ams: getting fit

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ams: getting fit

Postby ams » Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:16 am UTC

I've tried this a couple of times before and flamed out both times, but I really want to make this work. I'm trying to get healthier, and I want to document and share my efforts and results.

The Particulars
Age 26 years
Sex male
Height 6'0" (approximately 183 cm)
Weight 244 lbs. (approximately 111 kg)

I've been tracking my weight since Jan. 1, and I plan to post monthly graphs of my daily weigh-ins and my seven-day average. Now, my weight measurements have to be taken with a grain of salt. My bathroom scale has given me measurements separated by as much as 3 pounds within 10 seconds. But it gives me a decent way to compare over a longer period of time.

The Goal
My long-term goal is to get my weight below 200 lbs. and keep it there. I have no idea how long that might take, so I want to set intermediate benchmarks -- preferably ambitious but attainable. My goal for the first quarter is to get my weight under 230 lbs.

The Plan
I'm going to renew my gym membership when I get paid Friday and make a habit of exercising after work and on weekends. My goal is to make it to the gym five days each week. There's an indoor pool locally, so when stores start carrying swimwear, I'm going to buy a pair of trunks. I plan on biking some when the weather becomes more favorable. I also have some tennis gear and a friend to play against when I need a change of pace.

Diet is trickier. I'm working to eliminate most junk food, but I still get cravings, especially after long Tuesdays at work. I also struggle with portion control, even on homemade meals. I live alone, but all of the recipes I have are for family-sized meals. That leaves me with a lot of leftovers, and I hate to eat the same leftovers for multiple meals.

I think I'm going to try keeping a journal of what I eat and my workouts. I plan to post weekly progress reports each Saturday and monthly graphs of my weight.

How You Can Help
Check my progress reports. Hold me accountable. Offer me advice. And remind me that it is totally worth all the work.
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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby Solt » Thu Jan 27, 2011 9:26 am UTC

ams wrote:Diet is trickier. I'm working to eliminate most junk food, but I still get cravings, especially after long Tuesdays at work. I also struggle with portion control, even on homemade meals. I live alone, but all of the recipes I have are for family-sized meals. That leaves me with a lot of leftovers, and I hate to eat the same leftovers for multiple meals.


If you can cut out all (or most) junk food, while leaving your meal portions the same, I bet the exercise will more than take care of the rest.
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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby Ulc » Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:33 am UTC

Just a quick thing on weighing, if you're weighing every day, the water balance noise will be far larger than your actual weight losses. This is probably still the case if you only step on the weight once every week, so take a rolling average of the data to eliminate the noise.

For each data point, simply make a datapoint that is the average of the last five (or more) datapoints and plot that instead. That should smooth out the noise from water balance and poor scale. . Of course, each datapoint will then be giving you the actual weight with a lag of x/2 days (where x is the number of datapoints used in each average)
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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby ams » Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:02 pm UTC

Ulc wrote:For each data point, simply make a datapoint that is the average of the last five (or more) datapoints and plot that instead. That should smooth out the noise from water balance and poor scale. . Of course, each datapoint will then be giving you the actual weight with a lag of x/2 days (where x is the number of datapoints used in each average)

My graph shows two lines: actual daily weight and rolling 7-day average. The last time I tried this, I used a weighted average, but that got tricky if I missed a weigh-in. And, yeah, the 7-day average has a lot less noise.
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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby Drake » Fri Jan 28, 2011 9:49 pm UTC

ams wrote:The Plan
I'm going to renew my gym membership when I get paid Friday and make a habit of exercising after work and on weekends. My goal is to make it to the gym five days each week. There's an indoor pool locally, so when stores start carrying swimwear, I'm going to buy a pair of trunks. I plan on biking some when the weather becomes more favorable. I also have some tennis gear and a friend to play against when I need a change of pace.


No need to wait for swim wear, just use a pair of nylon exercise shorts. They'll be just as bad as any pair of boxy swim trunks.

ams wrote:Diet is trickier. I'm working to eliminate most junk food, but I still get cravings, especially after long Tuesdays at work. I also struggle with portion control, even on homemade meals. I live alone, but all of the recipes I have are for family-sized meals. That leaves me with a lot of leftovers, and I hate to eat the same leftovers for multiple meals.

I think I'm going to try keeping a journal of what I eat and my workouts. I plan to post weekly progress reports each Saturday and monthly graphs of my weight.


