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TOPIC: Weight lifting? How long does it take to build muscle?

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October 9, 2013 8:38 AM
Hi all -

I've been advised I should start lifting weights as part of my workout routine. From what I'm told, if I build muscle, it will burn fat even while I'm at rest, which sounds great, so I figured I would start.

My only problem is that I HAAAAAAATE lifting weights. I find it SO boring and I don't feel the same immediate satisfaction I get after a good run or a go on the eliptical.

So my big question is, how long will it take to start seeing results, and how often should I keep up with it? Should I really start focusing on that instead of cardio, which is what I've been doing pretty much exclusively?
October 9, 2013 8:42 AM
you were told wrong.

lifting is to preserve lean mass. you're not going to build any muscle while in calorie deficit. (some exception apply, like if you're very fat, or very untrained, you have a few months of newb gains where you can build it before you plateau)

When you're in calorie deficit, you don't just lose fat. you lose everything. including muscle. the body is very smart, and it's a case of if you don't use it, you lose it. So if you're only doing cardio, your body will shed all mannor of type II muscle fiber because it isn't being used and is expendable. But if you are lifting, it forces your body to keep it around more as it is being used. This is why people get the mistaken impression that they are building muscle from lifting. all they are in fact doing is losing more fat and revealing existing muscle better.
October 9, 2013 12:03 PM
I think the point here is you lose more fat if you combine cardio with some strength training. That's my plan anyway happy
  15745207
October 9, 2013 12:06 PM
QUOTE:

you were told wrong.

lifting is to preserve lean mass. you're not going to build any muscle while in calorie deficit. (some exception apply, like if you're very fat, or very untrained, you have a few months of newb gains where you can build it before you plateau)

When you're in calorie deficit, you don't just lose fat. you lose everything. including muscle. the body is very smart, and it's a case of if you don't use it, you lose it. So if you're only doing cardio, your body will shed all mannor of type II muscle fiber because it isn't being used and is expendable. But if you are lifting, it forces your body to keep it around more as it is being used. This is why people get the mistaken impression that they are building muscle from lifting. all they are in fact doing is losing more fat and revealing existing muscle better.


/thread
December 6, 2013 3:23 AM
I saw an interesting website that claims that you can gain your desired muscle mass in as short as 90 days. The website is http://www.exerciseaholics.com/build-muscle/ Anyone tried this routine and does it work?
December 6, 2013 3:41 AM
The above responses are right to a point, but you are coming in "untrained" so you will see some benefits from lifting (even on a slight calorie restricted diet).

I'd approach it this way:
1) Incorporate two days of ful body weight workouts, focusing on compound movements - Squats, deadlift, bench press, barbell or dumbell rows, and standing overhead press (military press). Do 3 sets of 8 - 12 reps (always use good form). If you can get 13 reps, the weight is too low. If you struggle to get out the 8th rep, the weight is too high. Rest for 60 - 120 seconds between sets. Record your workouts so you know where to start the next one.
2) Set your calorie goal at just slightly below your burn rate (200 - 400) and make sure you're getting a good mix of macros.
3) Make sure you're getting 8 hours of sleep per night.
4) Make sure you're getting plenty of water (not soda, coffee, etc.), real water.
5) Only do cardio/HIIT training on days you're not lifting, and make sure you take two days off per week.

As for when you'll see results, that depends on your body type and level of effort. When you've increased your weight on the lifts above by 10%, you should start seeing it (two to three weeks if you work hard, eat well, and get appropriate rest).

My guess on why you hate lifting is because you aren't really pushing yourself the way you do on an elliptical machine. Beyond being winded from an elliptical workout, you see the numbers (estimates of calories, time, etc.). After a good lifting session, you should also be winded, sweaty and feel a pump in your muscles. Recording your workout will give you the "score" and as you progress you can look back and see how much you've improved. That tends to satisfy the data needs (does for me anyway).

Because you are calorie restricted, you will plateau. When you do, it will be time to shake things up and try something new (i.e., eat more; change lifts, reps, sets, rests; swimming; plyometrics, etc.)

Enjoy!
December 6, 2013 4:34 AM
I recommend buying the book Starting Strength and reading up on all the big compound lifts. Then go online and research videos on form.

