Newbie to Strength Training. Suggestions??

Introduce yourself. Tell us about your training history, how long you've been vegan, share some of your goals and some of your interests.

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Newbie to Strength Training. Suggestions??

#1 Postby Xmengirl » Thu Dec 19, 2013 9:26 pm

I'm a 17 month vegan, 16 years old, and am starting strength training. I've always been pretty active: did dance/bball when I was little, marching band, and walk a lot. A few months ago, I got into running, and can run about 2 miles without stopping. Still working! I'm marching in drum corps this summer, and I want to begin strength training and continue cardio do get fitter and prepare for the summer!
I got a gym membership almost 2 weeks ago, and have been 5 times. I usually alternate leg day/arm day, and do the following exercises:
Leg Curls 3x10 65 lbs
Leg Press 1x10 150 lbs
wide stance squat 1x10 70 lbs
seated calf raises 1x10 parallel, supponated, and pronated
chest press 1x10 30lbs(so bad at these)
rows 1 x 10
pulldowns 1x10 55 lbs
overhead press 1x10 30lbs(bad at these too)
torso rotation 1x10 50-60 lbs
biceps curls 1 x 10 ten lbs
hammer curls 1x10 ten lbs
triceps pull down things 1x5x5 40 lbs
tricep extensions 1x5x5 15 lbs

I also run on the elliptical for 1.5-2 miles before strength training, and sometimes after also.
I'm 5'5.5", 117 lbs. I eat 1500-200 kcal a day, usually closer to 1500, but the workouts are making me hungrier..that's normal right??
I'm not looking to become a bodybuilder(might be on the wrong site lol), but AM looking to tone and gain muscle and strength!

I am looking for any suggestions pertaining to working out, when/what to eat in relation to working out, and any tips that will help me achieve success! Thanks!

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Re: Newbie to Strength Training. Suggestions??

#2 Postby VeganBadass_CO » Fri Dec 20, 2013 1:11 pm

Hi there! Good for you on both venturing into the land of vegans and for getting on with your strength training!

While the topic is pretty broad, will try to help or offer up some thoughts for you.

- Exercise rotations you describe sound like good ones to me. Suggest getting a notebook if you haven't already. Keep some record of your performance and goals as well as what you generally ate that day and how you felt. Might find different things work better for you than others.

- do warm up and stretch first.

- Stay encouraged! NO ONE was every as good at everything as they wanted to be, whether how many pushups you can do, or chest press, pullups etc. Here is where the notebook comes in. Over time you'll see your reps improve. Some people are naturally better at some exercises than others - so likely you'll be too. When you're getting started, FORM will be more important that the weight or the # of reps you can do. If you start feeling your form go away, you're done. Keeps you from getting injured too. Patience. Do your best, forget the rest.

- Remember, some days you'll be 'in the zone' and having a rocking workout, other days maybe not so much. But sticking with it, pressing through it shows perseverance.

- strength vs size: general rule of thumb is 'heavier weights lower reps for size' and 'lighter weights higher weights for strength/toning'.

- In my opinion, exercises that leverage your own body weight are very good places to start (and stick with). Press ups (vary the hand placement with wide, standard, military/elbows by your side, narrow/diamond and decline), pull ups (vary your hand placement here too, wide, standard, close in, reverse, etc.), triceps dips. Pushups and Pullups and dips should be max reps. Cycle through 2x. I have a workout sheet somewhere I can share or send you. If you have access to pullup bar, that's best because it works your whole body, but if not, you can use pulldown machine, start with weight you can do and work upwards towards your full body weight.

- A bit of yoga - definately harder than I thought with lots of shoulder/upper-body/core exercises doing movements (downward dog, upward dog, pushup, repeat, planking, etc.) as opposed to poses (warrior 1/2/3) but poses do more sculpting too and work flexibility.

