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Mixing up exercise for a fatty/beginner-now looking to start weight training

noir_bloodnoir_blood Registered User regular
edited July 2012 in Help / Advice Forum
Hey guys,

I'm finally getting more serious about trying to loose weight and be healthy. I have successfully cut off sodas from my diet and no longer go out and get fast food every day, so that's a step in the right directly.

I also been exercising in the mornings. Due to some weird stuff, I actually have both a treadmill and elliptical at home, which I'm sorta ashamed to say had been gathering dust for a while. I started off with the treadmill, but lat week I realized that I'm sort of cheating myself and not really working hard. I'll do half an hour every day, but it's at a pretty relaxed pace. So now I'm trying the whole couch to 5k thing, and already it kicks my ass more than the elliptical ever did.

When reading about the couch-5k program, they advised that I do it three times a weeks to start, and this is where I have a question- what should I be doing on the other two/three days(I plan to take Saturday off)? Are there any good exercises that you guys recommend that I do at home?

Your sig is too tall. -Thanatos
Willeth wrote: »
ITT: We don't need to fully read others posts.

True. In addition, we don't need to fully read one another's posts.
noir_blood on


  • AftyAfty Registered User regular
    If you are new to exercise it is very important to take days off.

    - It stops you from doing too much too fast, Which is bad because you can hurt yourself and prevent further exercise.
    - It helps negate your "lazy" brain going "ARGH! Exercise is HARD AAARRGGGHHH!" and souring your opinion of exercise.

    Resting is as important as exercising imo.

    What you could do is introduce something completely different for the off days, say the 100 press up program or other light weight training.

    Kudos to you for making the change and stick with it!

  • The Crowing OneThe Crowing One Registered User regular
    If you want to "stay in the habit" (I can understand that), you might want to learn some basic yoga. If you can put together a lightweight, 20 minute yoga routine you'd both be "resting" as yoga doesn't have to be strenuous and staying "active" insomuch as you're doing something good for your body. The stretching will help with the running, as well.

  • Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
    edited July 2012
    As long as you don't spend the two days off eating nothing but pie, then a day off is not a bad thing. If the program suggests starting on three days a week it is because it expects you to rest the other two!

    I know you're all hyper keen now, but pacing yourself will help keep this a long term sustainable thing much better than binge and burnout.

    If you really want to keep doing something keep it low key in comparison to the ass kicking. Your half hour relaxed treadmill is still better than nothing.

    Jam Warrior on
  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu ___________PIGEON _________San Diego, CA Registered User regular
    For the other days in the week when you're not doing couch to 5k, you can lift weights.

  • ceresceres I'm just your problem Registered User, Moderator mod
    I just started C25K. On my off days I often take a walk, but last time I went out I ended up with kind of a weird muscle spasm in my back. I have back problems as it is, so I've been staying put till that pain completely stopped. Today is the first day in three days I haven't felt it, so I plan to go back out tonight or tomorrow morning.

    I think it's really, really important to listen to your body and not just go all out because that's what you planned to do, especially if you're not used to exercising.

    When you get your groove on, yeah I go blind.
  • SmoogySmoogy Registered User regular
    I would second the notion to mix in weight lifting on off-days from your cardio workouts. It will help you lose weight, gain some definition hopefully, and burn off calories. Start slow though.

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  • DragosaiDragosai Registered User regular
    I will third the mixing of weight lifting. This is what I have been doing and I started just shy of three months ago, and so far it is working well.

    I have also been slowly moving to the paleo diet, basically changing what I eat to match that diet but still allowing for a few exceptions (beer one night a week). This is also working well for me, so much so that I am going to be following the paleo diet more strictly as the weeks roll on.

    Good luck on getting healthy noir_blood!

  • RocketSauceRocketSauce Registered User regular
    Have you tried jump roping? If you think it's for kids, you're not doing it intense enough. Try mixing it in with other activities. I like to do it right after I do pushups, or right before I run.

  • AftyAfty Registered User regular
    ceres wrote: »
    I think it's really, really important to listen to your body

    This x 1000

  • JohnnyCacheJohnnyCache Starting Defense Registered User regular
    lift, using 1-3 compound lifts, with a brief walk before and after. (I do 3/4s of a mile)

  • Blake TBlake T Registered User regular
    It depends on what your goals are.

