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Old 05-12-08, 01:32 PM   #1
JRD
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Just turned 50 and I have got to get in shape

Hey all,

I just turned 50 last Friday and I have got to get myself into shape. I have in the past been a very good athlete. I use to run 5 to 10 miles a day, lift weights, and I was in tremendous shape until I hit the age of around 42. I have been declining since due to gaining weight and not being able to get rid of it. I am 260 lbs at 5'11". I am big boned and I look skinny at 200 lbs. Many people do not believe me when I tell them how much I weigh. I am concerned about this weight for appearance and for health reasons I would like to get it off and keep it off. I have cut down on the food intake but I have realized that diet is not going to be enough, I am going to have to exercise. I am going to have to dust off my Trek 1000c and get back on the road. Any advice on the best way to do this would be greatly appreciated. I don't want to go out half cocked and end up injuring myself. Appreciate any advice you could give me!

Thanks!
John
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Old 05-12-08, 02:06 PM   #2
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Start small. Keep picking at the diet. Ride what you can accomplish comfortably. Try to stick to flattish rides at first as its hard to carry the weight up hills.

I was an ex soccer player and ref who was too slow at cutting back on the calories after retiring from the sport. You can do it. Plan on getting back to 200 at first (its probably going to take more than 1 season.)

Don't try to do it all at once as you need to raise your general level of fitness in addition to dumping the weight. You will need other things to do as well, especially in the winter. Variation will help with boredom. Set goals and reward yourself as you achieve them.

Stick to the bike you have for a while as you don't know yet what your going to want after your lighter/more fit. You may require some wheel maintainence early on in the program but its a pretty basic and strong bike.
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Old 05-12-08, 02:26 PM   #3
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+1 on everything maddmaxx said. I started riding last September on an old MTB and eventually moved on to a road bike. My initial rides were only a few miles and only 2 or 3 times a week. Kept increasing frequency and distance a little at a time. Last week was my 3rd 100 + mile week in a row and it is a great feeling to see how far I've progressed. I've dropped over 20 lbs. so far without really major changes to my diet.
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Old 05-12-08, 02:40 PM   #4
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JRD-I've been through the exact same thing. The 40's can be totally cruel on the waist line. When you combine a lower metabolism with increased inactivity just looking and smelling a french fry can add a few pounds!!

I've lost 55 pounds doing exactly what you're setting out to do. I eat less but eat healthier foods and exercise a heck of a lot more. I eat what I want to but just don't have the desire to eat as much as I used to. It does take some effort to change your habits so be prepared to work through all that. I found counting calories worked the best to help me get the last 10-15 pounds off.

Don't worry about feeling skinny at 200 pounds. If you do what you really want to do you will like the way you look at 200 lbs. I'm 6' 1" and and weigh 165-170 and like the way I look a lot more than I did 55 pounds ago. Plus it makes it a heck of a lot easier getting up hills!!
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Old 05-12-08, 02:46 PM   #5
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The thing that makes the plan pay off is to make physical activity integral to your life. It's about breaking one group of habits and replacing them with a better one. Fun is the key because there's no bigger drag than feeling like exercise is just one more darned thing on the list of gotta-dos.
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Old 05-12-08, 03:04 PM   #6
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Thank you all for the very supportive responses. I truly appreciate the advice and the encouragement.

Thanks again!
John
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Old 05-12-08, 03:09 PM   #7
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Have you considered bike commuting?
I started bike commuting in early July 2001 when I was 56. I ate everything in sight and still lost 20+ pounds before Thanksgiving.
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Old 05-12-08, 03:30 PM   #8
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I work 4 1/2 blocks from where I live. I have been walking it most of the time.

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Old 05-12-08, 03:32 PM   #9
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Cut back on the diet but how about the soda's- the beer -the junk food. All of which add weight- so change to coffee- Whisky and 12 oz steaks.

You are right in that food alone will not cause a weight loss- but eating better will. Plenty of veg and fruit- but you have to keep the protein and fats up and if exercising- Carbo- hydrates are a must.

