Getting in shape

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by ghall, Jun 30, 2012.

  1. ghall macrumors 68040

    ghall

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    Jun 27, 2006
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    Rhode Island
    #1
    So I want to start working on getting in shape. I do spend a lot of time in front of a computer, though I try to take breaks every half hour or so. I also walk 3-4 miles almost every day in addition to the walking I normally do just to get around normally.

    I do want to do more though. My doctor reccomends that while I'm doing a good job with walking and eating healthy, and my weight is about average (despite being a little chunky around the waist), I should be doing more exercise.

    What's a good way to start off? What's a good schedule to follow? I realize it all depends on the person, but what are your reccomendations for a healthy 22 year old? I don't want to push myself too much because I obviously don't want to hurt myself, but I also don't want to do so little that I don't get any benefits.
     
  2. sviato macrumors 68020

    sviato

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    #2
    You're probably better off going to bodybuilding.com forums, let them know what you want and someone can def help you out.

    Walking is okay but it's not exactly a big calorie burner or muscle builder, and your body and eating habits have likely already adjusted to how much walking you do.

    If you want to do something casual and not looking to get ripped or jacked I'd recommend biking. I started biking with a friend about a month and a half ago and we'd do around 20km per session, and now usually do 30-50km per session and go a few times a week. It's great for burning calories and your legs and core get very strong. And if you're with a friend time just flies :)

    If you can;t set aside enough hours for biking I'd recommend doing 20 minutes of cardio in the morning and 20 in the evening (running would be the easiest and not require any equipment, other than maybe good shoes :p) and eliminate as much saturated fats and sugars from your diet and that waist should shrink
     
  3. ghall thread starter macrumors 68040

    ghall

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    Jun 27, 2006
    Location:
    Rhode Island
    #3
    Yeah, no equipment is good. I dont have the money to buy any and I am too self-conscious to hit the gym (nothing to do with body image, I just don't like when people can see me working out). I've used both as an excuse for way too long.

    Biking is not an option for me unfortunately because I have severe balance issues (I had severe inner ear problems as a child, so it might be a result of that), but I do like the idea of finding a friend to do something with. Perhaps I can find a friend to jog or run with, that might make the experience less mentally excruciating. :p

    I did try doing a quick jog, and some other basic exercises I found online. I didnt do too much, I just wanted to get the feel for it.

    Now the real challenge I face is establishing a routine. I'm very bad at time management, which is 90% of why I haven't really worked out much. But I guess that's up to me to find what works, since everyone is different.
     
  4. puma1552 macrumors 601

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  5. Iscariot macrumors 68030

    Iscariot

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    Aug 16, 2007
    Location:
    Toronteazy
    #5
    So stop using it as an excuse. Get a membership to the YMCA and start going. I'd recommend starting a simple program that's not overly time consuming like Strong Lifts or Starting Strength, and once you're comfortable with a 2 or 3 times a week program, you can add a sport or activity you enjoy like swimming to the mix.

    As far as people looking at you in the gym, I work in a gym, and yeah, I'm looking at you. And if you bench 200 pounds wrong, I'm going to judge that you're an idiot. If you squat an empty bar right, I'm going to judge that you're on the right track. I'd rather have the latter in my gym than the former. Everybody else is going to be too busy looking at themselves in the mirror, or with their eyeballs glued to the TVs or the hottest girl in the room.
     
  6. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

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    Oct 21, 2008
    #6
    I recently started doing the Couch to 5K running program. It's intended to ease you into running 5K over 9 weeks. I'm only on week 2, but so far it's been good - I actually look forward to my runs!

    Since you're already walking daily, it'd be pretty easy to transition into running. There are apps you can download, but I've been using the NHS podcasts on my shuffle. Works great.
     
  7. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    Dec 10, 2008
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    Finland
    #7
    Get a pull-up bar and a (used) set of dumbbells. That's all you will ever need to get in shape. You don't need a gym membership as you can easily workout at home whenever you want. If you're really tight on money, skip the dumbbells for now because with a pull-up bar you can do almost everything you need besides pushups.

    I would also start running or doing some other higher intensity cardio. Walking is okay if you're overweight but if your weight is normal, then your knees etc. should be fine with running as well.
     