Only know how to make family sized meals? Me too! Make freezer-friendly recipes, and freeze most of what you make in either inexpensive 'disposable' Tupperware or zip lock bags. That way you can manage your portions, and not have to worry about the same stale left overs for three days in a row. Plus when you get super busy, or come home late, heating up the left overs will be faster and cheaper (and healthier) then ordering a pizza!

ams wrote:How You Can Help
Check my progress reports. Hold me accountable. Offer me advice. And remind me that it is totally worth all the work.


Good Luck!!
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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby shocklocks » Sat Jan 29, 2011 5:14 am UTC

I don't even understand how someone can only make family sized meals. If it isn't feasible to freeze them or keep the in the fridge for a few days then just cook less...
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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby _Axle_ » Sat Jan 29, 2011 6:43 am UTC

To start ... Good luck.

Feedback :
Goal :
So far in my eating healthier/working out, I have been doing about 1lb ( give or take a little ) a week, so if you think of that as a rough basis of planning. Anything more than 2 lbs is a lot ( I think ).

Plan :
Find something you like/fun to do. If all you think about is "Oh great, gym again", you will most likely stop going. I think the 5 days a week for the gym is a lot to start going and a strict plan. If you can keep it up, its good, but I think 3-4 might be more reasonable.

Diet is always the tricky part. I would say try and fix bad parts, but don't try and do a complete 180 and expect it to work. I still have Chips or Chips and Salsa as snacks. I just pay attention how much I eat. I generally have like 1 serving of chips and a couple ounces of salsa ( I don't measure exactly, but rough estimate ). I also cook for just myself and I am trying to find more meals to eat, without wasting anything. I can generally eat the same dinner 3-4 times in a row before I get sick of it.

Again, good luck on your weight loss
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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby ams » Sat Jan 29, 2011 2:21 pm UTC

My seven-day average this morning is 242.4 lbs. That's basically unchanged from a week ago, but I did implement some changes that should help make progress. I started keeping a log of what and how much I eat, with calories if known, and any exercise I get. I also restarted my gym membership yesterday and spent 30 minutes on an elliptical machine. I was a little stiff this morning when it was time to get out of bed, but not really sore.

This coming week my goals are to continue my daily weigh-ins and log, go to the gym a minimum of four times, and organize an actual plan for my workouts. You can expect my January graph on Monday.

_Axle_ wrote:So far in my eating healthier/working out, I have been doing about 1lb ( give or take a little ) a week, so if you think of that as a rough basis of planning. Anything more than 2 lbs is a lot ( I think ).

Well, I basically have 9 more weeks in the first quarter to lose 13 lbs. if I'm going to get below 230. I think I can do it without overwhelming myself. If I can't, I'll have to adjust my goal.

Does anyone have any advice on how I should try to balance weights and cardio?
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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby TheNorm05 » Sat Jan 29, 2011 4:07 pm UTC

ams wrote:Diet is trickier. I'm working to eliminate most junk food, but I still get cravings, especially after long Tuesdays at work. I also struggle with portion control, even on homemade meals. I live alone, but all of the recipes I have are for family-sized meals. That leaves me with a lot of leftovers, and I hate to eat the same leftovers for multiple meals.


What's good to know, is that after about a month of not eating junk you really stop craving it as much anyway. When I go home for the summer I'll drink soda, eat tons of sugary breads and candy... but then I get out to where I go to school, and I have my own shopping list that never includes those things. And for the first week or two I think to myself "DAMN! I go for a donut right now!". But that goes away and I build a new palette based on foods that I eat regularly. I still have some sugar in my diet => occasional fruit juice and canned/fresh/frozen fruit. I don't drink juice very often, water is more cost effective, but when I do it's usually a la smoothie. Keep your head up and do some damage. ;)

As per balancing weights/strength training and cardio, it's not too difficult. You more or less want to alternate what sections of the body you use so your not doing the same routine everyday, instead it's every other day or every 2 days. You seem to be pretty large, so when you start working out(say cardio) your body is going to have to work against that gravity and it will burn quite a few calories if done correctly and in the process begin building muscle. This is all great, except you need to give it a day or two to recover after a hard exercise as the first weeks likely will be. So lets say you did a mix of jogging and walking today, tomorrow you night want to do some weights for your upper body and ab work, or alternately, just weights for the chest up, then next day a core work out. And you'd just cycle through this every 2-3 days, whichever you think is more beneficial. What I do in this regard is I have a 3 day focus, but everyday, I commit like 15 minutes to the things I did the day before out of the hour or so I work out. I do this so I can warm up those muscles really well and stretch.
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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby ams » Sat Jan 29, 2011 10:44 pm UTC

Today has been a good day for me. It's beautiful outside; a near-record high, in fact. So I rode my bike to the gym. I'm not going to do that again, though, because I forgot about the hill on my way home that I struggle with even at full strength. I did about 30 minutes again on an elliptical machine. About an hour later, I felt stiffness creeping in, so I went for a leisurely stroll for 30 minutes to keep loose, and it feels like it worked.