Seems weird but less calories taken in to calories expended is the only rule- so the calories you take in must be good ones.

But weight loss will not be your main concern for a while- Get bike fit first and eat correctly and work up to exercising for a minimum of an hour 4 times a week and you will see the difference.
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Old 05-12-08, 04:33 PM   #10
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I don't drink soda or beer. I drink lots of water and I drink coffee.

John
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Old 05-12-08, 05:45 PM   #11
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Lot's of good advice JRD, I try to stick with chicken or fish and rice with all the fruit and veggies I can swallow. The pounds WILL start to come off and the more you ride the more you will want to ride. Based on your OP it seems you have that competitive gene in you so it will come naturally...just don't push it too hard.
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Old 05-12-08, 05:52 PM   #12
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I've been there, or close enough, and am still recovering. As Maddmaxx suggested, you will probably need another form of exercise. He said "especially in winter." This is dependent on where you live of course, here in Florida winter is prime time for biking (most days anyway) and summer is when you tend to hybernate. I have a Nordic Track that is good exercise, it works well set up in front of a TV and under a ceiling fan. It is low impact and I dislike it enough that it gives me motivation to go get on the bike even if it is cold, hot, windy, etc. etc. etc. when that is my option :-)
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Old 05-12-08, 06:27 PM   #13
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Great advice here. I would also add: Take it one day at a time but also think of health as a lifelong commitment. With moderate, regular exercise and a reasonable diet, you will amaze yourself. Keep us up to date. This is the best board for seeking and offering support that I've ever seen.
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Old 05-12-08, 06:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRD View Post
Hey all,

I just turned 50 last Friday and I have got to get myself into shape. I have in the past been a very good athlete. I use to run 5 to 10 miles a day, lift weights, and I was in tremendous shape until I hit the age of around 42. I have been declining since due to gaining weight and not being able to get rid of it. I am 260 lbs at 5'11". I am big boned and I look skinny at 200 lbs. Many people do not believe me when I tell them how much I weigh. I am concerned about this weight for appearance and for health reasons I would like to get it off and keep it off. I have cut down on the food intake but I have realized that diet is not going to be enough, I am going to have to exercise. I am going to have to dust off my Trek 1000c and get back on the road. Any advice on the best way to do this would be greatly appreciated. I don't want to go out half cocked and end up injuring myself. Appreciate any advice you could give me!

Thanks!
John
Read "Younger Next Year" by Chris Crowley and Henry Lodge. It will give you a common sense, readable roadmap and motivate you to do what you need to do.
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Old 05-12-08, 06:52 PM   #15
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Keep at it. As has been mentioned, winter can be a big set back. If you keep your intake moderate and your output constant you will see weight loss. Don't get too carried away though and cut back too hard on the intake otherwise your system will fight back you metabolism will drop and you will be fighting a loosing battle. I keep track of my calories when I exercise and also keep a rough count of the calories I consume. I try to not run any more than a 500 calorie per day deficit - this equates to a pund a week when I am needing to loose weight. When I am riding a lot I try to consume more protein to replenish the muscles. Keep at it - the weight will drop and you will feel better every day.
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Old 05-12-08, 06:58 PM   #16
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Lots of good advice here. Do not forget the most important. It has to be fun. Any exercise regimen you end up with has to provide you with some kind of stress release from the rest of your schedule. Try to set some goals, easy at first then raise the bar progressively. Mix the rides and the type of exercises. Alternate biking with hiking, may be some running but keep it easy on the knees. Learn to spin instead of mushing on the pedals. Get yourself a heart rate monitor and learn about the zones and their effects on fat burning and stamina increase. Find friends or enlist your spouse for improved motivation.
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Old 05-12-08, 07:33 PM   #17
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Hey all,

I have cut down on the food intake but I have realized that diet is not going to be enough, I am going to have to exercise. John
Your statement "I am going to have to exercise" bothers me a bit.

