So I've joined the gym...(questions)

PigletPiglet Posts: 1,451Registered Users Curl Neophyte
I have already done a couple of classes and swum half a mile. Today I went to the induction for the gym equipment. I will be using the treadmill on a random setting, the exercise bike and elliptical for about 10 minutes each, I think. For weights, I'm doing hip adductor and abductors, the leg press (I think it's called) and 2 machines that work on arms/shoulders.

I'm hoping to be able to build in one body balance class a week, a legs, bums and tums class and a couple of spinning classes and an aqua aerobics class..

I got weighed, and at the end of the day, wearing trainers, the scales said 133lbs. :o( I wear US size 8 trousers and US size 4-6 top. I am very pearshaped. Measurements are approx 33-27-40. My butt is wide, flat and droopy. I'm after narrower hips and butt, but for my butt to be higher, pert and rounder. So if you look at me straight on, I look narrower than before, but from the side, there's a nice high curve for my butt. My hips are wide and my thighs are big and flabby.

I know you can't spot reduce. I'm just wondering if what I'm proposing to do will help me to see results. Is there anything I should definitely drop or definitely do?

I am already walking for an hour a day in two 30 minute bursts, 5 times a week, but have seen no results whatsoever. I will keep this up though as I have to get to work somehow.

I am working on my eating too.

Thanks for any advice. I'm so new to all this gym stuff.
Yes, my tail is naturally curly.
No, it was NOT me who cried 'wee wee wee wee wee' all the way home.


  • AmandacurlsAmandacurls Posts: 6,252Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    My only advice would be to start slow. Unless working out is already a habit for you, you can get burned out in the first 2 weeks-month. And gradually increase.
  • apointeapointe Posts: 199Registered Users
    In my opinion, strength training will get you the best results. Lots of weight-bearing exercises like squats and deadlifts, as well as free weights for your arms (if you are looking to increase muscle there). Talk to a personal trainer at the gym; most gyms will offer a session for free. Cardio will only get you so far, you need strength training to really define your muscles.
    NYC - but originally from Philly!

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  • PigletPiglet Posts: 1,451Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Thanks! I have started slowly and I'm trying to get myself into a routine. As for squats, I'm doing lots of these once a week at bums and tums. I'm also using the leg press. I've heard that deadlifts are good, but haven't tried them yet.

    Thanks a lot.
    Yes, my tail is naturally curly.
    No, it was NOT me who cried 'wee wee wee wee wee' all the way home.
  • SnarlsSnarls Posts: 2,537Registered Users
    I don't work out in a gym (strict homebody here) and I'm not a pear shape, but when I approached age 40, my butt starting sagging.

    So I started slowly. I saw pretty immediate tightening effects from doing step workouts. Also leg presses, which I do on a high step but in a gym there should be a machine, really hit the lower glute.

    Cathe Friedrich has a DVD called Butts and Guts. I don't do the dvd in its entirety but there are a number of highly effective butt exercises in there. If you go to and cruise around, she has quite extensive preview clips of her workouts, so even if you don't want to buy the dvd, you can get a good sense of the exercises. One that I really like (but it's embarrassing to do in public) is where you lie on a ball, and lift your legs up and in. Very effective. What she calls firewalkers are also effective but be careful not to hurt your knees.
    formerly Castella
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  • KathleenHKathleenH Posts: 48Registered Users
    I am a certified personal trainer. Congratulations and major props to you for putting fitness on your list of things to do!

    Getting to the gym is a great start -- but what holds most people back from changing their bodies is FOOD. We eat too much in terms of quantities, too much in terms of prepackaged foods, too many simple carbs.

    I would invest, as suggested, in a good personal trainer for at least 10 sessions; make sure you tell the trainer you are not looking for a buddy to talk to while training and if not in your budget -- tell him/her you are looking to do this on your own after the 10 sessions are done. Mostly -- you should get a workout routine from this trainer as well as learning CORRECT FORM. Using incorrect form causes injury -- and also thwarts your efforts. I see a lot of folks working hard in the gym but doing exercises incorrectly and going nowhere fast.

    Weight training should be key. If you are disproportionate (someone mentioned pear shape), you will never be able to spot reduce, but you can create the illusion of balance (this was my issue) by building up your shoulders and widen the upper back just a little. This will create balance between the upper and lower body AND highlight the tiny waist.

    I think weight training is primary followed closely by any aerobic activity (swimming, speedwalking, running etc) as well as flexibility and core training (yoga, floor pilates, reformer pilates, etc.).

    Again, enlisting a trainer who can help build a program based on your goals, genetics and lifestyle will be well worth the investment -- even in the short term if your budget cannot support long term training.