    If they are purely lose weight as fast as possible then lifting weights will make huge strides towards that.

    Yoga and pilates aren't really cardio or muscle building activities. They have their place. But they are more low impact core exercises with focus on flexibility.

    If you want to focus more on jogging, honestly just go for a walk on your off days. It'll get the blood flowing through your legs and help with recovery.

  • carl_rogerscarl_rogers Registered User regular
    *this is coming from someone new to weight lifting - but not new to loosing weight :D

    Get cardio out of the way early in the morning.
    Wake up early - drink 500ml (at least) of water. Have a coffee if needed. Don't eat breakfast. Take some time to wake up. Take a piss, and go for a walk outside. 20 minutes of walking will definitely boost your metabolism for the day. I don't know how 'heavy' you are at the moment, but when its comfotable, change this into a slow jog each morning.
    Get home, have a shower and make a good healthy breakfast.

    As for weights, being a beginner myself, ive found theres so many contradicting routines on the internet of 'what days to do what muscles', 'what exercises to do' etc. etc.
    I find the programs on bodybuilding.com to be pretty good starting place for me.
    I follow this guys weight program, but not necessarily his diet advice - its simple, and I've managed to mix it up to work around my shifts at work

    Check out this guys youtube videos. People have mixed opinions of the guy, but his tips on cooking and cardio are really good.

  • noir_bloodnoir_blood Registered User regular
    Thanks for all the advise guys. I'm focusing on loosing weight, so it looks like I'm going to try adding a little bit of weight training into my morning routines. I'm checking out some of the links and advise on this thread, but if anyone have more starting advise, I love to hear it. Also, if I want to exercise solely at home, what stuff should I buy?

    Your sig is too tall. -Thanatos
    Willeth wrote: »
    ITT: We don't need to fully read others posts.

    True. In addition, we don't need to fully read one another's posts.
  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu ___________PIGEON _________San Diego, CA Registered User regular
    noir_blood wrote: »
    Thanks for all the advise guys. I'm focusing on loosing weight, so it looks like I'm going to try adding a little bit of weight training into my morning routines. I'm checking out some of the links and advise on this thread, but if anyone have more starting advise, I love to hear it. Also, if I want to exercise solely at home, what stuff should I buy?
    Weights and a chin-up bar. The weights you can often get for cheap or for free from Craigslist.

  • Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    how is C25K going for you? i tried to start it, and even blew 125 dollars on running shoes. Everytime i start, i get about a block before my shins are on FIRE. i run on the street (not the sidewalk), and i tended to run heel to toe before (which i hear is bad), so i tried running with the midfoot strike instead.

    Honestly, you can get P90 or P90X for dirt cheap nowadays. all you need for those is workout bands (don't get them at a big box store, they are super overpriced). it's a pretty good program if you are trying to lose weight/get fit. you do need a fair amount of floor space though. As soon as i recover from my back surgery (that i can't get for 6 months, argh) i'm going to start it again.

    DO eat breakfast, that sets your metabolism for the day.

  • ceresceres I'm just your problem Registered User, Moderator mod
    The first 5 minutes of the podcast is walking. o_O How do you only get a block?

    I've not made it all the way through the week 1 podcast yet, but it's only been a week and I'm told it gets better.

    When you get your groove on, yeah I go blind.
  • JohnnyCacheJohnnyCache Starting Defense Registered User regular
    edited July 2012
    Eating or not eating breakfast doesn't do anything to your "metabolism." Urban. Myth. See also eating after x, where x is some time in the evening.

    But - a small, lean, high protein breakfast sets a good stage for a morning workout, makes hydration more comfortable, and is a habit correlated strongly with weight loss. I have a bowl of microwaved egg whites a lot of mornings. I get paper bowls, hit them with one quick puff of a no-stick spray, nuke about 3 eggs worth of whites, put hotsauce and pepper on them and away I go. When I'm feeling really saucy, I have half a green pepper with it. Breakfast is important - it's good to have SOMETHING - but it's also a place most people can tolerate repetition and cheapness.

