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  #1   ^
Old Sun, Jan-27-02, 17:49
Cableguy's Avatar
Cableguy Cableguy is offline
New Member
Posts: 17
Plan: Atkins
Stats: 302/297/180
Progress: 4%
Location: Canada
Default Just my 2 cents on exercising

Hi, I wanted to start this thread because I see many of you have started exercising. I just want to drop a note on how important doing the exercise properly is. I see many people at the gym that I could just cringe when I see them at a machine or when they pick up a set of dumbells. I will break it into two groups, weight training and cardio. Some of this is adopted from Body for Life and some of it is my own years of experience talking.

Weight training - The most important for losing weight.

For the large muscle groups such as calves, quads and back, go hard and go long. Exhaust them. Start off with a heavy weight, do reps (Watch your form) until you cant anymore. Rest for a minute and move that pin to a lighter weight. Rep until your muscles are telling you no more. Rest, move pin. Repeat until you can't even think about using that muscle again. Believe me, you will see results, you will be sore for the first couple of times, but you will get results. 3 sets of ten reps for big muscles dont do squat.

For the smaller groups, biceps, abs, shoulders, pecs etc.... These groups of muscles dont get used as much as the ones above. So a Body for Life type of regime is appropiate. Do 3 or 4 sets of 10. Steadily increasing the weight. Again, please watch your form. So many people hurt themselves by doing it the wrong way. If you aren't sure, ASK. Watch exercise videos, read books, pick up a copy of musclemag. There are people who have been lifting for a long time and they are relativley weak. That is because they are 'cheating' or just doing it wrong altogether. And it isn't a race. Do it slow and methodically. If you are on a machine and do 3 sets of 10 and off the machine in 3 minuets or less, you are wasting you time!

Cardio - used to get your heart in shape, not for big weight loss.

20 min MAX on a machine. I know it doesn't sound like much but if you do it properly, 20 min should be all you can handle. I see people on a treadmill for an hour or two. But most of the time, they are hardly sweating. To achieve this leg quivering status in 20 min, you should train interval style. Basically you keep pushing harder every minute or so until you are at a place where you are almost unsure if you can go on. If you can, pick up a copy of Body for Life and read how he explains interval training. Much better than I can. Again, 20 minutes doesn't sound like much, but if you try it this way, you will never go back to the other.

Sorry for the length of the post but I really want everyone to get the results we all deserve. And I think all results start off with one thing, information. I know that if you look at my profile, some of you might think that if I know so much, how come he isn't skinny? Well lets just say I might have a big gut but I bet I can keep up with most people in the gym.
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  #2   ^
Old Sun, Jan-27-02, 19:42
Natrushka Natrushka is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 11,512
Plan: IF +LC
Stats: 287/165/165 Female 66"
Progress: 100%

Cableguy, thanks for your insights. I have to agree with you on the 20 minutes of cardio - I was skeptical at first but I am a convert. Nothing like getting the best bang for your workout buck

I've moved your post to the General Exercise forum where it will get better viewing.

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  #3   ^
Old Sun, Jan-27-02, 22:07
Erin4980's Avatar
Erin4980 Erin4980 is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 563
Plan: Atkins/ Protein Power
Stats: 173/140/140 Female 69.5
BF:2ndX w/ Atkins
Progress: 100%
Location: Memphis, TN

All those weights seem kinda hardcore. I don't want to get bulky...I just want a nice firm cute body. Would this weight philosophy work for someone that just wants to look nice, not muscular?

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  #4   ^
Old Mon, Jan-28-02, 10:19
Trainerdan's Avatar
Trainerdan Trainerdan is offline
Posts: 2,518
Plan: Zone
Stats: 255/242/230 Male 75 inches (6'3")
Progress: 52%
Location: Philly
Default ...

Good post cableguy, however training with that kind of intensity every visit to the gym will lead to overtraining and overtaxing the recovery processes of the body. Workout intensity musct be cycled, just like everything else.