    BTW, many gyms will offer you 'free' training sessions as a way to entice you to buy a package -- this defrays the cost. And lest I forget -- please be choosy about what kind of trainer you hire -- anyone can get their certification or degree -- but you want to hire someone who looks like they 'talk the talk' and 'walk the walk'. Look around the gym and see which trainers seem to have clients who are making great progress.

    Good luck! And -- kudos to your efforts thus far!
  • hopetocurlhopetocurl Posts: 1,280Registered Users
    Yeah, but no one warned poor Piglet about what weight training will add... Piglet, you and I are built almost exactly alike...except I've got more bust than you... so I'm a 8-10 across the board. Do not be shocked that once you really start weight training, you will see the number on the scales increase... because we all know, muscle weighs more than fat. I am a cardio junkie and added weight lifting into my routine about 6 - 9 months ago. I have added about 10 lbs to my overall weight, but I am in the best shape of my life...even my DH comments. It's just hard to see more on the scales. I'd probably lose a little if I'd watch the food...but a girl needs something exciting in her life. ;)

    I weight train in class format, if your gym offers GroupPower or BodyPump... get a few training sessions first for form and them jump in. It makes it much less boring and you'll get to know people, which makes you feel like you have to come back...because then they start asking, "Where have you been..." it's like a buddy system. Making sure everyone keeps up with it.
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  • KathleenHKathleenH Posts: 48Registered Users
    Actually, muscle does not weigh more that fat: 10lbs of feathers is the same as 10lbs of brick. It is just that muscle takes up 'less' space than fat as it is more compact.

    The scale can climb from various reasons -- not just muscle that has been added. Weight training will increase blood volume. For example, for the two days following an extremely intense lower body workout (heavy weights and high volume sets) -- I can weigh up to 3lbs more based on increased blood volume. Also, in an order to repair themselves, muscles will also crave water and the body will retain it for that repair.

    So -- after a good, productive workout -- 5lbs can be fluid -- and most people will train about 3 days a week if diligent -- and therefore that 5lbs will indeed stick around for a bit! ;)

    hopetocurl wrote:
    I have added about 10 lbs to my overall weight, but I am in the best shape of my life...even my DH comments.

    I think this is an awesome thing! Not just that DH notices -- but that you look the best you have ever looked! That is a great reward to reap!

    Indeed adding muscle on top of bodyfat is a mind-game when stepping on the scale. The only real way to lose 'fat' is CAREFUL calorie reduction. It is very hard to fuel the body for muscle -- but eat enough to create a deficit. And remember, muscle burns more calorie at rest than fat -- so building muscle alone -- over the long haul will help burn more calories and increase one's resting metabolic rate.

    I commend you both for embarking and maintaining and fitness regime! It does change lives -- not just bodies! :)
  • PigletPiglet Posts: 1,451Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Thanks a lot everyone. I weighed myself two weeks ago for a starting weight. Last week I weighed myself and I had dropped 2.5kg. This week I weighed myself and I was back to the starting weight. As I have been good with food, have been walking 5 hours a week and working out 3/4 times a week and woke up today with sore muscles, I didn't think that was too shoddy. I've also got my period today which has added on a fair bit of water weight.

    I am focussing on weights. I'm using 6 different machines and try to push myself each time.

    I'm not sure I can afford a personal trainer. The gym is really expensive. I'm hoping to be able to make gains myself.

    I think I can see a slight difference in my figure. My thighs look slightly thinner, but maybe I'm just fooling myself. I have lost from the sides of my hips, in the middle. I can tell I have because it now dips in there. The downside in that the fat pads at the top of my hips and the saddle bags are now more prominent. It's those fat pads I hate the most. They mean that instead of having a nice curve from my waist to my butt (when looking at my back view) it's a horrible outward jump. It makes my butt look square. I know you can't spot reduce, but I SO wish I could! Is there anything I can do that might shift the fat round to the back a bit? Probably wishful thinking...

    Good for you, hopetocurl! I hope you went and bought some clothes to show your figure off. I'm looking forward to being able to buy a very fitted top. I have to buy a size bigger at the moment to avoid emphasising the pear shape.

    I haven't noticed a difference yet with my top half. I'm using the chest press, the shoulder press, and something where I pull the bars down. I want to widen my chest and back so that there's more of a V shape, going down to the waist. I have a small waist, but my top half is narrow, so it doesn't look so good. I could also do with widening my shoulders. But I've only been working out for two weeks. I expect too much too soon, even though I know logically that I need to wait a month bare minimum, and more like 6 weeks-2months to see a difference.

