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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:05 pm 
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Ok, yeah, I'm new here. I didn't see anywhere to "officially" introduce myself, so I picked here. I'll try to be a bit serious, as I do want to become a part of the community here (I'm sure I'll have tons of questions), but as the title indicates, I'm not always successful at serious. ;)

TL/dr: I'm a "big" guy working on losing weight and glad to be here.

Here's my story:

I am 40 years old, and just passed my 5th month (21 weeks) of getting serious about exercise and health. Wait, let me back up. I've always been a husky guy. As a teenand 20-something, I had a small gut, but nothing too big. I don't really remember when I passed the 200-lb mark, but I'm guessing it was when I moved from a standing (fast food manager) job to a sitting job. Lots less activity and no real diet change.

I've always been relatively "healthy". By that I mean that even as my body closed on 300-lb, I had a good resting heart rate and generally average blood pressure. I could do strength stuff, and while I knew my endurance was dwindling, I was content being "healthy". My doctor's kept saying that my body couldn't continue supporting my weight, but since I'd never had any real health issues (still haven't), I mostly blew them off.

About 3 years ago, my dad went in for a stress test. He had been having some pains and they weren't sure if it was heart of gall bladder related. After the stress test, they sent him to have the dye injected to check his heart. When they put the dye in, he had a mild heart attack on the table as the dye blocked what little opening was there. He had the "widow maker" blockage. Bypass surgery and he is doing great now. I share this to say that even that event didn't motivate me toward health. By then I was over 300-lb and probably close to my max weight of 330-lb.

I have four kids and over the past 10 years, I've checked a couple times into increasing my life insurance over the "company paid" amount because that "company paid" is not nearly enough. Both times I didn't even apply as I knew the height/weight requirements for "extra" coverage (I worked for IT at the insurance company) and I knew I wouldn't qualify. In addition, I've coached or assisted all of my kids on a baseball or softball team. Had the kids run but I didn't run with them because either I couldn't run or got too winded running. Again, I say this to say I didn't consider either of these enough motivation to "get fit".

Last year, two things happened. Early in the year, for lack of a better way to explain it and to not offend anyone, I has a religious epiphany (more than willing to discuss, but this is already too long). I was already religious, but this experience changed my thinking about some core issues. Second was in the summer when a friend from my childhood posted a link to a mutual friend's weight loss. The guy had done the P90X training and was now teaching the class. He had lost somewhere over 100-lb. He described one event from "before" that struck a chord. He bent over to tie his shoe and stood up winded. I could relate to that very well; I was that.

I read the story and realized that I was too poor to pay some trainer, but then it hit me. I had done some lifting about 5-10 years ago with a college guy who was a friend of our family. I designed our workouts based on info I got from here, exrx.net. So I knew where to go for the basics. I also knew that all I needed was the determination to stick to it. I made the decision and set my start date for the first full week of October, 2010. I can't say whether this determination came from seeing the results of my friend, from my religious "experience", or from somewhere else. Wherever it came from, I had finally decided that I was tired of being fat and tired.

Starting in October gave me two things: September to gather information and 11 weeks exactly to my 40th birthday. I scoured the "beginner's" information on exrx.net and got my plans together. I didn't bother with much testing or measuring to begin with. I mean, I knew the "blue" walking plan was going to be mine, and I had some dumbells already. I learned about the single set with a 1/2 weight warm-up set. Between that and a few trial runs, it was fairly easy to determine a starting weight.

I do confess, in order to make life (and calculations) easier, I ate a bit more "freely" in the final week of September. I was around 328 and wanted to hit 330 on my first "official" weigh-in. You know, make the starting number easier to remember. Well, I succeeded. I also knew from the insurance stuff that at my height and body build, that I needed to get to about 180, so that gave me an easy number of 150-lb to lose.

My first goal period was that first 11 weeks. I wanted to lose 30-lb to come in at an even 300. I walked the "blue" plan every day on my treadmill. I did a 2 day split workout: upper body on Mon, Thur and lower body on Tue, Fri. I did the calorie counter and figured a spreadsheet up to see how many calories I could eat if I expected to lose the weight I wanted to. Since my family wasn't really interested in dieting (my sons will occasionally lift with me), I knew putting too many restrictions on food for my wife would be difficult for both her (in preparing meals) and me (in trying to eat differently than the family). I cut calories from my daily meals (easy to do when fast food is the norm for lunch), and became a HUGE fan of sugar free jello. :D

Eleven weeks later, I had lost 38-lb. I had my wife help with circumferences to help get a baseline. We were not sure with some things how to measure, but we got some numbers on paper. For my birthday and Christmas, I asked for (and got) a blood pressure cuff and an incline sit-up bench. The next step was a series of five 10-week goal periods. For each one, I needed to lose 25 pounds. That would give me two weeks for vacation if I needed them, and would also get me past my final goal of 180. I told my wife that if I could lose to 165, I would love to be able to tell people I lost half my body weight. That is my eventual goal, but if I don't get there before 18 months, I may have to give that one up.

