Looking to improve my over all health, want to feel better

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radio_head
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Looking to improve my over all health, want to feel better

Postby radio_head » Tue Jun 12, 2012 3:16 am UTC

I am looking to improve my overall health. I want to feel better, sleep better & be more energetic. I am 22 years old, I weigh something like 215 lbs, I'm 6 ft tall & I'd say I have somewhat of a good muscle base because I've been weight training for a few years (though at varying degrees of intensity).

Over the past year and a half I've gained a lot of weight (about 35 pounds). I live a very sedentary lifestyle because I'm a web developer. I work full time, and I take on a lot of contracts on top of my full time job. I'm sitting in front of a computer for the majority of the day. I also live in the outskirts of my city so I spend a lot of time every day just driving. Obviously these things have contributed greatly to my weight gain.

I am looking for tips on both diet and exercise. What worked for me while I was in school is incompatible with my lifestyle now (hence my weight gain).

Some of the things I want to start doing is cutting back or fully eliminating foods that are high in fat, sugar or sodium. I don't want to feel bloated/slowed down by what I eat. However, I don't know exactly what to replace them with. Keep in mind that I want to do a complete 180, I want foods that stimulate my brain, help me concentrate, help me sleep (at the very least I want to eliminate foods from my diet that have the opposite effect) and that are healthy/promote weight loss. I am also interested in vitamin/mineral supplements, if they can help. I don't believe in the regular no carb diets that seem to be so popular these days, and I am not looking for a weight loss miracle because my weight isn't the only thing about myself that I'd like to change or improve. I hear that vegetables these days don't provide many vitamins, should I be going organic?

What types of food can I eat to stimulate both my mental health and weight loss?

The other half of the puzzle is exercise. I have a gym membership and I can probably find the time to go for 1-2 hours 4x a week. On top of that I just purchased a pull up/chin up station, which combined with leg raises, squats & lunges can offer a great workout. I also purchased a bike (which I probably wont find as much time for). The other thing is, I can't run. My right knee is totally fucked up. I know that cardio has made me feel amazing in the past, but given that cardio isn't an option unless I have time for a long bike ride or I'm at the gym, what work outs can I do on my pull up/chin up station that would give me a similar effect? I should also add that I am not interested in building muscle, but I am interested in building up my strength and endurance.

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philsov
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Re: Looking to improve my over all health, want to feel bett

Postby philsov » Tue Jun 12, 2012 11:41 pm UTC

I have no clue about food for mental anything, nor the vitamin content in nonorganic vs organic

And food for weight loss is a bit of an oxymoron. On that front, I suggest a lot of meat/dairy and veggies. Both of these will help you feel fuller longer and reduce cravings from quickly digested things like sweets. Calories balance is what matters, though.

Regarding exercise, what's with the knee? If you can bike and squat fine, I guess the issue is impact? Rowing and swimming are great alternatives. I can't think of anything cardiolike from a pull up bar.
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webzter_again
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Re: Looking to improve my over all health, want to feel bett

Postby webzter_again » Wed Jun 13, 2012 1:04 am UTC

radio_head wrote:I hear that vegetables these days don't provide many vitamins, should I be going organic?


Yes, in crops studied, the nutrient value is declining. According to the end of the article older, heirloom varieties will provide more nutritional value, followed by organic.

For mental clarity: http://www.livestrong.com/article/34799 ... l-clarity/

Go to http://myfitnesspal.com and sign up (it's free). Figure out what you want to lose and then follow the app's caloric recommendations to get there. Easy things to cut back on (well, maybe not easy, but the biggest impact) would be soda and desserts / candy. You might also up your protein, lower your carbs, and add in more veggies. Veggies are a really easy way to get bulk, vitamins, fiber, and they're not a lot of calories. Frozen veggies are generally cheap and, since they're ripened further than veggies that are shipped to sell fresh. Don't worry about trying to buy organic if it's not in your budget.

