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  1. #1
    Network Hub Rath's Avatar
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    The Physical Conditioning Thread

    I'm out of shape. I don't want to be. Some background;

    I've spent most of my life with a size 32 waist. Last year, I went up to a size 36 after comfort eating my way through one stressful situation after another. Through dieting, I've managed to get myself back down to the point where, unless I've over-eaten, I can just about manage to fit into size 32 trousers again. But I've got a cider belly and am in danger of transitioning from a chest into full blown man-tits. I also suffer from insomnia quite frequently, and as a result I spend a lot of my time feeling quite fatigued and just not in the mood to exercise.

    My diet is also rather poor. I have reduced the amount I eat by quite a bit, but the content itself is still mostly just processed foods. I can cut out carbonated drinks for extended periods of time, and I've not drunk Strongbow for months after discovering Jeremiah Weed. I don't binge drink (any more), obviously cutting alcohol out altogether would be best but at this point I am down to only drinking in social situations maybe once a week. I do a fair bit of walking as I don't drive, so I suppose that helps. I'm a non-smoker.

    Recently I went from working 40 hours a week down to 20 so now I've got enough time on my hands to do something serious about this. I really don't want to go down the road of taking chemical supplements as I'd prefer to just change my diet for the better and put the effort into exercising. I've invested in a cheap sit-up bench and I have a couple of small weights.

    Anyone have any recommendations for a food plan and workout that will start off simple and help ease me into a routine and lead on to something more rigorous as I build willpower/energy?
    Last edited by Rath; 21-06-2013 at 12:46 AM. Reason: Clarity

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    That sounds horribly familiar. Though I just gave up and started smoking aged 27 and drink more. Hope this helps!

    _

  3. #3
    Lesser Hivemind Node internetonsetadd's Avatar
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    If you can cook, join a CSA (if there's one available to you). You'll be inundated with the cheapest, freshest vegetables you've ever seen and you'll have no choice but to eat them. I don't go seeking radicchio, but I will slice it in half and grill it into a salad if the alternative is wasting it. I'm morally opposed to pure vegetarianism (and if I eat no animal protein at all my energy level takes a dive), but three out of four meals I prepare is vegetarian, and when I cook with meat I use it sparingly.

    I generally find exercise for its own sake pretty boring, but I love walking in the evening. It's really easily to do it routinely, and before long you'll find yourself walking faster, further, and (gasp) even running. It's all about tricking yourself into doing something long enough for your body to find it pleasurable.

    This has been Tips from a Lazy Fuck, brought to you by a lazy fuck.

    Oh, also, cutting alcohol out completely isn't best. It's good for you. I'm trying to train myself to drink Rolling Rock with dinner instead of soda, but I hate feeling tipsy and I love really cold sparkling sugar water.
    Last edited by internetonsetadd; 21-06-2013 at 03:14 AM.

  4. #4
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sabrage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by internetonsetadd View Post
    Oh, also, cutting alcohol out completely isn't best. It's good for you. I'm trying to train myself to drink Rolling Rock with dinner instead of soda, but I hate feeling tipsy and I love really cold sparkling sugar water.
    I'm doubt a whole case of Rolling Rock every night is the healthiest alternative.

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by internetonsetadd View Post
    Oh, also, cutting alcohol out completely isn't best. It's good for you.
    I hope you're not going to quote some ridiculous tech new site for that one. Alcohol isn't going to kill you if it's an occasional drink but it's not particularly healthy either. Some research suggests in small amounts it might help protect against heart disease, but it's also an apparent carcinogen.


    To the OP - If you haven't had a checkup with your GP I'd probably start there to see if there are any chronic health problems you need to consider before starting a new exercise program. Beyond that, for all of the flashy programs and advice and so on, the simple rules boil down to eat less and move more. The absolute best way (IMO) is to keep a food diary and to pay attention to the kilojoule/calorie and dietary information for the food you're eating. Get an estimate of what your daily metabolic needs are and compare them. There are plenty of resources on the internet which will let you get a rough idea for yourself how much you should be eating, but if you've got any other chronic diseases or are at risk for them (like diabetes mellitus) I'd suggest you go to a dietitian or again ask your GP.

