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Resistance Training and Weight Loss


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How much resistance training should I mix into my workout routine if my primary objective is to lose weight. I currently workout cardio 6-7 days a week at a moderate or high heart rate for an hour and do no resistance. My fear is that a.) I'll get bored (although I mix up my cardio) and b.) my body will use muscle for energy and not fat.
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I never did weights or resistance training when I was in the loss mode - after I lost the weight is when I started doing the other stuff.  If you want to start toning the muscle under the fat now that is good.  I would just maybe do some ab workouts and push ups
What you need to focus on is being in the right heart rate zone for fat loss.

You might want to double check the numbers, but I believe that a heart rate in the 120-140 zone ideal for fat loss.  You would need to maintain this for a long period of time.

A heart rate in the 140-170 zone is more for true aerobic / cardio work, where you are aiming for increased stamina.  This is normally done for a shorter period of time.

Same basic logic as weight lifting.  If you want to increase your capacity, you need to go at a higher rate (lift a bigger weight) for a shorter amount of time (for a lower amount of reps).

A trainer might be better placed to give you good advice as to what to do.  I would look at throwing in some weights or resistance training 2-3 times during the week.  Maybe take some type of kickboxing style class where you work your muscles as well as your cardio.

Out of your 6 days, I would go with 3 days of weight loss cardio (120-140 heart rate for longer period) and the other 3 days I would mix in either 30-40 mins of higher intensity cardio with 30-40 mins of weight training / resistance training.

I've always been a fan of getting a mix of things.  Not only is muscle confusion great, but it also keeps you interested in doing things. 

The most important thing when doing exercise is to find something that YOU enjoy doing.  This ensures that you will keep doing it.  If you just do something because someone told you and you don't like it, you might end up quitting.

This is just my non-expert opinion =)
bigtwinky - without knowing this persons age the "fat burn zone" wouldn't necessarily be 120 - 140 range.  Mine is 105-121 and my moderate zone is 122-139 and my hard zone is 140-156.  My hrm has programs it gives me to work for.  Some days it has me doing 45 minutes in the low zone sometimes a mixture of moderate and hard and some hard. 

Mixing it up is always good too.  I do elliptical, bike, cardio class and walk for my cardio. 
You might want to double check the numbers, but I believe that a heart rate ...

Thanks for the correction =)

The logic of the whole thing does stand, correct?  Higher heart rate = more cardio work, less fat burning work?
Actually, we had this discussion before in the following thread:

http://www.calorie-count.com/forums/post/3170 3.html

Based on that researched, I've decided to go with moderate heart rate work outs for longer stretches of time.
I always recommend doing some sort of resistance training while doing any weight loss. it helps to keep the muscles tight so you don't have that skinny fat.
I like to add resistance training to my routine even though my primary motive is to lose fat. I signed up for 6 sessions with a trainer at my gym about 7 months ago. I wanted someone to show me good exercises, proper technique and generally show me what to do to maximize the benefits from resistance training. I'll tell you- some of the bloody exercises she had me do had me working up a sweat that beats the cardio routines I worked on. She also told me that resistance training is great for helping with weight loss because muscles are more efficient than fat....and as for toning, once you start losing the fat, you can see the definition in your muscles that you've been building up all along. I've found that by having stronger muscles (the secondary ones as well as the larger muscle groups) from doing those exercises has helped me make gains with the cardio as well. I'm able to run faster on my shorter runs and I'm also able to run farther. I also don't find myself getting stiff any more and the weird little pains in my knees and ankles have disappeared.
#8  
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Resistance training builds muscle which increases your BMR.  As your BMR goes up, you burn more calories per day even at rest.

Your body will want to tear down muscle tissue quickly because it costs so much energy to maintain the extra muscle mass.  Regular (3-day per week) training will prevent this and promote continued gains in muscle though.  As long as you maintain an appropriate activity level you will not use muscle for energy.  Instead, you will be forced to use more fat in order to maintain the higher daily caloric requirements due to your increased muscle mass.   (Higher BMR).


Hope this helps a little.

BTW, when doing resistance training, your weight will go up due to the increased muscle.  It may be advisable to start looking at body fat percentage in addition to body weight so you can track where the gains are coming from.  Weight alone can be very misleading when you start to gain muscle.  Your local gym should be able to help you with estimating your BF%.
Let me start by saying I am no expert, but this is what has worked very well for me.

When I first started trying to loose I watched my calorie intake, did cardio 5-6 days a week, and resistance 1 or 2 days a week.  I hate cardio!!  it is SO boring! Everytime after a cardio workout I would be incredibly hungry, which made is so much harder to limit my calories.  This went on for 2 months and I actually GAINED 3 pounds!!  I was so frustrated I ALMOST gave up. 

Now, I still limit my calorie in take, but I do serious cardio (45 min or more) 1-2 times a week, increased my general activity (taking the steps instead of the elevator, parking further away) and I do resistance training everyday in my living room for about 20-25 minutes.  In the last 7 weeks I have lost 15 pounds!  I am now only 2 pounds away from my goal. 

My problem with the cardio is that it made me so hungry I had trouble controlling my in take - I ended up consuming more than I burned.  Now I can consume more because of the muscle I have built. 

So to sum it up - I say reduce the cardio and increase the resistance. It may work for you too!

Good Luck!!
Okay let me say this: I'm 5 feet tall. In high school I was 103. Graduated college at 107. Highly inactive until I hit my 20's.

Then I took up weight training and running. Ate healthy but didn't calorie count per se. I did this for many years, I was a total gym rat, lifting heavy weights 5 hours a week. At my peak (while long-distance training too), I was consuming probably 3000 calories a day.

My weight shot up to 125. BUT my dress size dramatically plummeted... I was the skinniest I'd ever been, even compared to high school! 33-23-33. Don't know my BF% because I never had it tested, but it must've been low. I was all muscle. 125 lbs of muscle. I was forced to shop in the children's section because even the size 0's (just coming out back then) didn't fit me at all. They hung off me. At 125. Which is in the overweight zone for BMI for my height.

Flash forward to my 40s... back injuries have forced me to be totally inactive for a long time. My weight has fluctuated around 105-110 all this time, until last year when it shot up to 125...

Except it wasn't the GOOD 125!! My BF% was close to 30%. My measurements were more like 35-30-36. Clothes fit me horribly. I was fat. I was having health consequences from being fat.

So let me suggest you rephrase the way you think about this. If it is a number on the scale you care about, then yeah, definetly DON'T add weight training!!

However, if it's inches and dress sizes and low BF% you care about, then pick up some heavy weights!

(Note: I do plan to get back into it... once I know my back can safely handle it again... still not sure about that).
I think I should mention, for the sake of full-disclosure, I've only been on a strict cardio routine for the last two weeks, previously, I was mixing in resistance training three times a week for ten weeks.

I don't mind weight lifting at all, but my goal is to reduce body fat, and the literature says, and I'm paraphrasing "one hour a day for body fat reduction".
#12  
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Here are some sites to find out what your maximum heart rate should be, and your target heart rate for exercising...

http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml? identifier=4736

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/target-heart -rate/SM00083

http://exercise.about.com/cs/fitnesstools/l/b l_THR.htm

I find it helpful to have a variety of tools to use.  I remember my heart rate better that way.

I've just added weight training to my basically cardio workout and it is giving me great results.  I already feel stronger and leaner.  You all have some great advice.
drsomm - that's interesting that cardio makes you hungry - I found if I am hungry a quick walk staves the hunger away for at least 30 - 60 minutes.  
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