Defining

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  1. Luckily there are lots of whole food options for protein: fish, meat, eggs, cottage cheese, greek yogurt, beans, lentils, peas, etc. Some people find that there is just a bit of fluid retention when they start weight training, could very easily just be glycogen stores. Keep with the weight training, it's fantastic to improve metabolism and bone density, especially in women. Remember to have fun!
  2. So, to me, I suppose it would depend on A. your lifting experience and B. what kind of muscles you're looking for. If you're new to lifting, you may enjoy using some alternate lifts - eg. goblet squat vs barbell, pushup vs bench press, etc. These can be easier on your joints in the long term, as well as reinforce proper form - which is especially important for beginners. Next, how important are your arms vs everything else? I see six lifts, half of which are arm/shoulder specific. Personally, I like to hit one of each of the following planes of movement for a whole body workout: vertical push & pull, horizontal push & pull, knee dominant, hip dominant. Again, if it were me, I'd probably swap out the curls, tricep extension, and DB raise for inverted rows, pull-ups (or a progression to get there eventually), and DB overhead press. These movements engage your whole body to stabilise and maintain alignment correctly, while also encouraging a healthy ROM for sensitive joints like elbows & shoulders - IMO, much better bang for your buck, time-wise. Just make sure you have sufficient thoracic flexibility to perform overhead work safely. You may want to increase your weight, lower your reps, and increase your sets. The lighter weight/higher rep vs higher weight/lower rep debate ultimately comes down to personal preference. However, beginners are still learning proper form (which is arguably one of THE most important parts of lifting for your life, because it helps avoid injury) - and high rep work often results in technical breakdown by rep 8 or 9, making rep 10 just really really ugly. Also, if you like moving weight as a number as a motivating factor, then consider this: 3x10rep @ 40lb = lifting 1,200lbs but 5x5rep @ 65lb = 1,625. The biggest downside to more sets is that it can take a bit longer - but keeping your rest periods short can be a great way to whittle down fat as it is excellent cardio work. I like using rep goals (eg. must complete 30 reps total with the same weight, so reps/set may decrease but you still have to grit it out to the end), but this can be pretty time consuming, so something easy to measure/remember like 5x5 is a great place to start - so long as you're not cheating, and doing 5x5x4x4x3 rather than 5x5x5x5x5. Finally, typically lower body muscles are stronger than upper body muscles, just by virtue of their physical size. With a 75lb press and a 40lb deadlift, I'm guessing it's one of several things - 1. you're using too much weight on the press, and the reps aren't full ROM, 2. you're not pushing hard enough on the deadlift, 3. your deadlift technique is incorrect. It's easy to do some damage if you don't maintain proper spinal alignment for deadlifts, so I'd maybe ask a buddy to help you out by watching your form & critiquing to make sure you're doing it safely. Honestly, it's not a bad routine to start with! Especially if you're enjoying it, and mostly just want to get into the habit for now. But long term, you'll want to consider how you're going to progress and develop in a balanced healthy way. Keep a record of your weight, sets & reps, and have fun! Once you're in the groove, you could even consider 3x a week, Mon, Thurs, & Saturday (yes, I know WEEKEND TIME! ). Over time, you'll be able to track what works for you, and what doesn't. Be safe, enjoy yourself, and welcome to the boards!
  3. Face pulls and seated cable rows are my favourites for mid back activation/strength - ie. rhomboids & lower traps. Careful on which muscles are pulling for your rows, done incorrectly DB rows can actually make things worse. I feel your pain, have been working on my posture for YEARS.
  4. Ignoring the math for a second, how fast are you losing weight? Is it consistently more than a pound a week? If so, add some calories. If it's less than a pound a week, you've probably found the right intake for your goals! I've found that getting enough protein (~1g/lb bodyweight/day) goes a looong way to staying full. Check those numbers, and if you're not getting that much protein, toggle around your meal plan to bump up the protein kcal. Veggies/fruit also help, what with the micronutrients, fibre, water content, and distraction of having to chew more stuff (yes, that can actually help with hunger/cravings). Try not to make yourself crazy with the numbers, and remember to have fun, experiment, and figure out what works for you!