 times weekly." The more aerobics the better! Sweat to the oldies! Get that heart rate up and keep it up!

Obviously the physicists in the audience never pointed out that for significantly overweight beginners, jumping up and down puts a great deal of stress on the joints. Overweight folks get the same joints as skinny folks, which means that the joint is already under significant stress. Adding more stress in the form of sustained impact is hard for a beginner to manage.

In addition, a body which is carrying a lot of excess fat is already working hard to move itself around. Overweight people who are avoiding moving around aren't lazy, they're sensible. It's a lot of effort to get going when you have excess mass to carry along with you.

So, what should the overweight beginner do instead? She should work in short bursts throughout the day, within the capacity that she feels is manageable. Instead of getting up the energy to drag through an aerobics class, try incorporating a series of 5 or 10-minute bursts of activity into your daily routine.

Do not, I repeat, do not, leap into a fitness routine if you are an overweight beginner. Take it slowly and do one new thing every week. Injury is very discouraging.


I can hear the gasps of righteous horror from here. Cardio overrated?! Blasphemy!

Yeah, well, if endless bouts of cardio are so great, why do marathoners all look like beef jerky? What the heck happened to all their muscle tissue?

While doing cardio can contribute to the development and maintenance of aerobic fitness, cardio training is not necessarily the best way or only way to lose fat. It merely assists you in creating an overall caloric deficit which contributes to your body burning more resources than it takes in. It is a sensible part of a fitness regimen, but it is not the be-all and end-all, and it should not stand alone.

And don't believe that stuff about "low intensity burns fat for fuel, while high intensity burns sugar, so you should do a bazillion hours of low intensity cardio." First of all, doing so much low-intensity work is as exciting as watching amateur shuffleboard on TV, and second of all it's not true. While different activities utilize different fuels, it's the big picture that matters to your body. Your body is a dreamer and visionary, not a nitpicker. Weight training, while it burns sugar-based glycogen for fuel in the short term, ultimately helps the body burn more fat. Building and maintaining muscle is much more metabolically demanding in the long run than a few turns around the block. Combining sensible cardio with weight training is the one-two punch that will keep fat loss going.


One of the stupidest pieces of advice I've heard is that overweight people shouldn't weight train because it will build muscle that will push the fat out more. It's very hard to build that kind of muscle mass in a short time, or ever. In fact overweight folks are perfect candidates for weight training.

Any loss of bodyweight involves a loss of both fat and muscle. The key is to maximize the fat loss and minimize the muscle loss. You do this through both your diet and your training. In terms of training, cardio alone doesn't cut it. Extended bouts of cardio are catabolic to muscle, which means they contribute to muscle mass loss. So you might lose some fat, but in the long term, your metabolism is compromised because you've lost muscle too.

Weight training has other benefits besides retention of muscle. It helps keep you motivated as you see strength gains quickly, as most newbies do. Many folks report that strengthening the muscles results in less joint pain and less difficulty in moving around.

This doesn't mean you should run into the gym and start killing yourself. The beauty of weight training is that it can be easily modified to every trainee's needs, and adjusted as the trainee becomes stronger and more familiar with technique. Many overweight beginners are surprised to discover how strong they actually are.


Weight training is a must, as I said, but every other activity you do is your choice. Find something fun and do it. If you hate aerobics, don't do them! Don't listen to other people telling you what you should like. Get out in your garden instead, or walk the dog, or anything that gets you moving around. Try a variety of activities to see which ones you enjoy and can do. See rule #1 about not overdoing it and incorporating your activity into your day in short bursts. Of course, if you dont like anything, then you are in deep sheeyat, my dear.

One common pitfall for very overweight beginners is quitting after a few days or weeks when they don't see results. Something is always better than nothing, and starting small will mean that your results are gradual.

This is another reason why weight training is a good idea: gains in strength occur almost immediately and can be observed easily by the trainee, unlike gains in muscle or fat loss.


So you have decided to lose weight, and you're eating carrot sticks and rice cakes, and you feel like crap and don't want to exercise. Then your fat loss stalls altogether and you can't figure out why. Too low a caloric intake is the likely culprit. Yes, I said too low.

To calculate your daily dieting caloric intake, multiply your bodyweight by 10-12. Very overfat folks should have their bodyfat assessed, and use their lean body mass (LBM) measurement instead of bodyweight for this calculation.

For more on proper dieting protocol, check out Dieting 101 and the rest of the articles in the nutrition section on this site.


This goes for both positive and negative results.

Positive results include fat loss, increase in endurance, and strength gain. Adjust workouts accordingly to match your increased capacities.

Negative results include pain, fatigue, and discouragement. If you've started an activity that you're not enjoying, or you had a bad workout, figure out why and try to solve the problem for next time.


As an overweight beginner you are at risk for joint problems, so head them off at the pass before injury happens. My suggestions:

1. A good multivitamin. You can't go wrong here.

2. MSM, aka methylsulfonylmethane. This is a good all-purpose supplement and can be found at most drug or health food stores. Take 1-3 grams daily in divided doses with food. Start at 1g per day and work up gradually. If you're already experiencing joint pain, you can take up to 5 g daily (but again, do this over a period of time, and pay close attention to the dose that works for you you may be experience relief with only 2g daily).

3. Chondroitin and glucosamine sulfate. Used in conjunction with MSM, these help heal and keep joints healthy. You can usually find combination chondroitin and glucosamine products, again at drug and health food stores. Follow dosage instructions on the label.
Another thing I would add to this very good advice is to STAY OFF THE SCALE as much as possible. What I do every 12 weeks is take progress photos of front, back and side, get out the measuring tape and measure chest, upper arms, waist, hips, thighs and calves; and THEN weigh myself. Yep, just once every 12 weeks. The scale can really do a number on you. Last time I weighed myself I was 151.5 pounds (this was in October) but I was a size 6! I'm not going to let the scale weight bring me down. I'd rather be a size 6 at 151 1/2 than a flabby size 12 at 135.

Hope that helps!

    Bookmark   December 27, 2001 at 12:41PM
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I think you're doing way too many reps. I have always heard that an average of 3 sets at 10-12 reps each per exercise was good. You're going to burn out your joints and ligaments at the rate you're going. Don't listen to your husband about adding more weight. For one thing he's a guy and of course what you're lifting would seem way too light for him but also in the beginning you have to go light even if you could do more just to get your tendons and ligaments up to speed. Believe me, I have the tendonitis in my knees to prove it.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2001 at 11:43AM
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I do not think you need to go an expensive diet to lose weight. A sensible weight loss diet should not cost more than any other diet, if you choose the right things. Stay away from processed food and soft drinks, even the sugar free ones. Plenty of fresh fruits and veggies, lean cuts of meat, fish and chicken. Avoid chicken skin. I know it tastes good, but it's nearly all fat. Try to eat whole grains of bread, pasta and rice. They fill you up more than the refined variety. The new ones taste pretty good and are easy to prepare.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 12:00AM
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