  8. ghall thread starter macrumors 68040

    ghall

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    Jun 27, 2006
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    Rhode Island
    #8
    That's why I'm trying to find ways to work out so that I can't use those as excuses.

    I'll definitly check out the couch to 5k, seems like its exactly what I'm looking for. Don't think I'll be running any marathons, but at least it will help get me in shape.

    Just to be clear guys, I'm not looking to get "buff" or whatever. :p I just want to be healthier, physically and mentally.
     
  9. TSE macrumors 68030

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    Jun 25, 2007
    Location:
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    #9
    Mixing in lifting weights with cardio is is beneficial. People think lifting weights = getting bigger, so if they want to lose weight, they don't lift weights. That is completely false. Lifting weights along with cardio has huge benefits for losing weight. After about 4-5 weeks of having to drag your ass off the couch and into the weight room/running track, your body will get used to it and you won't be able to function properly WITHOUT decent exercise. Good luck.

    Go to a more dedicated forum for better/more specific information.
     
  10. Iscariot macrumors 68030

    Iscariot

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    Aug 16, 2007
    Location:
    Toronteazy
    #10
    Lifting weights and going to the gym won't get you buff by any stretch of the imagination; if it did I'd look like Daniel Craig.

    The human body evolved to move in six fundamental ways: squat, hip hinge, lunge, twist, push and pull. It evolved to be capable of a few fundamental skills*: walk, sprint, jump, crawl, climb, swim, lift, throw and carry. Couch to 5k is a cool program if you want to get into running, but running isn't going to make you healthier by itself.

    The best way to get healthier isn't to choose the thing that you think is going to be easiest, it's picking the thing that looks most like what your body evolved to do. Don't think of it as working out or even exercising, think of it more as performing basic maintenance or a tune up. I'm not suggesting you have to lift a ton of weight, but that putting your body through it's full range of motion and utilizing some reasonable resistance is going to give you the healthiest body with the least amount of investment.

    My client who looks the best for his age is a nerdy 55 year old architect. He's got a desk job, works long hours, doesn't play any sports, but he comes to the gym twice a week and does weight training. He doesn't lift any super heavy weights, he doesn't pound his joints for an hour on the treadmill, but he has full, healthy range of motion and strength in every joint, and he fits into the same clothes he did when he was 25. And all from only 2 hours a week.

    _____________
    *I chose not to include combative skills
     
  11. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    Dec 27, 2002
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    Location Location Location
    #11
    Use "resistance cords" (or bands) as weights. They're made of rubber, and the stretch acts as the resistance. You can't buy extremely difficult/heavy/resistant rubber resistance cords, but you can vary the resistance of a cord by controlling how much slack there is with the cord. You can control this by varying the length of cord that you're stepping on. Don't worry if you don't understand what I described. It's easy to figure out once you have purchased one. ;)

    I have a pair that I purchased for $30, but in the US, they're much cheaper.

    If you buy the most resistant cord (i.e. the resistance cord with the highest difficulty), I think you can create a maximum of approximately 30-35 lbs, which is good for working out your biceps and triceps. However, the actual resistance will vary from around 10-35 lbs. Again, this depends on the amount of slack in the cord.
     
  12. Dr McKay macrumors 68040

    Dr McKay

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    Kirkland
    #12
    As you admit you are "Chunky" around the waist, I'd recommend doing situps and crunches, I know it'll sound crazy but aim for 100 a day, do 10 at intervals throughout the day. This can get a little difficult at work of course ;). This is a way to gently "ease" your way into fitness. Especially around the waist area. This isn't a full routine, however it does gradually build up strength and isn't too demanding on the body. Combine this effort with others.
     
  13. malman89 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    Location:
    Michigan
    #13
    Also if just solely focusing on losing weight - probably due to being more active and eating less or better - not only will one lose fat, but also muscle if they're not doing at least basic weights/resistance training. So you'll lose weight, but be in worse shape. Not exactly ideal.
     
  14. ghall thread starter macrumors 68040

    ghall

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2006
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    Rhode Island
    #14
    I was reading that sit ups and crunches are bad for your back. How much truth is there to that?

    So I'm trying to get my girlfriend in on this too, so we can get in shape together but she seems kinda resistant to it. Oh well, I can't force her.
     
