My family has struggled with their weight throughout adulthood. We've all been supportive of each other's efforts. A few weeks ago I agreed to get up at 0400 to attend a 0500 strength and conditioning class with my younger sister at her local YMCA. They used body weight, dumbbells and these weighted bar-thingees. So with warm up and cool down it lasted an hour. My take aways:
1. 0500 is way too early to be asking this body to squat to any depth without significant and proper warm up. This may be why they only had us doing quarter squats. Or is it...?
2. We did a bunch of quarter squats and what I can only describe as single leg quarter lunges ("Pulse" I believe was the term she used) and of course your going to feel the burn. You just pumped your quad full of lactic acid.
3. "Choose a weight that feels challenging to you.": this statement seems to produce one of two results. Someone choosing waaaaay too heavy of a weight or someone is going waaaaaay to light. The former will have you doing fewer reps and potentially injurying yourself. The latter is a waste of you time. Neither choice achieves the desired stimulus: lose-lose.
4. I do better/am used to things that are explained in sets and reps, especially that early in the morning and when movements are kept to 3 - 5 :) which is probably another good reason for me to branch out and try something different!
My sister scoffed because she said I didn't even break a sweat (not true). I gave it my best shot, enjoyed the music and learned some things.
My sister is pretty smart. She knows she needs to exercise and is showing up and doing the work. That in itself is awesome. But, she's also noticing that these classes aren't cutting it as her weight/size hasn't made a changes in relation to the perceived effort.
You know how they have those info-graphics on how far you'd have to run to burn off a snack sized Snickers bar - like, miles. Or how many burpees to burn off a small serving of fires - a bunch.
Same goes for this "strength and conditioning class".
Is it bad to go to this class? No. It's community, it's social and that goes a long way. But, my sister would need to REALLY dial in her diet in order to meet any body composition goals and then build the confidence to actually go for that "challenging weight".
For someone who has never exercised before this class would be great and no doubt my sister had some initial positive results but, like anyone new to lifting, the stimulus needs to remain in order to see results.
As we walked out of class we stopped and watched a bootcamp class and I told her THAT is what she needed to be doing now. She has a bum ankle and was put off by the running. Knowing better than to push and ask if the instructor could scale the workout (hello there'a a million rowers and bikes in that building) I didn't push but hopefully planted a seed. On the way home she talked about how she is planning on clearing out space in the garage for working out, lifting and such.
I'm all for that.
As for the other 23 hours of her day. Diet. Diet, diet, diet. It's tricky and hard no matter who you are and that, thankfully, I've watched evolve for her too. It's happening though. She's pretty methodical and once a change has been made, she's all in.
Get started, keep moving. All or just parts of this change takes time. Make sure you're using your optimally. Ask for help. As for input and feedback because if you could do it all alone you wouldn't be here right now.