Introduction to Lifting

(joelchandler) #1

Continuing the discussion from about the weightlifting category:

Puzzled about weight gain while IF, EF and pure Keto
(joelchandler) #2

Well I’m a bit torn I want to give some thoughts and get feedback. I’ve done weight training at various times during my life and I probably still haven’t got the complete picture but maybe if I share my thoughts someone can correct my thoughts. (I’ll try and add links later just trying to get it down on paper first)

There are generally 2 types of muscle

  • Type 1 - aerobic / high efficiency muscles
  • Type 2 - high strength / poor efficiency

The classic case of Type 1 muscle person is a marathon runner who wants to selectively encourage efficiency over strength.

The classic case of Type 2 muscle person is a bodybuilder.

Why strength train?

  1. If you don’t use it you lose it!

  2. Due to the inefficiency of type 2 muscles the body doesn’t want to keep more than it needs to keep. From a weight loss perspective - it’s great just keeping it around has a colourific cost.

  3. It is also responsible for rapid correction when falling etc and if it is naturally under utilised it becomes to weak to respond when required. Which results in increased risk of damage.

Increasing Type 2 Muscles
The first thing that I found critical to my understanding of muscle growth is that it is not the weight lifting that increases muscle mass but rather the products of the stress that encourage muscle rebuilding and growth. The most common method being “Training to Failure”.

This is all well and good but the risk of severe damage is large using traditional methods … lifting heavier and heavier items… been there done that!

What’s the alternative?

Training to failure using correct form and slow movements. In traditional weight lifting a large initial force is applied and the weight is almost thrown through the range of movement, by slowing down the movement you increase the amount of force required over the time period and decrease the risk as lower weights are used.

Ok these are the beginnings of my thoughts. Some references… I’ll add some later but


StrongLifts 5x5
(joelchandler) #3

And who could go past Ted Niamen

(Richard Morris) #4

Couldn’t agree more - slow transitions, under moderate load, to failure will get you there with less injury.


I find that doing resistance training along the lines of the ‘Body by Science’ program of Doug McGuff works very well to help maintain muscle strength in an ageing body. We will lose muscle as we age if we don’t work them, and Doug’s program is time efficient and safe. A resistance training program seems to work even better with a ketogenic diet in my experience.

(Jacquie) #6

@rhonda I agree. I’m 69 years old and doing whatever I can to hold on to/build lbm. I love BBS but have adjusted the program as I don’t have a spotter available right now, so doing sets and reps. Lifting heavy/lots of functional outdoor exercise like lifting rocks (making trails) seems to work for me.

(Shayne O'reilly) #7

I would like to note there are two variances on the strength training. Bodybuilding goes for hypertrophy which is lager muscle size that does have the benefit of strength and then purely strength training like powerlifting or Olympic lifting.
In hypertrophy you lift to fatigue to tear down the muscle as much as possible so it will creat more muscle cells to meet the demand. Kind of between type 1 and 2.
In strength training the idea is to get more mytocondria in the muscle its self to be able to meet the lifting demand, which is achieved by lifting very heavy for few reps and never to fatigue. I feel strength training is the safer of the two methods. You gain more dence efficient muscle. You lift with proper form and by not going to fatigue you can always do the lift without hurting yourself, and the repair cost on the muscles is a bit different.
This is all how I understand stand it though. Grain of salt required.

(Charmaine) #8

At a pivot point in my weight loss journey and fitness endeavor, strength training became very important to me. I focused on my training from 3 different perspectives: strength, asthetics, and rehabilitative. I have a disability so, strength training is first and foremost a form of rehabilitation for all the areas affected by the disability. The asthetics are to help me shape my body as I lose weight. And the strength - well I love it!

(Lari Tuomisto) #9

Good stuff. I’ve also started my weight loss journey by just starting lifting, and lost about 15kg with that change alone. (I also gained about 5kg of muscle in the first year) I have a really bad back and I find that lifting really helps me deal with back pain most effectively.

I want to pitch in my share for someone who might be interested in beginning to lift and perhaps shares some of the challenges I’ve had - hopefully these will provide something to add to the OP’s post.

Workout routine

I can recommend a workout routine that gave me the best results in the beginning and is relatively simple to implement.

For anyone intermediate or who has lifted more than a year, I would recommend the 5x5 program.

