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Old 12-26-05, 06:27 PM   #1
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Out of Shape - Tips?

I haven't been very physically active in the last few years. Several years ago I had some of the strongest legs of anyone I've ever known and probably the same endurance. Even though I wasn't extremly fit, I could push myself very hard beyond my "limits".

Six years ago I joined the Marines while in High School and was in delayed entry for about 7 months. We had to do physical fitness once a month on the second Saturdays. The first time I ran the 1.5 mile run I pushed myself so hard I puked several times after the run. Within about 3 minutes of the run my legs refused to move and I had to force myself to keep going. I went through about 12 minutes more of that and finished the run. After that I ran more and got very fit and even though I found it hard to run 1.5 miles I was able to do it and didn't have a problem with my legs refusing to move after a certain point.

Now, it seems I am back to that point. I haven't done a lot of physical activities in a few years and I decided to get a bike. After a few minutes my legs feel like they are locking up and I can't stand up on the bike and pedal so I have to sit down. I know it takes time to get back in shape, but I am sure there are "warm-ups" or pointers a lot of you can give to getting back in shape.

There are most likely "wrong" ways about pushing yourself when you are out of shape and "better" ways of doing it also.

I think it's completely fine to push yourself beyond your "limits" because it helps you get in shape quicker and I think if you don't push yourself and stop when you begin to get tired you won't make progress, but like I said, there are "wrong" ways to do it too :-P.

I asked for a road bike for Christmas but since I am out of a job right now I can't afford it, nor could my parents so I ended up with a mountain bike. So, right now I guess I am mostly confined to off-road or short-distance rides (my brother found a used Diamondback mountain bike).
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Old 12-26-05, 07:25 PM   #2
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Start off slow and get some base milage and base fitness first. The best thing to do is stay at your aerobic heart rate to get best results, and recovery is just as important as the excersize. Lots of fluids intake is needed too!!!

Also, just beacuse ou have a MTB, dont think you limited to trails or short rides. Try finding some slicks or semi-slick tires for road rides, it makes the bike a lot faster and more efficent!

Semper Fi

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Old 12-26-05, 09:44 PM   #3
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Read it, learn it, live it:

If you're not a reader, just exercise an hour a day, six days a week. And go easy five of the six days.

Oh, and have fun. This is supposed to fun, dammit -- fun!
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Old 12-26-05, 11:27 PM   #4
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Don't over-do it, either. Work out easy - easier than you think you should, but longer than you want to. You will be working in you "aerobic zone" and learning to burn fat, but for this to be effective, you'll need to work out for at least 30 minutes (more would be better). You should finish a workout ready to do another if you had to. This will build your base, and not wipe you out or injure you. Biking to work has done wonders for a lot of folks and it fits the workout in to your regular day. Is that an option for you?

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Old 12-27-05, 12:53 PM   #5
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Good advice from Chainring and co. Your legs are locking up because you are going anaerobic and your muscles only store a limited amount of fuel. Thereafter it takes a time for them to be refuelled and lactate to be recycled.

You need to begin by riding for 30/60 minutes about 4 times/wk, riding at a speed which you can hold a conversation at or a little faster (can speak short sentences without gasping for breath). This encourages your system to increase the mitochondria (fuel cells) in your muscles, which, in turn, enables your to operate more efficiently. It also teaches your body to burn fat, ditto. It also increase the number of capilliaries which increases the blood supply to the muscles.

After about a month of this (maybe sooner if you are what is known as a "quick responder" to training) increase the length or intensity of your rides by no more than about 5/8% - try not to do both.

After about 3 months, you can begin to do some more intense sessions, or mix a few intensive bursts in with the normal rides.

In the meantime, check on Amazon or others for cycle training books, and/or contact a local club, if there is one to find a coach and to join in with more experienced riders.

Good luck and enjoy yourself in 2006
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Old 12-27-05, 03:09 PM   #6
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My buddy had a morning commute of two feet; got up, sat at the computer, worked from home. His legs had some edema in them. I put him on my 32 x 16 SS Mtb and had him ride 5 miles with me. He said he slept for the next day. We went riding three more times that week, and we went up to 10 miles, then 20, then 30. Three weeks later, I had him sign up for a 40 miler that had some rolling hills. I changed his gearing to 47 x 16. He's lost 12 lbs already and is getting his first track bike next week. I think if he had gears, it would have taken him longer to get up to his current state. He would've geared down so much that he'd have gotten nowhere. He rides on my "Drill Sargeant" bike with pride now, because he'll be so much faster with his track bike.
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Old 12-27-05, 03:55 PM   #7
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Be careful and work up gradually.
Just Peddlin' Around
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Old 12-27-05, 04:31 PM   #8
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If I'm doing my math right you are about 24,or maybe a little less. I'm not a fitness expert, but I know what its like to be out of shape As many have said , you need to start off slower than you initially have. It won't take long to figure out a speed you can maintain, yet not leave you foaming at the mouth. I think you can spice things up a bit if you want by pushing hard up hills, or maybe cranking up for half a mile to spice things up, just let yourself recover. I think you can take it... Ah.. to be young again
Quitting in an adverse situation leaves no alternative except death
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Old 12-27-05, 05:38 PM   #9
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Always challenge yourself to do better. Do not be satisfied with your present level of fitness. Half the fun is setting difficult goals and then meeting them.

"Think Outside the Cage"
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