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New workout routine

  1. Nov 20, 2014 #1
    Hey everyone! Long time since I've been here. I miss it for sure!
    I'm not sure where to go really. I hope someone here may be able to give me some advice. I recently started working out again and I know I need to stick with it. I can't seem to get in the flow of things to enjoy it. It's now winter and not so easy to do anything outdoors. I dread knowing that I need to workout, but it'll help with my health and appearance. Guess I just need help deciding what I need to try and maybe some people to encourage me. Can anyone help?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 20, 2014 #2
    Two things you need to specify first.

    a) What are your goals? Do you just want to lose body fat? Do you want to build muscle? Do you want to do both? Or do you want to be able to perform better athletically?

    b) What is your current fitness level? How long would you guess your current mile is. How many push-ups can you do consecutively with correct form? (Try it now and see - do as many as possible till you can't do another). What is your current height/weight?

    c) Are you male or female?
  4. Nov 20, 2014 #3


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    So good to see you, mcknia :w! I hope you're doing well!

    Yeah, it's hard getting into the habit of exercise. I have fallen in and out of exercise so many times in my life! Here's my advice.

    In the first six-months-to-a-year, you can't give yourself any wiggle room. What I mean is: you're looking for a way to convince yourself to do exercise, a logical reason that will make your energy surge, an argument to use as a bargaining chip that will make it easy to do it...stop, just stop trying to find the perfect leverage. It doesn't exist.

    In this first phase, which is the hardest phase, you must do your exercise without questioning why. It's like...paying taxes. Laundry. Going to work. These things you just do, not because you want to, but because you must. You simply must.

    One tidbit of advice: do your exercise in the morning. It gets it out of the way first thing, before things happen that will derail your plan.

    There will come a day when you will wake up before your alarm goes off, and feel like you can't wait to jump into your running shoes and run for an hour. That's a marvelous feeling!

    Good to see you again, I hope you stick around!
  5. Nov 20, 2014 #4
    A. I want to lose some fat that I've gained this summer. I'm the biggest I've ever been. Some people don't believe me, but I have more meat than I feel I should.

    B. I've never been the most athletic. I can do maybe a 16 min mile. Not great I know. I can do 10 push-ups. I'm 5'6"/133 lbs.

    C. I'm female.
  6. Nov 20, 2014 #5
    Thanks lisab! It's great to be here. As long as I don't get too busy I'll be around for a while.

    I used to (when the weather was warmer) come home and walk my dog 3-5 miles every night. I loved it. I hope to be able to get to the point where exercise is a habit and it just comes to me.

    I'm not really a morning person but I think I can try to get up even earlier to get my workout done for the day. Might help me just do it to get it over with lol.

    Buying clothes has helped me in the past want to work out but not that it's cold I'm at a loss of what to do.
  7. Nov 21, 2014 #6
    I can tell you that losing weight is 80% about diet. You have to be committed to being strict about your diet, and willing to feel hungry sometimes.

    You can work out all the time, seven days a week, but if your diet isn't proper you won't lose an ounce of fat. Jogging, jump roping, swimming, bike riding etc.. are all great forms of cardio, and you should definitely include them in your weekly routines, but step one is making changes to your diet and cutting out all the foods which caused you to gain weight in the first place.
  8. Nov 21, 2014 #7
    I either ride my bike (12k) to/from work, or run/walk a certain portion of the distance. Even if your workplace doesn't have a shower, as long as you take a change of clothes with you this shouldn't be an issue, right? Benefit sports is where it's at. This way you're not just working out for the heck of it. You're actually giving exercise a purpose: It's how you get to work.

    It's also more efficient time wise, since instead of exercising in addition to travelling to/from work, you're doing both at the same time. That way you should still have time to hit the gym to lift some weights, if you're up for it.

    You might also want to change your diet. Exercise isn't going to do much if you're eating like crap all the time. Replace ice cream with frozen strawberries, etc.
  9. Nov 21, 2014 #8


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    Great to you again, mck!

    I'd recommend a combination of exercise and diet.

