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Weightlifting & Exercise/extreme's diminishing returns?


I started going back to the gym after a couple years of living a sedentary life.  Iím 37@30%+ body fat and weigh 223lbs.  8 years ago (@240lbs) & 17 years ago (@280lbs) Iíve transformed my body by doing 2 hours of cardio every other day with an hour of weights and years later I did only full body dumbbell circuit training respectively losing 50 lbs in 2 months and 90lbs in 4 via the methods described.  I learned that with diet and weights I didnít have to do so much cardio and also get the benefit of adding some strength and muscle but back in those days and even today people urge the obese to do LOTS of cardio.

Now Iím doing the same compound lift, full body workout 3-5 sets x10-15 reps 3 days a week and the other 3 days a 15min core workout with 2 10min hiit cardio sessions spaced.  Here are some ideas I got to get to results sooner than later and would like your HYPOTHETIC/THEORETIC/GENERAL opinion:

1.   More volume: every 2 weeks switch up my full body workout for doing an am upper and a pm lower body workout or trash the 3 cardio/core days for either an upper body or lower body day, with maybe a 30min cardio session on Sunday?
2.   More hiit: on my cardio day, every 2 hours do a 10min hiit beach running session, in a whole day I should be able to run 4 to 6 times a day. I understand people have problems with cardio because it hampers gains but I also read it helps with getting stronger if itís short and intense. Running on soft sand is nothing like cardio on a machine, itís the only thing that really kicks my butt.

Hi Mike,
The design, plan and execution of your workout is amazing! I always like to mix it up, and it can be hard because there are lots of variables -- many possibilities. You have done an amazing job.

The only word of direction I would add is to be sure you allow time for your body to recover between workouts. That easy Sunday workout is a great idea. Eat well, drink water! Otherwise I have to say you are a very well informed individual.

There isn't anything else to add.

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Karen Fili Sullivan


Get on the inside track with Karen and her daily advice. Or on FacebookLIKE us at ZWL - Zen of Whole Living I have more than 30 years experience and can help with lifting technique, muscle recovery, weight loss, body building and powerlifting. I've been certified by AFPA as a Personal Trainer and 12 years ago acquired a second certification from the same agency as a Post Rehabilitative Exercise Specialist. Any recommendations or advice rendered are based on fitness information as specified by the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Fitness Professionals and Associates. Follow my Blog on


Almost 25 years coaching and training. Wow! I feel old. Before that I was a competitive bodybuilder and powerlifter (ask my Chiropractor -- he can tell you). I have trained kids ages 12 to 89. From sports specific training to stroke rehabilitation. I love helping people move more gracefully, powerfully and safely.

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Published in Spring of 2013 The Zen of Weight Loss: A Mindful, Livable Approach to Fitness Get your copy at Square Market.

English with a Journalism concentration was my college education. My training has been with my mentor, Jack Michaels, ACSM and professor at the College of William and Mary. My certifications are with the American Fitness Professionals and Associates. AFPA. I hold a certification as a Personal Trainer and a Post Rehabilitation Exercise Expert (Isn't that a mouthful?l). My continuing education requirements have been fulfilled at a number of organizations and are monitored by AFPA. I keep my Red Cross CPR and First Aid current.

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Clients include athletes training for marathons, mountain climbing and general weight loss. In addition I have clients troubled with COPD, Fibromyalgia, and Parkinsons as well as stroke rehab. She was the Strength and Conditioning coach for Williamsburg Aquatic Club, a USA Swim Team, in Williamsburg, Virginia for 3 years.†† Karen is presently working at Main Street Gym in Historic St. Charles, Missouri where she teaches Pilates and continues her work with clients. Her training reaches across the country with her long distance Body Restoration eTraining. Her dedication to fitness reaches into the nutritional supplementation with Shaklee products. She only works with clients who add nutritional supplementation to their training. Read more of her story on

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