Dear Ryan,

Ryan Rollison

I am starting a workout program and I’m not sure how much weight I should be using. I don’t want to get big & bulky by lifting weights. I just want to tone up and look good for my anniversary.  How much weight would be good for me to start with and how long before I see results?



Dear Marleesha,

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.  You will get more muscle tone, burn more calories, have a ton of energy, feel better about yourself, plus develop your new body.

So, bulking up will not happen for you. You would have to increase calories and lift heavy for a few years to get large muscles.  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 repetition 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 and increase from there.

Here is how to find your 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 plate and do only one repetition. Continue this process until you can not 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 percentages depending on the strengths of each muscle group.  This will work the muscle and bring results.

Keep your reps in the eight to 12 range and make sure that 12 is not easy for you. If it is increase the weight and shoot for another 12. If you get only eight reps, that’s fine. Work your way back up to 12 reps and increase weight again.

If you do your weight training three times a week and follow a good eating regimen you will see results in a few short weeks. Remember that losing more than two to three pounds a week will result in losing muscle tissue and not body fat. Set realistic goals and stick to them.  Good luck achieving your Dream Bodies and keep up the good work.


Ryan Rollison
Dream Bodies