I keep promising to post an article on the recovery processes of the body, including energy recovery, muscle fiber recovery, hormonal recovery, and nervous system recovery.

It will be up soon.
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  #5   ^
Old Wed, Jan-30-02, 17:14
Trainerdan's Avatar
Trainerdan Trainerdan is offline
Posts: 2,518
Plan: Zone
Stats: 255/242/230 Male 75 inches (6'3")
Progress: 52%
Location: Philly
Default ... NOT the recovery article, but still good ...

Muscle growth depends upon high muscle tension and the length of time that you apply the tension. Scientists are not completely sure how this works, but they have a few ideas.

Weight training damages the muscle fibers, which makes the muscle grow as they repair themselves. Stressed muscles grow important structures called satelite cells that cause the genetic material in the cells to make new muscle tissue.

Not all muscle fibers are alike--some are slow, and some are fast. Your nervous system chooses which fibers to contract according to the load on the muscle and the speed it contracts.

When your body lifts a light load, it chooses small, slow twitch fibers. It calls on the larger fast twitch fibers when called to lift a heavy weight or move quickly. If you want the greatest amount of muscle growth, you will want to build both fast and slow twitch muscle fibers. If you choose to train one way exclusively, you will only train one type of muscle fiber and your muscles will only be a fraction of their potential size.

What's the best way to stress both the fast and slow fibers? The key to muscle growth is tension, and the time tension is applied (often reffered to as time under tension). So, use a reasonably heavy weight for multiple sets. Most research suggests that you should NOT push these sets to failure.

The quality over quantity method that has been explained above works because it trains all the muscle fibers and does not compromise your body's recovery abilities.

Choosing the best combination of sets, reps, load (weight) and intensity is a balancing act at best for any weight-trained athlete.

Low reps/high weight are great for loading the nervous system and causing strength and power gains, but are not as effective at causing muscle growth.

Doing high reps/low weight doesn't overload the large fast twitch muscle fibers enough to promote muscle growth.

So, you have to compromise. Most studies show that the best solution to maximize muscle growth is 3 or more sets of 8 to 10 reps, using a moderate weight that allows you complete all reps in good form using a 2-1-2-1 tempo (2 seconds on the negative portion of the lift, 1 second pause, 2 second postive portion, 1 second pause). Lifting faster than that will allow momentum to come into play, unless you are training for explosive power, which is another article altogether.

Rest and recovery are a major factor if you are looking to build large muscles. Muscles grow after a workout, while you are recovering/resting. The process involves moving amino acids into the cells, whcih your muscles use to make new muscle protein.

Hormones such as testosterone, growth hormone, IGF-1, insulin, and cortisol regulate muscle building. Pushing to failure too often interferes with the growth process -- it slows the movement of amino acids into the cells, depresses tissue building anabolic hormones (testosterone, etc.) and boosts catabolic (tissue-breaking) hormones like cortisol. No good.

A better approach is to use cycle training, also known as periodization. This involves changing your volume and intensity of your workouts from one session to the next. This allows you to recover from hard workouts, which is essential for muscle growth.

Even more important is planned rest days during your training cycle. These days allow you to prepare for your intense training days, which will build larger muscles. You can't train hard if you are still tired from your last workout, right?

A way to put all of this together is to schedule hard, intense days ("red days") once in a while ... choose one bodypart to hit as a "red" once every other week Go hard, hit failure on your lifts. Each time, rotate to a new bodypart.

Before each red day, schedule a rest day. After each "red" day should be a low intensity "green day", during which you use a much lighter weight than usual, but really focus on form, tempo, and range of motion.

The rest of your workouts are "yellow days", which are moderate intensity using weights you can handle for 8 to 10 reps and feels like work, but not hitting failure.


The problem with doing sets to failure is that if you TRULY hit failure, you won't be able to do too many sets. After the first set, your fibers won't be able to handle the same load again.