    For physical exercise, I had the most success with a mixture of strength and cardio training. Pick an activity you enjoy doing to help get you to stick with it. Whatever it is, consistency is important. The average recommended minimum amount of daily activity is 30 minutes of moderate intensity (that is to say your breathing is elevated but you can still talk in full sentences, your heart rate should be elevated too), but that's a minimum so to improve you'd be looking at longer periods (say 45 minutes). Walk, run, cycle, lift weights, or just use your bodyweight doing situps and pushups and squats.

    Of course I'm assuming you just want to achieve an average or functional level of fitness and not want to be an athlete or bodybuilder here.

    Nurse/Paramedic Soldant's Disclaimer: Best place to get advice is a healthcare professional, preferably one who knows you, like your general practitioner, not the internet.
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  6. #6
    Lesser Hivemind Node internetonsetadd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    I hope you're not going to quote some ridiculous tech new site for that one. Alcohol isn't going to kill you if it's an occasional drink but it's not particularly healthy either. Some research suggests in small amounts it might help protect against heart disease, but it's also an apparent carcinogen.
    Thank you Dr. Nurse. You're not the only person on this forum who works or has worked in healthcare.

  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by internetonsetadd View Post
    Thank you Dr. Nurse. You're not the only person on this forum who works or has worked in healthcare.
    Hey, I'm not the one advocating alcohol as being good for you. Perhaps you'd like to qualify your statement?
    Nalano's Law - As an online gaming discussion regarding restrictions grows longer, the probability of a post likening the topic to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea approaches one.
    Soldant's Law - A person will happily suspend their moral values if they can express moral outrage by doing so.

  8. #8
    Network Hub MD!'s Avatar
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    Disclaimers: I'm no kind of expert, and the experience I speak from is moving from 'weak and unfit' to 'reasonably fit and not as weak as I look'. If you're looking to get into impressive shape, I have nothing to offer. Also, if I come across as patronising at all, I apologise - it's just bad writing on my part.

    The thing to remember is that exercise doesn't have to be painful or unpleasant. You'll have to push yourself, sure, but not excessively. For me, getting fit was a process of gradually extending my comfort zone, not trying to burst my way out of it. What worked in my case (after a build-up from a very low base, starting with short walks) was 30 minutes a day at a fairly high intensity, ~4 times a week, alternating with a strength-building circuit 2-3 times a week, plus incidental exercise through walking and the like. If I'd tried to really hammer my body, I think I would have given up, but as it is I've happily stuck with my routine (with various modifications) for a few years now, and it has made a big difference to how I feel and what I can do.

    If you set your target heart-rate correctly, the speed of your cardio workout will increase naturally as you get fitter. So you'll always be working hard enough to make progress, but not sickeningly hard. You'll probably move from one activity to another as you improve (say, walking - cycling - running on the flat - running up hills). My target, which I built up to over time, is about 160bpm, but I understand that a sensible heart rate varies quite significantly with age, as well as various other factors.

    If possible, I would recommend one planning session with an expert of some kind, just to give you the confidence that you have a program that a) will work, and b) won't do you any harm.

    Finally, my focus was fitness, rather than weight-loss. For the latter, I think you might be better off doing longer sessions at a lower intensity, though I'm not entirely sure.

  9. #9
    Network Hub Rath's Avatar
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    @internetonsetadd I would find it impossible to cut out meat. My girlfriend is of the non-pushy vegetarian persuasion and she's introduced me to a lot of decent stuff since we've been together, but giving up red meat would be an impossibility, because bacon.

    @soldant Consulting my GP wouldn't be a bad idea, seeing as I'm starting to suspect I may have sleep apnoea and if there's something up with my breathing I should probably have that dealt with before embarking on strenuous exercise. You're right, I don't want to become someone with arms that look like a condom full of coconuts, just get my health right and look at least half-decent. The way Toby Kebbel looked in RocknRolla, albeit slightly less heroin-y, would be my ideal.

    @MD! Re; heart rate varying with age. I should have mentioned in the opening post that I'm 28.

  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Buy fruit, eat it.