If you’re anything like me you’ll feel extremely self-conscious going in to the gym for the first time. I got news for you about that. Do not worry, nobody cares about you - the gym culture of today is mostly people trying to focus on their own work, so you can safely go do that also. (Just avoid Planet Fitness-type establisments - they don’t actually want you to become better). If you can show your Keto-gains to them over months, they’ll become your life long friends and support you.

First things first
In the start, focus on getting your breathing right, as it is the most important thing to build a good foundation. Take a huge breath in your belly and then tighten up your core to maximise your pressure. Learn to do this on every single repetition, so that you inhale fully, then brace and hold your breath while you do the concentric portion of the lift, and then exhale slowly while doing the eccentric part.

First weeks of starting you will mostly be teaching your brain how to apply force in the directions that you want your limbs to move, and if you feel like everything you do causes you to tremor heavily, that’ll pass and is your nervous system working out how to call upon the power that is in your muscles. It’ll tax you harder than anything if you are mostly sedentary, but will pass with time.

Focus on your own stuff, get in there and get it done and just like with Keto, after a few weeks it will start feeling really good. If it doesn’t in a month or two, then it’s probably not for you. I would urge you to try something different instead and maybe try to find your own thing in dancing or group exercise etc. - after all, forcing yourself to move is never going to work. Try to find something you really love doing, and then just do that with more intensity over time. For gaining muscle or exercise, there are multiple ways to the same ending.

Tips specific for the horizontally challenged

If anything you do causes discomfort in your knees, back, elbows or hip, then feel free to try an easier alternative of the same exercise, or then just avoid it completely until you are slightly lighter. So called “Experts” kept telling me to do lunges when I was literally feeling like I would blow my knee out - do not do this. It’ll all come with time when you are both stronger, more in control of your movement and less heavy. Listen to your body, and only start with the level of “discomfort” you’re able to handle.

My advice after years of doing this is contrary to what most people say - if you are overweight like I am, with any sort of previous history of say knee problems or back pain, then you want to gear up as soon as possible.

If you feel like your ankle is going to blow out when doing a squat, then get squatting shoes that slightly help for poor ankle mobility. Mind you, I was not able to squat at all in the start - that’s okay too. I can now squat completely normally after 3 years of lifting.

If you feel like your back hurts a lot, then get a belt - it’ll both help you get the right sort of feeling in your core when you’re able to push your stomach into it and you can then try to find that feeling even without a belt. Don’t fully rely on it, but use it to learn and to complete heavy lifts. If you have a back injury, use it always when the back is not co-operating.

If you feel like your wrists hurt, get wrist wraps.

Basically, your goal is to teach your body how to lift, without breaking yourself in the process of getting stronger so you can actually apply that strength when you have it. Breaking yourself will just lead to a life of discomfort and sitting awkwardly in chairs and that’s something you do not want. Don’t listen to all the haters saying you shouldn’t use assistive gear - they don’t know what it is like to start this as a gravitationally challenged fellow.

For everything else, there is the internet. Hope this helps someone and excuse my slight off-topicness :slight_smile:


Yes @Jacquie, I have also adapted the BBS program to some extent. But it has given me a good grounding and guides my attitude to lifting. I tend to do a bit bigger range of exercises but mostly keep to single set to near failure. My training would not exceed 30 minutes in and out of the gym, usually about twice a week. In my mid 60s I definitely want to build and maintain my strength and all the health advantages that go with that.

(Dave) #11

I love lifting weights… Been doing it for 25 years and I am an addict… Seems to fix a bad day time and time again… If you get up everyday and do something hard, everything else somehow seems easier… My advice would be to don’t get stuck doing the same sort of thing for to long because this will limit your growth… Get out and do something really hard not just the same thing you where doing a year ago… Go to that dark place occasionally and revel in being a bad arse!


Yes @joel.chandler, also agree. Lately I’m really understanding through doing that the aim of the game for me is to use weights to work my muscles rather than to use my muscles to move the maximum weight.
Drew Baye explains it well:

(Jesus Herrera) #13

I’ve been on keto 6 weeks now, and I am beginning with this training of more reps and low weight. I also agree it is the best. Already lost 26 pounds and taking care of my body !!

(joelchandler) #14

Be careful with more reps… slow reps mean you get the same stress but you get to focus on the correct form.

(Rick) #15

Big fan of heavy weight, lower reps and compound movements here. Plus a couple of long endurance runs with a dash of HIIT per week to keep the training multifaceted. It’s worked surprisingly well in my keto journey these last 10 months. YMMV though.

