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Beauty Q & A

Learning to Take the Weight Training

April 12, 1985|MARY ROURKE | Times Staff Writer

There's more to weightlifting than achieving a perfectly sculpted silhouette. Workout programs that include weightlifting can help increase strength, stamina and muscle tone, says Andy Grossman, who has directed the men's fitness program for the Golden Door health spa and now privately trains men and women one on one in his Fitness Express, a gym on wheels.

Question: What does weight training offer that other forms of exercise do not?

Answer: Weights are a magnificent tool for toning muscles and loosening up the kinks.

Q: How do you use them in your custom-designed fitness program?

A: They are about a third of the hourlong workout that I developed. I combine weights with stretching and aerobics. I do 10 minutes of stretching first to loosen the joints and stimulate circulation. Then I do 10 minutes of aerobics using the stationary bike, rowing machine or treadmill to warm up the muscles so there is a minimum chance of injury. Then weights. Then a final stretching period.

Q: Do you encourage weightlifting for women, or is it best suited to men?

A: I think more in terms of body types than men or women. If you're under age 30 and in decent shape, the goal in strengthening any muscle is to do 10 to 15 repetitions before you add a slightly heavier weight. If you're over 40, you should be able to do more than 20 repetitions well before you add any weight to what you lift safely in the beginning. I encourage women to lift weights. But it takes some women a while. First, they have to get over the image that weights are a sweaty, gross way to build big, unwanted muscles.

Q: What's your opinion of the no-pain/no-gain approach to working out?

A: It's wrong. If you break your leg it hurts, and you haven't gained much. Soreness is something else. A certain amount of soreness comes with developing and strengthening yourself. But the soreness should be in the muscle itself, not a ligament or a joint. One thing to remember is the deeper you work a muscle, the more soreness you'll feel the next day.

Q: You worked as a weight-room instructor, supervising a number of people at once. What are the biggest mistakes you saw people make?

A: A gym is quite a competitive place. And it's a social situation. Because of that, I often saw people lifting more weight than they were ready to handle. There's nothing wrong with starting light and moving slowly. When in doubt, work with a lighter weight.

Q: Without the benefit of a personal trainer, what is the best way for a person to learn about lifting weights safely?

A: Go to the gym during quieter hours, when the trainer in the room has more time to give individual attention. Early mornings are good. Saturday mornings are often good. And use common sense to save yourself injury.

Q: How do you keep boredom out of a fitness routine?

A: Variety. If you don't feel like starting out on the bike one day, go to the rowing machine or the treadmill. If you want to do half of the aerobic part of your routine before and half after you lift weights, try that. Use the time creatively.

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