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Old 04-24-2017, 02:22 PM   #1
Very Josie
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Josie 2.0

I don't know where to start but here goes. I joined a gym yesterday for the first time in about a decade. There is so much smarts in here, it's like a H&F brain trust and I'd like to take advantage of the resource.

End game - to lose 20 lbs and be ripped/muscular. (not roid ripped but as far as I can go)

Josie Cliffs:
In my youth (a couple of decades ago) I was very fit and active. Health issues, one being my knees, sidelined me. I have zero cartilage in both knees. Got sedentary and weight piled on.
Last December I decided I had to take my health seriously and cut a lot of crap from my diet and since then have lost 75lbs.
I have about 20 lbs to go and I also have hanging skin.
I've been on a frigging plateau for about 8-9 weeks - weight the same, no loss and no gain. My exercise has been a recumbent bike, some free weights, yoga here and there, and 8-10k step goal. This no longer challenges me in the least.

Questions:
What's the best way to get muscle tone and definition?
I have a free personal training session on Wednesday. I'm sure he's going to try to get me to sign up for personal training. Do I need this?
How many days per week should I be working out? Do I need rest days?
My DIY plan is to do cardio (a class or elliptical) plus alternating upper or lower body weights. Is there something missing from this? What should I focus most on?

Thank you for the help. It's very much appreciated.
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Old 04-24-2017, 02:25 PM   #2
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Re: Josie 2.0

Also!

During this 9 week plateau I've been eating about 1,300 calories per day. I'm an older female and I think my metabolism is shot.

Should I go down to 1,200 per day?

I don't eat bread, rice, pasta, pizza or cake. I don't drink diet soda or any juices. Drinks=coffee, water and booze.
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Old 04-24-2017, 02:48 PM   #3
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Re: Josie 2.0

Going to 1200 probably wouldn't hurt if you think you could comply. And make sure there are no leaks in your calorie counting game. Bread and rice can be consumed in moderation, especially plain rice, which is generally pretty low in calories. Noodles are okay as long as they're not fried or in a creamy sauce of some kind. Think Vietnamese pho, not spaghetti carbonara or pad thai. As for booze, the best option is a whisky and club soda. Or essentially any 0 calorie mixer with an 80 proof spirit.

The other way you could tackle the plateau is by escalating the exercise. Which should be designed into the programming of the exercise in the first place, btw. Regardless of the manner of your training, the throughline in all effective forms of training is that they overload, or become increasingly difficult over time. You should be doing more reps, sets, weight, shorter rest intervals, or a combination thereof, every week/month/etc. that you train. Or if we're talking about cardio, more distance over less time would be the analog.
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Old 04-24-2017, 04:13 PM   #4
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Re: Josie 2.0

Do you have an access to a swimming pool?
You can try to go for two days to 2000 ckal and then back again to 1300. Parallel to put in 3 times a week a swimming session of about 1 hour. If you do parallel a solid gym time, you will see a result after 10 days.
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Old 04-24-2017, 04:14 PM   #5
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Re: Josie 2.0

How much protein do you eat per day?
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Old 04-24-2017, 04:29 PM   #6
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Re: Josie 2.0

Quote:
Originally Posted by lapka View Post
Do you have an access to a swimming pool?
You can try to go for two days to 2000 ckal and then back again to 1300. Parallel to put in 3 times a week a swimming session of about 1 hour. If you do parallel a solid gym time, you will see a result after 10 days.
Yes! The gym has a pool and I love to swim.

Ack, go up to 2,000 calories for 2 days?

Please explain the parallel days so I get it right. Swimming and gym time on same days or alternating days?

Thank you!
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Old 04-24-2017, 04:30 PM   #7
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Re: Josie 2.0

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How much protein do you eat per day?
My goal is 100 grams but I don't always hit it. 80-100 avg.
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Old 04-24-2017, 04:32 PM   #8
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Re: Josie 2.0

Quote:
Originally Posted by lapka View Post
Do you have an access to a swimming pool?
You can try to go for two days to 2000 ckal and then back again to 1300. Parallel to put in 3 times a week a swimming session of about 1 hour. If you do parallel a solid gym time, you will see a result after 10 days.
This seems like pretty random specific advice.
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Old 04-24-2017, 04:34 PM   #9
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Re: Josie 2.0

Quote:
Originally Posted by Very Josie View Post
I don't know where to start but here goes. I joined a gym yesterday for the first time in about a decade. There is so much smarts in here, it's like a H&F brain trust and I'd like to take advantage of the resource.

End game - to lose 20 lbs and be ripped/muscular. (not roid ripped but as far as I can go)

Josie Cliffs:
In my youth (a couple of decades ago) I was very fit and active. Health issues, one being my knees, sidelined me. I have zero cartilage in both knees. Got sedentary and weight piled on.
Last December I decided I had to take my health seriously and cut a lot of crap from my diet and since then have lost 75lbs.
I have about 20 lbs to go and I also have hanging skin.
I've been on a frigging plateau for about 8-9 weeks - weight the same, no loss and no gain. My exercise has been a recumbent bike, some free weights, yoga here and there, and 8-10k step goal. This no longer challenges me in the least.