I also found a really simple weight lifting plan that I think I can stick to.
http://newbie-fitness.blogspot.com/2007/01/stripped-5x5.html
My plan is to lift Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday, and do cardio Monday and Thursday, with rest days Tuesday and Saturday. Is there any reason this plan shouldn't work if I stick to it?
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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby shocklocks » Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:14 am UTC

Looks pretty solid. As long as the cardio isn't overly tiring and you structure your warm up sets properly for the lifting.
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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby ams » Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:14 pm UTC

I went in for my first session of lifting yesterday, and it was embarrassing. I pushed as much as I could without straining myself, and at one point I was afraid I had strained something, but I still couldn't lift as much as I ought to. My heaviest set on deadlift was 145; bent-over rows (dumbells), 50; and military press, 85. I'm really glad there was nobody else there to see me struggle. But I guess that's all the more reason to keep lifting. I'm kind of surprised that I'm not really sore today, just kind of stiff in places.

Anyway, here's my graph for January.
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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby TheNorm05 » Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:48 pm UTC

ams wrote:I went in for my first session of lifting yesterday, and it was embarrassing. I pushed as much as I could without straining myself, and at one point I was afraid I had strained something, but I still couldn't lift as much as I ought to. My heaviest set on deadlift was 145; bent-over rows (dumbells), 50; and military press, 85. I'm really glad there was nobody else there to see me struggle. But I guess that's all the more reason to keep lifting. I'm kind of surprised that I'm not really sore today, just kind of stiff in places.

Anyway, here's my graph for January.


I'm smaller, and I lift way less. Most people aren't great at lifting weights, and people who just started aren't expected to be really good at lifting. People at a gym might be, but that's like asking people who go to a gym if exercise is important and calling it a random sample. You shouldn't be embarrassed to work out, because being willing to change yourself for the better is something to take pride in. I like the routine you set for yourself. Rest days are good to have at all stages of health and weight, though I recommend doing a thorough 10-15 minute warm up and stretch on those days as well. Flexibility really helps when it comes to avoiding work-out related injuries, and doing it every day can only make it better.
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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby ams » Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:55 am UTC

TheNorm05 wrote:I'm smaller, and I lift way less. Most people aren't great at lifting weights, and people who just started aren't expected to be really good at lifting. People at a gym might be, but that's like asking people who go to a gym if exercise is important and calling it a random sample. You shouldn't be embarrassed to work out, because being willing to change yourself for the better is something to take pride in.

I'll try to keep that in mind.

Today's workout actually felt great. I did about 30 minutes on the elliptical machine, at the same kind of pace I did Friday and Saturday, but it felt so much better. I can tell I exerted myself, but I don't feel totally spent. I'm not sure why I felt so good during and feel so good now compared to Friday and Saturday.

Edit: I definitely feel ready for tomorrow's rest day, although I'll try to get in some light cardio.
Edit 2: I felt like cookies were assaulting me from all sides today. There was a tray of cookies at the county commission meeting, then my editor brought cookies to office after lunch. But I was a rock. It helped that the cookies at the meeting were store-bought and the ones at the office were chocolate with white-chocolate chips. Ew.
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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby Nath » Tue Feb 01, 2011 2:59 am UTC

I like the lifting program. Ramping 5x5s are the backbone of many old-school strength programs.

Do you already know the lifts well, or have a workout partner who does? If not, you should probably pick up Starting Strength. It'd be a shame to waste your time doing the silly quarter squats you usually see people do in gyms. It's also helpful to post form checks on forums, if you have a camera.

