W.O.W #6 How to Lift Weights

Welcome back to Workout Wednesday!
You know the drill, grab a button and link up for the parrrrrrty!

After yesterday’s post I had an influx of requests on how to begin incorporating weights into your fitness routine.

Here are some answers to a few commonly asked questions.

When did I start lifting weights and how heavy did I go?

From the very beginning because I started at a boot camp, we did a lot more plyometric exercises than we did running.  I began by using 5 pound dumb bells and slowly worked my way up. You know it’s time to increase your weight when you are finishing the workout and your arms/shoulders/legs aren’t shaking.  For my legs I only used my own body weight for years, only because I didn’t know any better. Adding weight to most exercise will help you get faster results, which is why you always see me squatting or lunging with a weighted bar now!

Can I do this at home?

Absolutely! Most of my workouts are done using free weights and bars; I’ve posted before on where you can purchase those items {relatively inexpensively} . I rarely use any weight machines at the gym, I feel like I get a better workout using the free weights and my own body weight.

I also did a post on workout equipment I recommend for at home, check it out here.

How often should I do each muscle group?

I work out all muscles every day, BUT I usually do a twice weekly focus on each group: arms {including shoulders!}, legs, back, chest, and core. My favorite muscle to work is my thighs/booty so you can be sure I’m squatting and lunging daily. When I focus on a group that means that I go heavier and usually do less reps. When it’s not ‘arm’ day I will still do push up’s and light weight/high rep moves because it’s important to keep your body guessing. Usually I do arms/shoulders/chest/back on the same day and legs/abs on another.

If you are just starting out I would recommend 5 and 8 pound weights and using your own body weight for lower body. You will be sore so listen to your body, but also know the best way to work out your soreness is to rework those muscles. If I could sit to pee after a workout then I didn’t do enough ☺

Should I still do cardio? Before or After?

Yes, you still need some cardio and the amount you need depends on how much weight you have to lose. Right now I’m doing about 70% weights and 30% cardio, but if you still need to lose 50 pounds then you will need more cardio to burn some calories. A year ago I was doing 80% cardio and 20% weights, when I switched those two up I really started to see results.

 Before I became a gym rat and had tons of endurance I used to break it up into doable increments.
15 minutes of cardio {usually sprints/walking}
15 minutes of arms
15 minutes of cardio {running/Stairmaster/elliptical}
15 minutes of legs

Doing your cardio before or after is a personal preference; some say you can lift better if you do cardio last, I prefer to do 15 minutes before and the rest after I’m done with weights.

yesterday I used my Seconds App to do some intervals on the bike.

My top tips to get started:

Write It Down.

Even now I make notes in my phone on what moves I want to do. Usually the day before I will google/youtube moves to find stuff I like and make up a routine of about 5-8 moves. I then use my Seconds timer to time myself doing the move for 45 seconds and resting for 15. Having a plan makes for a better/harder workout because you don’t have time to stand around and contemplate your next move.

some of the notes off my phone

Go Heavy.

Ahhh, you probably hear this all the time and think ‘well eff Megan, how freaking heavy exactly??’ Heavy means that it’s hard for you to perform around 8  reps. Say you are all ‘I really want some badass shoulders like Skinnymeg’ you go pick up a 5 pound weight for your first 45 second rep and your arms aren’t shaking at the end. Go heavier. It’s up to you to challenge yourself. I remember buying 10 pound weights for boot camp because another girl was using some, that’s just me being competitive, but hey whatever works! You want to bust out some 12’s on triceps?? Why not! Oh 100 squats with a 40 pound bar? Well, it seemed like a good idea until the next day, haha.

Form is important.  

If you don’t know how to perform a move, you tube it!

Push Ups
Bicep Curls
Triceps Dips

These are just a few, it’s important to FOCUS on which muscle you are working. If you are working your shoulders it’s important you feel that muscle when you are done. If you do then you are probably doing it right. Don’t rush, slow controlled movements are better! Good form is better than heavier weights.

If you have specific questions you can email me at skinnymeg@ymail.com or post it on my Facebook Wall.


  1. As always, awesome post! Now if only I could get your guns...

    Im glad to see women who aren't afraid to lift heavy and be strong! Such a positive example to be setting - especially for Twilight Sparkle (this cracks me up!)

  2. Great question and answer!! I love that you come up with your workout plan prior... it does save time! I am starting to focus on weights more than cardio now so I hope I see some good toning change!

  3. SkinnyMeg, you look fantastic!! You're definitely an inspiration. I'm new to this whole blogging thing and would love to link up for W.O.W. with you. Crazy question though, how do I?!

  4. The heavier the better! My trainer has me doing walking lunges with a 70lb bar. That bitch is crazy but my ass is looking good!

  5. Thank you s much for this post!! You are just so awesome and inspiring! Also thanks for the tip on the grips for lifting! My hands thank you as well! This is exactly some of the stuff I needed to know!

  6. THANK you SO SO SO much for posting this 'tutorial' on where to start AND for replying to my email that I sent :) I am now where I've been at the same weight for a year now, and I just want to be toned and ripped and the only way to do that for me is doing a higher ratio of weights to cardio. You're the BOMB DOT COM! I wish I had known you 2 summers ago when I was in Dallas, this summer I'll be in Nashville...you and Brandi should ROADTRIP :)

  7. You are so awesome! Thank you for this! I really needed it!

  8. Thanks, this was really helpful! Can you break down what you meant by how much cardio you need? You said when you first started you were doing more cardio and it wasn't until you did less that you saw results. But you also said that if you have more weight to lose you might have to do more cardio. That just confused me a little. Might only be me... sometimes my brain doesn't work. Particularly after some squats :-D

  9. Great post!
    This is why you are in charge of workouts in the AM! :)
    Love you.
    And I TOTES want shoulders like SkinnyMeg.
    And you sure did refer to yourself as SkinnyMeg.
    Crazy hoe.

  10. Thanks for posting the videos on form! My boyfriend recently told me I wasn't squatting correctly and this video helped!

  11. Have you considered trying CrossFit?


  12. This is the exact post I've been wanting!!!! :) Thanks!

  13. Well timed Q&A post!!
    Just this morning I joined a gym, with weights.BIG SCARY WEIGHTS!!
    Thanks for the inspiration :)

  14. I need to buy a bar. My legs (thighs) are my problem area. I run & got to Yoglates but I'm still not where I want to be. Thanks for the tips.

  15. This is a great post - thank you! It wasn't until I started incorporating weight lifting into my workout routine that I started noticing significant differences either and now, when someone talks to me about running to lose weight (I'm a runner, woohoo)I'm always like LIFT WEIGHTS if you want to see a difference fast! Then go for a run. :)

  16. Great information Meg!!! Thank you so so much!

  17. You need to youtube the exercise "man-maker" my trainer has been making me do those, It's like a pushup, row, and burpee, all in one. It's a love hate relationship b/w me & those babies.

    Kellan @ kellanmorris.blogspot.com

  18. Thank you SSOOO much for posting this. I feel I'm "ready" for some weights but had no idea where to begin. I have found you through ML and absolutely love you! Thank you for being real, honest, and keeping to your purpose without going all commercial. LOVE you!

  19. My first post on your blog and really it is just to say thanks for your Nice Post And Shairing
    You always pick such interesting i visit your blog regularly for updates!
    Loved your description of it.
    Thank you for picking this one.


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