Edited to add: If you're following MFP's guidelines on protein intake, change that right away. You want high protein combined with strength training to preserve muscle whilst you lose fat.
Edited by Huffdogg On December 6, 2013 4:35 AM
  4826377
December 6, 2013 4:36 AM
QUOTE:

I think the point here is you lose more fat if you combine cardio with some strength training. That's my plan anyway happy


umm no, you will lose more muscle from the cardio...
December 6, 2013 4:38 AM
QUOTE:

The above responses are right to a point, but you are coming in "untrained" so you will see some benefits from lifting (even on a slight calorie restricted diet).

I'd approach it this way:
1) Incorporate two days of ful body weight workouts, focusing on compound movements - Squats, deadlift, bench press, barbell or dumbell rows, and standing overhead press (military press). Do 3 sets of 8 - 12 reps (always use good form). If you can get 13 reps, the weight is too low. If you struggle to get out the 8th rep, the weight is too high. Rest for 60 - 120 seconds between sets. Record your workouts so you know where to start the next one.
2) Set your calorie goal at just slightly below your burn rate (200 - 400) and make sure you're getting a good mix of macros.
3) Make sure you're getting 8 hours of sleep per night.
4) Make sure you're getting plenty of water (not soda, coffee, etc.), real water.
5) Only do cardio/HIIT training on days you're not lifting, and make sure you take two days off per week.

As for when you'll see results, that depends on your body type and level of effort. When you've increased your weight on the lifts above by 10%, you should start seeing it (two to three weeks if you work hard, eat well, and get appropriate rest).

My guess on why you hate lifting is because you aren't really pushing yourself the way you do on an elliptical machine. Beyond being winded from an elliptical workout, you see the numbers (estimates of calories, time, etc.). After a good lifting session, you should also be winded, sweaty and feel a pump in your muscles. Recording your workout will give you the "score" and as you progress you can look back and see how much you've improved. That tends to satisfy the data needs (does for me anyway).

Because you are calorie restricted, you will plateau. When you do, it will be time to shake things up and try something new (i.e., eat more; change lifts, reps, sets, rests; swimming; plyometrics, etc.)

Enjoy!


all this, except I would say three days a on the weights...and then as you become more advanced you can go to a upper/lower split four days a week..maybe three months down the road...I would still keep cardio to a minimum...no more than 20 minutes a session...
December 6, 2013 4:45 AM
YOu will start to build muscle when you go from Xlbs to Ylbs.
  38042734
December 6, 2013 4:46 AM
bump
December 6, 2013 4:52 AM
QUOTE:

So my big question is, how long will it take to start seeing results, and how often should I keep up with it? Should I really start focusing on that instead of cardio, which is what I've been doing pretty much exclusively?


Just to make it simple:
You will start seeing results almost immediately, as it will boost your metabolism a lot more on the long term than cardio. The anabolic state you'll be put on will make you burn calories for much longer than the duration of the workout.
How often depends immensely on the time you have.
And yes you should start to focus on it.
December 6, 2013 4:53 AM
It also helps build bone density. This will help prevent osteoporosis she you are older.
December 6, 2013 4:54 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

I think the point here is you lose more fat if you combine cardio with some strength training. That's my plan anyway happy


umm no, you will lose more muscle from the cardio...


Ummmmmm no you don't lose muscle from cardio! What the hang!

To the OP long story short, everyone is different on how long it takes. You will know you have gained when you up your weights and I second the 8-12 reps but I put an emphasis on 8-10 really 11 and 12 means you could possibly go up...there are heaps of differing opinions on that, but that's my experience. Have you tried Circuit training with weights? That can make things interesting. Again some people will tell you that doesn't work well others will tell you it does, you just have to find what works for you.
  48944948
December 6, 2013 4:56 AM
Bodyweight compound exercises can be a lot of fun too btw, and you won't risk as much injury as if you start lifting without any knowledge about it.
December 6, 2013 4:59 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

QUOTE:

I think the point here is you lose more fat if you combine cardio with some strength training. That's my plan anyway happy


umm no, you will lose more muscle from the cardio...


Ummmmmm no you don't lose muscle from cardio! What the hang!

To the OP long story short, everyone is different on how long it takes. You will know you have gained when you up your weights and I second the 8-12 reps but I put an emphasis on 8-10 really 11 and 12 means you could possibly go up...there are heaps of differing opinions on that, but that's my experience. Have you tried Circuit training with weights? That can make things interesting. Again some people will tell you that doesn't work well others will tell you it does, you just have to find what works for you.


Sorry to burst your bubble but running/cardio does burn through muscle...

