Author Topic: Advice for Newbies  (Read 2370 times)

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Offline LumpyFish

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Re: Advice for Newbies
« Reply #15 on: May 01, 2012, 07:42:19 AM »
The last time I went to a gym was a long time ago. This is kind of a good thing for me, but now I want to try and start working out again. I am thinking specifically about weight training - I kind of know how to run.

The question is, how should I go about building up strength, and where can I get a good overview of all I should be paying attention to? The other threads are awesome in terms of information, but I'm looking for guidance. Is it worth hiring a personal trainer? How should I go about choosing one and what should I tell them? I am okay with my weight (well, not okay, but not ready to start an actual concerted effort to change it), I just want to replace fat with muscle, and be generally stronger/more fit.

It couldn't hurt to have a personal training session or two just to make sure you're not putting yourself at risk of serious harm through incorrect body positioning when lifting free weights, etc.. It might also help you to avoid to make the types of idiotic mistakes I made such as not figuring the 45lb weight of the barbell into how much weight I was trying to bench press my first time.

Becarful with what gym you go to and check on the qualifications of their personal trainers.  Some have no actually training and are just meat heads that got a job at the gym.

Offline WC

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Re: Advice for Newbies
« Reply #16 on: May 01, 2012, 11:20:37 AM »
I imagine finding a non wacky trainer is a lot like finding a non wacky psychologist. Having a lifelong experience with the latter, and zero with the former, I guess I wouldn't know, but it seems that way.

Anyway, always start out easy. Don't burn out in the beginning by overexerting. Nice and easy, even if it seems demeaningly pathetically easy at first, one must slowly ease into a more active lifestyle. Blowing out right off the bat is the most common thing; people go into the gym for the first time in a long time or for the first time ever, and over do it, maybe once, maybe a few times, and they get discouraged or hurt and fall out of the idea of getting fit. Track progress by doing body measurements (Navy or YMCA), don't go by weight alone to track weight loss. Keep workout logs; how long, how far, which exercises, how many reps, sets, amount of weight, heart rate and so on. They are easy to keep, just a clipboard and a bit of paper, or a bit of paper in a pocket as you go, it also gives you a minute between exercises as you jot it down. Start with the logs early and track your progress, and use them to plan and project future goals. Enter them into Excel or something when you get home, or a more permanent log book. It's important to bear in mind that one is making progress, even if it isn't immediately visible or apparent, and a log is a good way to do that.

The fat2fit podcast is a tremendous resource. Nerdfitness.com is pretty good for men's fitness.

Offline AQB24712

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Re: Advice for Newbies
« Reply #17 on: May 01, 2012, 11:38:10 AM »
Ideally, you should bring Tatyana over for a visit/consultation.  [/not helpful]

I never went to a commercial gym.  As far as setting up a program, I had good results with trainer/coaches at the YM/YWCA and at the fitness centers of the colleges where I worked.  Could you perhaps make use of something at Barnard or at a Y before you skip town?
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Offline DRmeg378

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Re: Advice for Newbies
« Reply #18 on: May 01, 2012, 11:56:50 AM »
Oh if I could fly tatyana over I would do it in a heartbeat. I think the resources in this link will at least help me ask questions.
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Offline WC

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Re: Advice for Newbies
« Reply #19 on: May 01, 2012, 12:00:54 PM »
Becarful with what gym you go to and check on the qualifications of their personal trainers.  Some have no actually training and are just meat heads that got a job at the gym.
Yeah, I was offered a job on the spot as a spinning trainer/instructor at the gym I was going to last year, solely because I had mentioned to the manager how many miles I cycled weekly as I was signing up, as we were shooting the shit. I was extremely wary of taking any of the freebie trainer sessions or classes after that. Yikes.

Oh if I could fly tatyana over I would do it in a heartbeat. I think the resources in this link will at least help me ask questions.
Perhaps fly to tatyana?  :)
« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 12:04:46 PM by Wicked Combover »

Offline Cognoscento

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Re: Advice for Newbies
« Reply #20 on: May 01, 2012, 12:56:32 PM »
One of the keys to success is consistency.  Most people are unsuccessful in their diet/exercise/lifestyle plan because they cant maintain the enthusiasm or lack the patience to stick with a program in the long term when the results don't come over night. 

Have patience, set realistic goals, and try to enjoy the journey a little. 