- As an option to tracking your weights/reps, big trend here is to mix in what's called 'High Intensity Interval Training'. Pairing up some of your listed exercises into combos with some mixed cardio stuff. For example, using dumbbells, start with them at your sides, squat, then as you come up from squat, do 'clean' to pull weights up to your shoulders as if at start point for should press and squat again, then as you come up out of your squat execute should press, then as you bring weights back down to your shoulders squat again to absorb the weights, stand up again lowering weights down to your sides again. (combo exercise hitting legs, biceps, shoulders, core and cardio.). Idea is to hit lots of muscle groups at same time, and use right weight so you can do 3-5 sets of 10ish reps fairly quickly (should get outta breath)...

- Working out will obviously burn more energy, saw a presentation once from a dietician/trainer for UFC fighters (Mike Dolce), and one of is mantras was to eat either for A) what you just did or B) what you are going to do. I also was just looking for dietary info and read this, which makes sense to me: Need to load up a bit with energy foods before your workout, and recovery foods for after. And yeah, no matter what non-veg people will tell you, you can definitely get all your needs met from a variety of plant-based sources.

- Lastly, being a new vegan, do be conscious of how/what you're eating. It can be easy to knockout the meat/dairy/egg but still eat unhealthy without a balance and variety of veg, fruits, beans, grains (quinoa should become a new friend!) to ensure you're getting right balance of vitamins, minerals, energy....more on that later!


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Re: Newbie to Strength Training. Suggestions??

#3 Postby C.O. » Sun Dec 22, 2013 11:08 pm

Its vegan bodybuilding & fitness! You're in a great space. Lots of non-bodybuilders here. Where did you get the workout plan to run before and after weight training? Sounds a little excessive, but depends on what you are trying to accomplish I guess.
You mentioned alternating leg and arms days, so how many days per week are you working out total then? Don't forget about core and back, foundation is key.

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Re: Newbie to Strength Training. Suggestions??

#4 Postby Xmengirl » Mon Dec 23, 2013 1:13 am

Thank you both!
I decided to run before working out as a warm up, and sometimes I just throw in some at the end, but if it is more detrimental then good to run before or after, I'm up for whatever will get me best results. I'm not looking to lose a bunch of weight, but to tone a bit, and gain muscle. I work out 2-3 days, then rest a day, then go back gymin.

I've been keeping a notebook since day 1, and have been upping the reps that are too easy for me. I will add in stretching (yoga too yay?) Would yoga be good to do on my rest day, since it's low impact/intensity? I have the p90x yoga video, and it's pretty slow moving, sure aint easy though!

And I LOVE quinoa! Im making sure to get a good amt of protien too. Vega, quinoa, Gardein, PB, AB, sprouted bread, etc. I also love sweet potato/squash/greens. Pretty good diet overall, plus maybe a bit too much pb;) oh well. NEVER TOO MUCH PB. I'm already seeing progress in my arms:) Psyched!

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Re: Newbie to Strength Training. Suggestions??

#5 Postby VeganBadass_CO » Mon Dec 23, 2013 11:47 am

Yeah, the P90X Yoga is a good one. Slow moving but man does it work shoulders, core and overall stretching/balance. Good one to mix in if only even now and again when you've some time and not planning to hit the gym.

Running before working out. Sounds more like jogging/warm-up to get your heart rate up, loosen up your muscles. I don't think it's a bad thing. Getting your body 'going' would help align with firing up your metabolism too. At Krav, we warm up with jumping jacks, followed by squat kicks, then running mixed in with arm circles, sprints, punches, etc. followed by stretches then push-ups and plank (we do 1 min planks, British Krav threw down 2:20 challenge to hold the plank...tears up the core). Then get into the power stuff. Always breathing hard at the end of the warm ups.

Probably, my opinion, every other day schedule is good. Sounds like you mean you go to gym 2-3 days in a row, then a day off? Suggest mix in on the off days either some cardio (run/walking fast outside) and a session of the Yoga. Keeps my mind in the exercise 'zone'. You can do some core work at home too if you like...crunches, pushups, plank, etc.

Glad you're seeing some progress too!!

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