Questions about workouts/materials/etc.

  • slooksterpsv

    Posts: 3

    Apr 21, 2008 1:34 AM GMT
    Hey all,

    I have a few questions about workouts and that. I've really let myself go and am now getting stretch marks on my sides and that, so I'm cutting down on sugary drinks (soda, espresso, etc.) and drinking better liquids. I just have a few questions:

    1. I have leg weights that you wear when working out, can I wear those out when I go walking and that? Would it help to build muscle/lose weight?

    2. Do I need to cut coffee completely out of my diet or can I drink it in moderation ([2] 6oz. cups a day, M-F)?

    3. Do I need to go to a gym or can I do simple exercises at home that don't require gym equipment? E.g. push-ups, sit-ups, jumping-jacks, yoga, etc.

    4. When is the best time to start exercising - right after I wake up (thinking of 15 min. morning yoga), afternoon (after work), or at night?

    5. Last question: will taking hot baths have any effect on me losing weight?

    Thanks you guys.

    --Shawn
  • UncleverName

    Posts: 741

    Apr 21, 2008 3:56 AM GMT
    Hey Shawn

    I don't know too much about you, other than what you've posted in your profile. A picture would probably help a bit more.

    At this point, if you haven't been exercising, then it probably doesn't matter too much what you do as long as you do something.

    I'm guessing that wearing those weights on your legs all over the place won't help too much. It shouldn't hurt, but I don't think it will help much.

    Drinking 2 cups of coffee a day probably isn't going to hurt you too much. Caffeine from the coffee will dehydrate you, which makes your body work less efficiently. If you do drink the coffee, it's best to drink at least one cup of water for each cup of coffee. But that's probably good advice no matter what.

    You don't need to go to a gym, but I suspect you'll get limited in what you can do at home. Do a google search for a home workout plan, or check on bodybuilding.com. You'll get lots of good tips there. Pushups, situps, jumping jacks, running, jogging, walking, all of these are great. The thing that really matters is intensity and volume. So you can walk instead of run, but you'd need to walk for twice as long as if you ran.

    The time you pick to work out doesn't matter too much. Pick a time that works best for you. I don't generally like to work out first thing in the morning, so I don't. If someone told me it would be more efficient for me, I probably still wouldn't, because it doesn't work for me and it's hard enough to get in a work out some days. Do it at the time that fits you best.

    I don't know for sure, but I doubt that a hot bath will affect your weight either way.

    My understanding is that you need to burn about 3500 calories to lose 1Lb in a one week period. For me, that means doing about 4 hours of running in one week, at about 6 miles per hour.

    Hopefully someone else more knowledgeable will chime in with more thought out info on how many calories you burn doing different exercises. The thing to keep in mind is, you need to either do tons of exercise to lose weight, or drastically reduce the amount of calories you are consuming (meaning how much you eat), or do both. For most people, I think they tend to do both.

    Something else to be aware of is that doing weighted exercises (even those using your body weight) can boost your metabolism, which will help you to lose the weight faster.

    Hope that helps. Good luck.
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Apr 21, 2008 4:55 AM GMT
    1) The leg weights might help a little, but are probably not going to be a big change. Walking isn't really a way to build much muscle, because if you're at all active, your legs and your butt have already adapted to being able to lift your weight. The additional pound or two from leg weights won't make a big difference to that, but at the same point, every little bit can help.

    2) Coffee gets a rap for causing much more dehydration than has ever been shown. Caffeine is a diuretic, but that's not the same thing as saying that drinks which contain caffeine are diuretic--these drinks also contain a lot of water, and in most cases will result in a net gain in hydration. 2 cups a day will be unlikely to have a significant impact on your level of hydration.

    3) You can do workouts with very little equipment. Pushups, chinups, dips, lunges, running, jumping rope are all good things for an exercise regimen. That being said, if you're trying to gain muscle, you need to use enough weight that your muscles are fatigued after some set number of repetitions, usually a number less than or equal to 12. Women are much more likely to be able to get to that weight by, say, filling a laundry detergent bottle with water or sand than men are, but you could try. You can also probably get by with just a few dumbbells of the weights you need (which will depend on the exercises you're doing with them and how strong you already are). There's also something of a psychological effect; having a gym where you workout and you only workout (whether it's a normal gym or a home gym in your garage or basement or whatnot) will put you in the mindset of working out whenever you enter.

    4) The best time to work out is whenever you will actually do it. While it's possible that there are some physiological differences between working out at 7am and 1pm and 5pm and 9pm, they are almost certainly going to be dwarfed by the differences of not actually doing a workout because the time just doesn't work well for you. The only thing I'd seriously consider is how soon before your workout you last ate is; too short of a time and you're much more likely to get nauseous, and your blood's been diverted away from your muscles and toward your digestive system anyway.

    5) I can think of no direct reason why hot baths should have anything to do with weight loss. Indirectly, a hot bath after a run is a good way to avoid cramping up the next day, so I suppose the hot bath could end up aiding your weight loss by making it that much more likely you'll be physically active the following day.

    As far the previous comment, yes, 3500 calories are equal to a pound of fat. Therefore, burning 500 more calories a day than you consume will result in losing a pound a week, and this is about the upper limit at which that will be sustained. Both walking and running burn somewhere around 100 calories per mile (so running will obviously burn the calories faster, but you're probably not going to keep up a run as long as you can keep up a walk), and that's a relatively good way to gauge many other aerobic activities. Work at the level of exertion it takes you to run a mile in 10 minutes, and you're in the 600 calories per hour window. An 8 minute miles would instead be around 750 calories per hour. And so on. Keep this in mind when trying to estimate the calories burned in a given activity.