When starting out, I had 3 days of weight training (chest and triceps, back and biceps, shoulders/traps and legs) and 3 days of cardio (40-60 minutes of moderate to high intensity) per week - with one day to rest. 
« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 01:48:25 PM by Cognoscento »
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Offline WC

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Re: Advice for Newbies
« Reply #21 on: May 01, 2012, 01:51:05 PM »
The best advise I got for easing into it after years of becoming sedentary and letting myself go was simply this; go for an evening walk. 20 minutes at first. Just a little cardio every evening after dinner, and work up to 40 minute walks over a couple months. Brisker and brisker. Nice and slow at first, at my own pace, or a pace I felt comfortable increasing as I went along. Had I gone into a gym and tried to push myself like I used to when I was in peek condition as an athlete in my youth, I would have burnt out immediately. It was a simple and small lifestyle change that I built on, it got me going and kept the enthusiasm up, and walking is a very pleasurable activity, where I could enjoy the evening dusk, and listen to audiobooks and podcasts. After some time (for me, about 5 or 6 months) I was jogging and cycling for longer and longer distances, faster and faster, and then I got back into strength training and running after a year or so. Everyone is different. Eating an elephant one bite at a time is, I suppose, what I'm saying. And keeping in mind that what I was/am doing was/is a lifetime lifestyle change to become more and more active over time, and not a sprint for immediate results.

And of course, modifying the diet to something permanent is key. Lifelong dietary changes.

As an aside, I have two extremely fit uncles who are about my age, a little older (5 years difference between me and my youngest uncle), and I take their exercise/diet advise as doctrine... The pattern of weight gain on our side of the family, for the men, is obviously hereditary. It's uncanny, how the men get fat and get out of shape in our family, all at exactly the same age (my age, as of this very moment). It has been extremely helpful to be able to compare notes and take advice from close family members who have also struggled with staying fit exactly as I have, and see the results of their success. Inspiration to keep going and not to give up. I may be unusually lucky in this regard. Relatives who work hard to be healthy and fit are a treasure trove.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 01:59:41 PM by Wicked Combover »

Offline Plastiq

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Re: Advice for Newbies
« Reply #22 on: May 01, 2012, 05:03:16 PM »
Anyway, always start out easy. Don't burn out in the beginning by overexerting. Nice and easy, even if it seems demeaningly pathetically easy at first, one must slowly ease into a more active lifestyle. Blowing out right off the bat is the most common thing; people go into the gym for the first time in a long time or for the first time ever, and over do it, maybe once, maybe a few times, and they get discouraged or hurt and fall out of the idea of getting fit.
People definitely buy memberships and stop going, but is it really due to too much too soon? I honestly don't know, but whether someone will stick to it or not seems to be an intangible thing.

Offline MikeHz

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Re: Advice for Newbies
« Reply #23 on: May 01, 2012, 07:22:47 PM »
One of the keys to success is consistency.  Most people are unsuccessful in their diet/exercise/lifestyle plan because they cant maintain the enthusiasm or lack the patience to stick with a program in the long term when the results don't come over night. 

Have patience, set realistic goals, and try to enjoy the journey a little. 

This is the best advice.

Oh, and change your routine every few weeks.
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Offline General Ludd

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Re: Advice for Newbies
« Reply #24 on: May 06, 2012, 03:16:06 PM »
The last time I was in a gym I was anorexic and exercised obsessively. I am ready to work out in a non-obsessive way, I think, but I need to find a good way to go about it, one that doesn't lead me back down a path I don't want to go. My weight is well within the healthy territory. It could be lower, but I care about health and fitness and feeling good, I don't want to start feeling inadequate. In other words, I don't want to change anything specific, my only goal right now is to work out in and of itself.

That is a good message for folks who might tend toward extremes or may not be very good at gauging how much is too much (or too little). Weight lifting can be very stimulating and rewarding form of exercise. I love the rush I get from pumping iron, but it is very easy to hurt yourself without even knowing it. I have found that the activities where I am not good at reflecting on the feedback my body is giving me or don't get good feedback, having another person (ideally an observant trainer) help out can truly pay for itself.

Offline vociferous

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Re: Advice for Newbies
« Reply #25 on: May 06, 2012, 08:28:55 PM »
There are two basic, widely accepted training methods for strength training.  One is to do a daily circuit.  The other is to do a weekly circuit.  On the daily circuit, you hit all the major muscle groups in one day, but you only usually do one exercise each.  You vary the exercises day by day.  The the weekly circuit, you concentrate on one or two of the major muscle groups with each exercise and ignore the rest. 

The traditional wisdom is that you do more harm than good if you can only do one or two repetitions of an exercise before reaching muscle failure.  Usually the target is 3-15 repetitions per set, although some people who are going for endurance over strength with choose to do many reps with light weights.  The most important thing is simply to reach muscle failure.

Personal trainers or someone who knows how to do an exercise properly is important to consult when doing free weights.  Bad form can cause injuries.  If there is nobody that can help, just watch videos online to familiarize yourself with proper technique and watch yourself in the mirror to ensure that you carry it out. 

Other than that, the best advice is just to consult books to find exercises that you want to try. 

 

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