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    • CommentTimeJul 23rd 2013 edited
    You know what? I've noticed that there's a lot of people here who are looking to get in to shape or at least just maintain fitness.

    And you know, fitocracy, myfitnesspal...all of those things are great, but in terms of actual communication with people (for support, motivation etc.) I don't find I get that from those services.

    So let's think of this thread as one of those places, yes? Yes.

    Dump everything you feel comfortable with here. Your goals, updates, frustrations...all of it. Consider this as your reporting station. And at the same time, offer tips and encouragement.

    Let's do eet.

    I'll post my progress soon.
  1.  (11123.2)
    Well, as far as frustrations go, I need to accept that 8 hours a week in the gym and 30 miles biking on the weekend will not change me from being an endomorph to an mesomorph. Genetics are a bitch! Still, I'm probably in better shape in my 40's than I was in my 30's.

    I think I need to give the crossfit thing a try. The only thing I don't like about crossfit though, is that I don't like working out with people or interacting with people at the gym. I like putting in my earbuds and blast death metal first thing in the morning to get what I need to do, done. Also I hate the encouragement thing that they have in those classes. I'm mostly motivated by negative reinforcement, not positive. I do things mostly out of spite. If I can find a crossfit class in L.A. that is run by an asshole like the drill sergeant from "Full Metal Jacket" though, I'm all in.
    • CommentAuthorsteevo
    • CommentTimeJul 23rd 2013
    Just started a 6 week competition with a few co-workers. Hoping to drop 20-30 lbs in that stretch and take home some caysh-money. We shall see. Diet will be a horrible thing but hopefully this will get me into an exercisey mood.
    • CommentTimeJul 23rd 2013
    I've heard great things about the Spartacus body circuits, plus they don't actually require a gym, just some dumbbells. You can find a bunch of info about them online. They kick your ass and are good when paired with some cardio.
    • CommentTimeJul 23rd 2013
    All right! I can get behind this! :D

    Okay, so before we start this, let me be clear about one thing: I was not made fit. I was overweight from when I was a kid 'till I was about 19, when I moved away from home and dropped about 30 lbs by... not living at home with my parents and drinking about 2 litres of coke a day. I still didn't exercise, so all the weight left was fat and bone. I looked like this in 2001:
    Back in the Day

    The first time I exercised of my own free choice (aside from Taekwondo between ages 12 and 15) was in 2004. That was around the time I started to worry more about what I shoved down my eating-hole. I even made a comic about the workout:

    Since then, it's been a slow, uphill climb to late last year, when I was finally able to get serious about exercise and fitness. Since about 2010, I had been getting better and better at staying on the exercise, but any setback would lead to months-long absences. In 2009, I messed my knee up running and was on cruches for a month. I got Vibram Barefoot shoes, though, and now I swear by minimalist footwear.

    Anyway. So I've finally gotten to a point where I'm able to find the time and energy in almost any situation. I don't always love going into the guest bedroom and picking up those weights, but I'm always happy I did it. Well, almost always. :P So, putting aside studio photo shoots where care and attention has been lavished on perspective and lighting, this is what I look like now:
    And now...

    I took the photo for a blog post I haven't put up yet about starting an experiment in eating habits. I'm keen to tone up (for work and ego) and some sources say that eating during only eight hours in a day will help to encourage that while still allowing muscle growth. So that's what I'm doing differently now to before. It's going to be interesting to see how that goes. I'll keep you updated.

    WJD: I haven't really looked into body types before, though I know there's a difference and that I definitely have difficulty putting on muscle as well difficulty toning, so I'm assuming I'm a mesomorph with ectomorph tendencies.

    steevo: Top tip, give yourself a sugar holiday during this project. Cutting out sugar (even and especially fruit juices) will help SO much. Also: Make sure your plate is always at least half vegetables and as little as possible pasta or rice. A quarter of the plate's good. If you're one to have cheese on your pasta dishes (as I am) use parmesan or a similar strong cheese. Also: Dry-frying is your friend. Or no more than a spoonful.
  2.  (11123.6)
    @ Magnulus - Most people are somewhere in between two categories, but I would say you're probably closer to an ectomorph than anything else:

    @ steevo - I would add to what Magnulus said, to try to stay away from the salt too so you don't retain water. That's the hardest thing for me for some reason. I love salt.
    • CommentTimeJul 23rd 2013
    Robin: I hadn't heard of the Spartacus workout! I had a look at Men's Health one (it was the first thing to turn up) and it looks pretty good. I've had pretty good success with Men's Health's "Build a Fighter's Body" booklet. I find that following a set course of exercises is the next-best thing to a Personal Trainer. It gives me a parameter to work within that's set by someone who knows what they're doing.

