Advice From A Friend: “Stop lifting.”

First of all, I know her advice was with very, very good intentions. She’s nothing but nice. And I know she wants me to succeed on my weight loss journey. But a friend told me I should stop lifting weights if I want to lose weight. Now, on a purely weight-based approach, this is absolutely correct. 100%. But from an overall health perspective, not so much. While I’d love the scale to be moving, I DO NOT want to be losing muscle mass. I want to maintain the muscle I have (and gain more!) and burn off the fat.  And if I were eating better (and probably do more cardio) I’d be accomplishing that.

For the past six weeks I’ve let up on the cardio, focusing almost completely on weight lifting. Mostly because I read you’ll see more success doing only the things you love rather than forcing yourself to do stuff you don’t care for. For me, this is cardio. I got to a point several years ago where I genuinely liked and looked forward to running. But right now? There is no love! Mostly because my endurance has decreased, I got hurt running several months back, and my neighborhood is fairly busy after dark (the time I truly love to run).

I need to buck up, realize my endurance won’t ever improve if I don’t battle through some runs, get some reflective clothing, and stop worrying about falling down again!

In the meantime, I need to keep lifting consistently. I tend to get psyched out about my lifts, thinking I can’t do them. To combat that, I think I’m going to tell myself I have to lift the same weight until I can confidently say, “I AM ready to increase!” I think sometimes I feel like, “I think I could lift more” when in my head I’m not 100% sure. The progress might be a little slower, but considering I’ll likely procrastinate less if I know I can conquer the weight, I might actually improve faster. For me, lifting has been more of a challenge to my mind than with my body. My head is constantly telling me I CAN’T lift the weight I put on the bar (or will be putting on the bar). When that’s not true at all. I’ve only had to bail once on bench. I’ve only had about two or three close calls with dropping on push press. And I’ve hit my knee once during lunges. My head, as I’m sitting here, tells me I actually need to fail MORE because these failures are hardly failures.

I’m stronger than I think!


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jennewby71
    Jan 31, 2012 @ 12:49:00

    KEEP LIFTING!! I think that is one of the biggest myths in weight loss!

    MUSCLE BURNS FAT. PERIOD. The more muscle you have on your body the faster your metabolism is at rest, hence the more calories you burn at rest. You may not lose as many lbs BUT the amount of space your body takes up will be less. You will be smaller if you have built a bunch of muscles. Again, i’ll go back to my husband who was is Afghanistan. He did very little cardio if any at all. but he lifted weights daily for 7 months. He went down 3 sizes in clothes and has dropped about 15 lbs. the weight in numbers didn’t come off right away. It actually came off when he stopped lifting as much (due to some medical issues completely unrelated and he had to stop working out for a while) I think some of the weight loss was actually muscle loss due to the NOT lifting. BUT still, ultimately, isn’t it the size of your body that matters? I’ve lost 18 lbs. which isn’t much, but I’ve gone down 2 sizes in pants. To me, it’s my size that is more important. I’ll take my weight right now if I had a rock hard, solid muscle body. But i know I won’t stay at this weight since I have a lot of fat on me. But I want MUSCLES and the only way you can get that is by lifting. So keep it up!

    And about the amount you are lifting. Try using the same weight until the last rep or two is easy. If you are not at failure by your last rep, then it’s too light only then increase your weight the next time. If you can easily do 8-10 reps, then it’s too light. But aim to “fail” by your last rep. So try using the same weight for a couple days and if it gets easy, then up it. Maybe that will build your confidence up a bit. you can do it! You are stronger than you think!


    • stumbletowardhealth
      Jan 31, 2012 @ 20:11:09

      I totally agree! First, congrats on the weight loss!!!

      I agree! I want to lose weight not to be a certain weight, but because I have fat to lose. I don’t know if you’ve read, but my goal in 2012 is to get stronger than I’ve ever been (I’m well on my way – I have a lifting tracking page that tracks what I’ve lifted). And get my triglycerides back in the healthy zone.

      I told myself I’ll no longer be a slave to the scale! But, it’s hard to see progress without the scale, so I still weigh in. You’re right though, the scale matters less than health! And I know building muscle is slow, so I should have a net loss every week if I’m eating well. Eating is my hardest thing to stick to… But the thing that gives me what I need to get strong. Plus my eating right is the only thing that will lower my triglycerides.

      Keep up the great work! Congrats again on your loss! Hope you splurged on a new outfit! :)


      • jennewby71
        Jan 31, 2012 @ 22:05:06

        Diet is the hardest for me too. I love food, I eat too much. And usually its not super healthy. I’m really trying to recommit this week, and stick to it. I still have about 60 lbs. to go! Unless of course I’m miraculously in a size 8 and only lost 20 more lbs!! Good luck to you. You are doing awesome!

  2. K8
    Mar 08, 2012 @ 15:40:32

    Yeah, people have told me that one too many times to count. I think a combination of the two is best- but it certainly doesn’t have to be running! In fact, I prefer the elliptical for it’s non-impact cardio. Cardio and diet will help you lose weight. Weight lifting will change your shape and make your body into a calorie burning machine. It all goes together :)


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