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  1. #1
    nixxy's Avatar
    nixxy is offline Senior Member
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    Knowing how much you're lifting

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    Hello.

    I am reasonably new to lifting heavy things (well, new in the sense that I actually sort of know what I am doing now and follow advice instead of randomly lifting weights).

    What I am having trouble with, when trying to keep track of what I'm doing so I can see what works, is actually knowing how much I am lifting.

    On machines, if there is no unit of measurement, is there any way of knowing what it is, short of actually weighing the weights?

    Also, when doing things such as weighted squats, lunges etc., how much does my current body mass factor into that? E.g. at 230lbs I am doing squats with about 10lb in each hand (so 20lb total).... is that the same as when I am 180lb doing squats with 20lb total? Or would that be considered a decrease in strength?

    And thirdly, you cannot compare weight lifted on different kinds of inclines, correct? E.g. the weight I can do on a seated leg press is not the same as what I would do on a vertical leg press? It also has to do with how the machines are set-up as well, like the cables going around pulleys a certain amount of times etc. - meaning you cannot compare weight lifted between 2 different machines with different set-ups? (Physics always was my worst subject).

    Didn't really know where else to ask these questions and when I google them I'm not getting much clarification. Any input would be great!

    Also a slightly off-topic question, while my main goal is to lose fat, should I be expecting strength gains, or more like strength maintenance, or strength loss? I still have about 80lb of fat to lose.
    Current weight lost: 82.9lb (37.6kg)

    Current PRs:
    Bench: 45kg/99lb
    Squat: 100kg/220lb
    Deadlift: 120kg/265lb

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  2. #2
    BennettC's Avatar
    BennettC is offline Senior Member
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    consider using a barbell? I just started stronglifts 5x5 and it uses full body workouts with progressive loading, adding a set amount of weight to the bar each workout and exercise. You start with just the bar. This allows you to track progress and full body workouts are the best for fat burning. I realize this is a heavy lifting program and can be kind of intimidating. But the idea of progressive loading is good because you don't start too heavy and you don't get burned out. If you are trying to lose 80lbs its going to take time anyways. Just try not to do too many exercises as things can get complicated and focus on say 3-5 exercises that are full body. I don't like machines because they isolate, aren't natural movements, and don't force you to balance the weight. Good luck to you and hope this helps.
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  3. #3
    mike_h's Avatar
    mike_h is offline Senior Member
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    Body weight isn't normally incorporated into the measurements of the weights you lift.
    It's true squatting with 20lb of dumbells will be easier if your upper body becomes lighter over time, but I wouldn't bother trying to account for that. It's more about how you're able to affect objects and things in the world outside your body.

    I'd also recommend free weights (dumbells, barbells, kettlebells) over machines. Your balance and smaller supporting muscles will improve, muscle imbalances are less likely and it'll take care of the metrics issue too.

    You are correct that you cannot compare weights across machines/excercises. When the biomechanics change the weights are not comparable.

    Also a slightly off-topic question, while my main goal is to lose fat, should I be expecting strength gains, or more like strength maintenance, or strength loss? I still have about 80lb of fat to lose.
    As you're relatively untrained you should be able to increase strength as you lose weight.

  4. #4
    jfreaksho's Avatar
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    My suggestion (that I am unabashedly stealing from Dan John) is to figure out what you want from your workouts, and do the same exercises every workout, or the same two workouts on a rotation. It makes it much easier to track, to know what you are doing on a given day, and to see progress.

  5. #5
    nixxy's Avatar
    nixxy is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike_h View Post
    Body weight isn't normally incorporated into the measurements of the weights you lift.
    It's true squatting with 20lb of dumbells will be easier if your upper body becomes lighter over time, but I wouldn't bother trying to account for that. It's more about how you're able to affect objects and things in the world outside your body.

    I'd also recommend free weights (dumbells, barbells, kettlebells) over machines. Your balance and smaller supporting muscles will improve, muscle imbalances are less likely and it'll take care of the metrics issue too.

    You are correct that you cannot compare weights across machines/excercises. When the biomechanics change the weights are not comparable.


    As you're relatively untrained you should be able to increase strength as you lose weight.


    Thank you for those answers.

    And yes, I am aware that free weights are better than machines but as I am a member of the cheapest gym in my entire country (student life) I just have to make do for now, but I use the dumbbells as much as I can.
    Current weight lost: 82.9lb (37.6kg)

    Current PRs:
    Bench: 45kg/99lb
    Squat: 100kg/220lb
    Deadlift: 120kg/265lb

    My blog
    My journal

  6. #6
    tfarny's Avatar
    tfarny is offline Senior Member
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    Just do the same thing every time, preferably free weights but if not, the same machines, or two workouts and alternate them, and increase either the weight amounts or the number of reps week by week. You should be able to do that for a while while losing fat, especially if you're young. When you can no longer simultaneously do both, you'll know it. Basically, just make a plan and stick with it. Take notes on how it works and reevaluate after a couple months. Does your gym have no barbells at all? If it has a decent set of dumbbells you could still run a dumbbell version of starting strength for a while. Don't succumb to overanalysis though. If you work hard you'll get stronger, if you just calculate stuff you won't.
    If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-blueprint-101/ and this (personal fave): http://www.archevore.com/get-started/

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