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Noexit
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Confused

Post by Noexit » Thu May 24, 2007 9:16 am

Greetings. I'm really new to the exercise thing. A year ago I went in for a regular physical and checkup and some routine bloodwork. Everything came back off the scales and my doctor used words like "heart attack" and "stroke". I was 38 years old, over 250lbs and did not exercise as all. He wanted me to start walking, go on a low fat (less than 20g per day) diet, and get down to 200, which I did back in December.

In January I joined a local gym thinking I probably should do some strength training to complement the walking, and because the weather was too poor to walk outside. I'm now at 215, most of which has been muscle gain although I have put on some fat as well. I kind of let my diet slide during the winter.

I started with the weights just kind of haphazard, typical 3 sets of 10, watching the other guys and doing what I thought seemed right. That wasn't working out. I found this site and took some pointers and for the last month and a half I've been doing the Full Body Workout Alternating Upper/Lower. I liked this workout because it gave me the most amount of exercises in the shortest period of time. It's worked great and I've really increased my strength dramatically. But, I started doing 1 set of 12, which just isn't enough for me now, I don't leave the gym with that pleasant feeling of exhaustion. Since I'm also using exercise to help deal with stress I really like feeling like I've exerted myself when I'm done. So I've been doing 2 sets of 12, or working up to that on everything.

So I have two questions. First, I start to feel weak during the workout, not that I don't have enough strength, I just don't feel like I have enough food energy to do the job. I read all kinds of stuff saying "drink this, take that". I don't really want to get into the supplements thing too much, but I did start using a protein powder just because I knew that I wasn't getting enough. So, what should I do intake just before and/or during a workout to be sure to have enough energy to complete it without sacrificing intensity?

Second question: I like to do some cardio every day, when I don't lift weights I usually do a 1 to 1 1/2 hour walk with some running. When I do lift weights I'll usually do 20-30 minutes on the treadmill or cross-trainer, whichever is available. In light of my first question, should I be doing my cardio before or after my weights? My primary goal is to continue to burn fat until my spare tire has gone missing.

Sorry to be so long winded. I've really learned a lot reading this site. Thanks for any help.

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Post by stuward » Thu May 24, 2007 9:51 am

You actually asked a few questions here. I'll take a stab at a couple.

Cardio: Do your cardio in a separate workout. If you like walking/running great. Do it separate. For your weight workout, use the cardio only for general warmup, that takes about 5 minutes. Then do your specific warmup. Don't wear yourself out before you start lifting.

Pre workout nutrition: Eat every 3 hours enough to take you through the next 3 hours. This means have a large meal about 1 hour before you exercise. I exercise in the morning and I like oatmeal with protein, flaxseed and raisins.

Supplements: Focus on training and nutrition and other than protein ignore supplements. This is not to say that at some point in the future you may want to experiment but find out what works for you first.

Post workout nutrition: After exercise, make sure you take in protein and high GI carbs immediately after trg. This protects your muscles from being used as fuel.

Program design: I'm sure everyone has opinions and I'm not going to get into it.
Last edited by stuward on Fri May 25, 2007 3:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by hoosegow » Thu May 24, 2007 9:57 am

There is a lot of information out there and you put some stipulations. This is my opinion and what I have found works for me. For a pre-workout healthy meal, I try to have a protein shake with 23 g from whey and 24 g from casein about an hour before I workout. Also, you might want to try to sip a sports drink while you workout. I sometimes will mix a product from Biotest called Surge (it has carbs and protein in it) and will drink it while I workout. This may not be an option due to you not wanting to get into supplements. I also know people who will buy a Snicker's bar and nibble on it during the workout. It provides the sugar your body needs to do work. You can use fruit or something that is low in fat to substitute as well.

As for the cardio, if I do it in conjunction with lifting, I always do it after. My goals are to get stronger and bigger. I don't want to waste the energy on cardio since I will need it to lift. The only problem with doing cardio after you lift is that your body could be in a catabolic state. That could negate some of your gains from lifting. That may not be an issue for you since your goal are much nobler than mine.

BTW congratulations on all the success and hard work. It is easy to make the commitment to change but it is hard to go through with it. You are almost half a year in, so it sound like you have completed the lifestyle change.