Just finished my first 10-week period. I barely lost to my second goal weight of 275 (I counted from my first goal of 300, not my actual weight of 292). I switched during that period to a two day push/pull lifting, still MTTF, and I tried to finish the blue walking program. My treadmill has a weight limit of 250 (something I didn't realize until I was almost done with my first 11 weeks), so it will generally cut off before I get to the end of my walking. To compensate, I have been walking in the evenings when I am able. Not the same for endurance, but it will burn the calories.

This past Sunday, my official weigh-in day, I did circumferences again, and I did the Walkport test as well as the Sit-Up, Stretch & Reach, Push Up, Bench Press and maybe one or two other tests. I pushed my walking to 4.5 mph for most of the walk, peaking a few times at 4.7 and once at 5.0 (that didn't last long). Seriously, I thought I was going to die before that mile ended. Not literally, but I had exceeded 200% of my resting heart rate, and I was feeling the windedness. According to the tests, I'm "average" in a couple areas, but still "at risk" in a few. Walkport put me back on the "blue" program. :| So for the next 10 weeks, I'm sticking with my lifting and started the "blue" program at week 11 (hoping my treadmill will let me finish the 2 miles soon). I added in about 100 calories of work on the Wii fit board for balance in the evenings followed by some Wii tennis. :) It is just fun. So, when May 8th rolls around, I hope to report my weight at 250.

I'll post a reply to this somewhere with my routine and weights. I'm glad to have found the forums. I do get lots of support and encouragement from friends (I'm posting weekly updates on facebook), but it is nice to know there is a community I can talk with in more detail and specifics. Sorry for the long personal story.

Paul


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:13 pm 
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Morning:
Walk ("blue" plan)

Weights: (15-lb/35-lb unless noted otherwise)
Push
Lunge (I hate these)
Bench Press
Squat
Incline Bench Press
Hip Adduction (with "surgical tubing" bands)
Shoulder Press (both sets at 15-lbs)
Calf Raise
Tricep Extension
Pull
Chinup (can't do these yet as I have no chinup bar)
Straight Leg Deadlift
Bent-over Row
Lying Hip Abduction
Lateral Raise (5-lb/15-lb)
Incline Sit-ups (no weight)
Curl (probably bad form, but with full weight)
Side Bend
Shrug

Stretch:
Seated Lower Back
Seated Hamstring
Seated Hips
Standing Calf

Evenings: (when I am able)
Walk ("blue" plan again)
Wii Fit Balance exercises (8 of 9; I don't sit lotus very well)
Wii Sports Tennis training

(With 4 kids and 3 are teens, it is not always easy to find time to exercise in the evenings. I try to get at least 3 days a week of my evening plan.)


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 6:51 am 
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Hi PL (didn't catch a name)

First off, Welcome,

Great site/forum you have found IMO, ego free and like to think people are either A: experienced and educated B: if not, don't spout off definitive advice (i.e. I'm only about 14 months experienced and haven't tackled your goals, so I'll point out my advice may be skewed!)

Great stuff on progress so far and your determination to stick to it properly - it's so important that people consider their new found workload part of their life and routine and not just a burden/chore and it seems your doing ok in that regard.

Just a couple of off the cuff remarks

Quote:
"That is my eventual goal, but if I don't get there before 18 months, I may have to give that one up."


Am I understanding this right? compared to your progress/confidence elsewhere it seems a little contradictory/stands out - Your approach, in my opinion, is to A: work hard B: move towards your goal, setting deadlines and a "18 months or bust" goal seems a bit counter productive to me, you are clearly doing quite well.


Can I ask what your timings are with your lifting - what your rest intervals are and how you feel during a work out (for example, I did 5x5 initially, and although this was *hard* work, it did not keep my heart rate high, so I felt worn out, but not short of breathe/not excessivley sweaty - how would you describe yours?)

The reason I ask is (and I will need confirmation from more experienced people here) the first thing I tend to do with newer people is remove exercises and push towards the compound stuff more, i.e. instead of curls and tricep extension, do more sets of bench press and/or chin ups. Instead of side bend and shrug, do more sets of overhead press.

When you minimize the exercise list and focus on compound you can work on keeping rest to a minimal (still reasonable, the goal isn't to push you to an aerobic pace) - obviously you can do this with any program, but I like to think it makes the routine more efficient by essentially combining(or ... compounding :) ) exercises - saving time and the other bennefits of compound (core stability + hundreds more reasons).

my short 2c for now

Quick edit:
Heres a typical strength routine, and is obviously different from weight loss in a few regards, but it does hit the full body.