Those starting weights are not embarrassing. I started in a similar place. You don't want to start a linear progression lifting close to your maximum weights; you want to start relatively light, build up some momentum, and get your form dialed in by the time the weight gets heavy. Some programs even start with an empty bar (though I think this is overkill).
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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby TheNorm05 » Wed Feb 02, 2011 6:17 am UTC

I agree with Nath. Starting light is pretty necessary, simply because when most people start they need time to start slowly building up muscle and the mitochondria count. If you try lifting more than you should you just hurt yourself and end up taking a set-back by needing to rest for weeks at a time. Lifting shouldn't feel easy, but it shouldn't be painful either.
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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Wed Feb 02, 2011 6:40 am UTC

We're similar build, it seems, so yeah, cutting out the junk food is key. Also, limiting and moderating your calorie intake at mealtimes. Large spikes of calories at one meal, and tiny other meals can really screw with my hunger and energy levels, ESPECIALLY energy. I've learned a lot about what messes with my energy levels, since I'm so used to CONSTANT fat and carb intake.

As for starting light, don't increase your amount right away either. For three months my bike ride to work was all of my cardio, and I didn't try to go FARTHER, because it was still hard, BUT I had made a lot of progress with the power in my legs. I'm focusing more on gaining muscle and losing fat right now, and then I'll build endurance and explosive force, really working with all the muscle I gained in Stage 1.

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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby Nath » Wed Feb 02, 2011 7:34 am UTC

Ha. I know this is a lot of contradictory advice, but my last post seems a little unclear. I didn't mean to start ultra-light and stay at that weight until your form is perfect; you should be getting some adaptive stress from day one. Here's the Starting Strength model for deciding your starting weight, to the best of my memory:

Day one: Start with the bar. Do a set of five.
If the bar moves quickly and form is reasonable, put 10 more pounds on the bar. Do another set.
Keep doing this until the bar starts to slow down. This is your final weight for day one. Perform your work sets and go home.

Days two and after: Add 5-10lb to what you did the previous workout.

For an untrained person, this will be enough to provide a reasonable challenge and stimulate some progress, right from day one. This is the time to be getting aggressively stronger, since this is your chance to take advantage of novice gains. As long as your form doesn't break down, you will not get injured. At your size, you can add up to 50lb a month to your deadlift and squat over the next couple of months. Things will get a lot slower after that.

TLDR: unless you were really struggling with those weights, I think that's a perfectly reasonable place to start.
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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby ams » Wed Feb 02, 2011 1:03 pm UTC

I didn't really struggle that much, just with the last couple of reps on my heaviest sets. And the only time I was in any pain was when I thought I strained my neck while trying to get a better look at my form on the bent-over rows, but that went away in like a minute. I had a little bit of soreness in my back Monday and Tuesday, but it seems to be all gone now, which is good because today is my day for lift routine B (squats, bench, and chin-ups/pull-ups/lat pull-downs). There's no way I'm going to be able to do pull-ups or chin-ups, and the gym doesn't have an assisted machine for them. Any thoughts how much I should start with on the lat pull-down machine?

Yesterday I slipped a little bit on my diet. I forgot to take my dinner with me when I went back to work from lunch, and I didn't get out until 7:30. So when I was on my way home, I couldn't muster the willpower to just drive past the convenience store.
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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby Nath » Wed Feb 02, 2011 6:56 pm UTC

Were you checking your form in a mirror? That's not recommended, for precisely this reason. Even if the mirror is in front of you, it's a bad habit to look into it while lifting. You want to monitor your form mostly by feel, and if you have a camera, through recordings. You can mimic the motion in front of a mirror to make sure your body is doing what you think, but it's never a good idea with your actual work sets.

If you're using the lat pull-down machine, I'd start basically the same way as for any other compound lift: choose a weight you can do for three not desperately hard sets of five, and increase every workout. But I'm not sure they are necessary here; the rows hit a lot of the same stuff, and there are more direct ways to work up to chins. This thread has some ideas (e.g. bands, horizontal pull-ups, negatives).

Or you could even put off the chin-ups for the time being, and wait till the rows and weight loss make you strong enough to do them. You can use the time to do some other exercise of your choosing. For example, a dynamic lift like the power clean or power snatch, if you have a way to learn them. (If not, the dumbbell versions can work in a pinch, and can be done for higher reps as a conditioning workout as well).
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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby ams » Thu Feb 03, 2011 12:07 am UTC

Nath wrote:Were you checking your form in a mirror? That's not recommended, for precisely this reason. Even if the mirror is in front of you, it's a bad habit to look into it while lifting. You want to monitor your form mostly by feel, and if you have a camera, through recordings. You can mimic the motion in front of a mirror to make sure your body is doing what you think, but it's never a good idea with your actual work sets.