    Sounds too easy I know, but blood sugar levels are stably raised reducing fatigue, hunger is reduced and it gets the antiviral 'vitamin C' in your blood (among other things you need).
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  11. #11
    Lesser Hivemind Node internetonsetadd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabrage View Post
    I'm doubt a whole case of Rolling Rock every night is the healthiest alternative.
    I laughed. I was trending toward Scotch when I stopped drinking in my mid-twenties. These days I have to really not like the people around me to drink more than one beer.

    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    Hey, I'm not the one advocating alcohol as being good for you. Perhaps you'd like to qualify your statement?
    I already did. I said that cutting it out completely isn't best, and it isn't according to numerous studies that demonstrate that those who consume a moderate amount of alcohol are healthier than abstainers and heavy drinkers across a fairly wide range of health issues. These studies suggest that alcohol is good for you in moderation. Recommending alcohol consumption as a public health measure or to patients that do not drink would be irresponsible and dangerous, but I am familiar with a number of cardiologists who have worked with patients who already drink to make moderate red wine consumption part of their overall regimen.

    To be clear though, I am not nor have I ever been qualified to give medical advice. Pharmaceutical trademark safety advice, maybe. Of course, this wasn't necessarily a medical advice thread, even if it apparently should have been.

    In my case, I believe it would be healthier to drink (what barely qualifies as) a beer (that tastes sort of like soda) which may have a beneficial effect on my health compared to not drinking than a soda which is 100% useless and probably deleterious.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rath View Post
    @internetonsetadd I would find it impossible to cut out meat.
    So would I! Also contrary to my belief system.

  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Xercies's Avatar
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    I wouldnt have a problem with meat it gets bad press and is healthyer then people give it credit. All i can say is +1 in finding exercise you like and sticking with it but i do know that people will have 365 excuses not to do something so that is a tough one to get over.

  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Ian's Avatar
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    I'm a big fat fatty but have lost about three and third stone over the last year or so without making that much of an effort to.

    The key changes have been a) cutting out the majority of extra snacks and stuff (crisps, chocolate and the like) and b) doing a little bit of exercise in the house most nights.

    I was doing Wii Fit but got bored of that so now I just stick an episode of something on TV for 45 minutes to an hour and step on and off that, as well as some free weights and floor stuff like a few push ups and sit-ups and stuff. I do about an hour a night 4-6 nights a week. I still have a few beers of a weekend, eat nice things, have a takeaway on a Friday night etc. and I appreciate that at some point I'm almost certainly going to have to up my exercise and/or cut more out of my diet to keep getting more weight off but I've been quite happy doing what I've been doing. I don't think I've I'd suddenly gone on a strict diet/exercise regime I'd have stuck to it so this has been the perfect way for me.
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  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by internetonsetadd View Post
    ...but I am familiar with a number of cardiologists who have worked with patients who already drink to make moderate red wine consumption part of their overall regimen.
    From the studies I've seen the 'sweet spot' seems to be about a quarter of a wine glass, or at most a single glass of wine. It's a pretty strict moderation. But thanks for qualifying the statement.
    Nalano's Law - As an online gaming discussion regarding restrictions grows longer, the probability of a post likening the topic to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea approaches one.
    Soldant's Law - A person will happily suspend their moral values if they can express moral outrage by doing so.

  15. #15
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Kadayi's Avatar
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    Hunt down a copy of 'Four hour body'by Tim Ferriss. Not particularly onerous I found and the methodology is easy and results tangible even after a few weeks. More importantly it doesn't require you to spend endless hours down the gym.
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  16. #16
    Lesser Hivemind Node Leopig's Avatar
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    I always been a big chap. A few years ago after my dad died I realised I was like 30 something and not healthy so I went on a strict diet and excerise regieme and lost 8 stone (112 pound) in about 6 months. I kept if off for a few years by running 7 miles a night. Then I met my wife and relaxed a bit and put back on about 5 of those stone, so decided to lose again which I did get to lose about 3 stone but then lost my job and developed IBS so I sank into a deep depression and put back on all of my original wieght and more. Now I am the heaviest I have ever been and while I do exercise regular and watch what I eat I am prone to relapses and just eat rubbish for two weeks and undo anything I done. Plus I have developed a painkiller addiction to boot.