    I can build fairly efficient workout for myself, but when it's in a book, I feel more inclined and able to follow through, not take breaks when I'm not supposed to, etc. I like that.

    My goal right now aside from toning, which I forgot to say, is to build more upper torso bulk. Arms, shoulders and chest are all a bit weak at the moment, and to achieve that "movie-buff" aesthetic, I need to work on that. As well as glutes. Fuckin' glutes. My arse was perky when I was 18, largely because it was young. It was in my mid-twenties I realised with growing horror that the fat was starting to sag and I'd have to do something about it. But I haaaaaate squats. They're BORING! Bulgarian Split Squats are seriously effective, though, and feel like murder. You put a leg on a bench behind you and, holding onto a dumbbell in each hand, you dip into a squat and back up. OH MY GOD.

    Sorry, I'm ranting.

    One thing that helps me: My guest bedroom is a tiny gym. We have a squat rack, dumbbells from 0.5 to 20 kg and a few different bars and bells. I always know that my gym is right up the stairs, so I have no reason not to go. :)
    • CommentTimeJul 23rd 2013
    WJD: I found that page when I was googling, yeah. See, I've met some pretty blatant ectomorphs. A lot of them. And I don't look anything like them. People who are so skinny they have muscle definition despite never ever exercising or being very active. People who, well, look a lot like that guy. It might be I'm a part ectomorph for muscle and a mesomorph for fat, though.
  3.  (11123.9)
    My relationship with personal fitness has been spectacularly uneven for years. I was probably in the best shape of my life when I was working a retail job at a World Market, and was running back and forth in the store, climbing the shelves in the back room, and slinging heavy furniture around. I weighed around 185lbs, but I still looked chubby, which was frustrating. After leaving that job for my first stint in video games I gained ~40lbs in about six months because I was sitting on my ass all day and eating junk for every meal. That contract ended and I bought a mountain bike and the combination of riding my bike for every local errand and sleeping most of the day so I wasn't eating much dropped my weight back to around 205 in a couple of months, despite that when I did eat it was usually home made pizza or fried chicken or tacos. Then I started working a data entry job, so it was back to sitting on my ass and eating fast(ish) food, which brought my weight back up to ~220 right quick, so I forced myself to start running nights and managed to get myself back down to 210 in a couple of months, which was awesome. Started working in video games again, but managed to keep my weight at around 215 by not eating quite so much junk and mountain biking around 10 miles every day (and doing lots of push-ups and sideplanks for a stint of a few months one winter that led to my shoulders and arms being visibly buff), but that kind of fell apart with the combination of breaking my shoulder and the relationship with the only lady I've ever loved falling apart in 2010 (events not connected. Broken shoulder prevented exercise while it healed, relationship led to depression that removed motivation to exercise), moving to Phoenix in 2011 (too hot to exercise), losing that job in 2012 (depression), starting the job that I hated in 2013 (depression), and quitting that job a few weeks ago (still depression).

    So right now I'm ~220lbs, not exercising regularly, and not eating really the best.

    I was trying to get back into running nightly, but have recently fallen into a pretty deep depression which makes taking the effort to go out and run really difficult for me. I also seem to get shin splints really easily, so I also don't so much want to inflict that much pain on myself, and biking in the area that I'm currently living isn't nearly as fun as it was when I lived in Thousand Oaks. The only real exercise I'm doing is going to the beach for a swim a couple times a week, but that tends to be pretty low-intensity, so maybe I'm building some muscle, but I can't tell because of my general fatness.

    [edit]Looking at that picture, I'm definitely an endomorph, but sans any muscle definition in my abdomen, since that's where all the fat seems to accumulate. I'm really tempted to go on a full-on juice fast for a week, since Tim Schafer was tweeting that he dropped a crazy amount of weight when he was doing it, but there's not enough room for a big juice extractor in my dad's kitchen, so until I can move out I've got nothing.
  4.  (11123.10)
    @DavidLejeune - If you're going to go the juicer route, I'd suggest a Breville. It takes a lot of the fiber out so you won't end up all gassy and it obliterates the vegetable stems so they are drinkable. I would juice mostly vegetables and use fruits sparingly. I put a half of a green apple to make the kale go down easier.