Nah, I was trying to look back at my arm, to see if I was getting it past parallel with the ground on the rows.

Today's lifts beat me up pretty good. I'm sure my hamstrings are going to be sore tomorrow, at the least. On the plus side, all of my lifts today were above 100 lbs.: squats, 115; bench press, 105; and pull-downs, 115. I feel like my squats should be better than that, but I guess I'll have to work on it. All things considered, I'm happy with my starting bench press numbers.

An oddity from today: despite not exercising yesterday and indulging with junk food, today my weight was 238.6 lbs., my lowest of the year by a full 2 lbs. I think dehydration may have played a part, though. It's so cold and dry here right now that it's hard to keep enough fluids in me.
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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby ams » Sat Feb 05, 2011 1:29 pm UTC

My seven-day average this morning is 239.7 lbs., down 2.7 from a week ago and under 240!

I'm not as sore or stiff today. I really backed off the weights on my lifts last night, because I was still really sore from Wednesday, especially in my quadriceps. I switched from barbell to dumbbells for military press, and I definitely prefer it that way.

Watching my diet has been the easy part, really. Keeping a food journal is really helping me be more conscious of what I'm eating. Planning my meals paid off, too, because then I wasn't eating as much junk food. And I found that I really don't need to snack much to satisfy my hunger.
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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby ams » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:43 am UTC

I had a good workout today, as I continue to follow my scheduled workouts. I was free of soreness, and I was able to post a new personal best in deadlift (155 lbs.) and match my best on dumbbell bent-over rows (50 lbs. per arm). I've switched to dumbbells for overhead press, and maxed at 35 lbs. per arm. I also got some exercise shoveling snow. We got somewhere between 15 and 20 inches yesterday.

My weight loss has stalled, but I can blame that on my diet a bit. I overate at the Superbowl party I went to, and again yesterday when I was stuck at work, unable to go home for lunch. Also, on Saturday I made the mistake of eating at Quizno's while I was out of town. Whenever I go there, I get the chicken carbonara, it's just so tasty. It also has 840 calories for a regular-size sandwich.
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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby TheNorm05 » Thu Feb 10, 2011 6:01 am UTC

Nice. You deadlift 10 pounds more than I am. Been stretching well?
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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby ams » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:39 pm UTC

TheNorm05 wrote:Nice. You deadlift 10 pounds more than I am. Been stretching well?

I've made a point of stretching, but I don't know how "well." My back feels surprisingly good today, considering lifting and shoveling snow yesterday, though.
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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby ams » Sat Feb 12, 2011 2:02 pm UTC

Time for my weekly progress report. My seven-day average is 238.4 lbs., down 1.3 lbs. from a week ago and 5.5 lbs. from my highest average of the year. My average has remained the same or gone down every day for the past 16 days, which is good to see. The declines have slowed down a lot since the fifth, but they're still there, which is reassuring.

Good things this week: I was satisfied with all my workouts, and I haven't been sore. Yesterday I set new personal bests, since high school anyway, on squats (125 lbs.), bench press (115 lbs.), and lat pulldowns (130 lbs.). I mostly did a better job with portion control. Last weekend I got some smaller containers for leftovers, and I split the leftovers of a couple of meals into two meals.

Bad things this week: My biggest problem this week was last night. I ordered a pizza, planning to make it last three meals, but then I ate all but two slices.

Plans for the coming week: Keep doing what I have been and try to avoid slip-ups. The only day that should be a problem is Monday. I have to cover school board at 5 p.m., but I should be able to work out afterward. Ordinarily the meeting is at 7 p.m., and I would work out between the regular work day and the meeting, but this might actually be better.
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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby TheNorm05 » Thu Feb 17, 2011 9:18 am UTC

Good deal man. Remember that when you do strength training, it's hard to see weight-loss immediately in some cases because as you put on muscle you offset losses in fat somewhat. I don't mean to use this as any sort of excuse, but there is some truth to it. The more muscle mass you have the more calories you'll burn so it has a nice snowball effect if you can really get it going. Continue to push yourself to do you best.
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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby ams » Fri Feb 18, 2011 2:08 am UTC

TheNorm05 wrote:Good deal man. Remember that when you do strength training, it's hard to see weight-loss immediately in some cases because as you put on muscle you offset losses in fat somewhat. I don't mean to use this as any sort of excuse, but there is some truth to it. The more muscle mass you have the more calories you'll burn so it has a nice snowball effect if you can really get it going. Continue to push yourself to do you best.