    For exercise, find something one enjoys. Light weight training might work, or some kind of aerobic/dance class in doors. If one can get outdoors, walking for 1/2 to 1 hour would be good, and don't worry about the miles. Do a brisk walk to get the arms and legs working and pulse rate up at a sustained level. Cycling or running is good too. One might be able to find an indoor track. It may be better (more fun) to do with a friend or friends.

    My officemate and I would go walking at lunchtime everyday to get away from the office (de-stress) and get exercise. It's certainly better in the fall and spring when it's not to cold or not too hot.

    Light weight training is good as well. The objective is to improve strength and endurance, which might not seem important now, but in 30+ years, it will be.

    Exercise helps increase metabolism. At the same time, cut down the calories, and focus on nutrition. One can find plenty of nutritious foods, which are also flavorful/delicious.
  10. Nov 21, 2014 #9
    I would love to be able to hit a gym at some point, but not much time really to do so. Plus it can't be cheap.

    My diet is fairly good. I love fruits and veggies. The only bad part of my diet is I don't get a lunch break at work, so fast snack items seem to be what I have around. I try to pick healthy items and I do pretty well at picking them, but when I get off work I tend to eat a lot.

    I've been trying to move more at work. Plus when I get off, I try to get some type of small workout in before I call it quits for the night.

    I think if I increased my water intake, that could help me lose weight. Again that's a work issue where I can't leave my station easily.
  11. Nov 21, 2014 #10


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    I understand. Finding time can be a bit of a challenge.

    I agree with lisab about the morning, but one probably would have to get up a wee bit earlier, or otherwise find time during the day or after work.

    In my previous job, I had a weight set (a couple of dumbells) in my office and I'd occasionally take a break and lift the weights. I'd also go walking at lunchtime.
  12. Nov 21, 2014 #11
    In my opinion, "light" weight training is a waste of time, especially for younger people. There's a different between training with light weights, and lightly weight training. As a girl, if you decide to lift weights, you should focus on legs and core. Barbell squats (starting with just the bar), dumbbell lunges, etc... just simple compound movements. Building leg strength is a boost to your metabolism.

    However, you seem unwilling to admit there's a problem with your diet. You claim it's "fairly good", yet you gained an unacceptable amount of weight over the course of one summer. Where do you think all that fat came from? You can start all this working out stuff, but until you accept your diet needs improvement you'll make no progress.
  13. Nov 21, 2014 #12
    I plan to get up earlier eventually lol. Easier said than done in this case. Coffee is my best friend for sure!

    Since I don't get a lunch break and don't have s set space I can call mine, I can't bring anything to work with me to train with. If I have a slow moment, which isn't often, I try to throw a yoga move in the mix.
  14. Nov 21, 2014 #13
    First off, I've gained like 5 lbs this summer. Some of which was muscle. I can see that so I know. I don't look fat and I know that, but more or less need to be more toned.

    As someone that had been a vegan (10 years) I know how to eat right. I gained more weight by doing so just because my body needed more to it. As a child I was always skin and bones.
  15. Nov 21, 2014 #14


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    Yeah - believe me, I know the feeling, especially when it is below freezing outside.

    I don't get going until the second cup of coffee.
  16. Nov 21, 2014 #15


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    So, my story:

    I once was an exercise fiend. I wrestled in high school and was in the Navy and tend to think that if you aren't dripping with sweat, it doesn't count as a "workout".

    But as you get older, life gets more complicated. I'm not convinced that metabolisms actually slow down on their own much as you age, but rather I no longer have time for a 3-hour intense workout 6 days a week like when I was a wrestler.

    Worse, I've had a string of small to moderate injuries over the past 10 years. That's been the big issue for me. My body doesn't recover from a workout the way it used to, so muscle pulls, shin splints and really bad soreness have taken quite a toll.

    Worse still, I started noticing an unusal pain in my left knee a couple of years ago. It turned out to be a torn meniscus. It's not a terrible injury in that it doesn't really affect any moving parts, it just causes pain. And you can just slice-off the torn part and live with a slightly thinner pad between your leg bones. But between conservative doctors taking months to authorize an MRI (perhaps I needed to act like it hurt more?), months to wait for surgery, and months for the newly shaped mensicus to wear-itself a new surface for smooth knee motion, I spent more than a year doing little or no exercise. Over the summer, I gradually started getting back into it, mostly with biking, since it is low impact and highly uniform (with running, one misstep can cause a major injury when you are out of shape).

