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  1. #1
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    Starting from HORRIBLY out of shape

    I finally graduated last month. Between classes that took easily 20 hours a week (senior presentations, papers), and finally getting hit by the flur, I'm horribly out of shape. I'm in my mid 30s.

    By chance, can someone give me some pointers on diet basics (even if they are just links to websites), and some training regimen ideas? I've in the past trained too hard, and pulled back muscles which set me back even further.

    This is much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Senior Member telebianchi's Avatar
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    Define "horribly". Did you used to be in good shape/fitness before you started school again? How long ago was that? What did you in the past to stay in shape? Or, have you spent 36 years as a blob on a couch and just now realized that's not such a good idea? When I have thought I was horribly out of shape, I could still run laps around a number of people I know. It's kind of relative.

    If you used to have a workout/fitness regimen, then that's where I would start. Do things you like to do: walk, hike, bike, lift weights, whatever floats your boat. I usually hate big company marketing tricks, but I think Nike got this one right: Just Do It. My path to dropping 35 lbs did not start out as a diet or getting in shape; it started out by me wanting to ride my bike farther/longer/faster. That quest lead me to good info (such as on BF among lots of others) about diet, exercise, heart rate, calories, cardio, weights, etc.

    For more specific help, do you have a few $$ to spend on a trainer to get you jump started? When I rejoined a gym 15 months ago I used the two free sessions that came with the new membership and I am still using things he showed me.
    Last edited by telebianchi; 01-08-09 at 09:26 AM.

  3. #3
    But on the road more MTBLover's Avatar
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    The classic conditioning tripod is what you want to do: diet, resistance training, and cardio.

    As to diet: I think the DASH diet is one of the best- it's easy to follow, makes perfect sense, and it's not a fad. All of these characteristics make it an easy one to stick with after you've reached your goal. It was originally developed to reduce high blood pressure, but has since been found to be highly effective in reducing overweight and obesity. Check it out at http://dashdiet.org/

    As to resistance training: If you have weights- even dumbbells, use them, but make sure to learn your routine and component exercises well, with a religious adherence to form. Do NOT start heavy. There's no reason to be embarrassed in starting light, and working very gradually to heavier weights. An excellent resource for weight training is at exrx.net. It has routines, and videos of most lifts. Do not fall for fad weightlifting routines at this point (if ever). Just focus on compounds (bench press, squats, deadlifts, etc.), and stay away from most isolations (like curls- you'll get bicep mass soon enough).
    If you don't have weights, no problem- there's a whale of a lot you can do with just body weight. Google "Marines body weight exercise" and you'll see what I mean. In fact, body weight exercises might be the best, safest place for you to start right now. As time goes on, and you want to add more resistance, get yourself a set of resistance bands- much cheaper (and take up less room) than weights.

    Cardio: I'm guessing that you're a cyclist, so you should be able to figure this out, but if not, you want to start slow and work up, just like with the resistance training. Given that you seem to have a problem with injuries, I'd definitely cross-train- alternate cycling with something else that uses another set of body parts or the same ones in a different way. I find speed walking and cross-country skiing to be excellent alternatives to cycling, myself, but YMMV. Both of these work different parts of the lower extremities and hips, and provide substantial upper body work. And, they're great for getting your heart rate up there. Speaking of which, you should get a HR monitor if you don't have one. Most come with a training program, at least to help you figure out your zones and how to use them to get good cardio fitness.

    Bottom line- start slow, be patient, and be persistent. And congrats on graduating!
    Last edited by MTBLover; 01-08-09 at 12:20 PM.

  4. #4
    I'm in shape! A round one spacerconrad's Avatar
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    I lost over 150 lbs (how I got most of it back is scattered on the board here) after the turn of the century by eating 5 or 6 small, well balanced meals a day. I went to the gym 3 or 4 times a day, spending time on the treadmill and doing a full circuit on the Nautilus machines, focusing on reps rather than weight (I did this to stay toned while losing the pounds). I also rode my bicycle (an old Huffy I'd resurrected from the shed) at least 3 times a week until I upgraded to a hybrid. Then I rode nearly every day, in addition to the gym visits.

