Advice on Getting Started

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 07, 2008 3:29 PM GMT
    Hey Everyone,

    I just joined RealJock.

    I have been struggling with my weight most of my life. My weight has yo-yo'd up and down, and I have had a hard time committing to a fitness and weight loss program. As a kid I was rail skinny, but shortly after puberty, I started to pack on the pounds. Obesity is a problem in my family overall. We seem to have two body types in my family: fat and rail thin. I was raised with the typical, "clean your plate" mentality, and since I am a good 50-100 lbs. SMALLER than a lot of my close relatives, they will not even acknowledge that I have a weight problem. I don't compared to them.

    In my early to mid twenties I managed to drop most of the weight. (I gained it back and then some by the time I was 30.) Of course, that was when I was "fresh meat" in the bars and whatnot, so I was uber-concerned with my body for all those shallow reasons. Whatever. I'm 35 now. I got over that. Now, I am more concerned with my health going into my mid life. My grandfather and my mother are both very obese, diabetic and have serious health problems because they didn't do anything about their weight / health early enough. I am not going to let that happen to me.

    I won't pretend it's not ALSO vanity. I would love to feel comfortable with my body, look better in my clothes, or --imagine-- feel that I look good naked or with my shirt off. I am also a bar tender by profession, so looking good in a tight shirt has economic benefits to me. LOL.

    My main physical concern is belly fat. I have some overall body fat issues, but really, I carry most of my weight in my stomach and my "spare tire." I work on my feet all day, so I actually have very muscular legs and back. I've just got this big, squishy pillow through my middle that I need to get rid of.

    I've joined more gyms than I can count. The most loyal I have ever been to a fitness regime was about a 3 month period where I managed to hit the gym about 3 times a week. I'm not ready to say the gym is not for me, but I have to be realistic about my track record so far. I'd rather come up with an alternative, unless there is some way to incorporate gym workouts into my life that I have not already tried. I think I would be much happier with alternatives like bike riding or walking.

    I do have a knee injury that prevents me from running or high impact workouts. However, I am not going to let myself use that as an excuse to not do anything. I am still mobile and able to be very active, I just can't run or jog.

    Eating is an issue for me. I have had many failed attempts at controlling my eating. I would love some advice in that area. I would also like to hear from anyone who identifies with my situation and has conquered it, or at least seen good success.

    Anyone? Help me out guys.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 08, 2008 10:48 PM GMT
    Here's my thoughts--I'm sure more will follow from others.

    Motivation is a huge part of this, as you seem to know. I would try to understand what motivates you and how you can apply that here. I recently heard an NPR story about people setting up systems where they got paid for achieving fitness and diet goals. Hey, whatever works. For me, I like what I see in the mirror--and don't like what I see when I get lazy. You will certainly feel better, and that may be enough. Or take measurements or pictures or record times, weights, etc for tangible improvements. Some people use trainers. I haven't so can't really speak to that.

    I think a combination of cardio and weights would make sense for you. Keep it simple and manageable. For me running has worked best but that seems not to be an option. Everybody says swimming is one of the best, and I have done it, but it's just SO boring. Until they come out with a waterproof Ipod... But maybe you would like it, especially being in Florida (grrr). Otherwise low impact machines like steppers are a good option. My gym just put TV screens on all of ours and it makes a huge difference for me, anyway. 3 days a week should be a good start.

    For weights, just focus on the main muscle groups: legs, back & chest. Work them one day each week, and then you've got 3 days to alternate with your cardio--and a free day! Basic exercises are fine. Don't get distracted by all the exercises for small muscles. While everybody wants to do bicep curls, for example, starting out they will get pleny of work from your back exercises. Same with triceps and your chest workout. You might want to add some kind of shoulder press wherever it seems to fit best. And for legs, btw, I want to put in a plug for real barbell squats. It's just a great exercise and not nearly as hard as people think. Just use the bar to start. The key: go down LOW so that your thighs are at least parallel to the floor. Stopping short of that is actually harder on your knees and it doesn't work your quadriceps fully.

    Long post! Hope this helps. I am sure you'll get some other thought from people here. Good luck--you can do this!