For example, let's say you plan to do three sets of bench presses with 205 lbs. You barely complete 10 reps and are laying there in exhaustion. I can guarantee that you will not be able to mimic that effort on the next set ... your muscles will not be aboe to recover that fast. So, the muscles don't reach the high tension of the first set, and in turn will not grow as much. Remember: time under tension.

Also, failure training, when done too often, leads to overtraining, poor technique and overuse injury.

Overtaining is an imbalance between the stress of exercise and recovery. Training to failure makes it very hard to recover adequately. So, you will go into the next workout a little tired amd unable to match the workload of the previous workout.

Overtraining also reduces your testosterone levels and increases your cortisol levels. Studies from UCLA show that muscle growth depends on high levels of testosterone (in men and women). Your muscles won't grow as much when your testosterone tanks are running on empty.

Also, when your body is stressed it pumps out catabolic hormones. These hormones interfere with muscle growth and make training gains nearly impossible. It only takes a few weeks of failur training to send your "test" levels plummeting and yor cortisol levels through the roof.

Failure training also leads to sore joints and tendons. I myself was a huge advocate of failure training for years, and now I have lingering tendinitis in both elbows, and recurring paint in my right shoulder and left wrist. Whenever I step up my training to the point where I am pushing myself to the limits (the occasional falure day), I often get reminded when I am doing too much by one of these little injuries that will come back to the surface.

These tissues heal VERY slowly, and cause alot of pain. Prevention is best, and I am here to tell you that no matter how it looks to the boys in the gym and no matter what it does for your ego, benching another 25 pounds is not worth enduring the pain of elbow tendinitis.


Training to failure CAN be a valuable training method if not overdone.

The human body has a remarkable ability to adapt to stress. When you do exercises such as push-ups, bench pressing, or running, you activate your body's stress management system that causes you to adapt. Your body adapts to exercise stress by improving its fitness--increasing strength, muscle size, endurance, flexibility, etc.

Unfortunately, it will only adapt so much -- the rapid gains that you make at the start of your program come slowly as the months go on. Your body won't respond to the same stress after awhile, so you need to change things. This includes intensity.


Brooks GA, Fahey TD, White T, Baldwin K. Exercise Physiology: Human Bioenergetics and its applications . New York, McGraw Hill. 2000

Fry AC, Kraemer WJ, Femke J, et al. Performance decrements with high-intensity training leads to exercise overtraining. Med Sci Sports Exerc . 26: 1165-1173, 1994.

Kramer JB, Stone MH, O'Bryant HS, Nieman DC, et al. Effect of single sets versus multiple sets of weight training: Impact of volume, intensity, and variation. J Strength Cond. Res. 11: 142-147. 1997.

Goldspink G. Cellular and mllecular aspects of adaptation in skeletal muscle. In PV Komi (Ed.) Strength and Power in Sport . Oxford: Blackwell Scientific Publications, 1992, p. 211-229.

Gonyea WJ, Sale DG. Physiology of weight lifting exercise. Arch Phys Med Rehab , 63: 235-237, 1982.

Hakkinen K, Komi P, Alen M, Kauhnen H. EMG, muscle fibre and force production characteristics during a 1 year training period in elite weight lifters. Eur Journ Apply Physiol , 56: 419-427, 1987.

Jones DA, Rutherford OM, Parker DF. Physiological changes in skeletal muscle as a result of strength training. Q J Exper Physiol . 74: 233-256. 1989.

McDonagh MJN, Davies CTM. Adaptive response to mammalian skeletal muscle to exercise with high loads. Eur J Appl Physiol . 52: 139-155, 1984.

Moritani T, DeVries HA. Neural factors versus hypertrophy in the time course of muscle strength gain. Am J Phys Med . 58: 115-131, 1979.

Sale DG. Neural adaptation to strength training. In PV Komi (Ed.), Strength and Power in Sport , Oxford: Blackwell Scientifc Publications, 1992. p. 249-265.

Starkey DB, Welsch MA, Pollock ML, et al. Equivalent improvement in strength following high-intensity, low and high volume training. Med Sci Sport Exerc 26 (meeting abstract): S116, 1994.
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