    A rule that has helped me lose weight - and beyond cosmetic weight, vastly improved my blood pressure and other blood numbers - is the peace sign rule - you draw a peace sign over your plate mentally, and any red meat, complex carbs, or fried items - basically anything brown that isn't a non-refried bean - needs to fit in the two little wedges combined. You can have as much greens, whole beans, fish, salad, whole veggies, etc as you want.

    There are some "border items" like baked potatos - not a lot to complain about, but very dense calorically. Some of the less sweet fruits are borderland items.

    There are some weight loss villians that sneak into our diets. I recommend people count calories without altering their diet for a few weeks just to see what they are really eating. Salad dressing and breaded chicken in salads are two examples, as are alcoholic drinks (alcohol itself is basically sugar syrup, so there's no such thing as a "diet" drink, only a less sugary one)

    Fast food doses of mayo are huge, for example. A Jimmy Johns sized shot of mayo can add 200+ calories to a sandwich.

    Non soda drinks - like sweat teas, sports drinks, that shit? They are soda with no fizz.

    Fruits are surprisingly caloric, and fruit juice is ... well, it's like soda with no fizz (but you wash down some vitamins with it)

    Preserved meats - lunchmeats, spam, breakfast meats - they are garbage. They are essentially gristle, massive amounts of salts, and massive amounts of gross preservatives. I am a skeptical person and I don't jump on every Dr. Oz "Don't eat this" fad, but that shit is wack, yo.

    Diner/family restaurant food is absolutely obscene and should just be avoided.

    That said, I'm a sandwich guy, I eat on the road so much it's unavoidable. One of the best things you can buy yourself is a slow-cooker. pot roast, water, and spices go in, you go to work, when you get back the crock pot is full of shredded beef.

    The more you cook for yourself and try to get it to taste like what you're used too on a store bought diet, the more you realize just what staggering amounts of fucking salt and sugar are added to most prepared food.

    I've been back, seriously on a run at weight loss for just a few weeks now and it hit me last night - one reason I like sushi is because it tastes like food.

    I count calories in a very approximate fashion. I round calories to the hundred and tap in the calories as hundreds on a stadium counter app I have on my phone (I can do this because I have actually counted calories enough in highschool athletics that I know good values for most things)

    This allows me to sort of pace my day without getting so anal about it it's a branching off point to fall off the wagon.

    I also highly recommend "eat this not that" since I eat out with friends quite a bit and navigating restaurant menus is a bitch - even a lot of healthy stuff is actually ridiculously salty.

    JohnnyCache on
  • BartholamueBartholamue Registered User regular
    edited July 2012
    You should eat every 3-4 hours. It helps with your metabolism and doesn't make your body go into starvation mode, thus holding onto fat.

    Bartholamue on
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  • DragosaiDragosai Registered User regular
    You should eat every 3-4 hours. It helps with your metabolism and doesn't make your body go into starvation mode, thus holding onto fat.

    I think this is another of those many food/eating myths. You kind of have to find what works for you. I found that about two days a week I can fast for 12+ hours without feeling like I am starving and after those days, mostly the next morning I have lost more weight then days I do not do this.

    Again this all depends so much on your own metabolism, this fasting thing for me was not planned just sort of notice I was not wanting to eat much at all for long periods on some days so I went with it as I felt and still feel great. I was never able to do this though before I started working out and eating better.

    I would say cutting out all forms of sugar besides some fruit here or there and alcohol maybe once a week, has been the biggest factor in doing these fasting days. I simply do not have that sugar addiction driving me to eat all the time. To be clear I am not talking about sugar from sweets i.e. candy and junk food, that was never my thing, I am talking about all the added sugar in everything and the worst of all corn sugar.

  • supabeastsupabeast Registered User regular
    Hire a good personal trainer to teach you how to lift weight correctly. You can waste years of effort in the gym if your form sucks. Choose your trainer based on looks. You want to build a strong male physique, so don’t hire a trainer who isn’t a man who looks like a buff model or a serious bodybuilder. Don’t expect to get much from a trainer with a gut who wears baggy clothes to hide his body.

    Instead of worrying about all kinds of kooky workout and eating plans, just download a calorie and exercise tracking app for your phone and track your daily net calories. MyFitnessPal for iPhone seems to be the best weight loss tool since sneakers.