Starting Strength copy/paste - M/W/F
Monday
Squat 3x5
Bench press/press 3x5 (alternating)
Chin-ups: 3 sets to failure or add weight if completing more than 15 reps

Wednesday
Squat 3x5
Press/bench press 3x5 (alternating)
Deadlift 1x5/Powerclean 5x3 (alternating)

Friday
Squat 3x5
Bench press/press 3x5 (alternating)
Pull-ups: 3 sets to failure or add weight if completing more than 15 reps

I realise these are barbell based and need a chin up bar but my point is - its 3-4 exercises, 5/6 in total. Deadlift can be replaced by dumbell rows if they are sensibly heavy. I think our main contribution here is experienced people eliminating exercises - You have hit the targets you need to which is great, but if we can trim it down and get more bang for the buck then... good stuff.

You could perhaps do a few planks - I wouldn't bother with crunches at the moment.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 9:37 am 
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Thanks for the comments and advice. The 18-month goal and the lack of "drive" towards that are more for the ability to say "I lost half my body weight." Not necessary, but I think it would be cool. My real goal is 180-lb which is the top number for the MetLife, Large Frame weight charts. I knew that number from when I worked there. And that goal date is Dec 19, 2011. That is the big one for me right now, and it is important that I get there (I am stiving to make it for that date, but get there I will even if late).

It has been so long since I have been even close to that and I'm not really sure what is reasonable and legitimate after that. That's part of my wishy-washy nature of the 165-lb/18 month goal. Once I start getting closer to the 180-lb mark, I hope to have a better idea of whether the other goal is reasonable with my body type and build. For now, the immediate goal is 250 by May 8, 2011.

As for my workout, it varies quite a bit. Some days I am feeling winded and seat a bunch, others not so much. I know it probably has to do with my rest between sets or exercises. I've got no consistency, and I really don't know what a good guideline is for this.

For now, with my main goal being weight loss, you may be right that limiting the exercise list may be a better route than what I'm doing. I would have the ability to modify the amount of weight more closely for each exercise. And I am all for trimming the time and getting similar results. My routine is normally about 1.5 hours in the mornings with somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes walking.

One issue I deal with (being a very analytical person) is feeling like I have to be a completist. That is, when I look at the 2-day programs on the website, some exercises are italics (meaning optional) and yet they are on my list of exerecises. If I understand what you are saying, with the primay goal being weight loss, I may get similar or better results with only the bold exercises but multiple sets?


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 9:44 am 
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RobertB wrote:
...
Quote:
"That is my eventual goal, but if I don't get there before 18 months, I may have to give that one up."


...


PL, I'm sorry I didn't read through everything you wrote, it's just to much to concentrate on but this comment by Robert made me go back to it. It's good to have a goal and I support that you shouldn't be married to an arbitrary number or timeline. Nevertheless, you should stay positive on it. In all liklihood, if you do it right, you will gain muscle that may make your weight goal irrelevant. Keep your goals but revisit them periodically to adjust for what you experience and learn. The true goal should be lifelong improvement and/or mitigation of natural tendancies.

Robert also gave you a basic strength program which I also support. I like to see most beginning people to start with a few weeks of body weight training as it developes conditioning and body awareness. It also underscores that you don't need a gym or equipment in order to get to, and stay in shape. Concentrate on the basic movements.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 11:03 am 
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I didn't see anywhere that you said how tall you are but extrapolating from this table: http://www.halls.md/ideal-weight/met.htm it appears that your 5'9".

I know you're dealing with insurance companies but that table has problems. At average heights it's more reasonable than for shorter or taller people but it still doesn't account for people carrying more muscle than average. If you get close to the date but haven't hit your target, have your body fat tested. If you're in the normal range by then you may be able to argue that you're at a healthy weight.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 11:03 am 
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Quote:
If I understand what you are saying, with the primay goal being weight loss, I may get similar or better results with only the bold exercises but multiple sets?


Pretty much yes -

To take a hack at it, and maybe if someone can confirm, I'd drop:
Shrugs
Curls
Incline situps (I'm dubious but just personal opinion, some ab work might be handy, perhaps planks? I'm not sure what the story is with planks with overweight individuals, might be fine... I think some body weight stuff is better eased in with free weights though and that might be one of them)
Side bends
Lying hip abduction


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 11:10 am 
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Planks would be a good choice but you may need to start with your knees on the ground. Push ups work the same way. You need to use your abs to keep your body from sagging. The heavier you are, the harder it is to do strict planks/push ups, so do them from your knees until you can hold the position for 1 minute or more with good form, then move to your toes.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 11:23 am 
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I'm pretty sure many people here wouldn't be covered, 180lbs isn't a lot if you're carrying a bit of muscle!

Sounds like you're doing well but make sure you don't get too caught up with the scales. The weight will come off less and less as your progress, so I'd say the first period with your 30lb loss would be your highest. The fact you will be putting muscle on will affect this too so pictures and the tape measure are a lot better to go by.


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