    My eating is much improved. I am watching the calories and making better choices. I am not being perfect, but that's almost deliberate. I don't want to be perfect for a month, and then scoff everything in sight. Instead, I am having treats in moderation, as I want to keep this up for the long-term. I ate some chips last night. Difference to before, is that I had far fewer chips and had a huge salad (no dressing) with them. I don't want to never eat chips again. When I want chocolate, I'm choosing a tiny 50 calorie chocolate bar, or 100 calorie maltesers. I'm not craving chocolate as much. Oh, and I bought lots of sugar free jellies, so I can eat them when I'm feeling greedy. They have 8 calories in a quarter of a pint.

    Anyway, this post is long enough! Thanks a lot again.
    Yes, my tail is naturally curly.
    No, it was NOT me who cried 'wee wee wee wee wee' all the way home.
  • KathleenHKathleenH Posts: 48Registered Users
    This was a very motivating post to read!

    Listen - it does take time. There is no way to know how each person will lose -- but what you are now experiencing - with loss in one area but not another (etc) -- will even out over time. Patience is really hard when it comes to wanting results...but I assure you that if you keep up with the training and eating (less calories and more protein), in the next few months -- you will be looking at a body that has changed tremendously.

    In addition to the scale, I would take pictures wearing the same outfit (preferably a bra and underpants) using the same background and lighting. Take these pictures at the same time each day (i.e, morning before water, food) and do this each month. Also, make note of weight and possibly body measurements using a tapemeasure. This will help 'show' you have made progress instead of just relying on the scale which only gives you limited information. Using this method will also keep your 'head' in check when you are feeling you are not getting anywhere.

    I sincerely applaud your efforts! You are making a lifestyle change for the better -- not just visually but for overall health. It is so hard to get started and even harder to keep it going. Be proud!
  • PigletPiglet Posts: 1,451Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Thanks. That was really nice of you. I feel bad now because I have had the period from hell and have eaten a fair bit of chocolate and generally eaten more than I was aiming for. I've just been SO hungry and really craved sugar and chocolate. I'm miffed as I had been doing really well and had been finding it easy. I also was unable to go to the gym today because I felt so bad.

    But, I am in this for the long haul. It's a marathon, not a race. If I feel better tomorrow, I will go to the gym and do something. I can get back on track. I just need to work out how to deal with my period each month. It messes up what I eat and the exercise I do.
    Yes, my tail is naturally curly.
    No, it was NOT me who cried 'wee wee wee wee wee' all the way home.
  • PigletPiglet Posts: 1,451Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I weighed myself today, in the morning, but after breakfast. My weight was the same as my starting weight. I'm not too disappointed by this though. Because I'm doing weights, the scale is being 'artificially inflated' for a while. Because the scale says I haven't put on, it means I must have lost some fat. At least that's what I'm telling myself. Does it make any sense?

    I tried on a pair of size 6 jeans yesterday and they fitted. I think they came up big though. I am nowhere near the size I would like to be. I thought I looked horrible in the fitting room mirror. My butt looked saggy, my legs were flabby, my hips were enormous and lumpy and I was covered in cellulite. I suppose I just need to keep on plugging away.
    Yes, my tail is naturally curly.
    No, it was NOT me who cried 'wee wee wee wee wee' all the way home.
  • mlchaputmlchaput Posts: 41Registered Users
    I know it's hard to do, but if you can combine the scale weigh-ins with weekly measurements of your body parts (1" below waist, thigh, arm, wrist, knee, calf) and also chart your progress that way, you will be slowly convinced that weight doesn't really matter all that much.

    I'm 50, just finished a 1/2 Inronman in Hawaii (70.3 miles of swim, bike, run), and I'm 5'5" and weigh 130 pounds. That is a lot of weight you would think, but, my body-fat is measured at 14%. I weight train 5 days a week in my garage (free weights) and am to the point now where I'm doing one body part each day (chest, back, arms, shoulders, legs) and add a plyometric day for my lower body once weekly. All of this in my garage since I'm also a single parent.

    My advice is to use the scale as a check and balance against your daily caloric expenditure, log everything you eat for a while until you get a handle on how much you should be consuming (use the online calculators to determine your base caloric intake) and place AS MUCH importance on your nutrition as you are on movement (cardio and resistance training). And, sit down and write down "WHY" you want to get in shape, read it daily, edit it often, and you'll definitely get to your ideal physique. Happy training!
  • KathleenHKathleenH Posts: 48Registered Users
    Excellent post!
  • PigletPiglet Posts: 1,451Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    WOW that is SERIOUSLY impressive! How long did it take you to complete that? That's an amazing achievement. I hope you are feeling suitably impressed with yourself! I would be making up a t-shirt saying 'Iron Girl' or something.

