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  1. #1
    Registered User Thatdarndragon's Avatar
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    Questions from a beginner female lifter

    Hi all

    Last week my personal trainer had me lift barbells, for the first time ever in my life.

    I did (Everything 3x 10 each)

    squats with 45 lbs
    Overhead press 20 lbs
    Bentover row 20 lbs
    Chest press 20 lbs
    Bicep curl 20 lbs
    hexbar trap squats 45lbs (I think 45lbs)
    30 second on/off rope pull with 30 second planks in between
    and 3 machines /(not sure what they're called, one's like rowing, the others pull down)

    First time I could not walk. My knees wanted to give out, my legs were complete noodles. I was in a lot of muscular pain, which is expected for doing this for the first time ever (Took me 3 days of recovery to walk properly).

    Over the next week, I did everything but squats with weights as I was not confident on doing it on my own without my trainer watching my form. (I did it without weights to do something)

    Tonight, I had my trainer again. Repeated everything above, only difference is an extra 10 lbs on the squats and hexbar and an extra rep to 4. I should probably increase the barbell for others to 30 lbs since it felt easier today.

    Despite the pain and weakness I felt the first time.. second time with added weights and an extra rep, I do not feel as weak and noodly. Yes, my legs feel tired and I know I will feel something tomorrow, but it's no where near as I felt the first time.

    My question are...
    1. is it normal to be "Stronger" so soon? It's only been a total of a week and half since my first training session, 3x a week of barbells (and cardio once or twice a week).
    2. Considering I don't feel as much pain, is it safe to increase the weights more? I feel like I can increase the barbells from 20 to 30lbs at this point, but the squats? I don't want to injure myself or overdo it
    3. Does the routine above sound good? I am putting my trust in the trainer, but he's so young and fresh out of college. I'd like second opinions

    PS: By pain, I mean muscle regeneration pain. The good stuff.
    Last edited by Thatdarndragon; 01-23-2020 at 06:35 PM.
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  2. #2
    Bored drudixon's Avatar
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    1 yes
    2 yes you can provided you add safely
    3 your program is great. Regardless of what anyone else below says, don't second guess your trainer now. Feel the movements. Feel your joints and muscles. Feel free from the world for a while. Don't ruin this time with doubt. You can add more variety and different lifts later.

    Enjoy it. Just starting out is the best time ever.
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  3. #3
    Powerlifting in disguise induced_drag's Avatar
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    You will make AMAZING progress coming to training for the first time. You body will be "learning" how to perform each movement. Even just your body learning the coordination of all the muscular contractions will yield amazing gains on their own (even if you discount any muscular strength gains....which will come in droves as well).


    Dont over-do it. Work steady and strive for improvements. Either more weight, or an extra rep or two. Muscle soreness is totally normal and there will come a time when you get it less and less.....and eventually, if you are well trained, it gets almost impossible to get sore (and you actually miss the feeling believe it or not!)


    You did not mention dietary goals. But if fat loss is in the equation, the great thing about coming from an untrained state, is you actually can lose fat and gain muscle at the same time. (If you are eating a proper caloric deficit). Dont try to achieve fat loss from exercise...but that is a whole nother thread! . Great thing about where you are, is you can eat a deficit, drop fat, and gain good strength and muscle. The window in which you can do this is fairly small. Maybe 6-8 months. The longer and better trained you are, the more it turns into the cold reality that you can only serve one master effectively. That is, lose fat or try to gain muscle.


    Good luck!
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  4. #4
    Registered User Thatdarndragon's Avatar
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    thanks for the replies all!

    I am in it for weight loss and strength building. Not muscle building. I think I understand the nutrition aspects of it, calories in/out. I've done keto for 7 months and lost 35 lbs on it alone, it was time for me to try something more. My physical trainer discussed the diet and he will come up with a meal plan for me. I want to lose at least 20 more lbs

    Thanks for the replies you two! I do feel better. I do trust my trainer, but given he's so young and not much of experience, hard not to be apprehensive a bit.

