Discouraged by physical fitness

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 20, 2008 2:33 AM GMT
    Hi, I'm a tall and slim 31 year old guy, and I have just started working out every other day. A while back I had a good run of it but then fell out of the habit after a vacation. icon_confused.gif But now I'm back into it for about a month now.

    I know after a mere month I'm not going to get a perfect body, but I feel so discouraged by the gym. I was a little intimidated at my new gym but I'm over that, I am just *weak*.

    I do thirty minutes on the elliptical machine, then go to the weight machine section. Just starting out I'm not doing anything with free weights yet, but DAMN, the machines are supposed to be the easier exercises! Yet I feel like I'm not doing enough. And sometimes I feel like I'm not doing it right, even though there's little room for error on the machines (I read the instructions and everything lol).

    I do as much weight as I can for twelve reps, for example on the chest-press thing, then kick it up five pounds and do eight more. Sometimes I can't even get the second eight out of myself. It varies day to day.

    I do this for most of the upper body machines and then abs to finish. When I come out of there I'm tired, feel destroyed, but yet feel like I havn't worked anything.

    I am probably not expressing myself too well. I guess I'm turning to you to give me some advice on moving forward, progressing, and doing thing right?
  • NYCguy74

    Posts: 311

    Feb 20, 2008 6:14 AM GMT
    try taking it easier on the cardio, you're spending all your energy there.

    also. eat, height/weight you're similar to me, and i know if if haven't eaten properly earlier in the day I've got no energy at the gym.

    I'll try to do a PB&J or tuna sandwich 1 to 1 1/2 hours before i hit the gym. maybe a piece of fruit with that.
    this on top of a healthy breakfast. and depending on when in the day you work out, make sure you've eaten appropriate meals and snacks.

    also some carbs at the gym, maybe gatorade, but only rarely. also there is power gel, I've used these in the past if i feel myself fading. On that i prefer the clif brand, it's a more natural alternative with organic brown rice sugar as the main ingredient.

    also are you doing the same workout every time? if you're doing a full body workout every other day you're not getting enough "repair" time in for your body. You need to break it up, on example would be a 3 day rotation -

    1. chest / triceps
    --day off--
    2. back / biceps
    --day off--
    3. legs / shoulders
    --day off--
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 20, 2008 10:22 AM GMT
    I concur. No need for the cardio at this point given that you say you are slim already. If you are not physically active, doing that much cardio leaves no energy or strength for hitting the weights afterwards. As for your comments about using the machines, many of the machines at the gym really suck and are designed just for those who are afraid of using real weights. This is especially true of the machines that are more dependent on cables or have electronically controlled weight settings. They tend to have a very unnatural motion and are way too easy to cheat on. Some of the more hardcore machines like the Hammer Strength ones are great but can be intimidating to try. You likely will have better results using lighter free weights (dumbells and barbells). Also, I am not sure you really have a gameplan for your workouts. If you kind of just play around on different machines without thinking out what body parts you are training in each session, it really is not an effective way to work out.
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    Feb 20, 2008 2:51 PM GMT
    Thanks to both. That is helpful.

    I am slim per se, but I do have a concentration of fat around the belly that I try to burn off with the cardio. But you're right that I need to get a better gameplan in order.
  • DiverScience

    Posts: 1426

    Feb 20, 2008 3:04 PM GMT
    If you want to do cardio, it's usually better todo it after.

    Cardio can use more different energy sources than lifting can, as a general rule. So you'll still be able to do cardio after tiring yourself out doing lifting, but not necessarily the reverse.

    Make sure you're hydrated and fed, especially hydrated. Without water, you'll tire much faster.
  • NYCguy74

    Posts: 311

    Feb 20, 2008 3:33 PM GMT
    I've always been slim, and had recently developed a little pudge around the belly button due to lack of gym time and poor eating habits due to schedule and travel for work.
    A change in diet and just doing weights (normally do a 10-15 minute cardio warm-up) and it's mostly gone.

