Starting to get fit

The Food Forum's Evil Twin. Trying to lose weight or get in shape? Tips, encouragement, status reports, and so forth go here.
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Nick G
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Starting to get fit

Postby Nick G » Sun Jul 22, 2012 4:51 am UTC

Ok, though it was about time I started to get fit. So, I've now been doing 15 pushups, 20 squats, and a minute of 'half sit ups'. Which to me sounded like a good start. What I'd like to do now though is do some cardio, and increase the weight side of it. Where do I go from here?

Cheers

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nightbird
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Re: Starting to get fit

Postby nightbird » Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:39 am UTC

First of all, congratulations for starting out. Unfortunately, your goal is rather vague. Let's make a few things clear:

- to me, being in shape means a certain amount of muscle + low bodyfat (at least sub 15% for men) on the visual side and some strength + endurance on the skills side.

- I find training for performance goals more motivating; so do most people I know. So the best thing to do, IMHO, would be to find a sport you like. If that's not an option for whatever reason, try to chase bigger numbers. Do more pushups in a row, run faster etc.

- if 20 pushups are hard for you, you don't need weights yet. All they do is provide additional resistance for those who are too strong to find lifting their own body challenging. get up to 50 or even 80.

- Cardio is, to be fair, overrated. I don't mind jogging if someone enjoys it (it can be very relaxing and meditative), just don't think you have to do it. Stremgth training exercises also tax your endurance - you kill two birds with one stone. I quit jogging over a year ago and, thanks to strength training + walking/biking at a moderate pace, am still able to run 14k in a row at a fairly fast pace.

- my advice (which you're free to modify based on your wants but not based on what you think you need) would be to keep up with the pushups and squats. Keep the situps if you want to but PLEASE incorporate pull ups or learn them if you can't do them; they make such a big difference. either aim for one set of max reps every day on each exercise (which won't be very taxing and/or time-consuming, trust me) OR do as many circuits of the following as often as you feel you can:

5x pull ups
10x push ups
15x squats

you can do this 2-7x per week for 5-30 minutes each time, depending on how it makes you feel.
“Human beings make life so interesting. Do you know, that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to invent boredom.”

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Nick G
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Re: Starting to get fit

Postby Nick G » Thu Jul 26, 2012 4:15 am UTC

Ok, thanks for that. Will try that and see. Also, part of the reason I wanted to 'get fit' in the first place, was I want to get back to sport, after a couple of years of doing bugger all. Didn't really want to start unfit, so I though 'why not get fit before hand'

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Nath
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Re: Starting to get fit

Postby Nath » Thu Jul 26, 2012 4:28 am UTC

Cardio: depends on your goals. For general fitness and most sports, high intensity conditioning work is pretty helpful. Short workouts with dumbbell or kettlebell swings, burpees, interval training (sprints, stairs of cycling), that sort of thing. But if you want to be an endurance athlete, extended low intensity work will be a mainstay of your training, of course.

For strength, start a dedicated strength program. Starting Strength is simple and works, and there's a cheap e-book you could get. Getting up to 50 or 80 push-ups is an endurance goal. Doing 50 of anything will do little for your maximal strength. Strength is built with high intensity work, and high intensity work cannot be done for that many reps.

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nightbird
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Re: Starting to get fit

Postby nightbird » Sun Jul 29, 2012 9:14 am UTC

Nath wrote:For strength, start a dedicated strength program. Starting Strength is simple and works, and there's a cheap e-book you could get. Getting up to 50 or 80 push-ups is an endurance goal. Doing 50 of anything will do little for your maximal strength. Strength is built with high intensity work, and high intensity work cannot be done for that many reps.


If we're talking about max strength: yes. But 50 pushups for a grown up male would be gpp, which is also important. Jim Wendler (!) mentioned once that his dad wouldn't let him touch a weight before he could do 100 pushups. the same goes for 10 pull ups really.

Oh, and starting strength is designed to make skinny athletes put on a lot of weight. Without eating for it, you'll stall farily quickly. Nothing wrong with that and I love starting strength, but it is made for a specific purpose. I'm all about weightlifting, but not everybody needs to bench and squat heavy (I do :P ).
“Human beings make life so interesting. Do you know, that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to invent boredom.”

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Nath
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Re: Starting to get fit

Postby Nath » Sun Jul 29, 2012 12:31 pm UTC

Linear progression is not exclusive to skinny athletes; anybody looking to get stronger would benefit from a few weeks of LP before moving on to more elaborate programming. Skinny beginners can stretch it out for longer, is all.

Max strength work plus some hard conditioning (see examples above) is pretty adequate GPP for the vast majority of human adults. I see no reason to do muscular endurance stuff like high rep push ups; weight training can scale down to raw beginners.


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