Forget the gym for now. How about some bodyweight exercises that you can do at home?

http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2009/12 ... ld-muscle/
http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2011/03 ... kout-plan/

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Nath
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Re: Looking to improve my over all health, want to feel bett

Postby Nath » Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:52 am UTC

radio_head wrote:The other half of the puzzle is exercise. I have a gym membership and I can probably find the time to go for 1-2 hours 4x a week. On top of that I just purchased a pull up/chin up station, which combined with leg raises, squats & lunges can offer a great workout. I also purchased a bike (which I probably wont find as much time for). The other thing is, I can't run. My right knee is totally fucked up. I know that cardio has made me feel amazing in the past, but given that cardio isn't an option unless I have time for a long bike ride or I'm at the gym, what work outs can I do on my pull up/chin up station that would give me a similar effect? I should also add that I am not interested in building muscle, but I am interested in building up my strength and endurance.

Strength without adding much muscle: heavy weights, low reps. 5 sets of 3 or 8 sets of 2. You'll probably need to get to a gym to do this, unless you want to buy a barbell, a rack and a bunch of plates.

Endurance is a multidimensional thing. Muscular endurance is hard to improve without hypertrophy. Cardiovascular endurance is, well, complicated. Probably the simplest thing you can do at home is interval training. Burpees work, if your knees can handle them. Or you can buy a kettlebell or dumbbell and do swings. Or you can make a T-handle (instructions are easy to find) from a few bucks' worth of plumbing parts, and buy a couple of plates from Craigslist. I have one of these, and I like it.

Nieryo
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Re: Looking to improve my over all health, want to feel bett

Postby Nieryo » Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:17 am UTC

I know you said you can't run, but have you tried the elliptical machine? Most gyms I've been to have them and they're a lot lower impact than running so it should be easier on your knee.

As for your story, I was/am in a similar position; back in January, I weighed 246 lbs and was starting to feel really crappy about myself. I didn't like running on a treadmill, track, or outdoors and swimming was out of the question because I was (still am) unhappy with my appearance. What I did was started going to my gym 5 times a week and staying on the elliptical for an hour at the same pace; as I started losing weight and gaining some muscle I'd increase the resistance, and now I can maintain a 1.2k cal/hr workout without much trouble. Along with that I'd do smaller changes like taking stairs instead of elevators (in addition to moving more, this reduces the risks of elevator farts), parking my car further away on purpose whenever I went somewhere (also lowers the risk of someone dinging your car), and anything else you can think of.

For food, I don't know about special foods, but salmon and coconut oil are supposed to be good for mental stuff (omega 3's or something); you might want to look into getting some vitamin capsules of fish oil or coconut oil. Personally, I started eating out less and cooking for myself more, using leaner cuts of meat and rationing out the salt, butter, etc. Eat more fruits and veggies too, that always help keep garbage out of your mouth. And as a fun side note, cooking makes you stand up, which burns more calories than sitting down, so you can think of it being doubly good for you (sort of anyway). If you can't cook, then start learning because I've yet to see anything 'healthy' and 'tasty' that I can buy, and it's a necessary skill to have in case you ever get lost in the wilderness or end up on Iron Chef (also hunger is a good motivation to learn how to cook if you prevent yourself from buying ready-made meals or eating out). Something I started to do too was make my food spicy; it makes me want to drink more water and I'll feel fuller sooner and eat less overall (and if you can't cook, it'll mask bad tasting food). I don't know if that's actually bad or good in general, but it's working for me. I also stopped drinking as much pop; I used to have 2-3 a day (more if I went out for lunch/dinner), but now I'll have 1-2 diets because I still like to drink it (trying to cut down to just 1, if any). If you do go out, the best thing you can order to drink is water, and if you don't like plain water, ask for a lemon in it; I've yet to go somewhere where they won't give you some lemon. If you like the taste too, unsweetened ice tea with lemon is good as well. Since most places will keep refilling your drink too, doing that alone will cut out like 200-400 calories when going out, depending on how thirsty you are and how much they ice out or water down their soda.

If you're having trouble sleeping, you might want to pick up some Melatonin supplements; I have insomnia and it's helped me sleep.

The last thing I started doing was weighing myself every day. It used to make me feel like crap (and I've told my scale to go to hell more than once), but I used that to keep going and telling myself that I wouldn't let a number beat me, especially if it wasn't prime. As it started going down I got motivated to keep going, and now I just like to go to the gym to clear my head for an hour a day and push myself. It's been 6 months and I've lost 30 lbs, so still 216 and, like you, I'm looking to hit 180, hopefully by Christmas (and oddly enough I'm 24 and 5'10" so I'm close to you on those counts too).

