Hello, I just joined the community and wanted to say hi, introduce myself, and ask a few questions about strength training.
I'm Patrik and I'm a 17 year old looking to get back into fitness. My dad and me used to exercise everyday, a mix of cardio, calisthenics, and strength training. I've started walking again and am working my way back up, and occasionally I lift some weights. I tend to lean towards walking and running, but I'd still like to strength train at least once or twice a week. I exercise first for health and fitness, second for self confidence, and third for body image. I'm a pretty big guy, I'm only 5' 6/5' 7, but I weigh in at 238 lbs(~39% body fat). Since going vegan I've lost about 42 lbs(at 15 I weighed in at my heaviest, 280), and never want to be that big again - in fact I'd still like to lose about 75-100 lbs, depending on body fat % and muscle mass. My biggest problem is getting to the gym(and sodium intake), I usually only eat 2-2.5k calories a day. My plan is Mon, Wed, Thurs - cardio, Tues. Fri. - strength training(squats only on Friday), and rest on weekends.
I've had some trouble lately with certain exercises - mainly deadlifts and squats. With deadlifts I just can't seem to keep my back arched(shoulders in particular won't stay back) without bringing the weight to my sides instead of my waist(I'm stuck with dumbbells, which is why I'm even able to bring the weight to my sides), I guess my gut is getting in the way of a proper deadlift?. Squats go ok, I'm actually up to 2x 25 lb dumbbells(not a lot for some of you heavy lifters, but between that extra weight and my own body weight, they're a challenge), but I have to do them towards the end of the week, or I'm just too sore to get to the gym, in fact, I'm reluctant to even get up if I can avoid it. Compared to activity I do afterwards, the squats themselves are easy peasy, I can only assume it's due to bad conditioning. If anyone wants to give me any tips for dealing with that, that'd be great, or tips for deadlifts with a big gut.
I hear there are specific shoes one should use for lifting weights, that being flat shoes with no cushioning. Does anyone have any recommendations for a vegan weight lifting shoe for someone on a budget? Under $60 would be preferable but I can go a bit higher.
My final question - I've been doing single sets of exercises, and want to know, what is the point of doing multiple sets? I can only imagine the second set will be less productive due to fatigue, and you won't be able to lift more or do more reps. Isn't the dominant philosophy low rep/high intensity?
Thanks for reading.