Hi! I've been reading here for a couple of weeks now. I've been doing paleo for about a year now, and it's been great. I've lost about 100 lbs, and packed on 20-30 in muscle.
For my exercise regimen, I walk 5 or more miles a day (I have two dogs), weight lift 3x a week, and cycle 10-15 miles on Saturday (this incorporates my sprint).
When I started at the gym last year, I started with compound movements, but then found myself slipping into isolation exercises. (What is it about the gym that makes isolation exercises so enticing?) I decided to concentrate on the compound exercises again, so I'm doing leg press, ball squats, dips, pullups, deadlifts, and planks. It's a faster, more efficient workout than all the isolation exercises.
I leg press 270, I weigh 225. My first question is whether the leg press and the squats are functionally the same exercise? My stance is wider with the squats than it is on the leg press. Is it worth it doing both? I really like doing the leg press. I'm a 43 year old woman, and part of it, honestly, is getting statements of admiration from other women (and some men), but the other part is just that I am from good Russian stock, and I have very strong legs. The leg press feels like honest exercise. Even though I dropped a forty-five pound weight on my toe loading the press 2 months ago (and yes, I destroyed it) I don't want to give it up. I don't mind the squats, but even with extra weight, it just isn't as...fulfilling?
The other part of this question is regarding muscle failure. I was reading up on Mentzer, and have been doing three sets of 10-15 reps, with more reps the last one to muscle failure, but I'm kind of afraid to go to muscle failure on the leg press. Any advice? I certainly DON'T want to do it doing squats with a barbell on my shoulders. (I'm a tad gun shy about dropping weights).
Finally, is there a way to measure body fat percentage without calipers?