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Post by sfgirl65 » Thu May 24, 2007 10:17 am

I'd like to chime in regarding the nutrition.
Part of the reason you feel exhausted may be due to dehydration. You should hydrate through-out the day, before, during and after the work-out.
Drink pure water, sports drinks, decaf tea or juice. But juice has more calories and most juices have extra added sugar. Try to get at least 64oz of liquid per day, but you will probably need more then that. Some people recommend 1/2 your body weight in water per day.
I think the best approach to nutrition for working-out is to eat healthy all the time. If you need help knowing what and how much to eat check out the following link. It will give you guidelines based on height, weight and activity level http://www.mypyramid.gov/mypyramid/index.aspx

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Post by Noexit » Thu May 24, 2007 10:28 am

Thanks, I guess I should have been a little more clear. I'm not against supplements completely, I just didn't want to start a discussion as to which brand is best etc etc. I have started drinking the protein and then having a PowerBar within an hour of working out.

I've tried carrying along some Gatorade with me, but frankly it just doesn't have much kick to it, and after reading the label it's pretty obvious why. I've seen the Surge product before and I may give that a try.

Saving energy by doing cardio after lifting makes sense, I just wanted to know if there'd be a fat burning advantage to the other way.

I can't say my goals are completely noble, I'm definitely enjoying the extra bulk in my arms and shoulders, and the girls in the office saying they need to borrow my muscles to shake the snack machine, change the water cooler and so forth. :)

Regarding dehydration, I usually drink probably closer to 100 ounces of water per day, plus others like tea, juice and diet pop. If I don't I really start to feel it.

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Post by stuward » Thu May 24, 2007 11:01 am

I would be careful with the mypyramid.gov calculator. The pyramid does not differentiate between Omega 3 and Omega 6 but we now know that people get way to much O-6 and not enough O-3. Grains are heavy in the former and Greens are heavy in the other so you should eat more Green veg and less Grains. It told me I need 3 cups of greens per week. I eat that for lunch.

The oils they recommend are faulty as a result as well.

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Post by TimD » Thu May 24, 2007 12:44 pm

Let's look at your first question, on the fat that you do 2X12 on everything and don't feel you have the enery to do the whole workout. I think the others have addressed the "what to eat/drink" thing pretty wwell, but lets look at it from another perspective. What eactly is your routine? Maybe it's too long or too redundant. Could you list it please?
As to cardio before or after weights, I agree with Stuward. On another day, or at least after. No fat burning effects lost at all, in fact the cardio AFTER the weights may even enhance it a bit. It's a well known fact that while you may burn more calories while doing cardio than weights, you will KEEP burning calories long after strength work and not so with cardio. Also, and this may apply to your first question, doing cardio before can easily tap into your efforts with the strength training .
Tim

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Post by Noexit » Thu May 24, 2007 1:22 pm

TimD Here's my routine. I put this together off of recommendations from here.

Full Body Workout - Alternating Upper/Lower
3 days a week - WXWXWXX

Chest:
Bench press 1 set 10-12 reps
Currently at 35 lbs per side

Hamstrings:
Lying leg curl 1 set 10-12 reps
100 lbs on cable

Back:
Cambered bar lying row
1 set 10-12 reps
65 lbs

Quads:
Leg Press 1 set 10-12 reps
90 lbs on either side, 180 total

Deltoids:
Lateral - Upright row 1 set 10-12 reps
80 lbs on cable

Calves:
Calf press 1 set 10-12 reps
55 lbs

Biceps:
Brachii - Curl 1 set 10-12 reps
Dumbells, 30 lbs each side

Brachialis - Preacher Curl 1 set 10-12 reps
40 lbs total on curved bar

Abdominal:
Rectus Abdominus - Seated crunch 1 set 10-12 reps
90 lbs

Triceps:
Pushdown 1 set 10-12 reps
90 lbs on cable

Lat Pull Down
1 set 10-12 reps
110 lbs on cable

Straight back deadlift
1 set 10-12 reps
40lbs on barbell

Like I said I've changed everything to 2 sets of 12 reps, except for the biceps which I count each individual exercise as 1 set of the 2. If I were just getting tired toward the end of the routine I'd definitely think I was just doing too much, but I generally start feeling weak, or tired right off the bat, like I just don't have enough juice to do even get started. I can usually push through ok, but I have to cut back on weight and reps when I do.