Yeah, I'm trying not to worry too much. Work hard and results will happen. Today I had a really good cardio workout. Still on the elliptical machine because my tennis buddy couldn't meet up, but it went well. I'm at three weeks now with my 7-day average holding steady or declining every day. My February chart is a lot more refreshing than my January chart.
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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby ams » Sat Feb 19, 2011 10:28 pm UTC

Not a lot to report this week. My 7-day average this morning was 236.6, down 1.8 pounds from a week ago. I probably overate a little bit this week.
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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby ams » Sat Feb 26, 2011 2:56 pm UTC

Overall, I had a good week. My seven-day average today is 235.1 lbs., down 1.5 lbs. from a week ago and 8.8 lbs. from my peak, so I'm still making steady progress. If I can keep it up, I have a shot at making my goal of <230 lbs. by April 1. I overate again on Tuesday, and I don't know what to do to keep myself from doing that. It ended up ruining my streak of consecutive days without having my seven-day average go up. The streak came to a stop at 27 days.

My lifts kind of stagnated this week, especially routine B from Sunday to yesterday. I actually had to back off on bench press to 115 lbs. because I was in the only one in the gym and didn't have a spotter. I probably could have done 125, but I didn't want to risk it all alone. But! I was able to do a pull-up yesterday!

My cardio workouts continue to get better. I'm able to push myself faster without feeling exhausted, and without my heart rate climbing as high. I still have a long way to go to meet my goals, but, all-in-all, I feel a lot healthier than I did a month ago.
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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby TheNorm05 » Sat Feb 26, 2011 10:48 pm UTC

235 pounds is a huge pull up from a months work. As per over-eating, it's likely your survival brain working against your calorie deficit. To lose weight, you at some point need to use more calories than you replenish. As you "starve" your body will do all sorts of things to slow the effect. It will make you sleepy more often to try and make you conserve energy, or try and make you eat more when there's more food available. There was a time when the ability to put on weight more easily was better suited for survival, but in much of the industrialized world where food is in abundance this is no longer a benefit while the genetics and the instinct remain.

Keep working at it. Eventually your body will adjust to a new normal state and the need to eat will take a back seat, at least that was my experience some years back.
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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby ams » Mon Feb 28, 2011 2:01 pm UTC

Here's my chart for February, much better than January. I have about 5 lbs. to go to meet my intermediate goal of 230 lbs. by April 1.
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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby ams » Fri Mar 04, 2011 12:32 am UTC

I switched things up today. Rather than go to the gym and hop on a piece of equipment, I played an 8-game set of tennis with one of my friends. I lost, 8-2, but it was a good workout and more fun.
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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby jjfortherear » Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:37 am UTC

Really cool to see the graphs with consistent results, and it's awesome you're keeping up with it. If you want to strength train, hold off on using weights until you see some definition. IE, do pullups/pushups rather than lifting. Otherwise, you may have a tendency not to lose as much weight as you'd like. And don't compromise aerobic exercise to strength train if your goal is to lose weight.
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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby ams » Tue Mar 22, 2011 12:15 pm UTC

jjfortherear wrote:Really cool to see the graphs with consistent results, and it's awesome you're keeping up with it. If you want to strength train, hold off on using weights until you see some definition. IE, do pullups/pushups rather than lifting. Otherwise, you may have a tendency not to lose as much weight as you'd like. And don't compromise aerobic exercise to strength train if your goal is to lose weight.
I've backslid a bit this month. I haven't forced myself to go to the gym like I should, and it shows in the results. It has been a crazy couple of weeks at work. If I have a single day this week that I don't work late, I'll consider myself lucky.
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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby ams » Sun Jan 15, 2012 4:14 pm UTC

Well, crap. Here I am again. 2011 started off so promising, but then my day-to-day life got tough, and all that progress vanished into thin air. And now I'm the heaviest I've ever been. I'm starting over from square one. Again. But the other parts of my life are better now. I have a wonderful girlfriend, I got promoted at work (very little extra stress with considerably more pay, and a much more consistent schedule, YAY!), both of my siblings got married, bringing in a step-niece and two step-nephews, with a nephew on the way (today is the due date, but it doesn't sound promising for today), I'm in a nicer house, and I finally saved up enough to buy a camera for non-work use.

