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Old 07-12-2005, 03:36 AM   #1
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Getting and staying in shape *sigh*

Anybody out there ever get the "workout woes"? Me and a few of my buddies were hanging out at the pool the other night, gripping about how out of shape we've gotten and tossing around ideas to get and stay motivated when it comes to eating right, working out, etc. With this being said, we decided to do a friendly competition and see who can get in the best shape in 90 days. We took our weights and approx. body fat and we'll see how we fair after the 90 days are up.

So what do you guys do to stay in shape....and more importantly, stay motivated! I'm trying the whole 5 meals a day thing to keep my metabolism up and working out 4-5 days a week. At least 4 of those days involve 40 minutes of cardio and high repetition weight lifting for the remainder of the workout. I'm not trying to get bigger, just build strength and tone up. Any suggestions??[/b]
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Old 07-12-2005, 09:00 AM   #2
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I don't think you need to worry Andos, from your avatar, I'd say you're a real studmuffin :P
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Old 07-12-2005, 09:41 AM   #3
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Man this is a big problem I have. After the birth of my baby girl I have no motivation to do anything but spend time with her and it's not like I can take her to the gym or the park to play some B-Ball or whatever.

I have tried diets, blah blah blah ... and nothing seems to help. I am the heaviest and the most out of shape I have ever been and am starting to get ashamed of myself for letting it get this bad. The only motivation I have right now to get myself into shape is of course my little girl ... I know in a few years she'll be running around like crazy and if I don't drop a few punds I probably won't be able to keep up!!! I'm not obese or anything, but like I said I am the heaviest I have ever been and can definitely tell a difference in my physical abilities!

I'm rambling aren't I? Well I guess what I'm saying is maybe you (if you don't already) should have a kid!!!! HAHAHA they are good motivation in a lot of lifes little curveballs!
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Old 07-12-2005, 09:44 AM   #4
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I have been doing a super circuit workout 3-4 times a week at the gym. The class is about 30 mins. A bit short, but I do push it hard. I have been at it about 4 weeks and have been happy with the results. I have gone from a 36" to 34" since Jan. but I have also been trying to eat a few lean meals a week. Including chinese style stir-frys cooked with minimum oil. Chicken and cashew nut and Pork with Plumb sauce are my favourites. I also do a beef curry which I have with potato and pumpkin curry and have it with rice. All low fat and balanced meat, veg and carbos.

Keep the cardio up.
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Old 07-12-2005, 10:17 AM   #5
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There's a big difference between how much you weigh/body fat% and how good of shape you are in.

If you are just trying to lose weight, that's one thing. If you are trying to get in shape, that's another.

Lose the high rep routine. It won't help nearly as much as other routines can. If you want to become more efficient at burning calories (thus losing weight) you need to build more muscle mass. Don't be scared that you'll have Arnold arms if you go heavy. Trust me, you won't. That takes years to achieve even with roids (which I do not use or condone). There are two basic methods you can use to gain this muscle mass.
  • Low reps with heavy weight.
  • HST (Hypertrophic Specific Training)
HST is my preference as I have used it with success several times. You will gain muscle mass by following the program. But you have to follow it, and not play around with it. If you want more info on it, let me know.

As far as eating 5 meals is concerned. First off, make sure they are clean meals. This means that you are cooking them yourself. It means that they are NOT prepackaged. It means that you have to weigh and measure evrything out AND keep track of it (a log works fine). Also, don't fall for any fad diets; they often do more harm than good. Ask a bodybuilder about fad diets. You'll get an earfull. Stick with 40% of your calories from carbs, 40% protein, 20% fat and you'll do fine. Your best bet would be to find out your Basal Metabolic Rate and go from there. I'll post a link that will allow you to find a ballpark number. Enter in your age and height. For activity level use "sedentery" as this will give you the number closest to your actual BMR. For weight, enter the weight you want to be. If this is more than 10 pounds less than you currently are, then enter in your weight minus 10 pounds (after you lose 5 pounds or so, do it again with the new number).
Click here for calculator.
This is the number of calories you want to eat a day. Weight loss will happen if you stick to the numbers.

Now for the cardio. Don't do intense cardio. The more intensity you add to your cardio, the less efficient your body is at mobilizing fat as an energy source. You would be better off walking on a treadmill with a slight incline for those 40 minutes. You won't burn as many calories, but the calories that you do burn will have come from fat stores and not from catabolism (muscle loss). Also do your cardio first thing in the morning (or whenever you get up) on an empty stomach. Your glycogen levels are depleted at this point and your body is forced to mobilize fat for energy.

Now for the paradoxes and pitfalls...
To gain muscle mass effectively, you need to eat lots of food. Eating lots of food will cause you to gain weight. Not necessarily fat, but weight for sure. If you're doing a weight loss contest, then you need to be as efficient as possible in mobilizing fat in order to burn it for energy.
How much you eat will determine if you gain or lose. What you eat will determine what you gain or lose.

There's a lot more info I could post, but this is getting long enough. If you have any questions, just let me know.
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Old 07-12-2005, 11:11 AM   #6
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My novice advice is to adopt a healthy "lifestyle" (vs. a quick fix diet/workout). I know that's idealistic, but in general I think success will come with a long term change that fits you and your lifestyle. For example, can you see yourself eating 5 meals a day long term? If not, then maybe adapt to something more realistic. If so, then great!

My husband and I have been paying close attention to food lables and cooking at home alot more often (rather than eating processed foods).