Questions:
What's the best way to get muscle tone and definition?
I have a free personal training session on Wednesday. I'm sure he's going to try to get me to sign up for personal training. Do I need this?
How many days per week should I be working out? Do I need rest days?
My DIY plan is to do cardio (a class or elliptical) plus alternating upper or lower body weights. Is there something missing from this? What should I focus most on?

Thank you for the help. It's very much appreciated.
I'll try to answer a few of your questions.

Best way to get "muscle tone" is to lose the fat around your muscles. You cant just lose fat in one area, it will come off from everywhere over time if you are in a caloric deficit. If you continue to lose weight and lift you will see more definition.

You do not need a personal trainer although if you can find a good one who can teach you the basic compound exercises with good form, it might be worth it. otherwise, you could use the form check thread here and post videos to make sure you are doing you bench, squat, deadlifts, etc correctly.

You need days off from lifting but can exercise daily if you want. something like alternating upper and lower lifting 3-4 times a week and cardio on off days sounds like a good plan. I wouldn't lower your calories below 1,300, I would keep it there and adding in the lifting and cardio should put you in a caloric deficit. good luck
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Old 04-24-2017, 05:25 PM   #10
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Re: Josie 2.0

Bees, tyvm that helps. I've lost most of the excess weight and want to build muscle. Ill tell the trainer I want to focus on bench work, deadlifts etc. might be worth it short term to start w knowing what good form is. Obv I will continue w fat burning exercises as well. Thanks again!
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Old 04-24-2017, 06:16 PM   #11
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Re: Josie 2.0

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Originally Posted by Very Josie View Post
Obv I will continue w fat burning exercises as well.
Which exercises are those?
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Old 04-24-2017, 06:20 PM   #12
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Re: Josie 2.0

I'm missing something here. What is your current weight?
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Old 04-24-2017, 07:19 PM   #13
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Re: Josie 2.0

Quote:
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Which exercises are those?
Elliptical, cycle class, Zumba, swimming...all available at new gym. Plus sticking to my 10k steps.
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Old 04-24-2017, 07:22 PM   #14
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Re: Josie 2.0

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I'm missing something here. What is your current weight?


I am 148 lbs, but 5'1.5" to be exact so short too.
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Old 04-24-2017, 08:06 PM   #15
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Re: Josie 2.0

The other aspect to having muscle tone is having muscle mass, which you get by lifting weights with progressive overload.

TDEE for a sedentary 40yo* 5' 1" female is about 1500cals. I wouldnt drop below 1300 and look to pick up the rest of a deficit from exercise (cardio + lifting) and accept that weight loss is going to be slower.

*estimate
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Old 04-24-2017, 10:54 PM   #16
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Re: Josie 2.0

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aidan View Post
The other aspect to having muscle tone is having muscle mass, which you get by lifting weights with progressive overload.

TDEE for a sedentary 40yo* 5' 1" female is about 1500cals. I wouldnt drop below 1300 and look to pick up the rest of a deficit from exercise (cardio + lifting) and accept that weight loss is going to be slower.

*estimate
It's muscle mass I want, even moreso than weight loss. I can see the muscle tone now and I want to build it up.

For Lifting weights w progressive overload, how often to i increase the weight for each exercise? Weekly? How do I determine that? Probably a noob question but I am def in noob territory.
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Old 04-24-2017, 11:11 PM   #17
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Re: Josie 2.0

If you're not adding weight every time, YOU'RE NOT DOING THE PROGRAM!!!

Last edited by Holliday; 04-24-2017 at 11:12 PM. Reason: always wanted to say that...
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Old 04-24-2017, 11:19 PM   #18
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Re: Josie 2.0

Quote:
Originally Posted by Very Josie View Post
I've been on a frigging plateau for about 8-9 weeks - weight the same, no loss and no gain. My exercise has been a recumbent bike, some free weights, yoga here and there, and 8-10k step goal. This no longer challenges me in the least.
This should not be overlooked. For long term compliance and success you will need to find something that excites and challenges you.

Training is fun, but can be fun in a different way for everyone. Most people (males) on this forum get a kick out of lifting heavy weights (or heavier weights over time). It may or may not be for you. You don't need to do them in order to get toned muscles.

Whatever thing you end up choosing, just be aware of the fact that fat loss is largely influenced by your diet. So focus on that even more. Eating calories is much easier than burning them, and if you're not careful you will not end up with the results that you'd expect from doing all that effort in the gym.
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Old 04-24-2017, 11:43 PM   #19
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Re: Josie 2.0

Quote:
Originally Posted by Holliday View Post
If you're not adding weight every time, YOU'RE NOT DOING THE PROGRAM!!!
Ha, I thought for a second you were serious. I was like wtf, every time? Lol
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Old 04-24-2017, 11:58 PM   #20
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Re: Josie 2.0

Quote:
Originally Posted by Syndr0m View Post
This should not be overlooked. For long term compliance and success you will need to find something that excites and challenges you.