I restarted my gym membership Friday, committing to a six-month contract. I've been in each day this weekend for 30 minutes on the elliptical machine, and I've already seen progress of not running out of breath as fast. I have a rough outline of a plan already, but I need to work out the specifics for weightlifting: Sunday, cardio; Monday, weights A; Tuesday, rest; Wednesday, cardio; Thursday, weights B; Friday, rest; Saturday, wildcard. By wildcard, I mean something not at the gym, something more recreational. That could be swimming (the pool in town is indoors, but hours are pretty limited), riding my bike, walking around the lake outside town, playing tennis, whatever.

I also took a small step to improve my diet yesterday. I bought several smaller containers for leftovers, so I can split meals that I usually overeat in two sittings into three smaller portions.

My seven-day average this morning was 253.2 pounds. My short-term goal is to get that below 240. My long-term goal, probably taking more than a year to reach, is to get below 200 pounds. I would have to lose more than a pound per week on average to get there before New Year's, doable, but I'm not going to sweat it as long as I make good progress. I plan on updating this thread every Sunday with my progress.
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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby Fossa » Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:38 am UTC

Hi AMS, sorry to hear you fell off your routine. It happens. Most major lapses happen in the first six months of a new routine. If you can stick it out through the end of your contract you'll have a much easier time of things.

One thing I'd highly recommend (especially now that you've got more money) is finding a trainer to work with you on your goals. They can help design a program that will help you reach your goals faster and stave off boredom. They can also hold you accountable when you let things slide which can be helpful.

Unfortunately, finding a good trainer can be tricky. A bad trainer can be a waste of money and a pain in the ass, so you need to be careful if you go this route. I recommend finding you know who has someone they can recommend. If all else fails look for someone with an NASM or ACSM certification, NASM being more suited for your goals.

Failing that, there's a few things you could do to help.

1) Up your cardio. Two days a week simply isn't enough particularly when weight loss is your primary goal. If you're already going to the gym on Mondays and Thursdays do at least 15 minutes of cardio before you switch over to resistance training. This will also help warm you up so you don't pull anything during training.

2) Get a nice water bottle and take it with you everywhere. If tap water in your area is less-than-awesome you can get a filtering bottle like a Hydros. Always have water with you and get used to drinking it. Drinking water in place of other drinks can have a pretty drastic change on your calorie intake without feeling like a diet. As an added bonus it will help out your general health if you're drinking fewer sugary drinks.

3) Make sure you're active on your rest days as well. For my clients it's termed "Light Active Recovery" which is a fancy way of saying "Don't sit on your ass". It doesn't have to be intense or hard work, but make sure you get at least 30 minutes of activity throughout the day in blocks no smaller than 10 minutes apiece. This can be as simple as going for a short walk in the morning or afternoon. It will actually help you recover faster than simple rest alone and it will help you towards your weight loss goals.

I wish you the best of luck and I'll be checking in from time to time. If you have any questions for me I'm always happy to help, but please understand that since you aren't actually a client of mine, legally I cannot accept any responsibility or liability for the outcome of your training.
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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:10 am UTC

I've fallen off countless times (I've fallen off right now, thanks to suddenly being an unemployed bum) but you're getting back on, just like me. Go us!
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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby ams » Fri Jan 20, 2012 2:09 am UTC

I had a great workout today, which was exactly what I needed after the way work went. I started with a light cardio warmup, then did weightlifting routine A: 5x5 deadlift (final set at 155 lbs.), 5x5 dumbell bent-over rows (final set at 45 lbs.), and 5x5 dumbell shoulder press (final set at 70 lbs. combined). I finished with 30 minutes of cardio.

Based on how tonight went, I'm thinking of revising my workout plan to get me more of both resistance training and cardio. The tentative plan is Sunday, recreational exercise; Monday, weightlifting A/B and 30 minutes of cardio; Tuesday, rest/light activity; Wednesday, recreational exercise; Thursday, weightlifting B/A and 30 minutes of cardio; Friday, rest/light activity; and Saturday, weightlifting A/B and 30 minutes of cardio. Like I talked about before, the recreational exercise days could be just about anything: swimming, cycling, hiking, tennis, etc.

Oh, and my new nephew arrived yesterday at 8 lbs., 15 ounces. I might try to visit this weekend.
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Re: ams: getting fit

Postby philsov » Fri Jan 20, 2012 1:45 pm UTC

depending on what else you're doing, 5x5 deadlifts might be overkill
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