    I know I should measure myself, but I hate looking at the measurements. It's only my hips and thighs I care about getting smaller. Hopefully my chest and back and shoulders are broadening out a bit. Also, I'm trying to boost my butt and I'm thinking that if I do that, I might increase the measurement, even though it's actually a good thing. I want to make my hips narrower, but have a higher, rounder butt. Less width, more depth.

    I am trying with nutrition. I'm not perfect, but I'm trying to get better. I have a big bowl of Shreddies with semi-skimmed milk for breakfast, a brown roll with ham and watercress and an apple for lunch and dinner. Dinner might be chilli, something and salad, fishcakes etc. It's usually pretty healthy. The one thing I struggle with is evening eating, but I'm working on it.
    Thanks a lot for your advice. :o)
    Yes, my tail is naturally curly.
    No, it was NOT me who cried 'wee wee wee wee wee' all the way home.
  • mlchaputmlchaput Posts: 41Registered Users
    Piglet wrote: »
    How long did it take you to complete that?

    The event took me 7 hours, 23 minutes and 42 seconds. All pure fun! I met great people (a 63 year old flew by me on the bike!) and had a wonderful experience.

    Another note regarding nutrition, experiment if you can with the macro-nutrient ratios (carbs, protein, fat). My concern has been for my lower body as well, and I noticed if I consumed a higher level of protein early on (before I added the endurance training for the triathlon) I had great results. I didn't track it super tight, but what I did was consume 6 meals daily (I work from home so it's much easier to prepare meals that way) and wrote down everything I ate for about 4-5 days. I typically eat:

    1 protein source (size of a deck of cards)
    1 complex carbohydrate source (size of my palm)
    3 cups vegetables (rainbow) daily divided into 2 to 3 of my meals

    An example:

    4 oz. chicken
    1/2 sweet potato (baked, no butter)
    1 cup combined spinach, celery, mushroom & slightly steamed.

    I'm a salt nut, so I salt the meal when it's done (usually use himalayan pink salt since it's VERY concentrated).

    When I'm training for triathlon, I use this ratio for nutrition: 50% carb, 30% protein, 20% fat.

    When I'm trying to lean out my body, I use this ratio: 40% carb, 40% protein, 20% fat.

    Since my lower body is larger than my upper body, I do shoulder and chest work (upper body) at a higher weight to build muscle and give the appearance of a more broad upper body. And, I do more bursty moves (ex: run 1/8 mile, do 10 pop-squats, run 1/8 mile, do 20 walking lunges -- repeat for 30 minutes) to lean out, round out and generally make my bottom portion more sexy. I have found that doing some plyometric moves on the lower body (stair stepping on a bench, pop squats, side to side hops, mountain climbers, bear crawls, bench jumps -- both feet land on the bench at the same time, then hop down) combined with the advice given to you above by the trainers leans out my legs/hips and buttocks. Net result - looking good in a bikini!
  • PigletPiglet Posts: 1,451Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Thanks a lot for the information. I am trying to build up my top half, but I never realised what I weakling I am! I can only do 5kg on the shoulder press and similar weights on the chest press and pull down thingy. With the lower body stuff, I'm doing roughly 35kg.

    I have to admit, I'm not a fan of cardio. At the moment, my cardio is the cross trainer plus one hour of walking daily.

    I'm still trying to work out a routine that I can keep to and will reap benefits. I think I will try swimming one day, then 30 minutes weights 30 minutes elliptical next day and swimming the next etc. I also walk for a total of 1 hr 5 days a week.

    Over 7 hours of exercise like that is so impressive. Congratulations again and thanks a ton.
    Yes, my tail is naturally curly.
    No, it was NOT me who cried 'wee wee wee wee wee' all the way home.
  • mlchaputmlchaput Posts: 41Registered Users
    You're welcome.

    And above all, remember that we are curlies. We like the experimenting, trial & error, discovery, tweaking and eventual finding of what works for us (our holy grail - HG).

    Taking in all the information, logging your weekly results (pounds/inches lost, food intake, exercise performed) and tweaking the plan so it fits your lifestyle, is the only way you'll reach your goal. "Do what the experts do" is my motto. I read every day on these message boards, and on my fitness boards, to be more informed and to follow my passions.

    I'm very proud of your efforts in asking folks here for assistance. You will achieve your goal. Good luck to you.
  • KathleenHKathleenH Posts: 48Registered Users
    michaput?! Awesome, awesome, awesome!
  • SleighSleigh Posts: 1,226Registered Users
    piglet, don't judge your body by how it looks in a dressing room. the lighting is evil and no one else sees you that way.
    2c hair. maybe a little porous? my hair likes suave, vo5 and the big tease. going to be trying more lush soon. not sure how i feel about dr bronners.

    letting my hair be natural again after getting it straightened. yeah yeah, im a traitor :pirate:

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