T Nation

Question From a Beginner


I found this site by accident and have to say there is a lot of useful info on here. I have a few quesitons. I'm a female and just recently started working out. Well, about 6 months ago. I did great at first, lost weight, lost inches and firmed up...a little. Since I have kids, I have a couple problem areas. I've been doing some weight training but I keep getting conflicting advice. Some people I talk to say "to burn fat, stick with more cardio than weight training until you are the size you want to be". Then some say "no no no, weight training burns more fat than cardio so do more free weights than cardio." Then I get people telling me that since I'm a woman, cardio is important b/c i won't get results without it.

So, which way is better? I've been stuck at the same weight for like 2 months now and it's a bit discouraging after I dropped all that weight so fast. I have changed my routine a couple times, but right now I'm doing total body training twice a week and cardio 4 times a week.


tbt 2x a week and cardio 4 x a week is an acceptable program given your goals.
Is it ideal? I don't know. Many would argue fro more weights, but really, this work load should be enough to drop some pounds.

You say you've dropped some but don't give specifics. Be aware that the closer you get to your goal the more difficult the challenge. The initial weight loss is almost always easier than the last 5-10 12.....

You may look into tweaking your weight workout. Up the wights and lower the reps. Keep rest periods as short as possible, but maintain the heavy weights.

You may benefit from tweaking your cardio. Are you simply doing a 'steady-state' type 30-45 min workout? Then amp it up. Walk up grade. Jog. Run. Mix it up, but amp up the intensity. Whatever you're doing--pick up the intensity. If you are all ready jogging/running maybe you could handle some sprint work. These tweaks need to be incorporated slowly into your workout.

First and foremost, you must be on top of your diet. Log it for a couple of weeks. Cut some/most of the simple/processed carbs. No soda,no wasted calories. Do you eat meat? Become more carnivorous as the day goes by. Lean meats are better for you here than high GI carbs.
Fiber--get at least 25-30+ grams per day. If you are low here, increase to this amount s-l-o-w-l-y.

Sleep. Are you getting enough?


Also, don't forget, you can lose fat and gain muscle but show no change on the scale.

The use of "weight" as a measure of progress works best at the beginning of the fat loss process, but breaks down later as you start to get leaner.

As for the conflicting advice, it is muscle mass that has a large effect on your metabolism -- so having more of it makes it easier to lean down. However, it can be hard to gain muscle without eating excess calories when you've been training for a while. So, nothing definitive, but it is simply up to you to decide on your goals, long term or short term, and set your diet and workout plans accordingly.

You may also want to look into using something like high intensity interval training for your cardio. The idea is that the high intensity causes your metabolism to stay elevated longer than normal cardio, thereby burning more calories in the long run. This is similar to lifting weights, in that the muscle trauma causes you to burn calories in muscle recovery.

I hope that helped instead of lead to more confusion. Take the time to find the articles on the site and read up on all of this... it will only help. In the short term... keep on working out and eating well... and don't give up if the scale lies to you and says you aren't progressing.


Thank you so much for your input. Sorry I didn't specify. I was weighing in at 150 and am now down to 130. I'm average height so I want to be down to 120, my %body fat did drop dramatically but as most women with kids, I have that problem area on my tummy. I heard good things about sprints so once I was a bit conditioned, I run for 2 minutes, walk for one and so on for 25-30 minutes.


You might want to consider pulling out the tape measure. You may not see a difference on the scale but you might notice it with the tape.