Training is fun, but can be fun in a different way for everyone. Most people (males) on this forum get a kick out of lifting heavy weights (or heavier weights over time). It may or may not be for you. You don't need to do them in order to get toned muscles.

Whatever thing you end up choosing, just be aware of the fact that fat loss is largely influenced by your diet. So focus on that even more. Eating calories is much easier than burning them, and if you're not careful you will not end up with the results that you'd expect from doing all that effort in the gym.
Yes, diet influences fat loss more than exercise and I'm feeling confident diet-wise.

Plan for the week
Tues: elliptical, water aerobics class, arms, chest, shoulders, back, core

Wed: Zumba class, lower body & abs

Thurs: spinning class, arms, chest, shoulders, back, core

Friday: play poker!

Sat: yoga & upper body

Sun: swimming & lower body

Does this seem decent? I want to see which activity I enjoy most, but I think I'll like them all.
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Old 04-25-2017, 12:01 AM   #21
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Re: Josie 2.0

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Ha, I thought for a second you were serious. I was like wtf, every time? Lol
Eh...actually seriously every time though. Beginners gain strength really quickly. Standard 'Starting Strength' program is to keep sets & reps constant and just add ~5 pounds every workout until...you can't. He also has other rules and yells "YOU'RE NOT DOING THE PROGRAM" a lot.

But SS has a big emphasis on squats and deadlifts. Are you going to be comfortable doing a lot of those with your knees? Is "no cartilage" an euphemism or actual medical diagnosis?
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Old 04-25-2017, 12:05 AM   #22
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Re: Josie 2.0

Adding weight every time for as long as possible. Pretty soon it won't be possible and you'll have to make it more difficult in other ways. But still your workout today should be more difficult in some way than it was last week. So you might start off being able to bench press 50 for 3 sets of 5, and you might be able to do 55, 60, 65, and 70 for those sets/reps in the subsequent weeks. Then you might find that 75 is too heavy for 3x5 and you're only able to get 5, 5, 4 reps. Then you'd go back to 65 and try to do that weight for more than 5 reps and start adding weight again from there. Or you could lower the weight to 65, but do an additional set of 5, and start working up again. All that matters is that there's a general trend of increasing weight/sets/reps over time.
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Old 04-25-2017, 12:05 AM   #23
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Re: Josie 2.0

Quote:
Originally Posted by Very Josie View Post

Friday: play poker!

Now this here is some useful information.
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Old 04-25-2017, 12:09 AM   #24
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Re: Josie 2.0

I'd do the Grey Skull Linear Program:



Notes:
1. "5+" means do as many reps as you can, until you think you'd fail the next rep OR it would be complete with horrible form
2. You alternate bench press with overhead press, so a week will look ABA BAB ABA etc. For squat and deadlift you always squat twice and deadlift once.
3. You add weight each workout if you got 3 sets of five or more in the last one. For a novice woman i'd add 2.5lbs to each squat/deadlift workout, and 1.25lbs to each upper body workout. This will likely mean buying two 0.625lb plates for your own use.
4. If you fail to get 3 sets of 5 for two workouts in a row, you take off 10% off the working weight for the next workout and work your way back up.
5. If you can't do chins, alternate cable row with lat pulldowns.

That would be a great start while you dial in form for the four major exercises, and you can add accessory crap once you've got that down. Video yourself doing the exercises and post in the formcheck thread.

Diet wise, eat at maintenance while getting the 0.8g/lb of protein you need. Add in some LISS or other cardio stuff 2-3x per week. As a novice this could see some fat loss with simultaneous muscle gain, but hard to tell for an older woman. Expect this to be a medium term and not a short term project.
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Old 04-25-2017, 12:15 AM   #25
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Re: Josie 2.0

Quote:
Originally Posted by Very Josie View Post
Yes, diet influences fat loss more than exercise and I'm feeling confident diet-wise.

Plan for the week
Tues: elliptical, water aerobics class, arms, chest, shoulders, back, core

Wed: Zumba class, lower body & abs

Thurs: spinning class, arms, chest, shoulders, back, core

Friday: play poker!

Sat: yoga & upper body

Sun: swimming & lower body

Does this seem decent? I want to see which activity I enjoy most, but I think I'll like them all.
Sounds like a great week.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Holliday View Post
Eh...actually seriously every time though. Beginners gain strength really quickly. Standard 'Starting Strength' program is to keep sets & reps constant and just add ~5 pounds every workout until...you can't. He also has other rules and yells "YOU'RE NOT DOING THE PROGRAM" a lot.

But SS has a big emphasis on squats and deadlifts. Are you going to be comfortable doing a lot of those with your knees? Is "no cartilage" an euphemism or actual medical diagnosis?
I don't see why "Starting Strength" would be the go-to recommendation for a ~40 year old female looking to lose 20lbs? I mean, if she enjoys doing the 3 lifts and wants to get strong, sure. But she has not expressed that at all. She should find something she likes doing and motivates her to keep coming back and do it again.

In my personal opinion SS also doesn't trigger enouogh endorphins during the workouts to be the right fit for a fat loss program. Psychologically breaking a sweat and "feeling like you did a lot of work" is a great motivator.
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