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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:17 pm 
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My two goals are to lose weight and look fit. Or as a t-shirt of a master swimmers club put it, “Be all you used to be.”

I’m 63, 6-foot, 185 lbs. I’ve kept myself in reasonably good shape over the years, running and cycling. I first lifted in my early 20s, but didn’t at all thru my 30-40s and only for sporadic 2-6-month periods the last 15 years.

I gave up running 15 years ago, but then a few years ago my cycling became more sporadic to where I found myself overweight and out of shape.

In the past 6 months, I have trained 6-7 days a week, losing 25 lbs. Basically I’ve alternated cycling (70-100 mi./week) and weight training. But I’m not yet close to a six-pack. Perhaps the gallon stomach has shrunk to a quart. The spare tire is always the last to go with me.

The past six months of lifting started out with a couple of months of circuit training, 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps on 8-10 Cybex machines. Then for about 6-8 weeks on those same machines but gradually more weight, so the third set of 8 is my limit. For the past couple of months, I’ve moved increasingly to free weights, Smith machines and cable exercises, but with just two sets. The first is a warm-up of 15 reps, and the second is with enough weight that I can do 8 reps, increasing the weight when I hit 12 reps. Rest between them is typically 60-90 seconds.

I’m on a 2-day rotation, alternating groups (chest/shoulders and back/arms). I do abs and obliques each workout. I let the riding take care of the legs. I change my specific exercises every 4-5 weeks.

This 2-set approach is to ensure I don’t spend more than 60-75 mins. in the gym, which include a 5-min. warm-up and 15-20 mins. of stretching afterwards.

I’d like to lose another 5-10 lbs. and then see where the lifting takes me appearance-wise. When I get there, I was planning to go back to 12-15 reps to improve muscle endurance, as, at my age, “endurance” is fast becoming a more imperative goal.

My question is, are my second sets of heavier weights working against my losing weight? I can’t increase the cycling as leg recovery and available time dictate my current routine.

I know this question could probably be answered in two words: eat less. I eat well, minimizing the bad stuff. But I don’t do hunger well.

Any (other) thoughts appreciated.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 5:45 am 
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bobgr wrote:
My two goals are to lose weight and look fit. Or as a t-shirt of a master swimmers club put it, “Be all you used to be.”
Since I was an obesed and notliked little punk few years back I prefer the sentence "Be all that you want to become"

I was just answering lines from your post, but then I'd figure I just gather one long answer to get the information I want to say.
Okay, first off, that's a lot of working for a week. 6 to 7 times a week is a lot for any kind of athlete. I think you should change it to four or five days a week. Rest is an important factor also, so is recovery. Like working out three days a week and cycling twice or once a week. Or maybe even hitting some High Intensity Interval training before or after a workout. That means you do something like sprints (works with bike aswell) for 10-30 seconds and take half to a one minute rest in between. The rest can be just slower pace. Whatever makes your heart rate drop. Then you take another sprint, and raise the heart rate to great numbers again. One possbile solution is also to hit circuit training before the workout, stuff like Fat loss 4.

I'll just go from the basics. The best four tips for losing fat are diet, metabolic resistance training, high intensity interval training and time. The real results come from long strech of training and hard effort. You need to construct your week and month around those basic things. So you like cycling? That's good, like I mentioned before, that's a good way to train the anaerobic and aerobic intervals. The most important of these all is you diet however.
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I know this question could probably be answered in two words: eat less. I eat well, minimizing the bad stuff. But I don’t do hunger well.

No, you don't necessarily have to eat less. Just well. How is your diet? Improving what you're eating can make heaps of different. One of your issues might just be the hunger dealing.

Cycling and working your leg in the gym are two totally different things, and you should train your legs aswell. Training only upper body and letting the cycling work the legs can lead to several muscle imbalances. That' and some leg workout are great for metabolic disturbance, like squats, lunges or deadlifts. I just wanted to emphasize that before I get to details. Now, the best rep range to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time (get more lean!) falls between 6 to 12. With several (3-5) sets. It works better than 12 to 15 reps, but that's not bad either. I just think you should go heavier and make the reps between 12 and 8, rather than 15 and 8. But like I said, you're on the right tracks. Rest time is good 30s-120s also. Depends on how you feel. And 6 to 12 reps is good for the "muscle endurance" you're going after also. Some exercises can and probably should be higher reps (like 15-20), but not all.