I used to run three to four days a week and workout with weights and I noticed myself getting smaller...I cut the cardio down to about 1x a week and started lifting more and I saw improvement in strength and muscle...

Yes, I have done circuit training. It's great if you want to feel like you are burning through calories, but circuits just lead to poor form IMO because you exert so much energy that there is no way you can maintain form. I still do some circuits every other week on Sunday's but I don't think they are going to assist in muscle building in the long term..and I believe the OP asked about muscle building...

why do you think that most lifters do minimal cardio on a bulk?

Also, increasing weights is not an indicator of increased muscle mass. That just means that your muscles have become more efficient at lifting more weight, not the same as actually gaining/increasing muscle mass...
Edited by ndj1979 On December 6, 2013 5:01 AM
December 6, 2013 5:02 AM
Uhm you should do cardio 3 times a week just for your health.

Of course not endurance training (running is a silly idea for a lifter), but short sessions of HIIT.
December 6, 2013 5:11 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

QUOTE:

QUOTE:

I think the point here is you lose more fat if you combine cardio with some strength training. That's my plan anyway happy


umm no, you will lose more muscle from the cardio...


Ummmmmm no you don't lose muscle from cardio! What the hang!

To the OP long story short, everyone is different on how long it takes. You will know you have gained when you up your weights and I second the 8-12 reps but I put an emphasis on 8-10 really 11 and 12 means you could possibly go up...there are heaps of differing opinions on that, but that's my experience. Have you tried Circuit training with weights? That can make things interesting. Again some people will tell you that doesn't work well others will tell you it does, you just have to find what works for you.


Sorry to burst your bubble but running/cardio does burn through muscle...

I used to run three to four days a week and workout with weights and I noticed myself getting smaller...I cut the cardio down to about 1x a week and started lifting more and I saw improvement in strength and muscle...

Yes, I have done circuit training. It's great if you want to feel like you are burning through calories, but circuits just lead to poor form IMO because you exert so much energy that there is no way you can maintain form. I still do some circuits every other week on Sunday's but I don't think they are going to assist in muscle building in the long term..and I believe the OP asked about muscle building...

why do you think that most lifters do minimal cardio on a bulk?

Also, increasing weights is not an indicator of increased muscle mass. That just means that your muscles have become more efficient at lifting more weight, not the same as actually gaining/increasing muscle mass...



Please read my whole post saying that yes, there are some opinions differing to mine. I do know what I am talking about. I am not saying a load of cardio, but you should do cardio even when trying to gain muscle. ALWAYS! Perhaps you did not find your balance with your cardio training versus Weights, or maybe it was what you were eating. I have seen a 20kg gain on a very thing "cannot gain any kind of weight" man before, he also did cardio.

I agree form can be an issue with circuits, but circuits actually do not need to be rushed through, just with any exercise, if you don't rush and watch your form circuits can be amazing. I don't think the OP is looking to be a body builder or anything, just to see difference in her muscles.

Again I will stress, I am not here to argue, and there are different experiences and opinions and all sorts of research to back almost any claim up. And again I just want to say to the OP gain knowledge, read the different opinions and find what you feel comfortable and works for you.
  48944948
December 6, 2013 5:33 AM
'Cardio' is just such a general term that I think the two of you probably actually agree but are using the word in different ways. It's just a battle of semantics.

A 4 minute Tabata session is a Cardiovascular workout
A 2 hour run / bike ride is a Cardiovascular workout
An hour of boxing practice is a Cardiovascular workout

All three of these workouts strain and improve the Cardiovascular system and so fit the definition but will have significantly different effects on your body as far as strength or muscle gains.

Long low/medium effort workouts like jogging will reduce muscle and bone density as your body know's that a lighter body is easier to move a very long distance and no need to other strength types was expressed. If this is what you like to do or a runner's body is what you are seeking, the go run and don't worrry about keeping a few pounds of muscle.

Higher intensity interval type workouts, which include most sports, will serve as a better tool for maintaining your lean mass, getting stronger (muscle and strength aren't the same thing) and losing fat at the same time. I think that this fits most people's desires much better unless they genuinely like and/or want to compete in the long cardio.
December 6, 2013 5:34 AM
QUOTE:

Please read my whole post saying that yes, there are some opinions differing to mine. I do know what I am talking about. I am not saying a load of cardio, but you should do cardio even when trying to gain muscle. ALWAYS! Perhaps you did not find your balance with your cardio training versus Weights, or maybe it was what you were eating. I have seen a 20kg gain on a very thing "cannot gain any kind of weight" man before, he also did cardio.

