I am going to start lifting some weights soon. Anybody have any advice or know good books or websites with advice? I am 5-11 , 165 and 48. I am in pretty good shape due to walking every day and I will soon start riding my bike again. I am diabetic (type II) so I see my Dr. on a regular basis, I will have a physical next week. I belong to the Y so I can use both machines and regular weights.
Does your Y have training staff, or some knowledgeable staff available ? I would highly recommend having a knowledgeable person show you how to do the machines or exercises. The reason: form is CRUCIAL. Far more important than how much weight you move. Form is not only important for getting the optimum out of an exercise, but also to avoid injury.
Books and the internet are great resources for which exercises to do for what. But when you actually do them, you will not be able to see yourself. This is why a knowledgeable observer is important. Once they make the required adjustments, you’ll have a feel for how it should be done, and you can go pretty well on your own.
So I would recommend either tapping the gym staff, or locating a knowledgeable person to help you get started.
Yes, the Y staff is going to show me how to use all the machines.
Look for sites/books that cater to beginning lifters.
A good overview of weight training in general.
T-Nation has a good amount of info suitable for a beginner but you need to wade through a huge amount of stuff intended for advanced lifters.
They have excellent information available there, and that site was probably the one that helped me the most when it came to making sense of all the information available about developing an exercise routine.
That one’s written for women, but has some good information that applies to all. She’s also got some particularly excellent information on squats (this site was the one that convinced me to try finally try squats - they can actually be good for the knees, if done correctly).
These are both excellent sites for when you’re just starting out. Stick with them for a while, but head over to T-Nation sooner or later.
Buy a copy of the Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding by Arnold.
While I don’t suggest trying his competition training routines, the book is written in a regular-guy style, the lifts are simply explained, and the pictures are worth their weight in gold.
It is the best book I can recommend. Others are more specific and others are more accommodating, but Arnold’s book is the standard.
Then go buy yourself a copy of “Pumping Iron.” Any time you start to get discouraged or want to quit, watch it. You will RUN back to the gym.
If you are trying to build muscle, shoot for 8-12 reps per exercise, and about 3-4 exercises (or sets of the same exercise) per muscle group. It’s up to you whether you want to do say, biceps/deltoids/chest/back one day and triceps/quadriceps/hamstrings/abdominals another day 2x each or a full body workout twice a week, or just hit each muscle group once in 3-4 separate sessions. But whatever you do wait at least 48 hours before hitting the same muscle group twice, probably 72 hours is better.
Also make sure you consume protein (liquid form protein shakes are best) within 30-40 minutes after every workout, and are getting enough calories overall, or you will never build muscle.
Well I can tell you I am built well and I don’t do any of those things suggested. I eat what I want, when I want, I just control the portion.
The thing is at 48 if your doctor checks you out, weightlifting is good, but do NOT let it be the focus of your workout. Your HEART is THE most important thing. You can live without a bicep you can’t live without your heart.
Start with cardio, build slowly and consistantly. Always choose cardio over weight if there is a time constrain, little by little your heart will come along and you’ll breathe better, it’ll beat slower and your weight lifting will follow
Remember you are NEVER going to be a bodybuilder. These magazines and books offer advice for bodybuilders. This isn’t going to happy. I have trained people and most men I have found want four things, to make a muscle (bicep), to have their chest not drop, to have a butt and to have their guts NOT fall over their jeans. Yeah a six pack is nice but 9 out of 10 men really would be happy if their gut would fit in their pants.
The biggest tip I can share is NEVER use free weights without a spotter. I have seen so many broken toes, and fingers and chipped teeth. If you work out alone with the free weights you will break something or chip a tooth.
Use the machines. These will build you the muscle you want. Free weights can do the same, but are more problematic. Free weights should be used for finalizing form. For instance, use the machines to develop your biceps. Now once you get the bicep as big as you want THEN use the free weight to make it peak like you want.
But honestly at 48 with type II diabetes you HAVE to emphasize cardio over weights. And that isn’t easy 'cause weights are boring. Here my tip get books on tape. They save my butt. All the books I never have time to read I now do. I work out 5 to 6 days with cardio for an hour a day. I listen to my books on tape, the time flies by. I woud be bored out of my mind without those. I can check out books on tape from my library for free.
If you can’t look for old time radio shows you can download from the Internet for free and listen to them while you run or bike or swim
I’ll have to offer a slightly different perspective to a couple of things Markxxx said. Up till age 25, I was a pencil-necked bookworm with no athletic background whatsoever. Very conscious of my looks (which were commented on on a regular basis) and inexperience, the only option for me in terms of improving fitness was to build a low-cost, space-effective home gym. To date, I’ve increased my weight by 45 lbs., am massively stronger than I used to be and look it. Cheap, simple (not the same as easy) stuff works.
I was an avid walker prior to starting weight training. Don’t think it helped me one bit. One’s anaerobic work capacity must be built up by heavy training, which walking - as good as it is for you - isn’t.
Free weights can be used safely and effectively unspotted. I’ve been training with them in my cellar for over five years without an injury, and know many similar trainees. Chipping a tooth? Serious? You don’t drop the weights if you keep your mind on them, as you should and will. However, conventional squatting and bench pressing, using the standard barbell, unspotted, is potentially life-threatening. I substitute heavy dumbells, which, while certainly not to be taken lightly, will not kill or maim you even if you miss a rep (happened to me several times in the past when foolishly biting more than I can chew).
The key to safe and effective weight training is gradual progression. This way your body will have time to adapt to the ever-increasing rigors of lifting, while your skill (not a small part of free weight work) increases. Successful physique-transformers start with the pink dumbbells, if need be, for learning perfect technique and “greasing the groove”. Even if you add just a little bit of weight on a consistent basis, you’ll soon be hoisting big iron. Too quick a progression leads to injuries that set you back for a long time.
Machines are often touted as the safe alternative to free weights, but unlike dumbells and barbells, machines don’t fit every person or allow optimal path of motion in many cases. People get aggrevating injuries using weight machines on a regular basis.
Weights aren’t boring. Once you’ve worked up to challenging poundages, seeing if you can squeeze an additional rep or lbs. this workout becomes thrilling, and the sense of satisfaction following personal records (no matter how they compare to others’ numbers) is huge. Once “inside” the iron game, just picking up a pair of heavy dumbbells feels awesome. (I must admit it took a couple months of training for it to start feeling awesome and refreshing, something to look forward to. Now, I honestly do.)
In addition to muscular and connective tissue preservation and development, weight training has an important effect on the trainee’s fat metabolism, bone density and heart health. Any sound program will include it alongside cardio work.