    I never felt worn out, and avoided pain and injury, and managed to lose nearly a whole person over the course of a year. After moving to AR, I joined a local bike club and started working on getting really good on the bike. Unfortunately, we always met at burger joints and Mexican restaurants post-ride, and I quickly slipped out of my good eating habits. Hell, I was riding enough that it no longer seemed to matter. Then, a few years later, I was out of the game for a few months with an arthritis flare-up, and my diet quickly caught up to me.
    It was so hard to get back on the bike, that I mostly haven't been riding. When I do, it sucks to see how slow and short my rides are compared to the easy centuries I did before.

    It worked, and it worked well, until I changed my eating habits for the worse. Then, my active lifestyle managed to keep the damage down until I became less active. Oops.
    "I drank WHAT???" -- Socrates

  5. #5
    Senior Member MrCrassic's Avatar
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    ^^^

    Good point. Establish a sound diet that you will want to follow all of the time. That's the best way to prevent slipping back to square one.
    Ride more.

    Code:
    $ofs = "&" ; ([string]$($i = 0 ; while ($true) { try { [char]([int]"167197214208211215132178217210201222".substring($i,3) - 100) ; $i =
     $i+3 > catch { break >>)).replace('&','') ; $ofs=" " # Replace right angles with right curly braces

  6. #6
    I'm in shape! A round one spacerconrad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrCrassic View Post
    ^^^

    Good point. Establish a sound diet that you will want to follow all of the time. That's the best way to prevent slipping back to square one.
    That was the killer in my case. It seems odd that the activity that had me in the greatest shape in my life... also led to my reverting to the old fatty diet. If I had stayed on the right track, my time off the bike wouldn't have had the effect of an atomic gut bomb going off.
    "I drank WHAT???" -- Socrates

  7. #7
    Senior Member MrCrassic's Avatar
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    From what I've read (and some personal experience with friends), a lot of people do that. Many assume a very simplistic calories in, calories out model when human diet is more complicated than that. I would guess that this is the reason why many people gain a lot of weight in the off-season and lose a lot of it in season.

    In my experience, it seems that I haven't had much of an issue keeping the weight off for the last two years. Before then, I would always gain weight in the winter and lose it in the summer, mostly because I didn't concern myself with matching my diet to my general activity level. For the last two winters, I have made sure to lower my overall consumption, while trying to keep nutrients rich. It's been working, since I haven't gained any weight since I've started and have been getting better on the bike, even with putting less time on it during the winter months.
    Ride more.

    Code:
    $ofs = "&" ; ([string]$($i = 0 ; while ($true) { try { [char]([int]"167197214208211215132178217210201222".substring($i,3) - 100) ; $i =
     $i+3 > catch { break >>)).replace('&','') ; $ofs=" " # Replace right angles with right curly braces

  8. #8
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    Check out a book called "The Workout", it is by Gunnar Peterson. Yes, i know that he is a trainer to the stars and professional athletes, but his philosophy is pretty good. He breaks down getting into shape into several different phases or parts. There is cardio, diet, strenth training, and rest, and explains why each is equally as important. He also give you 13 basic strength training moves that are the basis of all the new fad type of workouts, learn and master the basics first and then you have an unlimited range of expanding and customizing your work out.

  9. #9
    too old for bike shorts? cyclehen's Avatar
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    A great website for information on a good diet is The World's Healthiest Foods:
    http://www.whfoods.org/foodstoc.php
    I don't believe in dieting-- I believe in sustainable lifestyle changes. Add healthy foods that you enjoy to your diet and eliminate the junk. It won't take long until the changes become habits. Same with training. Add in stuff you enjoy at a reasonable level of challenge and you won't get hurt and drop out. 5 miles on the bike will become 50 before you know it. As mentioned, do cardio and resistance. Cross train. Most importantly, do what fits your routine and lifestyle. Just do it Good luck and congrats on finishing school!

  10. #10
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    On any program of cycling, weights, etc.. you need to build a base first, before moving on to more intense work.

  11. #11
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    Eat fruits for little snacks! The more often you eat (small things) the higher your metabolism will be... the only downside is that you're hungry throughout the day! No pain, no gain....errrr, loss!

  12. #12
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    As you begin toconsume more fruits, veg. and nuts be aware that you will not be able to pass a bathroom. Get used to it and plan for it.

    Gas, .69 cents the price of a can of beans.

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