How can I get fitter over the summer?

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How can I get fitter over the summer?

Postby steelmole » Fri May 16, 2008 7:42 pm UTC

First, some basic stats. I'm 17, weigh 12.5 stone (80 kilos, 175 pounds) and I'm 6 foot 2 inches (188 cm) tall.

What I want is just to have a better all round fitness and improve how I look and feel. I did try lifting weights a few months ago but then I got tonsilitis and the run up to my examinations put a stop to that.

I'd like to combine weights with cycling, what sort of balance should I try to achieve? How much and how many days a week? I've heard about doing high intensity intervals, is that something I should try?

Also, is it feasible to make any real difference in the 3 months over summer?

For completeness sake I'll give a quick run down of my diet too. In the morning I usually eat weetabix and pint of milk. Lunch is just a sandwich and piece of fruit. Dinner is potato, meat and carrots (I'm really trying to eat more vegetables but it is hard).
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Re: How can I get fitter over the summer?

Postby Fossa » Fri May 16, 2008 7:53 pm UTC

Every commercial I can recall seeing for fitness equipment promises results in 6 weeks. Myself? I'm about to graduate from college after spending 4 years as a book worm only to find that my best bet career-wise is now with a police force. In the past week and a half I've seen noticeable improvement (been doing a balanced regiment 5 nights a week) as I've tried to get myself into shape to take the entrance exam (only have/had 4 weeks total from the epipheny to entrance exam).

In short, yes, 3 months is plenty of time if you're willing to put the work in consistently.

As for a specific regiment someone else will have to recommend something. Free weights have never been my thing.
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Re: How can I get fitter over the summer?

Postby lesliesage » Sat May 17, 2008 1:05 pm UTC

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Re: How can I get fitter over the summer?

Postby blackrose » Wed May 21, 2008 1:30 am UTC

I
steelmole wrote:I'd like to combine weights with cycling, what sort of balance should I try to achieve? How much and how many days a week? I've heard about doing high intensity intervals, is that something I should try?


I say go for it with the cycling! It's a fun sport that will get you into shape really quickly if you devote yourself. I started out riding last summer in order to lose some weight and get into better shape. I don't know what shape you're in, but I started out slowly with maybe 7 mile rides every day (I was in poor shape.) and then worked up from there by adding a more distance. Now I'm comfortable with a ~ 25 miles and longer distances on weekends.

Weights are cool, though I have no experience with them. I've found no real need with all the riding I do. I could see use for a little bit of work on the arms, but not really enough to fuss about. You really do use you upper body mire than you'd think riding a bike.
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Re: How can I get fitter over the summer?

Postby Fate » Wed May 21, 2008 9:27 am UTC

A really great way to get ripped is high intensity interval running. As in run for 30 seconds, sprint for 30 seconds. Try doing that for 10 minutes, and while your just running normally, tense your abs. You will start getting cut in about a week and a half, worked for me.
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Re: How can I get fitter over the summer?

Postby Drake » Fri May 23, 2008 2:07 pm UTC

what is your past cycling history? What kind of bike do you have?
Cycling is a low impact sport, without the worries of shin splints;begining a 3-4 day/week program should pose little risk for injury, depending upon the type of bike you have. If you have a racing road bike and little prior riding experience, then you can damage your knees. If you have a touring bike, mountian bike or hybird, then you should be fine. If your knees start to bother you, try sliding the seat about a quarter inch towards the handlebars, and resting(if need be).

For weights, I would recommend against doing specific arm exercises(curls and triceps extensions); it sounds like you are starting from ground zero, you can easily overwork your arms and hinder your overall progress. I would recommend a basic program that roughly covers your entire upper body, in about six workouts total. As long as you keep increasing weights as your body asks, this basic program should be able to sustain you for up to two to three months. After that, you will be more then ready to attempt a more advanced program

Cycling(3x/week): first few weeks: cycle for 20-30 minutes OR 3-5miles; focus is on time or distance covered. Don't worry about speed, but keep those peddles spinning!

Weights(3x/week): Bench press, seated row, military press/shoulder raises, lat pull down, declined bench press, T-bar row. Mix in situps/abs at the end, or squats at the beginning. Aside from that, order isn't too important so long as you alternate chest and back exercises
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Re: How can I get fitter over the summer?

Postby steelmole » Wed Jun 04, 2008 7:56 pm UTC

Well, I've got a fairly alright hybrid, not one of those featherlight carbon fibre racers but not a old worn out mountain bike either. In terms of previous experience, I commute every day via bike and sometimes go into town or to nearby places a little less often. These trips are only a 2-4 miles though. I've done leisurely 50 mile bike rides before.