  15. Dr McKay macrumors 68040

    Dr McKay

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    #15
    They can be bad if you are doing them on a hard surface.
     
  16. Jay42 macrumors 65816

    Jay42

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    Jul 14, 2005
    #16
    You can't "spot" remove fat, or burn fat around the waist with abdominal exercises. The fact that you have fat around your midsection should not be the motivation to do ab exercises - it should be to strengthen core muscles. Similarly, you will not see any muscle definition if you have a layer of fat there. If you are looking for abdominal definition, many people are best suited focusing on fat loss in general rather than crunches.

    Although you mention you eat "healthy," consider a dietary regimen designed to promote fat loss, such as a low carb diet. I recommend reading up on the Slow Carb Diet (SCD) or the Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD), the latter being the more extreme and limited of the two. Major dietary changes will have a much greater effect on your fat loss and physique compared with the effect of adding a typical exercise routine. This, however, does not mitigate the importance of exercise, as you should definitely be doing both.

    I agree that some cardio and weight lifting would be beneficial. Cardio because your heart rate does not go into aerobic or anaerobic levels just by walking. This is essential for long-term heart health, never mind fat loss. Also, weight training will increase your lean muscle mass, thereby increasing your metabolism, meaning you will burn more calories constantly (even while you sleep). Look to Occam's Protocol for adding lean muscle mass. Only about 20 minutes of gym time about 2 x per week.

    EDIT: Don't try and force your significant other into it - lead by example!
     
  17. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    #17
    If you're looking for a good forum for fitness advice, I rather like www.johnstonefitness.com. It's got a bit of a focus on strength training over cardio, but the members are friendly and helpful. I'm not a member, but I've lurked off and on there for years.

    I'd modify that slightly and say running isn't going to make you healthy by itself. If you're going from doing little/no physical activity to running, it will improve your overall health. But I absolutely agree that to actually get healthy you need to think about cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and diet. Changes to any one will make you better off, but to actually get healthy you need to be cognizant of all three.

    I've been putting off strength training, mostly because I can't really afford to invest in a proper set of weights at the moment. I'm probably going to pick up a set of resistance bands in the meantime, though. Better than nothing, at least. And it'll give me something to do on my boring rest days from running! :)
     
  18. swingerofbirch macrumors 68030

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    The Amalgamated States of Central North America
    #18
    Now, let it be said that I'm not an expert. However, I have heard that wandering can be very good exercise because it's what our bodies evolved to be good at. Just wandering at a slow pace (because in the old days people would wander very long distances at a slow pace) combined with occasional explosive blasts as if you are being chased.

    But I'm not sure why your doctor wants more from you. If you're at a good weight and walk 3-4 miles, you're doing better than most people.
     
  19. Iscariot macrumors 68030

    Iscariot

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    Aug 16, 2007
    Location:
    Toronteazy
    #19
    The lumbar spine is a magnificent piece of evolutionary engineering that can maintain it's structural integrity under intense loads even when flexed; however end-range flexion can catastrophically damage it even when loaded with only the weight of an individual's torso. As much as spine specialists like Dr. Stuart McGill poo-poo on crunches for spinal integrity and health, I think a more important point is that abs didn't evolve to do sit ups, they evolved to twist and support. If the goal is health, then that's what you want to train your abs to do.
    I stand by my statement. I don't have anything in particular against running, I often run upwards of 15k a week, and I do at least one race per year. But it's not an exercise, it's an activity or a sport, and you shouldn't get in shape by doing an activity, you should get in shape to do an activity. This is born out by the absurd injury rate in running. Given that 1/2 to 3/4 of running injuries are overuse injuries that could be easily prevented, I think that approaching it as a component of — but not a pathway to — health is a much more pragmatic mindset.
     
  20. Dr McKay macrumors 68040

    Dr McKay

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    Kirkland
    #20
    I know it won't get rid of the fat around that area, merely that if he's managed to get soft around that area, chances are his muscles around there will be weakened from lack of exertion. Strengthening this area will help down the line with other exercises.

    I would have suggested lifting weights as this helps strengthen several parts of the body, particularly if you are lifting from the chest to over the head, but he said he'd like things that don't involve equipment.
     