I would much rather you expressed, "I have a great opportunity to exercise."

Perhaps that is what you meant. In my experience, folks who "have to" exercise don't exercise for very long, while those folks who "love to" exercise, and find exercises which they enjoy, and aren't really exercise to them, DO!

Perhaps that is what you meant, and I am being too picky. If so, forgive me. If not, why don't you find something that you enjoy so that you don't "have to" do it?
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Old 05-12-08, 07:44 PM   #18
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There are three simple rules for losing weight, and every diet book in the world boils down to these simple rules (given to you for free here):

1. Eat less junk (you know what "junk" is).

2. Eat more good food (you also know what good food is).

3. Eat less.

That's it. Add exercise, and the weight will fall off. Exercise alone will not drop weight: Exercise makes you hungry. Eating right is the key.

Those rules are much easier to say than to follow.
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Old 05-12-08, 09:41 PM   #19
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Before you start any kind of vigorous excercise get your backside 9 and the rest of you ) to the doctor and have physical. Make sure the heart is in good shape. I don't mean you can't get on the bike and do some riding but don't overdo it like a lot of former athletes do thinking "Aww I used to more than this without breaking a sweat" Thinking like that has put many guys in the back of an ambulance with a heart attack. I'm not trying to ba an alarmist but do have that physical and I mean from top to bottom and don't forget the old digital exam it can save a life.
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Old 05-13-08, 01:30 PM   #20
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Set an attainable goal and work towards it. Slow, steady increase in physical activity will equal slow, steady weight loss.

What would you like to be able to accomplish a year from now? Slow and steady will get you there.

I'm Slow. We just need to find Steady to help with the rest of it.
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Old 05-13-08, 02:13 PM   #21
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Its all a matter of riding more and eating less.

The more you ride, the more reasonable the diet becomes. My target is to ride four days a week, 120 miles minimum. So far, it is making a difference! Down 21 pounds since January 1st, at age 51.

I think a road bike is much better suited to fitness riding, unless you happen to live next to a trail. You do not want any impediments to getting the workouts in. My rides start and end at my garage.
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Old 05-13-08, 04:49 PM   #22
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John,

It started for me last June when I went rafting with friends. After a day on the river we were all changing clothes getting ready to go eat and I thought, "Good God, what's happened to us?" I'm 6'1" and weighed 220 then with over 30% body fat. When I got home I stood in front of the mirror and took a hard look at myself. I looked like an old man. It wasn't the weight that got to me, it was the amount of weight that was fat.

I cut out the beer completely, changed my diet, and started running. A painful shin splint in September knocked me off my feet and I landed on a bicycle for the first time in years.

What has surprised me the most is how long it has taken to lose the fat and become more fit. My mind still thinks I'm a 19 year old athlete but reality is an eye-opener. After almost a full year I'm down to 189 with body fat inching toward 16% which is honestly where I thought I'd be in two or three months. I still have a belly and I may never get rid of it, but my blood pressure is down to 121/80 from 140/98 and my blood sugar is around 80.

What I'm trying to say is that at our age (50+) the process of getting fit takes much more time than it did when we were young (I don't care how great an athlete we remember ourselves being), and it's easy to become discouraged. Hopefully you have a good group of friends who will encourage you and help you. Stay strong. It's a lifestyle change, not a short-term fix.

Regarding the bike - I drove myself crazy doing internet research on bikes, components, and bike fitting. The time and money best spent in my case was going to someone who could help fit my bike and could explain what he was doing. He got me dialed in and helped me FINALLY find a saddle I could live with. My advice is take whatever bike you plan to ride and go to an expert to get the bike adjusted to you. I think I paid about $80 for the service and it was a bargin - YMMV.
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Old 05-13-08, 06:30 PM   #23
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Great advice, but let's not forget to wish the birthday boy a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

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Old 05-14-08, 02:45 PM   #24
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Thanks again all for the encouragement and the advice!

John
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