  • superhappypandasuperhappypanda Zug Island Sport Fishing SeattleRegistered User regular
    edited July 2012
    Posting because about 3 years ago I went on a regimen that helped in losing about 100 pounds. It took about a year, roughly. Got into a crappy relationship for 2 years that resulted in putting on about 80 (enough for a completely separate thread or IM me if you want details - the weight gain had nothing to do with previous diet or exercise regimen). Now I'm out of the relationship and putting things back right, which includes working out, eating right and seeing results.

    First of all, making the commitment to get in shape and lead a healthy lifestyle is the first step. You sound like you're getting serious about this so I want to say "great work" on that already.

    Secondly, if you haven't already, check with your Doc to make sure you're in a position to do this. If you're young and in "relatively ok" shape, you'll get cleared. But if you have any health considerations, make sure to mention them so they can be taken into account.

    Ok. With those two out of the way, keep in mind that it will most likely be a progression in getting better. There will be setbacks, you will stumble, you will cheat once in a while. This is ok, we're all human. Getting back on the horse is what counts. You keep showing up and putting in the effort, it will pay off.

    A couple things to keep in mind. What's your height/weight/age? (you don't have to post it if you're not comfortable, but do keep it in mind.) A pound of fat takes approximately 3500 calories to burn. The "average" adult male needs about 2400 calories a day to maintain your body and internal organs. If you're a bigger guy, you'll need more calories to maintain your weight and will need to create some deficit in calories to lose weight. Average height and weight for an American male are roughly 5'9" and 190 lbs.

    In regards to what you're eating, if you try to flip a switch and change your diet 180, you're going to have a hard time. Cutting out soda is a fantastic start. If you're drinking regular soda, switch to diet or, even better, iced tea (real brewed iced tea - not the sugary syrupy stuff!). Water. Water. Water. Start swapping out some of your daily drinks for water or tea and slowly keep increasing those until you've gotten close to eliminating soda. I've gone from drinking soda almost exclusively to having it once every couple days - at that point a regular soda (Pepsi Throwback or Mexican Coke for me) won't matter that much. Most of the time I don't even want it or only drink half a can before I grab a glass of water or tea. Also, green tea is great if you can get to drinking between 3-5 cups a day because you get plenty of anti-oxidants and it helps to flush your system out.

    The same can be said for junk/fast food. I am a self confessed fast food-aholic and I still have a burger about once a week because I love them. But you'll start to feel a lot healthier the better you eat and you'll find yourself not wanting McDonald's as much or at all. Start changing these out by finding foods that you enjoy that are healthier; if you don't like it, you won't eat it. It might help if you started keeping a diary of what you eat during the week and review it. On one hand it will keep you accountable, and on the other it will start giving you a clear picture of what you're eating and an idea of how many calories you're taking in. Be honest with yourself, you're the one that you're doing this for and that's the most important person in your life. Find some fruits and veggies that you like and start incorporating them into your diet. Apples, oranges, bananas, carrots, celery, peppers, whatever. These are better than anything you'll get out of a vending machine or from the convenience store. Chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, beans, etc. are all great foods high in protein and low in fat that you'll want to use for the bulk of your protein intake. As for veggies, typically the darker/more colorful they are, the better they are for you. Spinach is fucking amazing. In a pinch at work I'll dump 2 cups of spinach in a big bowl, heat up a Lean Cuisine and pour it on top of the spinach, have an apple or cup of fresh fruit with it and I'm usually good to do. If I feel like I need some more fat, maybe a bit of cheese or a tablespoon of peanut butter (or even better, almond butter) will help to cut those cravings. EDIT: A couple more foods that are spectacular - Oatmeal (rolled or steel cut oats - not the instant stuff if you can help it), berries (anykind - but particularly blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, and slighly less so strawberries), broccoli - high in fiber and folates, almonds or walnuts - plenty of good fats and will keep you satiated for a longer period due to how long it takes your body to break down the fat into fuel.

    Spend some time thinking about what foods you like to eat, make up some meal plans for these and go from there. Post some of what you like to eat and what you don't and I'm sure there will be some options or slight changes that can be made to make them healthier. For me, knowing when my cravings for junk/fast food hit were a big help. I usually get my cravings after 10 PM and knowing to eat something about 30-60 minutes before they set in helps to keep them at bay and make much better decisions as to what I put in my face.