    I do like the routine he had provided for me, it's doable and not intimidating at all (once I learned the proper moves)

    I don't feel much of muscle pains in my legs today, even after doing more weights and reps in my squats. I am not going to up the weight on those yet, I want to aim to be more steady and a few more reps. I am aiming to remove the bench before upping the weights, few more times maybe.
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  5. #5
    Registered User NorwichGrad's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by drudixon View Post
    1 yes
    2 yes you can provided you add safely
    3 your program is great. Regardless of what anyone else below says, don't second guess your trainer now. Feel the movements. Feel your joints and muscles. Feel free from the world for a while. Don't ruin this time with doubt. You can add more variety and different lifts later.

    Enjoy it. Just starting out is the best time ever.
    Yes. I echo dru's response.


    Everybody is different. Trainers must take many into account. Age, flexibility, injury - especially older lifters, level of experience.

    If there are no major injury, squats, overhead press, deadlift (which your hexbar squat is a variation of), are usually on my top list of exercises to do.
    This above all..
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  6. #6
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Thatdarndragon View Post
    thanks for the replies all!

    I am in it for weight loss and strength building. Not muscle building. I think I understand the nutrition aspects of it, calories in/out. I've done keto for 7 months and lost 35 lbs on it alone, it was time for me to try something more. My physical trainer discussed the diet and he will come up with a meal plan for me. I want to lose at least 20 more lbs

    Thanks for the replies you two! I do feel better. I do trust my trainer, but given he's so young and not much of experience, hard not to be apprehensive a bit.

    I do like the routine he had provided for me, it's doable and not intimidating at all (once I learned the proper moves)

    I don't feel much of muscle pains in my legs today, even after doing more weights and reps in my squats. I am not going to up the weight on those yet, I want to aim to be more steady and a few more reps. I am aiming to remove the bench before upping the weights, few more times maybe.
    So far, it looks like you can put aside your apprehension and trust your trainer. It seems he's put together a program which will work well for you.
    I'm out, standing in my field.

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  7. #7
    OCB Pro smokinal's Avatar
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    All great replies above^^^

    The only thing I guess I can add is that the program he has you on looks good. It's a very baic, good beginner "push, pull, legs" compound style program. There's tons of room for advancement based off those core movements, when you feel you need more variety or difficulty.

    I'll also add, don't be scared of muscle. Please believe me, you aren't going to wake up one day and say "Geeze, I have too much muscle". You will not, all of the sudden, look like a female bodybuilder; it's just too difficult to aquire a physique like that and it won't happen without extreme knowledge and intention of it.

    Having a good, healthy muscle base is so beneficial to the body for so many different reasons; you'll burn more fat by carrying a little more muscle, stronger bones, less injury prone, better back stability, some theories of better cognitive function, and the list goes on

    Have fun with it and and enjoy the healthier lifestyle!
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  8. #8
    Weak and foolish OldFartTom's Avatar
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    This is the start of great things.

    That comment above sounds ridiculous now, but stick with the trainer and revisit this thread on a few months time. You'll see!
    Faith in Jesus first and faith in squats second.
    Then other details will start to slot themselves into place.

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  9. #9
    Registered User Thatdarndragon's Avatar
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    Excellent replies and encouragement, everyone, I really appreciate it!

    It's been nearly a month, going into my 4th week, and I am feeling amazing! Granted, it's still early to see changes in my body, but physically and mentally I feel better. I have much more energy and I feel much more focused. While my scale has not decreased, at this point I am focusing more how I FEEL. I know I am eating well, reduced my calories, watched what I put in my mouth, curbed the carbs still. I know eventually the weight will melt off.

    I think I am addicted to lifting now. I never thought I'd actually LOOK FORWARD to going to the gym!

    My trainer pushes and tests my limits. I was shocked when he had me try to deadlift 95lbs with the hex bar. Granted, I could only do 5 reps, 3 sets each but it felt good to do that much at least! I won't try it alone, I was a bit uncertain about it and will try again with him this week. I love how he listens to my concerns and answers my questions, I do trust him now. Being new, I had to make sure.

    My weights went up since then, and/or reps.

    squats with 65 lbs
    Overhead press 30 lbs
    Bentover row 45 lbs
    Chest press 30 lbs (he wants me to put more next time)
    Bicep curl 30 lbs
    hexbar trap squats 95lbs (only with trainer, otherwise I am sticking with 45lbs for form practice)
    30 second on/off rope pull with 30 second planks in between (4 sets now)
    and cable machines - 40lbs each
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    ^^^Good for you!!

