Hi, Ryan, I am starting a workout program and I’m not sure how much weight I should be using. I am a 43-year-old female with about 30 pounds to lose. I don’t want to get big & bulky. I just want to tone up and look good. How much weight would be good for me to start with and how long before I see results?
Congratulations to you for starting your new program. First, I would like to rid you of the myth that you will get big and bulky if you weight train. You are not a man nor are you built like one. So, bulking up and looking like a man will not happen for you. You would have to increase calories and lift very heavy for a few years to get large muscles.
When you start your work outs you will get muscle tone, burn more calories, have a ton of energy, feel better about yourself plus develop your new body. Those are all results and they vary per person depending on how hard they work and clean they eat. Now you don’t have an excuse not to train hard.
Use a weight that you are comfortable with and can get a hard 12 repetitions. I take my clients through a one rep max test to determine how much weight they can comfortably use for the workouts that we start with. I take 50 percent of their max weight and do two sets of 12-15 reps per body part. Here is how to find you one rep max. If you are using a selectorized stack machine, use a light weight to warm the muscle.
After 12-15 reps increase the weight by one or two plates and do only one repetition. Continue this process until you cannot lift the weights for one complete rep. Let’s say the last rep you fully completed was 100 lbs. You would take 50 percent of the weight and begin your workouts with that poundage. You may have to change the percentage depending on the strengths of each muscle group. This will work the muscle and bring your desired results.
If you do your weight training 3 times a week and follow a good eating regiment you will see results in a few short weeks. Remember that losing more than 2-3 lbs a week will result in losing muscle tissue and not body fat. Set realistic goals and stick to it. Good luck achieving your Dream Bodies and keep up the good work.