My diet is fairly consistent. I usually workout right after work. On days that I do I eat the same thing for lunch as usual, then have a Muscle Milk and a Powerbar about an hour before getting to the gym. As I said above, taking a Gatorade with me or buying one there just does not help.

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Post by TimD » Thu May 24, 2007 2:03 pm

On the surface, it really doesn't look lke too much, given you're only doing 1 ex per grouping (maybe two insome cases), and seeing that you are tired right off the bat doesn't support the idea that you may be doing too much. Could it be the time of the day? I know the last thing I would do was workout right after work, not in the right physical or mental mood. I'm lucky that I work from 1-9 PM, so I get up, eat something light or just have coffee, feeling good and work out then, Another thing I might do after work is tokick back and relax for an hour or so then hit it. Much ore in the mental zone then. You may not have a choice, I don't know, but just a thought.
Tim

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Post by Noexit » Thu May 24, 2007 2:51 pm

I have thought about that, the time of day and mental attitude. I work 8 to 5 and I am not a morning person, so doing it before work is right out. My problem is that if I go home first and relax a little I tend to lose my motivation to go later. I may have to try this because I do know that a lot of time my mind is definitely not in it whether my body is or not.

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Post by leif3141 » Thu May 24, 2007 4:46 pm

I would not worry about supplements at all for weight loss. I lost around 60 pounds just weightlifting and dieting. Cardio makes me more hungry...and dieting is the best way to lose that little bit of fat. Exercising is just the icing on the cake...and strength training was the right way for me because then I would not overeat. Just make sure to eat things that fill you up, like lean meats, to avoid overeating as well. I did the complete opposite of what most would tell you to do: I would eat a big breakfast and a big lunch, but a very small or non-existent dinner. It is hard to do...but it works!

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Post by daniel4738 » Fri May 25, 2007 3:29 am

There are some guys here who have answered most of the questions. I would just like to add my 2 pennies. Something I read in a guide on nutrition for special forces. Unless you are on a 3 week training exercise in the jungle of Belize You should be able to get all the nutrition you need from natural foods, Just take a walk down the 'produce' isle in the local supermarket instead of all the pre-prepared stuff.

I would also like to say that I love people like you, it doesn't matter that you aren't an elite athlete, but you put the effort in. It always makes me feel humble when I hear stories like this. keep up the effort and most of all make sure you enjoy what you are doing :D

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Post by Ironman » Fri May 25, 2007 4:14 am

I think it is the diet that is doing it. Unfortunately most doctors have not kept up with the times on diets. Low fat went out with parachute pants and hair bands. I think many doctors don't give nutrition a second look and what was the thing when they were in med school is what they will know until they retire.

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Late followup

Post by Noexit » Fri Jun 15, 2007 12:50 pm

It's been a couple weeks since I've posted this thread, but I've tried something that's working pretty well so I thought I'd post a followup.

After doing some more poking around here, and some other research I learned that creatine may be pretty useful for muscle energy. I was able to get some on sale at my local GNC and I thought I'd give it a shot. So far I have to say I'm pretty pleased with the result.

I take the recommended serving about an hour or so before working out, either in water, Gatorade or my protein shake and it works great. Best result was with the Gatorade, but none has been useless. As I stated in my initial post my muscles just didn't feel like they were getting enough fuel through my workout, but with the creatine they do. At the end of my routine I feel like I've had a good workout, but that I haven't cheated myself during the workout by cutting back on reps or weight. I also go ahead and take a serving after work as the general consensus says that's the thing to do.

I also tried some snacks during the workout itself, prior to trying the creatine, but they didn't help and did seem to give me a bit of a sugar crash.

I will not speak to the other purported benefits of creatine such as muscle size or hardness and I'm not interested in those aspects at this time and haven't been using the creatine in the manner suggested for those aspects, or for long enough to see any difference.

I've only been using the creatine for two weeks, so I realize that this may all be placebo or short term. These are just my initial reactions so far.

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