You asked if the heavier set is harming your fat loss. The answer is no. On the contrary, it just might be the best thing you're doing for fat loss. The main point in resistance training for fat loss is metabolic disturbance. This is the after workout time we are talking about. The topic has been research somewhat alot, and the conclusion is that heavy resistance training elevate your metabolic rates for many many hours (even up to 40 hours) after your workout. Simply put, when your metabolic rate is high your body produces more energy. And the energy comes from the fats. You burn the most fat after the workout, not during it. And like I said, the best rep range lies somewhere between 6 to 12 reps. Both extremes work also (3 to 5 or 12 to 20). Why it works best is because of the training type. the 8 to 12 rep sets usually generate energy anaerobicly and produce lactic acid as a side product.

Now, I would maybe include some free weights to the programs if just possible. Stuff like rows, chins/pull-ups, squats, deadlifts, even bench pressing. Machine work has it's places, but I'm aiming for more of a total body resistance training than isolation work. The reason I'm not with machines on this one is that there is no stabilizing work at all, and less and less of work and disturbance is happening. It makes sense if you think about it: If more muscles are working at the same time, more energy is needed. You could take some full body workout that consists of four main moves: Upper body pulling, upper body pressing, lower body pulling and lower body pressing. Or you could do an upper/lower split, or press/pull/legs split. We'll come back to that for sure, and many users have great views and tips around the workout routines.

Feel free to ask any questions, that's just the stuff that came to mind a first.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 7:07 am 
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Bob, It sounds like you have a basically healthy lifestyle that just has to be tweaked. A couple of us here are very interested in the best way to approach fitness in older people. Most of the research and popular press is about how to get people started on the right approach but not so much how to tweak it once initial gains have been achieved. Likewise conventional nutritional guidelines may get you from unhealthy to not sick (or maybe not) but they won't take you to optimum wellness.

Your program appears to meet the conventional definition of "healthy" but in my mind, it's not sustainable. At age 63, you should realize that losing weight and looking fit are merely external manifestations of a healthy body. What you should be looking for is a healthy body. That means protecting your mobility and body processes and preventing injury.

I don't want to go into a detailed prescription, or specifically answer your questions, since Dub's already done that, but I see some bigger issues underlying your questions that indicate some directions you may want to go in.

There is a hierarchy of muscle attributes that are important and I rank them Power> Strength> Size> Endurance. Working one doesn't always work the others but the adjacent attribute do get some carry over. Power is the first attribute to weaken as you age. It's also the most important to preserve since it's the one that will keep you out of a nursing home. "at my age, “endurance” is fast becoming a more imperative goal." The only "endurance" that really matters is your heart and your erection. Testosterone supports both and that means intense workouts, adequate rest and optimal nutrition. An interesting article that touches on this subject: http://ancestralmomentum.com/2009/06/th ... f-fitness/

Cardio health depends on muscle activity in that it stimulates the heart and lungs. There seems to be an exponential effect on heart and lung health by the intensity of the exercise. That is, moderate is much more effective that light cardio, vigorous is much better than moderate and very intense is much better than vigorous. Working at higher intensity levels reduces to time required to maintain or improve cardio performance and health but you have to progressively work towards those intensities. In other words, higher intensities allow you to save time in achieving the same ends.

Nutrition is all about eating real food. "But I don’t do hunger well." is a sign of a carb addiction. People who are not carb addicted take a long time to get hungry since their body has become adapted to burning body fat. The basic template I use is the Paleo Diet but I relax it somewhat according to what I can tolerate and what I can't. The Paleo Diet is well documented in books and blogs by Leslie Cordain, Robb Wolf, Mark Sisson, among others. There are a couple of bloggers that I think have achieved a workable balance:
http://perfecthealthdiet.com/ http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?page_id=8
http://www.archevore.com/ http://www.archevore.com/get-started/
http://chriskresser.com/ http://chriskresser.com/9-steps-to-perf ... -your-body

I hope this helps give you some direction.

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Let thy food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food.~Hippocrates
Strength is the adaptation that leads to all other adaptations that you really care about - Charles Staley
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 8:24 am 
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I pretty much agree with Dub and Stu. Stu and I are among the older guys who post here. I'm 59, Stu a few years younger, I think.

There is some research (I wish this were researched more) that shows that either muscle mass or strength is the best correlate of longevity. For me, that translates into "never stop strength training". When I'm 84 and deadlifting a max of 90 pounds, I'll still be lifting for strength. I don't progress as fast now as I think I would be had I started training at 23 instead of 53, but I can't go back and start over.

The only think I would say differently than what Dub said is that I think it's a good idea to have one or two lifts that you go even heavier on, maybe down to 3 reps, or even singles. This doesn't have to be the same lift all the time. You could, for instance, do bench 3x3 or 5x3 for a few weeks, then take the volume back up, and do squats for intensity.