Obviously favor frutis and veggies (especially green leafs). Meat is ok done sparingly. Fish is good. Cut down on "junk food" and try to eliminate "fast food". Don't eat past 6 or 7 p.m if you can help it. Eat breakfast. Oatmeal is very good for your body. As are almonds and yogurt.

I still need to work on the exercise part...so no advice from me in that area. (except to take the stairs vs. elevator)
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Old 07-12-2005, 11:22 AM   #7
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no offense, but everyone's body responds differently and the above may not work for you.

Example:
My boyfriend and I have spent the last 7 weeks working out nearly every night. It is nothing big. We started walking 2 miles. The next week we bumped it up to 3. Then we added short jogging sets (all on a track to we knew how far we had gone). I also added lunges, 4 sets of 6 per lap and did a total of 4 laps that included lunges (this is specifically for my butt, my boyfriend doesn't have a butt ) . Then we started going 4 miles with all that other stuff included. Next we did 5 miles walking or 3 miles if we ran 1 of those three miles. By this time, I am doing pretty well. My body has worked out all those kinks (cramping, lack of breath, etc...) that you get when you are first getting in shape. However, my boyfriend has not faired so well. He actually gained two pounds and has not lost inches whereas I've lost inches, shaped up, and though I haven't lost much weight, I know it is because I'm also building muscle mass at the same time.

For eating, we were cooking all our meals. Ate lean meats and I loosly followed the South Beach Diet which I can say has worked for myself and everyone I know who stuck with it. No fried foods, no caffeine, no soda. Minimal milk and juices and LOTS of water. We cheated on our diet about once a week which was for sanity purposes and I think it is why we've been able to keep going instead of give up after a few weeks.

But, my boyfriend is upset because it isn't working as well for him as it is for me. He did have more weight to lose, so that could be a factor. I just wanted to show that what works for one person won't always work for another.

Here are some tips I've heard about trying to lose weight/burn fat:

-use smaller weights for toning up and losing fat but not building muscle (and then there is the opposite as described above, find out which works for you).
-no soda, minimal juice unless it is the kind where you've blended it yourself! Too much sugar everywhere else. Though, I found a wonderful organic apple juice that I think is THE BEST apple juice I've ever had, hehe.
-if you can cut out caffeine completely, at least limit it a lot. This is because caffeine actually slows down your metabolism in the long run. Also, you'll feel better, I promise... it just takes time to kick it.
-absolutly no soda. I don't even have soda on my cheat days.
-if you want to do the 5 meals a day, they need to be small meals. I don't like this because it always leaves me hungry. I like 3 regular meals a day with small healthy snacks inbetween.
-don't eat heavily after 6pm. This is hard because people work, but it is the trueth. unless you work the night shift,...
-be positive! The first few weeks NOTHING could happen. That is the worst because you want something to happen. It will, it just takes some time. The faster you lose weight, the easier it is to put on. You're losing the hard stuff (and not just water weight) when you lose maybe 2 pounds or less a week.
-swim. this is great for you! It works your entire body and is very good on your joints. you'll also lose those love handles a lot faster because of the stretching motions used when you swim.

okay, I'm sure someone knows more than me, so I'll stop rambling! Good luck
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Old 07-12-2005, 12:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
use smaller weights for toning up and losing fat but not building muscle (and then there is the opposite as described above, find out which works for you).
Using lighter weights to "tone up" only burns calories while you are lifting them. Increasing muscle mass burns calories all day.

Quote:
no soda, minimal juice unless it is the kind where you've blended it yourself! Too much sugar everywhere else. Though, I found a wonderful organic apple juice that I think is THE BEST apple juice I've ever had, hehe.
Very good advice, but I'll take it another step. Drink water and nothing else. Calories consumed via liquids do not fill you up. If you are watching calories, this is an easy step to eliminate lots of them thus reducing your net intake, etc.

Quote:
if you want to do the 5 meals a day, they need to be small meals.
Find your BMR and divide that by the number of meals/snacks you are going to have. I usually have a small breakfast after working out in the morning followed by small snacks and a modest lunch with small snacks afterwards. I usually eat half of my daily calories before dinner. This allows me to have a decent sized dinner with my family.

Quote:
swim. this is great for you! It works your entire body and is very good on your joints. you'll also lose those love handles a lot faster because of the stretching motions used when you swim.
Swimming does burn a lot of calories, but the "stretching motions" have nothing to do with losing your love handles.

There's no such thing as spot reducing fatty areas. Doing tons of sit ups will make your back and stomach muscles a lot stronger. It won't give you a six pack unless your diet has you in a negative net caloric intake and you are burning more calories than you are consuming (thus forcing your body to use stored energy a.k.a. fat).
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Old 07-12-2005, 12:26 PM   #9
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the stretching motions actually do help. It lengthens muscles instead of bulking them up. But, I didn't say that correctly. I know people who have gone the bulk up way and they only looked worse because they didn't have a negative net caloric intake. It just added mass to their body and wasn't defined because of their diet. In my opinion you have more leeway in eating when are "creating" longer and leaner muscles and it is good for the everyday person who perhaps isn't quite so diciplined. Myself included!

And I said minimal juice and milk because water just doesn't look appealing after so many glasses. It is for sanity and not falling off the "train."
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Old 07-12-2005, 01:11 PM   #10
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Let me give you guys my stats and you can tell me what you think is reasonable after a 90 day regimen.

5'11.5"
215 lbs
29% body fat (this is not an accurate reading, it came from one of those scales that supposedly measures both. I think it's just taking your height and weight and doing a simple formula).

I used to weight around 175-180 at this height, but this was a few years back. I would love to be back at this weight, but I think it would be doubtful after only 90 days.
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