If you're the competitive type, I'd be happy to challenge you to a race to 180; it'd probably provide both of us with more motivation to keep going to the gym (after all, neither of us can have some other person on the internet beating us at something, can we?!). If not, then I hope something I've said helps you out.

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freakish777
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Re: Looking to improve my over all health, want to feel bett

Postby freakish777 » Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:54 pm UTC

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walnut#Med ... and_claims

Walnuts should also be good for the brain. Note though that you never want to over do any one food.

radio_head
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Re: Looking to improve my over all health, want to feel bett

Postby radio_head » Thu Jun 14, 2012 3:17 am UTC

Nieryo, you're on!

I've actually gained quite a bit of strength over the past year, and my muscles have visible grown as well... to the point that medium sized shirts are kind of tight around my arms. Anyway, I definitely don't want bigger arms but I do want a stronger back, chest, legs. However, my main focus right now is to lose weight. If I don't gain strength this year, it's not the end of the world. It's not like it'll make me a more efficient programmer anyway! How can I lose weight while maintaining the majority of the strength that I've built? Will doing body weight exercises allow me to maintain the same strength, or will I still have to resort to some weight training?

My knee starts to hurt due to impact from running and things like that. I might try burpees, that looks fun & challenging. Pushups, squats, pull ups, burpees, leg raises, sit ups -- hows that for a workout?

Do any of you work out in the mornings, right after you wake up? I've tried to make that commitment so many times, but no luck. The reason I'm interested in eating better to sleep better is because I'm sick of being so damn tired in the mornings & having trouble waking up early. I'd love to be able to get a short 20-30 minute workout before work every day. When I was 19 I'd get 5-6 hours of sleep after getting wasted, and go for a run in the morning after eating a small breakfast. Not anymore!!

Also, I'm not big on soda/juice/desserts or any of that. My biggest issue is BEER. I don't drink anything but water, wine, beer, coffee, tea and soy milk. Will power...!

Thanks for your responses everybody! Very motivating!

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Nath
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Re: Looking to improve my over all health, want to feel bett

Postby Nath » Thu Jun 14, 2012 6:20 am UTC

radio_head wrote:How can I lose weight while maintaining the majority of the strength that I've built? Will doing body weight exercises allow me to maintain the same strength, or will I still have to resort to some weight training?

Bodyweight exercises will maintain more strength than doing nothing, but they are not the best tool for this job. Bodyweight exercise is generally low resistance, unless you are doing handstand pushups and one-arm pullups and whatnot. Pushups and bodyweight squats are enough to build strength in beginners, and can be done in high reps for muscular endurance, but they will not provide enough resistance to maintain or improve maximal strength for intermediate and advanced trainees. In short, if you are already strong, then you're going to need to pick up heavy things if you want to keep your strength while on a caloric deficit.

Nieryo
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Re: Looking to improve my over all health, want to feel bett

Postby Nieryo » Thu Jun 14, 2012 6:17 pm UTC

radio_head wrote:Nieryo, you're on!


On your marks, get set.... **starts running**... GO!

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nightbird
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Re: Looking to improve my over all health, want to feel bett

Postby nightbird » Sun Jun 17, 2012 12:05 pm UTC

If I were you, I'd take a look at stronglifts.com . I'm crtitical of some of the advice on the site but the training programs are sound and will give you a lot of bang for your buck. Concerning the running part: Go for a fast walk everyday, it works just as well. You could even park a few miles away from your office and thus include it in your workday.
“Human beings make life so interesting. Do you know, that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to invent boredom.”

madd0ct0r
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Re: Looking to improve my over all health, want to feel bett

Postby madd0ct0r » Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:28 am UTC

radio_head wrote:
Do any of you work out in the mornings, right after you wake up? I've tried to make that commitment so many times, but no luck. The reason I'm interested in eating better to sleep better is because I'm sick of being so damn tired in the mornings & having trouble waking up early. I'd love to be able to get a short 20-30 minute workout before work every day. When I was 19 I'd get 5-6 hours of sleep after getting wasted, and go for a run in the morning after eating a small breakfast. Not anymore!!


I'm trying to do this to. fancy duelling?

The few times i've got it to work is when I MUST go out and exercise briefly before I let myself have my morning coffee, but I've never managed to keep to it for more then a few days.
Getting my coffee of course, involves me drinking it infront of the computer = no more exercise till the evening.


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