Where to start?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 04, 2007 1:19 AM GMT
    So, I'm sure this question has been asked before, so, if someone can just point me to that thread, that'd be great. (I'm horrible at doing forum searchs)

    The question is, where do I start? I played basketball and rodeo'd and general ranch work up until I was 21, and never even thought about working out, just because my life in general kept me in shape. Then I moved to the city, got a fast food job, started drinking a LOT of beer. Boyfriend for two years who liked "husky" guys, fast forward 6 years and I woke up one morning realizing I was pudgy.(5'10 240lbs) Ilost about 20 pounds in the last year just cutting back my drinking and walking everywhree I go. So now I'm average at best. In the last 4 months I've lost another 20 pounds just cutting out all the fast food and alcohol in general. I've started going to the gym, but I have NO clue what I'm doin there. I usually ride the elliptical for 40 minutes adn then the rowing machine for another 20 minutes. I wanna start swimming, but not sure how long I should go for for it to be effective. I try to get to the gym at least five days a week. I'd also like to start lifting, but it kinda intimidates me as I don't know what I'm doing or how etiquette in that section works.
    And I just realized that was my life story. Anyway, any specific books on general fitness, dieting, training or links to this basic question already answered would be great!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 04, 2007 3:47 AM GMT
    lol, that was a good story. It sound like you are doing just find and have the right idea. There are tons of info both on here and in the bookstore.

    Its good if you can get a buddy that maybe has been in the gym routine for a while. It can help the motivation too.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 04, 2007 4:05 AM GMT
    This site is a pretty good source for lifting information in general. I recommend Muscle and Fitness magazine. Men's Fitness and Men's health are lifestyle magazines, Men's health is especially useless, men's fitness has good nutrition and workout routines/advice once in a while.

    The way I started was following a full body workout program from Men's Fitness. I eventually learned more, and quickly learned how to do these moves right, without hurting myself long term. Proper form is the biggest key, you might not have it down perfect at first, but if you work on it, you will get it. I now work out my body parts separately (more of a muscle building approach than an athletic one.), I have overhauled my eating habits, and most importantly, I keep a log of my workouts, so I can always do better than my previous best.

    You are a handsome man, and seem like a good guy, I think one of the most helpful things you can do is find a workout buddy that has some knowledge of what they are doing in the gym. If you have any friends that keep up at the gym, ask to go work out with them once or twice, most guys are into that. Otherwise you could probably find someone online. If you were in Austin I would tell ya to come to the gym with me tomorrow. When you find a buddy, be prepared to learn from them, but keep in mind, some guys that are in really good shape do some very bad things in the gym, so do what is comfortable for you, and learn as much as you can about how to not injure yourself in the long term.

  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Sep 04, 2007 4:11 AM GMT
    Two years ago I was totally clueless when it came to the gym--prior to that, the gym was the place I went to go play volleyball. Or swim. Or fence. Or whatever--working out was just something to do in the course of doing things I actually enjoyed, not something to do for its own sake. But I remember being intimidated by the equipment, the buff guys, the people gliding so efficiently from one thing to the next. What worked for me:

    Go with a sheet of paper and a pencil. Walk from machine to machine and write down what each is called. That way, you can look them up online and figure out what you're supposed to do with them. There are many advantages to using free weights, but I've found that it's helpful when you first start to learn on the machines so you get familiar with what an exercise is supposed to feel like, and so that you are in less danger of hurting yourself if you find that it's too much weight and you have to drop it quickly.

    Start small. Ignore what the other people are using. Load up a weight less than what you're sure you can handle, and prove to yourself that you can deal with it. Then increase it gradually until you find out what's right.

    There are tons of resources for how to do an exercise. Realjock has a bunch itself. You can also always walk into a bookstore and leaf through the fitness magazines to get an idea. Pay a *lot* of attention to form, even if you're just using 5 pound dumbbells. Better to learn it right to begin with and increase the weight from there than to use impressive sounding weights with poor form, injure yourself, and not really get results anyway.

    Figure out your own needs. I wanted extreme flexibility in what time of day I went, due to the nature of my job, and I didn't feel I needed someone waiting at the gym in order to guilt me into going. So I used an online personal trainer for a while. I went to www.plusoneactive.com, signed up for a few month trial, and picked a trainer. I told him what I wanted to accomplish, what my current capabilities were, how often I was willing to go the gym, and for how long. He's set up workouts, I'd log in after I did them, ask all the questions I wanted to, and rate the difficult of each part. He'd adjust my next workout based on the feedback, and reply to my questions within 24 hours. I eventually got to the point where I felt like I no longer needed it, but at like $30 a month, it was a *lot* cheaper than a physically present personal trainer.

    Ask the staff members if you're unsure of how to use a machine. They are there to help.

    Consider asking for help from other people at the gym. Most don't seem to mind spotting. I know people with other experiences, but I've often found that women working with weights are better to ask about proper form than many men are--fewer women are interested in how much they can tell people they lifted, and consequently more of them actually do have good form. Since you're gay, you can probably look them in the eye and avoid flirting with them, and they'll respond nicely to that.

    Set a lot of small, incremental, achievable goals. The sense of accomplishment will help.

    Good luck.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 04, 2007 4:12 AM GMT
    You sound like you have made a great start already.

    May I suggest 2 - 30 minute cardio sessions each day(maybe morning and evening) would be more efficacious. Also switching up the cardio activities would also help: try alternate days of Run & Bike, Row & Swim.

    Start working on some toning and weight training. Purchase a set of dumbells (the kind with the multiple adjustable plates), and the book "Weight Training for Dummies". After you finish reading that try reading:

    -Delavier, Frederic (2001). Strength Training Anatomy. Human Kinetics Publishers. ISBN 0-7360-4185-0.

    -Lombardi, V. Patteson (1989). Beginning Weight Training. Wm. C. Brown Publishers. ISBN 0-697-10696-9.

    Both the site hear, and the one over at 'Men's Health' can provide you with lots of workout routines for dumbells.

    People usually overlook dumbells and weight training - but it is where everyone should start.

    Do not hesitate to ask your clubs staff for advice and even training sessions - you probably received a certain number free when you first started and may not have used them; in any case I have seldome met a trainer who could resist spending a half hour or more helping you when asked for assistance.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 04, 2007 4:15 AM GMT
    Since you're here already, you might just want to try one of the fitness routines on here. If you're going for muscle building, start out with the lean and strong routine. I've found it really effective, and my situation is similar to yours in terms of having lived a lifestyle that kept me in shape for a lot of my life.

    I'm sure others on here will give you nutrition advice.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 04, 2007 4:29 AM GMT
    MSU Bionerd had a lot of great points, and I would like to emphasize the start small. One of the biggest setbacks I had was when I first started, I tried to be a badass. It wasn't until I started doing things properly with low weight that I saw gain.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11648

    Sep 04, 2007 11:03 AM GMT
    Congrats on the lifestyle change and for starting your workout commitment
    everybody is giving you good advice but don't get confused as far as which way to go
    the main thing right now is getting you into the gym and started on a sane program
    don't over do it either 3 days a week is good for now
    the workouts in Realjock are great
    don't expect the world in 2 weeks
    and don't watch the scale
    take a picture full length of yourself and put it away for 3 months
    after that compare it to what you see in the mirror
    if you've been following an exercise regime you'll be amazed
    ...good luck to ya..
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 04, 2007 12:21 PM GMT
    If there was one book I had to buy as a beginner it would be New Rule of Lifting.

    But I would use what you have at your gym and get a PT to take you through it to make sure yuo have good form and understand what you need to do.