    Progress, in any shape or form, is very motivational!!
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  11. #11
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    Originally Posted by Thatdarndragon View Post
    While my scale has not decreased, at this point I am focusing more how I FEEL.

    I think I am addicted to lifting now. I never thought I'd actually LOOK FORWARD to going to the gym!

    My trainer pushes and tests my limits. I was shocked when he had me try to deadlift 95lbs with the hex bar.

    Saying your addicted is a great indication you'll keep it up.

    I train at a strength studio dominated by ladies, they have a strongman/women day, and it's more women than men. When they get interviewed about women and strength training and weight loss, the response is "don't think too much about what you have to loose, only what you can gain", strength and empowerment.

    The place I train at, challenging ones self is encouraged. I over-hear most women say "I lifted light for years because nobody said that I should be lifting heavier", with that the coach says you will be dead-lifting say near 200# in a few months (or weeks depending on the persons current condition), and they are in awe, and then it happens.

    (200 was just an example, he actually said 250# to the lady, she had a good frame to get to that weight very quickly, she was like "no wayy", but she did).
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    Originally Posted by Thatdarndragon View Post
    Excellent replies and encouragement, everyone, I really appreciate it!

    It's been nearly a month, going into my 4th week, and I am feeling amazing! Granted, it's still early to see changes in my body, but physically and mentally I feel better. I have much more energy and I feel much more focused. While my scale has not decreased, at this point I am focusing more how I FEEL. I know I am eating well, reduced my calories, watched what I put in my mouth, curbed the carbs still. I know eventually the weight will melt off.

    I think I am addicted to lifting now. I never thought I'd actually LOOK FORWARD to going to the gym!

    My trainer pushes and tests my limits. I was shocked when he had me try to deadlift 95lbs with the hex bar. Granted, I could only do 5 reps, 3 sets each but it felt good to do that much at least! I won't try it alone, I was a bit uncertain about it and will try again with him this week. I love how he listens to my concerns and answers my questions, I do trust him now. Being new, I had to make sure.

    My weights went up since then, and/or reps.

    squats with 65 lbs
    Overhead press 30 lbs
    Bentover row 45 lbs
    Chest press 30 lbs (he wants me to put more next time)
    Bicep curl 30 lbs
    hexbar trap squats 95lbs (only with trainer, otherwise I am sticking with 45lbs for form practice)
    30 second on/off rope pull with 30 second planks in between (4 sets now)
    and cable machines - 40lbs each
    Welcome to the asylum! You've joined a very exclusive (not by our choice!) club, and you have a lot of wonderful things to look forward to.

    We who are about to lift salute you!
    I'm out, standing in my field.

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  13. #13
    Da1UnV bodyhard's Avatar
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    How can any of these numbers be with a barbell? Did you use fixed bars?

    squats with 45 lbs
    Overhead press 20 lbs
    Bentover row 20 lbs
    Chest press 20 lbs
    Bicep curl 20 lbs
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    Registered User Thatdarndragon's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by bodyhard View Post
    How can any of these numbers be with a barbell? Did you use fixed bars?

    squats with 45 lbs
    Overhead press 20 lbs
    Bentover row 20 lbs
    Chest press 20 lbs
    Bicep curl 20 lbs
    it says the weights right on the barbells (I assume fixed as you call it?) and my trainer says the larger one that I squat with is 45lbs without weights added.
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    Da1UnV bodyhard's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Thatdarndragon View Post
    it says the weights right on the barbells (I assume fixed as you call it?) and my trainer says the larger one that I squat with is 45lbs without weights added.
    Yup the big barbell (known as an Olympic bar) typically weighs 45lbs, they have some that weight more but most all the Olympic bars in the gyms weigh 45lbs.

    The fixed bars that I am assuming you are using are usually much smaller in length and thinner and you can not changed the weight on the bar.
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  16. #16
    Registered User Thatdarndragon's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by bodyhard View Post
    Yup the big barbell (known as an Olympic bar) typically weighs 45lbs, they have some that weight more but most all the Olympic bars in the gyms weigh 45lbs.

    The fixed bars that I am assuming you are using are usually much smaller in length and thinner and you can not changed the weight on the bar.
    You are correct about the fixed bars!