    Are you in the L.A area? There's so many great places to bike here.
    • CommentTimeJul 23rd 2013
    Don't go juice. Don't. Don't don't don't. Sure, you'll get a lot of vitamins, but you'll also be ingesting ungodly amounts of pure fructose, which is like the worst thing you can do. Any change in diet that is made to be short term is not good for you in the long term. You might lose lbs quickly, but you'll gain them right back up again unless you're some kind of superhuman.

    Fact of the matter is that the vast majority of people who lose weight gain it back again. That's a depressing statistic, yes, but it should also make you feel less bad about regaining yourself. You CAN keep the weight off, but it's hard. Especially if you live in a country where the food culture is so dictated by fast food chains and money-hungry food corporations with massive lobbies.

    Depression terrible for many reason, but it's also terrible for health and fitness, and I'm so sorry you have to go through that. My father-in-law suffers very deep depressions during which he rarely finds the motivation to exercise despite a general motivation for it, and when he goes on medication, it makes him eat like a monster. He's absolutely voracious and will empty the fridge at night with no regard to anything but his all-encompassing hunger. He does have a stationary bike that he manages to get on surprisingly often, though. He'll put on his headphones and play some TV show and just go for it. Lately, he's even been exercising when he hits bottom. I think he's managed to find the structure and routine of it soothing.
  5.  (11123.12)
    The appeal of juicing to me is that my weight has been pretty static for a really long time (a fluctuation of about five pounds in the past six years), which tells me that my current calorie intake is more or less balanced with my daily burn, so the juice fast would just reset that static point to be lower than it currently is. I almost certainly don't have the willpower to avoid solid food for more than a day (I don't have the willpower to not eat the foods that I currently eat, and SO MANY of them are avoidable), so it's all theoretical anyway.

    The real killer for me with depression is that it not only saps the will to get any exercise, but I can't be bothered to cook my own food (which would be fractionally healthier) when I'm hungry, so I'll end up going to a fast food joint and just eating garbage.

    @WJD: I live in Sherman Oaks/Studio City right now, and my problem is that the stuff that's within easy biking distance from the house (I don't have a bike rack for my car) doesn't have the kind of isolation that I tend to prefer when biking, as far as I can tell. My nightly rides in T.O. were basically just me and whatever music I had on and nature once I got to my primary trail. Maybe one or two people walking dogs, and some other bicyclists, but never more than four or five on any given day.
  6.  (11123.13)
    @DavidLejeune - Ah, I used to live there. I guess the closest place to bike is around Lake Balboa or the Sepulveda Dam bike path. If you had a bike rack you could go to Griffith Park, which is a great place to bike. Let me know if you ever get a bike rack, I can show you where to bike around there if you aren't familiar with GP.

    @ Magnulus - I only do the juice thing for a couple of days as a cleanse or as a meal replacement. I try to not drink too much fruit because of the sugar content.
    • CommentAuthorsteevo
    • CommentTimeJul 23rd 2013
    @Magnulus and William - I think I'm going to go very low carbs for a while. Seems to yield great results for the people I've seen do it and I know that all my bread eating and beer drinking are really what kill me. Lots of birds, fish, cows and pigs with veggies for me. Staying away from bread, rice, beans, fruits, etc... which made up a large portion of my diet. I figure, since I sit in an office all day, there's no reason for me to be going heavy on the carbs, not like I'm running a marathon anytime soon and need to be carbo-loading. I'm also hoping that I'll be able to completely cut out at least the bread going forward too. I eat so much of it and it does nothing but fuck me up.
  7.  (11123.15)
    @ steevo - I would check out the slow carb diet. Beans are still on the menu, but rice, bread and potatoes are not. You might want to invest in a bottle of Beano though. Seriously.
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeJul 23rd 2013
    Quickie post cos I'm tired, but I want in on this discussion:

    Past: Skinny kid, started getting chubby near the end of elementary, chubby from middle school through college. Part of it was shit eating (I grew up drinking soda), part of it is genetics. Mostly the former. I've lost near 50 lbs and gone from about 194lbs to 145lbs, though currently I'm closer to 150.