    So yeah, worrying too much about it can be counter productive. So while I have put on plenty of muscle and have decent cardio (can hit a heavybag for about an hour at a time) I have a load of fat on top. God I hate being too self aware and hyper sensitive worrying about what people I don't even know or like think of me.
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  17. #17
    Network Hub roryok's Avatar
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    I tried Intermittent Fasting recently (also known as the 5:2 diet) where you 'fast' 2 days a week. 'Fasting' in this instance means restricting your food intake for the day to 600 calories, which is easy to do.

    On the non-fasting days, you can literally eat whatever you like. After a month, I'd dropped about 3kg and felt a lot better about myself. I actually stopped then and put the weight back on, but I'm doing it again for the month of July.

    There are supposedly all kinds of benefits including reduced cholesterol, although some of these are disputed. Check out the BBC documentary "Eat, Fast and Live Longer", and also wikipedia

  18. #18
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    Oh further to my incredibly useful comments. I found trying to actually find some non-annoying exercise the best thing. Then just eating better/less generally. When I got a job for the first time I went up from a 32" waist to a 36" in a year and a half, getting it back down to a 34 ish now. It's odd as everyone seems to think I look better being almost overweight than I did being totally skinny.

    Anyway walking is my best exercise I recommend. Running is just horrible and makes me incredibly incredibly angry. Endorphins are a lie, doctor's keep suggesting it to me to help with depression (instead of booze and fags). Also weights are good as you can sort of do them while reading a book or watching a documentary. So you don't get painfully bored.

  19. #19
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Skalpadda's Avatar
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    The alcohol thing: Isn't a complicating factor that those who regularly drink just a glass of wine generally belong to the middle class segment that live relatively comfortable, stable lives with good healthcare etc. and would therefore likely be healthier anyway?

    Anyway, to the OP here's a short list of things that worked for me to get in better shape. I've never technically been overweight but last year I realised I'd gained 15kg pretty fast by sitting still indoors too much, eating and sleeping badly. I was feeling pretty fatigued and awful most of the time so the goal was to be more active and generally feel better about myself rather than losing weight or building muscle.

    1. Planning my meals. Not counting calories or anything but planning the meals I want the next few days and figuring out what ingredients I'll need before going shopping. Eating varied food at set times and cooking sane portions really helps keep my mood even, makes me much less likely to eat crap and saves a fair bit of money as well.

    2. Getting my lazy butt out the door every day. Started with taking a 30min-1hr walk every day, no matter what. As it became a routine the pace and distances just sort of automatically increased and lately it's been more like 2-5hr walks, depending on the weather. I could probably get the same health benefits and save time by doing something more intense but I hate running and sports; a nice long walk in the sunshine with a good audiobook or podcast in the mp3 player is pleasant.

    3. Doing some light exercises at home 2-3 times per week. Nothing fancy, no equipment (though I'm thinking of getting some dumbbells and a pull-up bar), just some pushups and crunches and other easy exercises for half an hour or so. As someone who's never liked exercise much this was probably the hardest to make a routine out of, and at first I thought there might be something wrong with me because joints protested and I got muscle soreness in places I didn't know I had muscles at first, but now I just do it every other day and it feels okay.

    4. Writing down what I do during the days. This is a bit weird and has more to do with me being terrible at planning my time and easily getting stuck in front of the computer or reading books for hours at a time. I just started writing down what I'd done, hour for hour during the days and it made me far more aware of the time that passed and has gotten me to just plain do more stuff during the days.

    So, not overly much, but since getting over the initial hurdle and making these things a regular routine it's been a pretty straight improvement curve. I feel a bit stronger, I'm not tired all the time, sleep better and enjoy food more. I haven't lost much weight but I'm 1,85m tall and weigh 80kg so the weight itself was never a problem and my body shape has become nicer so that's fine.

  20. #20
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    How do you have time for a 2-5 hour walk every day? I'm only awake 16 hours a day 9 are spent in work, 2 commuting...

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