Looks like I've lost access to weights as my dad has sold them, so working out would have to be going to the gym. From past experience I don't enjoy lifting weights very much so I'm unlikely to stick with it. That coupled with having to go to a gym puts me off a little. On the other hand a friend of mine goes to the gym so we could start working out together which might help.

I guess I'll keep a little log here in a few weeks, when my final exams are over. Thanks for the advice.
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Re: How can I get fitter over the summer?

Postby Roland Lockheart » Thu Jun 05, 2008 5:46 am UTC

The best way, not to mention the easiest, would be to find a high activity sport or game to play. My suggestion would be Ultimate Frisbee.
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Re: How can I get fitter over the summer?

Postby Drake » Thu Jun 05, 2008 2:32 pm UTC

steelmole wrote:Well, I've got a fairly alright hybrid, not one of those featherlight carbon fibre racers but not a old worn out mountain bike either.


Sounds perfect. I have rode a couple of different types of bikes made out of a couple of different materials. IMHO, unless your actually racing or riding your bike 20+ miles/day its impossible to justify a high end bike.

steelmole wrote:In terms of previous experience, I commute every day via bike and sometimes go into town or to nearby places a little less often. These trips are only a 2-4 miles though. I've done leisurely 50 mile bike rides before.


Sounds like you have a good base level of fitness. Try cycling for 30 minutes non-stop, 3-4x/week. Non-stop does not mean always have froward momentum, it means never stop those pedals spinning!(60-80rpms, in case you didn't know) If you have to drop to your lowest gear, then do so.

If you detest the gym, then I'd say use it as a last resort. In my experience, The two biggest reasons people quit workout programs are 1) lack of interest and 2) injury. If you want to balance your upper body with or lower body, I'd recommend either swimming or calisthenics.

steelmole wrote:That coupled with having to go to a gym puts me off a little.


I suppose swimming has the same problem, but a good calisthenics program can be done literally anywhere, anytime.
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Re: How can I get fitter over the summer?

Postby klenwell » Fri Jun 06, 2008 2:48 am UTC

Drake wrote:If you detest the gym, then I'd say use it as a last resort. In my experience, The two biggest reasons people quit workout programs are 1) lack of interest and 2) injury. If you want to balance your upper body with or lower body, I'd recommend either swimming or calisthenics.


Very true. I think the key is consistency. Try to do a half-hour to an hour a day 4-5 times a week to start and work up from there. Don't think just in terms of the summer. Think from here on forward. And find some way to make it enjoyable (see my post on Nintendo DS Lite.) I think a good deal of running/cycling is required to get fit, but the monotony can kill you. So get a book, a pocket computer, or something which will engage you -- make you look forward to it even! -- and I think you stand a fair chance of pulling it off.

Best of luck.
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Re: How can I get fitter over the summer?

Postby i.t.homp » Tue Jun 10, 2008 7:57 pm UTC

i believe regular workouts in gym are extremely beneficial. try http://www.crossfit.com . great website for workout regimes.
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Re: How can I get fitter over the summer?

Postby Grooving Tony » Tue Jun 10, 2008 11:50 pm UTC

Try and find yourself a Thai Boxing club it is a great sport and you learn to defend yourself. I've been going to one for four years and my health and physic[? how my body looks] has improved a lot since i started going. I used to be a skinny whimp i'm still pretty much skinny but i know how to fight and defend myself. Also try and get a traditional club as there is more to it than just punching/kicking/kneeing/elbowing pads/people. There is a pre-fight ritual/dance that i use when ever i get nervous or stressed and when done properly it looks amazing :].

There really isn't anyway to describe a sport like this without sounding like an advert for a shopping channel.
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Re: How can I get fitter over the summer?

Postby steelmole » Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:06 pm UTC

Ok, I got off my arse today and started. I did about 25 minutes on my bike, not quite as long as I would have liked to but I kept the pedals turning fast for the whole time and was at a much faster pace than when I commute. At least I've started, that's the important thing.

Grooving Tony wrote:Try and find yourself a Thai Boxing club it is a great sport and you learn to defend yourself. I've been going to one for four years and my health and physic[? how my body looks] has improved a lot since i started going. I used to be a skinny whimp i'm still pretty much skinny but i know how to fight and defend myself. Also try and get a traditional club as there is more to it than just punching/kicking/kneeing/elbowing pads/people. There is a pre-fight ritual/dance that i use when ever i get nervous or stressed and when done properly it looks amazing :].