    Typically avoiding refined sugar, white flour or white rice is advisable UNLESS it's immediately after an intense (and I mean intense, not like a walk around the block) workout and combined with a high quality, low fat protein to stop your glycogen levels from falling and get that protein back into those muscles to start rebuilding right away. There's been a lot of studies done that show that you want to get something into your body within 30 minutes of a hard workout. 2% chocolate milk is just about perfect for this. 2 glasses will give you the proper carb/protein ratio you need to do what was just mentioned. Alternatively, chicken soup, chicken and white rice (stir fry), or a good whey protein shake with low fat milk, a banana and some strawberries are also fantastic.

    When it comes to exercise, I'd say 3 days a week is a good start. Even if you're only doing 30 minutes a day. What I would say though is to keep an eye on your aerobic level. You don't need to be at a balls-out run for those 30 minutes, but you'll want to be sweating after 5-10 minutes unless you live in Antarctica. If your treadmill or elliptical don't have a heart rate monitor, go buy one. I use a Precor brand and it's pretty nice since the machines at my gym pick it up and I don't even have to check my watch to see my heart rate. But until you start to get used to what it feels like to be at various heart rates, it helps to have something keep you in the right zone. Most nowadays will also calculate calories burned as well which can come in handy to make sure you're burning more calories in a week than you're taking in.

    The recommendations to start looking to add weightlifting is spot on. By building muscle, you'll help to burn more calories even after you've stopped aerobic exercise. Personally, I do about 35 minutes of high intensity cardio (heart rate between 145-170), then follow that with about 25 minutes of circuit training at least 4-5 times a week at my current rate. If I don't have a pressing engagement afterwards, I'll take an hour or two and do another 3-6 miles on the treadmill at a much slower pace to cool down and continue burning calories because, well, I'd rather be on the treadmill for 2 hours than sitting on the couch.

    If you need some ideas on weightlifting exercises, let us know what you want to work and I'm sure there's something out there that will fit the bill. A couple things I have at home that help if I can't get to the machines at the gym are various resistance bands (someone mentioned the stuff they use in P90X), a couple dumbbells of various weights, 10, 15, 25 pounds and am looking at picking up some kettle bells in the next couple months. A yoga/exercise ball. Honestly if you're just starting out, I'd highly recommend the yoga ball and 2 sets of dumbbells (check your local Goodwill or Craigslist in your area to see if you can find some cheap ones). Between those two things, you should be able to do plenty of strength training exercises right at home.

    Lastly, don't feel too bad if you're sucking at first. Personally I hate plyometric/calisthenic exercises; but they are great for you. I suck at them currently (like really bad) but it's one of my new goals to start working them into my weekly routine and get better at them. Give yourself consent to suck for a while, this will take practice and you will get better as long as you stick with it. I promise.

    superhappypanda on
  • superhappypandasuperhappypanda Zug Island Sport Fishing SeattleRegistered User regular
    supabeast wrote: »
    Hire a good personal trainer to teach you how to lift weight correctly. You can waste years of effort in the gym if your form sucks. Choose your trainer based on looks.

    This is ridiculous. Just because your trainer has a six pack, doesn't mean they know anything about the human body and how to lift properly. According to this a construction worker could start training people, they might know plenty about how to work a jackhammer, dig a ditch or pour concrete but not about proper form when exercising. Hell, I used to be ripped when I worked the loading docks back in college but didn't know jack about exercise.

    One of the best CrossFit coaches in Seattle would never get on the cover of Men's Health, but the guy's rock solid on form and function. Diet can play into this as well, look at any defensive lineman. They look like hell but would crush your head like a grape.

    If you're looking for a good trainer, ask around with your friends who are active and in shape. I'm sure someone will have recommendations. I'd check Yelp as well, as there may be review posted there if they're at a gym or studio.

    When you do find one, they should ask you what your goals are, what your past experience with working out and diet has been, and what injuries you have if any. Depending on that, they should be able to work with you to develop a sound routine that pushes you but is safe and within reach. If you don't like your trainer or don't believe they have YOUR best interest in mind, then stop going to them and find someone better.