    I'm 5'7 and when I was 18 I wrestled at 135 lb. Two months ago my weight peaked at 178 lb. I know that in the grand scheme of things, that's not terrible, but it isn't what I'm used to or want to be. So after a halted start in September for a bad calf pull, I've had two solid months of the best workouts I've had in many years.

    The formula that has worked for me is a little bit of running and a lot of biking, both on machines in my house. When I ran for the first time in several years in September, I could barely run a mile in 12 minutes. Now I'm running 2.5 miles in 25 minutes. Pair that with 45+ minutes of biking and I'm burning 600-700 cal/day, 4-5 days a week.

    The other part is, of course, diet. I'm not a healthy eater and I don't much care for healthy eating, instead opting for a calorie-based diet. When I wrestled in high school, I did a "soft prezel" diet, which meant simply that the only thing I ate for lunch was a soft prezel. It isn't a big change, but dropping a few hundred calories a day means you can lose weight. Today, the approach is two-pronged:

    1. I used to eat fast food for most lunches. I like getting out of the office and being by myself in the back corner of a McDonalds (Wendys, Subway...) for a half hour. I've replaced that 600 cal lunch with a 150 cal protein bar or bag of prezels.
    2. No alcohol. A few years ago I switched to diet coke, but drinking a glass of beer/wine or two a day is still another 150-300 calories. So cutting that out has a big impact.

    Now, this diet only applies during the week. On weekends, I still do what I want. But even over 5-days, it's something on the order of 2-3000 calories. As if I skipped a day of eating. Combined with 2500 calories of exercise, it is a delta of 5,000 calories a week.

    I'm down 12 lb in 2 months, though that includes a two-week period where I was sick and worked-out less, but also stopped eating (lost 6 lb in two weeks ,gained a lb back the next).

    My body feels good; no shin splints and manageable knee pain. The muscle soreness is still pretty bad, but that's a "good" pain. We'll see where I'm at in another two months, but my rough goal right now is to lose 5 lb a month for 2-4 more months.

    The main thing about working-out is to do whatever you can do to make it work for you. Everyone has differences in what they are used to or can get used to:
    That's absolutely key. No compromise. I'm a procrastinator and exercise brings the procrastination out of people. I'm constantly trying to decide if I should take today off or work out today. Oh, you worked-out yesterday so you don't absolutely have to today? Are you sore? Would you get a better workout tomorrow? Home from work 15 minutes late? IRRELEVENT!! If you aren't injured, do it. It isn't a choice. It isn't optional. You have to do it.
    That's a personal thing. If you can do that, awesome. But I'm not a morning person and the only time I've been able to work out at 5:00 am is when I had a drill instructor in my face. Also, because I work out hard, unless I'm already in great shape, a workout wrecks me for a few hours so it would interfere with my work if I tried to work out first. So I work out when I get home from work, even if it means I don't eat dinner until 9:00 pm.
    There's never been a day in my life for that in the morning -- but right now because things are going well, I'm back in the minset that I love working-out because I'm excited to see what I can do today.

    [edit] Oh, and an added incentive for me: I turn 39 in a few weeks. I'm determined to be in as good or better condition at 40 than I was at 30.
  17. Nov 21, 2014 #16


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    Wait another 20 years. ?:) Injuries take weeks or months to heal, assuming they heal.

    It's better to start a routine in one's younger years and try to maintain it, rather than wait beyond 40 or 50. If one waits, it's best to start slow with a light workouts. Stretching is another good routine, and perhaps low impact like Tai Chi.
  18. Nov 22, 2014 #17


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    So far, you've been given some advice from people with varying levels of grasp on reality. Now it's time for advice from a sane person.

    Try this:
    It's a calisthenics routine suggested for the aspiring participants of the Tough Mudder runs. Tough Mudder is for a special kind of crazy, like people dressed as teletubbies, coated in mud, running though fiery inferno (I've seen pictures!).