I strongly agree with Dub about cycling not being anywhere enough for your legs. Try to tie your statement about cycling with your statements about reps and sets. We're saying that 15 reps is too high for your upper body, but how many "reps" do you do in riding for a half hour? 3000? There's an old saying in strength training (which, like many sayings may not be completely true) that anything you can do more than 15 times isn't worth doing. Cycling won't make your legs stronger. Faster, yes, more endurance, yes, but strength, no. Squat and deadlift. Those are basic.

When I hear (or read) something like, "minimizing the bad stuff", a red flag goes up for me. Just what do you consider the "bad stuff"? I"ll bet that a lot of it is actually pretty good stuff. Maybe you should go into more detail about what you eat.

Anyway, welcome to the forum. There are a lot of good guys here. There is a variety of points of view, and sometime we argue a bit, but most of the regulars are very knowledgeable and helpful. I hope you stick around. Sometimes the old guys have to stand together against the young punks!

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 8:25 am 
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Oh, by the way, I'm stronger now than I have ever been, so I don't really agree with your thread title either!

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 8:41 am 
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Andy, I'm 55.

I think Nick Horton posted on this one time. Those that come close to their genetic potential early (athletes) will suffer decline as they age but will usually remain stronger and more athletic than those of us that start late, assuming they keep training. However, people do get discouraged when they get weaker regardless of what they do. Those that start late may never achieve their genetic potential but may also keep improving as they continue to train which continues to give them motivation to keep at it. It's kind of a 2 edged sword, but if you understand why this happens, it can help your motivation.

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Let thy food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food.~Hippocrates
Strength is the adaptation that leads to all other adaptations that you really care about - Charles Staley
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 10:48 am 
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Thanks, guys. (I think you’re all guys; you can never tell with some monikers.)

You’ve got me pegged on a couple of issues. Yes, I’m carb addicted. But my diet isn’t too bad. Shredded Wheat, oatemeal or granola for breakfast. Often leftovers or peanut butter and crackers (yes, that’s a no-no) and fruit for lunch. My problems come after an afternoon workout. I much on nuts until dinner, which is usually pretty good. After dinner is when I find it tough not to eat more nuts and carbs. That said, one reason I’ve been able to lose weight is because I’ve cut out my greatest weaknesses—ice cream and cookies. But I am trying to minimize the crackers, bread, etc.

Re the comment about too much training, that’s another challenge of mine. I get addicted to it. Still, I am better about missing a day when I feel tired or when my legs seem dead.

But about the leg training…. I’ve read a lot of the articles in the weight training section of this site and my own experience suggests a contradiction. Somewhere I read that nothing beats doing your sport to train for your sport. And around here (hilly), I get little high rep spinning and lots of hill climbing. I thought the leg work in the gym was helping my cycling a few months ago but wasn’t sure if it was just the time on the bike and my weight loss that made me feel stronger. My one concern is with the hamstrings. They don’t get as much work cycling as the quads and calves. But working them increases time in the gym, and I really feel that controlling that time helps me be consistent with it.

What do you guys think of the one set of warm-up and one set at 3-8 reps? There’s evidence I read that more than one set after the warm-up is only minimally helpful.

The cycling intervals and heavier weights are intriguing recommendations. I have avoided the intervals to ensure I don’t wear myself out, but after about 1800 miles the past six months, I think I have the base to add them. I actually like them and they will shorten my cycling workouts, which today are pretty much 23-28 miles and 100 minutes, with the occasional 50-miler thrown in. But again, it’s impossible to keep my heart rate in the cardio range climbing hills. (I had my VO2max tested a few years ago and my ideal cardio range is 120-128 bpms; I’ll often average in the low 130s because of all the hills.) Still I rarely get above 150 bpm, and I can do that with interval training, which I did up until a few years ago. You guys seem unanimous that interval training will boost metabolism.

Re the heavier weights, I’m fine with that and will try it. My routine the last couple of months has been to follow the “low volume high intensity” description here. I increase weight throughout the month, and when I switched to a new set of exercises I take the first week easy—12-15 reps to get my body use to the new routine. But I’ll make that second set with a little heavier weight.

Dub, you mentioned some exercises should be higher reps. What I’ve read here is that includes abs, obliques and erector spinae muscles. Is that right? But how many reps are too many? For example, is anything more than 15 sit-ups wasted, meaning I should increase the incline or add weight?

Parenthetically, Jungledoc, I’ve been doing Smith machine dead lifts for my erector spinae, though I realize other muscles are involved.