    Eventually I'll go to the "pros", lol.
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  17. #17
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    Originally Posted by smokinal View Post
    Progress, in any shape or form, is very motivational!!
    Amen.
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    Question:

    With the above recent log of my lifts, figure about 30-45 mins. About how many calories do you think I am burning? 150 calories? Less? (in that span of lifting, not talking about the 'after burn')
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    Get a Garmin watch, fitbit, or your choice of fitness tracking device and turn the tracker on while you workout.
    If you have met your daily standard caloric burn requirement in the form of walking then eat back half of what you burn while working out. This will insure that you do not overeat back your calories and will allow for some discretion in the accuracy of the device tracking capability. This will also insure you don't sit on your butt all day and then think that just because you went to the gym you get to eat back those gym spent calories. You only get those if you meet your other requirements that you have used to set you daily caloric intake by.
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    Powerlifting in disguise induced_drag's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Thatdarndragon View Post
    Question:

    With the above recent log of my lifts, figure about 30-45 mins. About how many calories do you think I am burning? 150 calories? Less? (in that span of lifting, not talking about the 'after burn')
    Dont worry about calorie burn from activity. At best it is a wild guess. It is pointless and will only confuse the process. DONT try to lose weight with more activity. Control your intake and focus on doing your current workout as best you can to continually make progress. Training 'More" is not More better AND...lt is doomed to fail and not something you can maintain.


    Just do consistent workouts and eat consistent levels.

    THEN>>>>>>>>>>>Adjust your intake as required to achieve the desired rate of fat loss. (not to exceed 1% of bw/week).

    I did not see your weight. If you are carrying a lot of fat, you can go as high as 1.5lb/week weight loss. Even 2lbs if you are say 50lbs overweight or more.

    When you get down towards a 'normal' weight (defined as say not more than 25lbs overweight) Best to drop down to about 1lb/week. If you push it faster that that, you are likely sacrificing lean mass in the process which is not what you want.
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    Originally Posted by Thatdarndragon View Post
    Question:

    With the above recent log of my lifts, figure about 30-45 mins. About how many calories do you think I am burning? 150 calories? Less? (in that span of lifting, not talking about the 'after burn')
    The trackers help, but don't treat them as gospel. They aren't necessarily accurate. They can reduce the amount of trial and error you'll have to do, but you'll still need to do some experimenting.
    I'm out, standing in my field.

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    I have a fitbit versa. The burned calories seems off to me, it seems to be higher than it should be? I don't know, I may not be optimistic about it, I'd rather undershoot the calories than rely on the fitbit. I feel like I would be eating more calories than what the fitbit suggests I've burned.

    I am trying to get a better range in my head to focus better on the calories in/out thing.


    @induced_drag - I want to drop another 20 lbs which would get me in the BMI range my doctor wants me to get to. I'd love to lose 40lbs total, but I'd be happy with getting in a healthy range! I aim for 1lb a week since I don't want to rush it either.
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    Originally Posted by Thatdarndragon View Post
    I have a fitbit versa. The burned calories seems off to me, it seems to be higher than it should be? I don't know, I may not be optimistic about it, I'd rather undershoot the calories than rely on the fitbit. I feel like I would be eating more calories than what the fitbit suggests I've burned.

    I am trying to get a better range in my head to focus better on the calories in/out thing.


    @induced_drag - I want to drop another 20 lbs which would get me in the BMI range my doctor wants me to get to. I'd love to lose 40lbs total, but I'd be happy with getting in a healthy range! I aim for 1lb a week since I don't want to rush it either.
    Cals in cals out rule at the end of the day.

    I always set my deficit for my desired loss and look at exercise as a bonus. With you looking at a large loss like you are, there is no reason you cant shoot for closer to 2lbs /week. 1.5 min.

    Just eat less (srs) and make sure you get aprox 100g protein in and healthy fats at a proper level. Carbs are your variable. No need to go keto, just understand that carbs are the non-necessary part of your intake. There is no such thing as an "essential carb" where there is a min level of fat and protein that are required. Err on the high side with protein and keep fats at a healty level. Probably MIN 60-70g / day.


    You can try to track activity, but my opinion is throw all those gadgets out. Spend the mental effort trying to track your intake better, prepping meals...etc. THAT will make you successful....not counting cals burned on a treadmill.
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    While I agree with most of what ID just said, the biggest hurdle to weight loss is compliance. If counting your exercise calories allows you to eat a little more and helps you stay motivated to keep compliant it is absolutely worth it.