    But we only want the sensible part of it all, which is the routine.
    It requires little in terms of equipment, so you can skip the pilgrimages to the abode of sweaty strangers who fail miserably at pretending they can ignore each other. I've never been to the gym, but that's what a voice in my mind tells me it's like, and it's never good to ignore the voice. You know, the one that tells you to get up at 3 AM and check if you turned off lights in the fridge, or instructs you how get rid of the body in the basement.
    Anyway, gyms are for crazy people.

    Other advantages of the routine include it being a whole-body workout that includes both stength and endurance training, without that soul-crushing monotone of the regular cardio. Seriously, running or cycling without a clearly defined reason for doing so, a destination which you need to get to, for hours on end is the equivalent of self-imposed existential crisis. You'll just end up questioning the meaning of your life as you mentally do battle with the realisation that you're just running to get back to where you started, you've seen all the landscape before, and the only way to keep going at it is to affix your stare on a non-existent point in the endless void of drudgery while silencing the screaming calamity of protests your inner self is tormenting you with by endlessly singing that Rick Astley song you heard when you were little.

    Actually, I remember once doing what TheSodesa was doing - cycling to work. Every day, 10 miles each way. I bought a cheap racing bike, which made me feel like stupid when I wasn't going as fast as I could. Upped my endurance something fierce.
    But then I started noticing this other guy on a bike. He'd pass me every day around the same stretch of the road, obviously going to work as well. He'd be looking at me with a gleeful smile, a mad spark in his eye, and always singing the same tune - something that sounded somewhat like an Edith Piaf song, in the same way as MacBurger looks somewhat like the pictures in the menu.
    I realised then it was me 20 years in the future, and a sure sign that it was time to quit the job for one within more proximal distance.

    Anyway, back to the routine. It doesn't have issues with monotone, as it makes you do different things every couple minutes. It's even better than MTV, which as of late begins to strain my attention span with its overly long video clips.

    Dial it down a bit (i.e., a lot) at first. Pick three-four exercises and do two circuits. Add more as you start getting in shape. Make sure you let your muscles rest for at least a day - do something that exercises different muscles in the interim, if you feel so inclined. As you progress in pulling your body from the lazy pit of debauchery and procrastination, you'll feel the need to work out. Still, muscles must rest to grow.

    And you do want them to grow. Not because you want to look ripped like the hypothetical twin sister of the ex-governor of California, but because your narcisism demands it! Only when you look in the mirror and behold the fantastically toned stomach musculature, only when whomever gets to do night-time acrobatics with you remarks with awe how lucky they are to get a piece of this hot cake, only then your ego will feel satisfied enough to maybe put off drinking that borax coctail for later.
    Honestly, it's the only thing that keeps me going. Well, this and booze, but alcohol doesn't go well with my meds.
  19. Nov 22, 2014 #18


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    This is why God created TV.
  20. Nov 22, 2014 #19


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    What's worked for me...

    I lost forty pounds last year and have kept if off. Diet-wise my rules were:
    1. Control portion sizes.
    2. Avoid junk food.
    3. At least half of what goes into my mouth should be a real fruit or a vegetable.

    Exercise-wise I found the P90X routine worked really well. I've done both the original and the P90X3 version. I like the "3" version because it's designed to be done in 30 minutes. That make a huge difference in terms of completion, because it's a lot easier to squeeze 30 minutes into my daily schedule than an hour plus.

    Recently my wife has been doing the T25 workout, which is a very similar concept (25 minutes + cool down). I've been doing most of them with her, but in my opinion there's too much focus on cardio and not enough on weights in that one so I will sometimes lift weights instead.

    I have one of these at home in my basement:
    It's a good investment if you enjoy lifting weights, but don't have time to hit a gym.

    I also attend judo once per week. Judo is an amazing all-round workout. Although, as I'm approaching 40, it keeps getting rougher and rougher on my body. We'll see how long it lasts.
  21. Nov 23, 2014 #20


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    Is any of the 12-, 15- minute workouts, legit? I have even heard of some 7-minute ones.
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