I agree form can be an issue with circuits, but circuits actually do not need to be rushed through, just with any exercise, if you don't rush and watch your form circuits can be amazing. I don't think the OP is looking to be a body builder or anything, just to see difference in her muscles.

Again I will stress, I am not here to argue, and there are different experiences and opinions and all sorts of research to back almost any claim up. And again I just want to say to the OP gain knowledge, read the different opinions and find what you feel comfortable and works for you.


Cardio while already at a deficit creates a bigger deficit. That being said, you do not NEED it. However, you can incorporate it if you so choose.

OP wouldn't even be able to reach a bodybuilder physique unless training consistently and progressively for years. She can see a difference in her physique by eating a small caloric deficit and lifting weights to preserve muscle without the need of adding in cardio. Simple as that.

Strength gains =/= Size Gains. As stated it's possible to get stronger without adding any size.
Edited by LolBroScience On December 6, 2013 5:35 AM
December 6, 2013 5:39 AM
http://www.aworkoutroutine.com/how-much-muscle-can-you-gain/

This is a good article to answer your question.
December 6, 2013 5:58 AM
It depends.

Women can build muscle just by looking at the free weight section of the gym. Men will spend their entire lives and thousands of dollars on supplement and maybe gain 4-5 ounces.
December 6, 2013 9:44 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

QUOTE:

QUOTE:

QUOTE:

I think the point here is you lose more fat if you combine cardio with some strength training. That's my plan anyway happy


umm no, you will lose more muscle from the cardio...


Ummmmmm no you don't lose muscle from cardio! What the hang!

To the OP long story short, everyone is different on how long it takes. You will know you have gained when you up your weights and I second the 8-12 reps but I put an emphasis on 8-10 really 11 and 12 means you could possibly go up...there are heaps of differing opinions on that, but that's my experience. Have you tried Circuit training with weights? That can make things interesting. Again some people will tell you that doesn't work well others will tell you it does, you just have to find what works for you.


Sorry to burst your bubble but running/cardio does burn through muscle...

I used to run three to four days a week and workout with weights and I noticed myself getting smaller...I cut the cardio down to about 1x a week and started lifting more and I saw improvement in strength and muscle...

Yes, I have done circuit training. It's great if you want to feel like you are burning through calories, but circuits just lead to poor form IMO because you exert so much energy that there is no way you can maintain form. I still do some circuits every other week on Sunday's but I don't think they are going to assist in muscle building in the long term..and I believe the OP asked about muscle building...

why do you think that most lifters do minimal cardio on a bulk?

Also, increasing weights is not an indicator of increased muscle mass. That just means that your muscles have become more efficient at lifting more weight, not the same as actually gaining/increasing muscle mass...



Please read my whole post saying that yes, there are some opinions differing to mine. I do know what I am talking about. I am not saying a load of cardio, but you should do cardio even when trying to gain muscle. ALWAYS! Perhaps you did not find your balance with your cardio training versus Weights, or maybe it was what you were eating. I have seen a 20kg gain on a very thing "cannot gain any kind of weight" man before, he also did cardio.

I agree form can be an issue with circuits, but circuits actually do not need to be rushed through, just with any exercise, if you don't rush and watch your form circuits can be amazing. I don't think the OP is looking to be a body builder or anything, just to see difference in her muscles.

Again I will stress, I am not here to argue, and there are different experiences and opinions and all sorts of research to back almost any claim up. And again I just want to say to the OP gain knowledge, read the different opinions and find what you feel comfortable and works for you.


you specifically said in your post that "you do not lose muscle doing cardio" that is not correct, and that is what I was addressing.
December 6, 2013 10:57 AM
I think your wrong on that one

I have been doing daily cardio & have had no problem increasing my muscle lifting & losing fat, not sure why you think you will loose muscle unless your a very serious body builder.

Speak to Scooby he has some great info on this matter
Edited by maca416 On December 6, 2013 11:03 AM
December 6, 2013 11:29 AM
QUOTE:

I think your wrong on that one

I have been doing daily cardio & have had no problem increasing my muscle lifting & losing fat, not sure why you think you will loose muscle unless your a very serious body builder.

Speak to Scooby he has some great info on this matter


So you're eating at a deficit, losing fat but yet gaining measureable muscle.

Please share this secret.
Edited by RGv2 On December 6, 2013 11:29 AM

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