    Dieting is more a mental game than anything. All the prepping food and tracking intake will only go as far as you are willing to go to be compliant to follow your diet. Which is why I said what I said about trackers and actually eating back some of your calories you expend while working out.
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    My only problem with that mentality is cardio (at least in me) stimulates appetite much greater than the additional cals it allows you to eat.

    Also 'cheating' makes you weak. By all means structure a break etc, but allowing slips consistently in your intake and playing make up is a recipe for failure.

    You have to learn to stop the food reward circuit that made you overweight in the first place....not play into it.

    Nothing tastes as good as being lean feels . A Cmoore quote!
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    That is strange, cardio kills my appetite while heavy lifting increases it.
    sums it up a thread will start off promising and then turn into name calling..
    The easiest way to tell when an argument has no merit is when the protagonist mixes in some personal insults.
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    Originally Posted by induced_drag View Post
    My only problem with that mentality is cardio (at least in me) stimulates appetite much greater than the additional cals it allows you to eat.

    Also 'cheating' makes you weak. By all means structure a break etc, but allowing slips consistently in your intake and playing make up is a recipe for failure.

    You have to learn to stop the food reward circuit that made you overweight in the first place....not play into it.

    Nothing tastes as good as being lean feels . A Cmoore quote!
    I never mentioned cardio, nor having a chest meal. She asked how many calories her lifting session burned. A good fitness tracker will track that. What it won’t adjust for is NEAT that is used and already accounted for via her calorie counting apps algorithm. Which is why using half the devices calculated burn is typically pretty safe.

    “Eat as much as you can, while losing weight at steady state for as long as possible.” A Shaninga quote.

    Point being no need to deprive yourself if you earned some extra cals working out that day.

    Edit to add

    I am not arguing with ID or trying to win anything here. We much agree with most everything here. I have used his example in the past with great success. I am here offering another tool in the tool box.
    Last edited by shaneinga; 02-05-2020 at 03:11 PM.
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    Originally Posted by induced_drag View Post
    My only problem with that mentality is cardio (at least in me) stimulates appetite much greater than the additional cals it allows you to eat.
    I'm absolute opposite and cardio made cutting so much easier. But when I say cardio I mean 1000-3000 calorie workout. It just burns so much more than I can possibly put back in the same day. But even smaller stuff like walking to work (250 calories) helped a lot.

    As the other guy said, it's mostly mental, and it's mentally easier for some to do some extra cardio and have a big juicy burger, a side of tots, and a pint of IPA once or twice a week than nibble like a rabbit day in and day out for months on end. The juicy burger isn't cheating if you still come in at a 700 calorie deficit for the day.
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    I just jumped in to say that you all are correct.

    It really just boils down to however you prefer, physically or mentally, to stay in a consistant deficit.

    I've been competing for years and I, literally, haven't done 1 single minute of cardio for any show prep yet; and don't plan to. I've been ~4% before and will again and do it all on deficit alone. Am I looking for a medal here? Nope, just saying. I despise cardio and simply refuse to do it. I have pretty good willpower and actually don't mind eating like a rabbit for the physical reward I get at the end.
    Again, whichever way you want to do it is fine; as long as you end up in a deficit at the end of it all, you're good.
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    Originally Posted by jademonkey View Post
    But when I say cardio I mean 1000-3000 calorie workout. .
    Dude....srs? You must be soooooo Hardcorezzzz!

    You really think you are expending 3000 cal in a single workout? Well where in the hell are you getting that energy to power your body? For a trained endurance athlete, there is aprox 350g of muscle glycogen storage, and lover will hold about 100g. So that makes 450g glycogen available. (Or 1800 cal) until your body is TOTALLY depleted. (of course this can vary some and with body mass...but just using numbers)

    Very intense exercise like hard core cardio, burns aprox 600 cals per hour. So you are doing 5 hours of high-intensity exercise a day?

    It is ridiculous posts like these that contribute to the confusion of a basic newb.


    I hold to my opinion. Caloric burn (besides basic activity multipliers in the initial TDEE calculators), should not be factored in as a daily variable that can change.
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