There really isn't anyway to describe a sport like this without sounding like an advert for a shopping channel.


While Thai boxing does sound interesting I don't think I can handle martial arts again. I used to do Judo regularly, it really did make me very fit but the downside was it ruined my sleep. If I tried to sleep after a session I only got 2 or 3 hours of very broken sleep so I just had to give it up. I fear the same thing would happen with Thai boxing.
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Re: How can I get fitter over the summer?

Postby Drake » Fri Jun 20, 2008 2:57 pm UTC

steelmole wrote:While Thai boxing does sound interesting I don't think I can handle martial arts again. I used to do Judo regularly, it really did make me very fit but the downside was it ruined my sleep. If I tried to sleep after a session I only got 2 or 3 hours of very broken sleep so I just had to give it up. I fear the same thing would happen with Thai boxing.


Any thoughts as to why? Not eating enough? not enough rest between sessions?

Your broken sleep could just be due to working out really late, right before bed (Now that I commute to work every morning, I have done a 180 and am a solid morning person. Who Knew?!)but, if your broken sleep was due to over training/under resting, then any intense workout program will result in the same problems. Just something to keep in mind.
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Re: How can I get fitter over the summer?

Postby steelmole » Fri Jun 20, 2008 6:40 pm UTC

Drake wrote:
steelmole wrote:While Thai boxing does sound interesting I don't think I can handle martial arts again. I used to do Judo regularly, it really did make me very fit but the downside was it ruined my sleep. If I tried to sleep after a session I only got 2 or 3 hours of very broken sleep so I just had to give it up. I fear the same thing would happen with Thai boxing.


Any thoughts as to why? Not eating enough? not enough rest between sessions?

Your broken sleep could just be due to working out really late, right before bed (Now that I commute to work every morning, I have done a 180 and am a solid morning person. Who Knew?!)but, if your broken sleep was due to over training/under resting, then any intense workout program will result in the same problems. Just something to keep in mind.



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EDIT: I meant to say adrenaline, silly me.
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Re: How can I get fitter over the summer?

Postby steelmole » Fri Jul 04, 2008 4:40 pm UTC

I'm not srue if I should do updates as edits or new posts. Guess I'll do new ones so the original post remains unchanged.

I've been cycling for a few weeks now. Doing short rides in the morning every other day (sometimes I let it slip, please forgive me) and I did a 50 mile bike ride a couple of weeks ago. This seems to be going well and most importantly becoming part of my morning routine.

This morning I tried HIIT after a friend recommended it. It's certainly different, I only managed to do 4 bursts before I was totally knackered which made getting home rather tricky. I'm not sure HIIT is the way to go however, it doesn't feel like I was exercising that well. If I did do it again I'd probably tap a big LCD clock to the front of my bike to make timing a little easier.

I'm not happy with what I'm doing in terms of strength. Basically it's a few press ups and a few leg raises, I'm trying to increase the resistance in various ways but I just need to know more exercises that I can do.

Food has been pretty much the same in terms of quality but I have been eating more in general, consequently I've put on a stone. I guess doing more work requires more food.

Current weight 13.5 stone (86 kilos, 189 pounds)
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Re: How can I get fitter over the summer?

Postby lanicita » Sun Jul 06, 2008 10:23 pm UTC

steelmole wrote:I'm not srue if I should do updates as edits or new posts. Guess I'll do new ones so the original post remains unchanged.

If they're legit updates, new posts are fine :) Double posts are only really a problem if you do it quickly when you could just put all the information in one post, or if you're just bumping.
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Re: How can I get fitter over the summer?

Postby steelmole » Sat Aug 23, 2008 10:29 am UTC

Well, my weight is pretty much the same. I wasn't expecting to lose any to be honest. I do feel a bit fitter, I've managed to do 6 bursts of cycling in a row now. I still worry that I just can't push myself hard enough to really complete that kind of exercise properly.

As for the strength type training I got a kettlebell (a cannon ball with a handle) and have been following a few basic exercises with it. It's only 16kg but when you start swinging it around it's deceptively heavy. I don't know if anyone has had any experience with these things but they seem to fulfill what I'm looking for. When I'm used to all the exercises I'll work out a routine (suggestions welcome).
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Re: How can I get fitter over the summer?

Postby Jacque » Sun Aug 24, 2008 2:22 pm UTC

Kettlebells can be fun (and a right pain in the ass).
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