    Goals: Personal Image wise - I'd like to settle my weight somewhere in the 120s-130s, though maintaining what i have now is nice, too. Maintaining was really easy until I started my current job, which, while not strenuous, is active, which makes me super hungry, so I end up snacking all day when I get the chance. Also makes me want to eat bigger lunches than I should. If I could get some muscle definition, that'd be awesome. It's not necessary for my happiness, but I always thought it'd be cool to look more lean.

    As far as non-image goals goes, I want to keep my body fat below 30% because type II diabetes runs in my family, and I want to increase my strength and stamina so that I can get better at recreational activities such as scuba diving.

    Methods: I like circuit training and HIIT. They're fast, combine cardio with strength, and I can do them at home. I can't, and don't, do gyms. I have a sandbag which is currently at 30lbs, some hand weights, and a jump rope. I combine these with body weight training (most of which I'm terrible at) and yoga. I've not been working out lately though because, as mentioned above, I'm having to learn to make time for it with the new job, and also the new job is physical, which means I come home tired and wanting to veg on the couch. Edgar and I have been going to the gym a couple times to play racquetball, though, so there's that.

    I need to improve my eating again. I did really well for a while eating mostly clean with some "indulgence" meals here and there so I don't feel deprived, but it's gotten to the point where I'm eating pretty much just carbs, protein, and no greens, so that needs to change ASAP.

    I need to start a better strength training regime. While the circuit training and sandbag work quite well, I found that I started plateauing at one point. I'm not sure if I need heavier weights or to change up the exercises I use, or how I combine them, or if maybe I should shell out for a personal trainer for one or two sessions to get me going, but my strength sucks and I just need to work on that. I want to be able to do at least 10 real pushups, as opposed to 2 or 3 where I'm squeezing out the last one. *sigh* But hey, a couple years back I couldn't do any, so there's that.

    I'll come back at some point and do a more thorough post of the workouts I do, with links, since i really do enjoy circuit and HIIT. I'm much happier doing those than spending hours doing moderate cardio and doing my strength in the traditional "3 sets for this exercise, move on to the next exercise" method.
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeJul 23rd 2013
    The real killer for me with depression is that it not only saps the will to get any exercise, but I can't be bothered to cook my own food (which would be fractionally healthier) when I'm hungry, so I'll end up going to a fast food joint and just eating garbage.

    Oh god I know that feeling >____< I gained 20lbs in 10 weeks once when I was depressed. 2 POUNDS A WEEK.
    • CommentTimeJul 23rd 2013
    So I have 3 main goals: improve upper body strength, get a flatter stomach, get a bigger ass. I'm not entirely sure how I need to go about this.
    I'm pretty OK with my current weight, though all fat goes to stomach so I'm trying to be wary of things. I... eat somewhat poorly. Which is that, I eat just about everything, and it's usually homemade, but it's not always the 'healthiest' nor is it often. I eat 2 meals a day most days, sometimes 3 - breakfast is generally eggs, bacon (or sausage), half an avocado, half a tomato and coffee. Lunch/Dinner is either salads or hamburgers or pasta or usually something healthy-ish if I'm taken to a restaurant and I snack on tortilla chips or fruits or whatever. Sometimes I supplement with a protein drink if I'm going to the print lab and need more energy. I've noticed when I eat less or no bread, my stomach doesn't seem as pouchy, but if I don't eat bread, I get this eternal gnawing hunger in my stomach, like I'm missing something. My body seems happiest when I'm constantly eating small portions of meals, but I don't have time to cook/prepare for constant grazing, plus constantly grazing on healthy things adds up monetarily after a while. Only sugars I really eat are in fruit or alcoholic beverages.

    I don't exercise outside of walking around every few days when I leave the house or when I'm printing at my studio. Then it's usually about 5-8 hours of screen printing (kind of like a constant rowing motion plus lifting 3lb metal frames plus general moving about on my feet). I'd say I do that at least twice a month, if not once every week.

    I know I need to start doing *something* but I'm unsure where to start. I wanted to join a gym with a pool, but my current financial situation makes that unlikely to happen for a few months.

    The stomach/ass thing are more vanity projects, though I imagine if I let myself get flabbier, it'll be that much more work. The upper body thing is kind of necessary as I've been having insane shoulder problems that for a couple weeks made every day an agony. It fixed itself with a combination of a friend giving me a massage where the giant knot was, then spending most of a week in my 90+ degree print lab pulling prints for hours on end and probably improving my posture. But I don't want to risk that again in the future so I really should get on it.