    I've cut way back on my sugars, most of the sugar I'm eating now comes from fruit. I also had already been eating mostly whole grains, but now I'm eating less of them (now takes me over a week to get through a loaf of bread).
    also watch you fat intake make sure it's the good kinds.

    And I've also started eating a lot more veggies. Just be warned when you up your fiber intake, for about the first week or so you'll understand the meaning of the word regular until your body gets used to it.

    And instead of eating a couple HUGE meals, I'll eat reasonable sizes, just more often.

    although the bout with the flu a couple months ago where i ate barely anything for a week helped too, but i don't recommend that at all.

    Google "ABS diet" for some good recipes and eating tips. there are books, but I've just gone with basic guidelines I've found online.

    like the saying goes "a six pack starts in the kitchen" or something like that.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 20, 2008 5:03 PM GMT
    Working out will increase your metabolism reguardless if you do cardio or not.

    One thing I'd recommend doing is keep a journal of your workouts. What I track each day is date, time, my weight, length of work and then for each exercise the name and for each set the number of reps and weight.

    This will help you keep track of things and help to show you your progress. I'll also indicated if I thought the exercise was light and i should go up next week, or if it was good and I should stay there. I have a bad memory, so it helps.

    I also try to keep my workouts to 45-60 min of lifting. When you first get back into it, you should be sore after you workout. If not, you're probably not doing something right. After a while that'll go away though.
  • auryn

    Posts: 2061

    Feb 20, 2008 5:21 PM GMT
    If you are no stranger to weights, I highly recommend the 12 week Muscle Building Workout. Also, read the info on Performance Eating, so you don't lose energy when working out, and look for the other forum topics on this subject. There's a LOT of good info on this site to keep you encouraged.

    Don't worry too much about your body image either, there are plenty of guys that prefer tall thin men.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 20, 2008 5:33 PM GMT
    First off I am guessing your goal is to add muscle?

    Are you doing the same order each day or whatever is available?
    Whats the reason behind the 2 sets?
    What are you eating?
    What rest are you allowing between sets?

    At the moment it seems like you are going through the motions without structure, possibly exhausting small muscles before big muscles and probably neglecting the legs.

    Another great book is New Rules of Lifting as it gives you structure and guidance whatever your goal. If you dont have the spare cash at the second have a look on www.exrx.net it has some good tutorials on structuring routines etc

    Results will help with your motivation but dont expect results without knowing what and why you are doing it
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 20, 2008 6:55 PM GMT
    Also...make sure you keep proper form as much as possible. I've seen a lot of guys who try to push as much iron as they can improperly only to get injured. If there is a particular exercise you don't have proper form, use lighter weights until your can achieve proper form.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 20, 2008 9:20 PM GMT
    Thanks again to all who replied, very helpful stuff. Those of you who ask about the structure of my workout etc...this is a big problem. I think I was trying to just get in the habit and get used to the equipment and make sure I have it all figured out. But I do realize I should just better know what I'm doing beforehand, rather than try to figure it out along the way.

    In answer to other questions, yes I would like to add muscle, but honestly (and a character flaw I'm sure) this is mostly about vanity for me. I don't necessarily have to be a big muscle guy, I just want everything flat and tight basically.

    I eat reasonably well, lots of protein, lots of fiber.

    The 2 sets is because that's what I can do before I putter out. I do big muscle groups first then the smaller (like arms).

    Thanks again, I've already got a lot from this site.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11648

    Feb 21, 2008 11:35 AM GMT
    Sounds to me like you're floundering...
    You're not sure about the equipment
    You're not sure about your goals

    You need some structure to your workouts
    set some goals
    you want to add some muscle mass? How much?
    you want a better 6 pack?
    Bigger arms?

    Ok..now how to get there
    the easiest way if you have the money is hire a trainer
    if not learn about the equipment and the workouts out there and what they do
    this means some research on your part
    take a look at the workouts on here and across the net
    compare them and see which ones interest you

    Now take these and go with it...
    stick to a good workout for a few weeks -- you'll def see results