High intensity vs. low intensity cardio for fat loss?
Body by Science - Slow burn
(Jamie Hayes) #16

I’m going to add to Joel’s share, but target my reply to those who wish to do a total-body strength routine in a gym, but don’t have a lot of time or can’t attend more than twice per week.

This weight training method uses very safe super-slow technique. I’m an advanced lifter and do this once a week, and my dear mother (now passed) used this same routine in her 70’s, doubling and tripling her strength with just two 30-minute sessions per week.

Now, in a gym you have a choice of 3 types of strength training equipment and modes:

1. Pin loaded machines - also called “selectorized”. These typically work each group of muscles in a fixed plane of motion and offer safety advantages for new users and allow experienced lifters to exercise safely at high intensity without a “spotter” or personal trainer.
2. Free weights - With free weights it is up to the user to control the plane of motion of the weight. This requires some skill development.
3. Functional exercises - designed to mimic many body movements used in everyday life - typically done in supervised small groups or with personal training.

Unfortunately most gyms today have unbundled their service offering and so if you want any programming advice you pay a personal trainer. However, this can be a good investment to get you started, properly and safely.

I’m now going to narrow my remarks to pin-loaded equipment training.

The first step is exercise selection for a whole body routine. You want a choice of exercises that work as much of your muscle mass, as many of your muscles as possible. (Muscles help in glucose management. Strong toned muscles do a better job.)

Let’s make a point. Just because you do this routine in a gym, it does not mean that you don’t also seize every other opportunity to exercise your body, at home and outdoors.

The choice below are all “compound exercises”. These are 2-joint or 3-joint exercises that use a number of muscles at the same time - for greater efficiency. So here is a world-standard routine.

Lower Body

  1. Leg press - Yep just one exercise that works mainly the big muscles: glutes, quads

Upper Body
2. Pushing: Chest Press - works the muscles in the front of the shoulders, chest and triceps at the back of the arms.
3. Pulling: Seated Row (supported) - works the muscles of the upper back, back of shoulders and biceps at the front of your arms.
4. Pushing: Shoulder Press - works the shoulder muscles and triceps - in a different plane of motion.
5. Pulling: Pull Down - works the back and biceps - in a different plane of motion.

The next question to address is the amount of weight, reps and sets stuff.

Before addressing this question, it’s important to understand what you are trying to do with strength training (also called weight lifting). The goal is to give your muscles an adaptive stimulus to signal them to get stronger. (Ladies, don’t worry about them growing bigger. Most males struggle, despite having more growth hormone testosterone.)

The adaptive stimulus comes from asking each set of muscles to do a little more than you feel they are capable of - one to two times per week on every exercise. Muscles don’t actually get stronger whilst you are in the gym lifting weights, but as a direct result of the overload stimulus you’ve given them, from the effort you made on the last rep of each exercise. No effort = no adaptation. You have to constantly aim for a “PB” Personal Best.

Back to the routine. Muscles can’t count reps and sets. All they understand is the amount of tension (weight), the duration under which they have been kept under tension and the degree of effort (also called overload) you choose at the end of each exercise. Many trainers use a term “time under tension”. The correct term should be “time until fatigue”.

For each exercise, I’d suggest you choose a weight that is light enough that you can keep it moving with good controlled form for at least 60 seconds. Do as many slow controlled repetitions as possible. If you can keep it going for 90 seconds or longer, use a slightly heavier weight (around 5% more) when you next come to the gym.

For most people, the ideal Strength Adaptation Stimulus comes from getting your muscles to fatigue in the sweet spot between 60 and 90 seconds. (For advanced trainers, fatigue will mean failure to being able to complete the last repetition.)

With this routine, where a “set” lasts much longer than the traditional fast-moving 10-rep set (around 20 seconds), you’ll actually be using a lighter weight. Therefore, the first few reps act as warm up reps and there’s no requirement to do a “warm up set”. (Saves time)

The next concept is learning how to do strength exercises with controlled super-slow methodology. This is where you aim for each rep to last 10 seconds, lifting for 5 seconds and lowering for 5 seconds, never resting, never stabbing or jerking, and never locking out the joints. Just breath naturally without holding your breath. I use an alternative super-super-slow routine lifting for 10 seconds and lowering for 10 seconds, using an even lighter weight.