  21. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

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    totally cool
    #21
    If you want to be healthier eat less processed foods. I've cut out soda and fast food entirely. We have a Whole Foods Market around the corner from us and they have a very nice hot bar. Keeping the portions reasonable I eat veggies and a protein and try to stay away from the starches. Mashed sweet potatoes are actually really good and are very good for you.

    For exercise I do an alternating run/walk on the treadmill for an hour which ends up being about 7k - five or six times a week. Plus an additional training program on MWF that includes very little weights, but core work and resistance training.

    The secret is consistency. Make it a part of your daily routine and after a while it will become second nature.
     
  22. niuniu macrumors 68020

    niuniu

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    A man of the people. The right sort of people.
    #22
    Worst forums on the internet. Total shillfest. You'll end up getting talked into buying a lot of pixie dust. The big guys think 'fit' means 230lbs 12% bodyfat and stacking a ton of useless overpriced supplements.

    Avoid like the plague. Was only good back in the early days, around 2002 to 2004 when it had grown into a really decent community. Since then it went rapidly downhill. Most of the users don't workout, just hang out to troll.



    My personal favs for gettin in shape (based purely on my personal enjoyment and perceived benefit over the years).

    Medium distance running with good music! (half marathon is what I consider medium distance)
    Rock climbing
    Boxing
    Pullups & push ups


    Weights
    Power Clean & Press
    Deadlifts
    Squats
    The Crossfit Bear is probably the toughest thing I've done
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Laa7BJHJWrw


    There's no one way to get in shape - just do what you like and watch you're not injuring yourself. If you get bored doing something, move onto something else. You don't need to enlist expert advice - you can become an expert yourself, even the most braindead guy can learn the muscle groups, exercise form and make up a workout plan and check progress.
     
  23. senseless macrumors 68000

    senseless

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    Apr 23, 2008
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    Pennsylvania, USA
    #23
    Second on the community "Y". Trust me, there are people there that will make you feel much better about your body image. ;)
     
  24. Tsuchiya macrumors 68020

    Tsuchiya

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    Jun 7, 2008
    #24
    I realise that they are a tad cringeworthy etc, but I've been doing "P90x" and "Insanity" from Beachbody and doing quite well.

    Both home workouts, the only equipment is for P90x and can be sourced from eBay relatively cheaply (pull-up bar, resistance bands or weights and a yoga mat).

    I'm incredibly out of shape so find them challenging. I found a guide online to combine the two which I've been trying to stick to. Each workout lasts about an hour so not too difficult to fit them in somewhere.

    Only downsides are the initial cost of the programmes (though apparently they can be found online quite easily) and that they are quite intense.
     
  25. darkplanets macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2009
    #25
    Don't make excuses. Just do it.

    If you're the type that procrastinates or puts it off, make a regimented schedule so you have no choice but to do it.

    I wouldn't go to a bodybuilding forum, at least initially. Their advice would not be well suited to you, at least from what I can tell, and they would typically suggest things I would not recommend (test, etc).

    With that in mind, you have a few great options:

    As others have said, p90x and insanity are great programs. They take about an hour each day, every day. It's the perfect regimented program for you. It will be challenging at first, but you WILL rise to fill out the program. This program will shed the pounds and then some -- the only drawback about this approach is that you will get ridiculously toned but certainly not buff. Don't get me wrong, you will gain muscle, but not bulk mass.

    The other option, which would be a natural evolution from P90x, is to go to the gym regularly. I read that you have issues working out in public -- don't. You're probably better than many of the people there, which is good, because people worse than you are also trying to get healthy.

    As a starter I'd say go to the gym every other day -- hit up all your muscle classes each time you go; some places have lines of equipment, etc. Nothing too major when you start, but make sure to still push yourself each day. On off days you should run, again pushing yourself.

    Once you get comfortable with that, start migrating to free weights. I would venture to say they're better for you in the long run. If you need a spot, just ask people -- gym rats are usually quite friendly about lifting. During this migration you can think about shifting your schedule -- you can either start going every day and hitting a different muscle class each day, while running every other day, or retain the current every other day but alternate focus on upper and lower body. This restructuring is going to depend mostly upon your availability and heal time -- some people take longer or shorter to heal after an intense workout.

    For me personally I still like to do every other day with all muscles at once, plus running, but that's mostly a product of my work schedule and heal time. I also do abs every other day before bed.

    Get into a schedule and stick with it.
     

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