    Suggestions are welcome for where/how to start! I'm already trying to book mark stretching exercises for my shoulders to keep them fit & set up alerts on my calendar to get out of my chair and do them and got a new desk chair that should minimize back pain and rearranged my desk to not cause such a strain. But, yea, limited budget, limited space, no patience.
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeJul 23rd 2013
    @Glu - if your knees are healthy, I highly suggest a jump rope. It's cheap, burns mega calories, and still works the muscles. And you can start with intervals, which is what I do, if you can't just keep it going for a while. Try 20 seconds jumping, 10 standing still, repeat for 5 minutes. That's one set, do a couple sets a few times per week.

    Bigger ass means doing squats and lunges to grow those glute muscles!

    For stronger shoulders you can start trying to hold plank position every day for as long as you can, and try to hold it slightly longer each day. The elbow plank will especially kill your shoulders. I can do like 2.5 min in the pushup position plank but only 40sec in the elbow position because my shoulders aren't up to par. The planks will also work ALL of your core, which means a tighter tummy. It won't spot reduce the fat there, but I've seen skinny girls who have flabby tummies because they don't work their core.

    As for the eternal hunger, try some low glycemic carbs? Brown rice, quinoa (which is also a protein!), stuff like that.
    • CommentTimeJul 24th 2013
    I'll preface this by saying that I'm pretty much a classic ectomorph, judging by that reference image. I've always been able to eat pretty much anything and I was always the skinny kid. That said, I love exercise and generally eat pretty healthy most of the time. Please don't hate me.

    In terms of goals, I just like keeping fit and getting fitter. I'm trying to build wrist strength, because of a chronic wrist problem after several severe sprains a couple of years ago.

    Stuff I do:
    So, I hate gyms and have never been in one. I've never understood why anyone would want to do stuff on machines, indoors, with loads of other sweaty people, that you could be doing outside in fresh air. I don't like classes or exercising with other people in general. I use exercise as a way of clearing my mind, keeping fit and energising myself. With that in mind, here's my general routine/habits.

    I run usually 3-4 times a week. I don't keep track of distances (not a stats junkie), but usually 30-45min, sometimes 60min, sometimes more if we're including warm-ups. I love obstacles. Anything I can jump, climb or vault, I seek. Hills are fun. Essentially DIY parkour training. The running originally came about in my late teens when my dad was overseas for a few years and I was the only one to take our dog for runs every day. It pretty much cured me of my (mild) asthma and I never looked back.
    For warm-up, I often do sit-ups, squats and skipping rope for around half-an hour. No push-ups because they can fuck with my wrist.
    My ideal time of day is pre-lunch. I'm freelancing right now, so I have that luxury. I can't do early morning runs. If I haven't eaten/had coffee, I get grumpy and don't enjoy my run. Directly after food is lunacy, so pre-lunch is my favoured time, and works up a serious appetite for lunch.

    I ride a bike everywhere unless it's bucketing rain. I'm lucky enough to live in a pretty flat city (Melbourne) with lots of bike paths and some decent bike lanes on certain roads. My tips for anyone considering bike commuting are to find the safest, most stress free routes, even if they're a little longer. You have no idea how stressful & nerve-wracking riding can be in the wrong kinds of traffic, and it's better to take the long way than arrive places an angry ball of nerves. Also, I'm a high-vis nerd, because I'd rather be an eyesore than a bloody smear on the road.

    Like Magnulus, I'm a minimalist shoe convert. The other great thing is, they're also incredibly handy for climbing.
    I've started climbing/bouldering once or twice a week, because that seems to be one of the only serious upper body things I can do that doesn't trigger my wrist problems. There's a free proper bouldering wall under a bridge on the other side of town, which I've gone to occasionally, but more recently I've found a big chunky bluestone wall nearby that does the trick.

    I used to swim 1km once or twice a week, but swimming is awful on my wrist, and it kills me that I can't swim these days.

    It's winter here and I've lived in places where you can't run or ride for basically all of winter. I stayed in shape just exercising at home (push-ups, sit ups, squats, etc) and walking to and from work daily. And weekly indoor soccer or ultimate frisbee. If I'm forced by inclement weather to exercise at home, I also usually do about 30min of dancing like a maniac. I highly recommend it.

    So basically, what I've learned over the years is to do things that you enjoy and listen to your body. Also, I love food, so I use exercise as a kind of reward system. Do lots of exercise, build up an enormous appetite, eat lots of delicious food.