On each exercise, do as many reps as you can tolerate. As you get more accustomed to training your tolerance will improve.

I’d strongly recommend that you keep a record of every session showing the weights used and the total time until fatigue (or number of controlled reps).

You can certainly replicate the routine above with free weights (dumbells, barbells etc) and body weight (push up and pull ups), but these require a higher skill level.

Finally, what about abdominal muscles? With all the exercises above you should be using your abdominal torso muscles for core stability to maintain good form and posture. The most common question I get asked in the gym is “What’s a good exercise for my tummy/gut?” to which I respond “Do you want to strengthen the muscles underneath the fat, or get the fat off the existing tummy muscles that you can’t see?” The answer is usually the latter, to which I respond “That you will achieve with the right food choices for your body.” But feel free to add core activities.

The combination of a keto lifestyle and regular resistance training can really lead to long term quality of life. Dentists get asked “Which teeth should I floss?” They answer “Only the ones you wish to keep!” It’s the same with strength training and maintaining good muscular-skeletal strength for life.

Happy training!

(betsy.rome) #17

@JamieHayes thanks for the in-depth info.
Do you have any leg training advice for a 60-ish female with one knee replacement & the other knee needs replacing? I want to start in at the gym building my quads but don’t want to hurt myself. 2 years since my knee replacement, still have limited range of motion & some pain & swelling. Am I better off just on the stationary bike?

(Jamie Hayes) #18


It’s hard to give specific advice without being face to face to witness your abilities and limitations. For instance it would be good to know if you can walk up and down stairs unassisted without holding onto a hand rail.

But generally speaking, any lower body activities that you do daily from home or regularly at the gym should help. From home you should walk, take stairs and hills, if you can. If you have a pool, lap walking can be good. Look for small challenges that require some effort, and increase as you get stronger.

In the gym, it would be great to pay for some sessions with a certified personal trainer. There are many versions of the leg press and squat that can be done with a limited range, which you have. This is somewhat equipment-dependent.

In regards to your limited range of motion, this is where post-operative physical therapy comes into play. You may want to investigate this. Physical therapy can use assisted range-of-motion stretching to help loosen tight joints.

I assume that you have good walking/athletic shoes, for your gait. I replace mine regularly and get a video gait-analysis to ensure that the shoes I choose compensate for any pronation or supination of my feet. The wrong shoes, or shoes whose support is worn out, can be a cause/contributor to knee pain. Check this out!

It’s a pity that you have pain and swelling 2 years later. If you’re considering the other knee, you may want to get the surgeon to investigate the pain and swelling first.

As you’re on the keto forum, I’m assuming that you’re on a ketogenic diet, avoiding manufactured polyunsaturated seed oils that may be inflammatory, and you’re well hydrated. You’d be gluten free of course. Whether supplemental high-dose fish oil and/or tumeric make a difference to your inflammation might be worth an N=1 experiment.

I realise that visits with personal trainers, physical therapists and doctors cost money. But your body and health are your most important assets.

When doing any new exercise or increasing the volume, weights or intensity, you must listen to your body and be sensible. Be aware that the exercise dose-response process can incur some delayed muscle soreness a day or two later. That’s OK and part of the process as long as it is not too much. Be sensible of course, by making increases gradual.

Good luck Betsy.

(betsy.rome) #19

No, I need the rail. I can go upstairs leg-over-leg, downstairs one at a time. Almost enough ROM, I can do it with 2 hand rails.[quote=“JamieHayes, post:18, topic:449”]
It’s a pity that you have pain and swelling 2 years later. If you’re considering the other knee, you may want to get the surgeon to investigate the pain and swelling first.

Yeah, I’m one the the few who are not happy with their TKR. I have a hereditary low pain tolerance, which did not allow post-op PT to be productive enough; they threw me back in the hospital for a manipulation under anesthesia which did not help my bend, which remains 90-105°. I’m currently is starting up on the bike again and swimming when I can fit it in. 2nd opinion surgeon said, that’s the breaks. [quote=“JamieHayes, post:18, topic:449”]
I’m assuming that you’re on a ketogenic diet

Correctuamundo! Keto has allowed me to lose 30 lbs which has helped my knees immensely. 20 to go. All good advice, and I will check out the gait analysis, good idea. You sound like a good trainer! I’ll try to find a local one before I start lifting.

(Jamie Hayes) #20

Continued weight loss to an optimum weight will make life and all physical activities easier.