Yes, I agree I should use more free weights, but I need to get to them gradually. For instance, after this month of Smith machine dead lifts I’m going to try barbell dead lifts next month. I also need to be careful due to chronic injuries. As a cyclist, I’ve had my share of falls and injuries – three broken collarbones, a broken scapula and countless cracked ribs. I also have some shoulder problems that make deltoids and some chest work problematic. But I do it.

Thanks again for the advice and article referrals. Answers to my questions in this post would be appreciated.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 4:27 pm 
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can someone cliff notes this ?


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 6:40 pm 
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Fair enough.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 7:56 pm 
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Cliff notes:
What do you guys think of the one set of warm-up and one set at 3-8 reps? There’s evidence I read that more than one set after the warm-up is only minimally helpful.

Dub, you mentioned some exercises should be higher reps. What I’ve read here is that includes abs, obliques and erector spinae muscles. Is that right? But how many reps are too many? For example, is anything more than 15 sit-ups wasted, meaning I should increase the incline or add weight?


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:58 pm 
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bobgr wrote:
Cliff notes:
What do you guys think of the one set of warm-up and one set at 3-8 reps? There’s evidence I read that more than one set after the warm-up is only minimally helpful.


For me this does not seem even practical. For example, if my top set for Squatting is 3 reps @204, I'm going to warm up like

10 x 45
8 x 100
5 x 133
3 x 160

Working Sets
5 x 177
5 x 193
3 x 204

I really cant just go from say 133 to 204, and need warm up just to feel good about 133.

Aside from that, I get stronger with additional volume. When I've done less work, my gains (as measured by top set) are retarded (the bad kind)


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 10:11 pm 
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bobgr wrote:
But about the leg training…. I’ve read a lot of the articles in the weight training section of this site and my own experience suggests a contradiction. Somewhere I read that nothing beats doing your sport to train for your sport. And around here (hilly), I get little high rep spinning and lots of hill climbing. I thought the leg work in the gym was helping my cycling a few months ago but wasn’t sure if it was just the time on the bike and my weight loss that made me feel stronger. My one concern is with the hamstrings. They don’t get as much work cycling as the quads and calves. But working them increases time in the gym, and I really feel that controlling that time helps me be consistent with it.

No contradiction. Yes, doing your sport is the best preparation for your sport. I'm saying that you need strength training for your legs for general purposes. I'm not saying to stop or reduce your riding, but I'm saying that's not enough for lower body strength.
bobgr wrote:
Parenthetically, Jungledoc, I’ve been doing Smith machine dead lifts for my erector spinae, though I realize other muscles are involved.

Yes, I agree I should use more free weights, but I need to get to them gradually. For instance, after this month of Smith machine dead lifts I’m going to try barbell dead lifts next month. I also need to be careful due to chronic injuries.
Stay as far from the smith machine as you possible can. Find the farthest corner of the gym to do your deadlifting in. The Smith isn't any better for you in terms of preventing injuries or aggravation of old injuries than a free barbell. Plus it does not allow you to find your own right bar path. Some Smith machines have an angled bar path, which isn't good. Just start low and go slow, like in anything. In fact, for the first 2 or 3 weeks, you shouldn't deadlift anything that feels more than just vaguely heavy. Work on form, sets of 2 to 4.

In regard to single-set training. I think it's much better. Better than sitting on your couch. It won't be long until a single work set cannot provide enough total work to be of much benefit.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 3:59 am 
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you guys forgot to tell him not to do sit-ups :)


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:13 am 
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commodiusvicus wrote:
you guys forgot to tell him not to do sit-ups :)

Oh, gosh. Did he say he's doing sit-ups? I obviously didn't notice that.

BOB: PLEASE DON'T MAKE A 62 YEAR-OLD SPINE DO SITUPS! There are a lot of good core exercises without increasing your risk of spine problems.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:23 am 
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Abs can be traind in anti-extention instead of flexion with much less wear and tear on the spine. Planks do this quite effectively, as do ab rollouts and push ups.

You should also look into kettlebell swings. They work primarily the glutes but include the whole core and posterior chain in the movement. It turns out that most exercises that work the lower back place shear forces on the spine. Swings actually reverse the stress, correcting some of the damage done. I would think that would be a major concern for cyclists, since the spend a great deal of time in spinal flexion.

For further reading: http://breakingmuscle.com/training/kett ... t-exercise

Just for fun, here's a picture of Lance doing a swing.

Image

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Stu Ward
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Let thy food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food.~Hippocrates
Strength is the adaptation that leads to all other adaptations that you really care about - Charles Staley
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