    I'll see if I can find the link. There was a disabled ex-paratrooper that had some severe back problems from too many jumps and had become pretty out of shape. He couldn't find anyone that would touch him because of his condition but didn't give up and eventually got the attention of Dallas Page. DDP gave him the advice and motivation to recover and a guy who couldn't walk without assistance before is now more agile and mobile than I am.

    EDIT: Link below. The veteran's name is Arthur Boorman. Absolutely remarkable.


  • MegaMan001MegaMan001 CRNA Rochester, MNRegistered User regular
    I just came here to say I lost 46 pounds doing P90x (workouts and diet), put back on 36 pounds during my anesthesia residency, and in the last two months I've lost another 31 pounds re-doing p90x.

    I am in the business of saving lives.
  • wonderpugwonderpug Registered User regular
    noir_blood, I just wanted to throw in that you're going to see great results just from doing Couch-to-5k and eating better. Adding more things, like weight training, on your in between days is even better, but the most important thing is finding a routine that you'll be able to realistically maintain for months and months. If daily exercise is maintainable, awesome, otherwise don't feel like you're slacking by "just" doing Cto5k training and eating right.

    And I should also mention that I'm a Cto5k success story. Before it I couldn't run a single mile without stopping to walk, and as advertised I ended the program being able to run 3. I kept working at it afterward, and now I run half marathons.

  • superhappypandasuperhappypanda Zug Island Sport Fishing SeattleRegistered User regular
    MegaMan001 and wonderpug, those are both great stories. I had a roommate that lost about 80 pounds on P90X and had a six pack after about a year of doing it.

    I've heard about Cto5K before but haven't done much research, wonderpug, were you overweight when you started it if you don't mind me asking? I've been looking to add something else to my week to mix things up.

  • wonderpugwonderpug Registered User regular
    I wasn't overweight, just not particularly in shape. I have a slim build in general, but I had belly pudge that was apparent to me but probably not that outwardly noticeable.

    The main thing that the design of Cto5k did for me was to get me to not overdo things. I had tried and failed to get into running a number of times prior, and with what I know now it was because I would always start my runs too aggressively, get worn out, overly sore, etc.

    With Couch to 5k, I would start a run and think "well this is too easy. Do I really have to walk this much?!" But then by the end of the workout, lo and behold, I would end up being fully exhausted.

    So while I did lose fat from the program, the best thing I got out of it was cardiovascular stamina and health. After a company fire drill I could climb 10 flights of stairs and not get winded, while some of my coworkers looked like they were about to collapse.

    The Hal Higdon Half Marathon Novice Training Program is what I moved to after finishing Couch to 5k. His program starts with the assumption that you can run 3 miles, which is exactly where Cto5k leaves off, so they dovetail nicely.

  • JohnnyCacheJohnnyCache Starting Defense Registered User regular
    supabeast wrote: »
    Hire a good personal trainer to teach you how to lift weight correctly. You can waste years of effort in the gym if your form sucks. Choose your trainer based on looks. You want to build a strong male physique, so don’t hire a trainer who isn’t a man who looks like a buff model or a serious bodybuilder. Don’t expect to get much from a trainer with a gut who wears baggy clothes to hide his body.

    Instead of worrying about all kinds of kooky workout and eating plans, just download a calorie and exercise tracking app for your phone and track your daily net calories. MyFitnessPal for iPhone seems to be the best weight loss tool since sneakers.

    I get that you are saying "don't listen to fatties, listen to people that actually work out"

    But bodybuilders are doing things totally the opposite of fat loss, and major components of a "strong male physique" in the sense of a male model are genetic.


    This guy is one of the best trainers in the country

    He's not fat, and probably falls within the intent of your post - but going literally by what you typed, you told the OP to pass him up.

    A trainer's primary purpose, from the gym's point of view, is to keep you from hurting yourself. The best way to keep correct form is to figure out what the correct form is (this can be from a trainer, or a book, or what have you) and then start with a very safe weight, and add weight very slowly. eliminate the notion of your "max" from your lifting vocabulary - instead work on perfect form and pace while lifting. And never use a smith machine.

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