Christopher Cashell (topher) wrote,
Christopher Cashell

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"Getting in shape" tips.

Okay, mtffm, I hope you appreciate the work I went through on this. I originally tried to post it as a comment for you, and it wouldn't go through, because it was too long. So, when I hit back to break it in half, IE decided to clear the text box. I'd just lost 20 some minutes of typing.

I finally started up ethereal, did some packet sniffing, hit reload in IE to get it to re-send the comment, then (mostly) manually URL-decoded it and put it into this entry.

So, you need to at least pretend to read it, even if you ignore me and it in reality. ;-p

First thing I would suggest is to not worry as much about the weight. Muscle weighs a good deal more than fat does, so you could improve your health, your appearance, and how you feel, all without actually losing weight. I'd worry more about how you feel and how you look. For example, you might make losing 2 inches on your waist a goal, or being able to see a " six pack" in your abs.

I'd strongly suggest that as part of your workout routine, you include weight lifting. The first advantage, is simply that it'll make you stronger. Of course, a little bit of extra muscle never hurts your appearance, either. The great, often overlooked, benefit of it though, is that more muscles means more calories burned. By increasing your muscle mass, even a little bit, you'll burn more calories even when you aren't working out, and that can make it a lot easier to lose fat.

If you're really serious, I'd suggest doing a weight and cardio workout session 3 -4 times a week. Depending on how much time you have, and how your schedule is, you can do them same day, or alternate days. If you decide to do them same day, I'd advice doing your cardio workout immediately after your weight workout. It'll be rough, but your muscles have already burned most of their stored energy at that point, and you'll start burning fat sooner. Another trick to b urn more fat, is to work out first thing in the morning, before you eat breakfast. Since you haven't replenished your store of carbohydrates for energy for the day, you'll burn more fat with your workout.

If you want to specifically target your abs (remembering that no matter how hard you work them, you have to burn fat to see them), the two best excercises for them are crunches on an exercise ball and lying flat on your back doing a bicycling motion (bring your elbow to your opposite knee and alternate, repeatedly).

With regards to diet, a lot of people are way too concerned with how much fat is in th eir diet. There are two bad things about fat. The first is choleserol is often a part of it (especially saturated fat), which is bad for your arteries. The second is that fat has over 2 times as many calories per gram as carbs and protien. Thus, a high fat meal can easily contain a vastly higher amount of calories. Don't worry to much about fat in general, though. It isn't worth it.

A better thing to worry about, is simple carbohydrates. Things like processed sugar and (especially) bleached white flour are among the absol ute worst things for you. They'll cause an insulin spike worse than a candy bar will, and are among the easiest things for your body to convert to fat if they aren't burned . Avoid white bread, white rice, sweetened breakfast cereals (try oatmeal for a good alternative;-), etc. For this reason, if you want to lose fat, one of the best things you can do is simply cut out all carbs, for at least 3 hours before you go to bed, and simple carbs for 4 hours before bedtime. (Eating them closer to bedtime is like begging them to add to your fat storage).

Eating a balanced diet of protien, fat, and carbs is a good thing, and it's also a good idea to try to get at least some of each with every meal. A reasonable mix for someone who's lifting weights, working out , and trying to lose weight might be 45% carbs, 30% protien, and 25% fat (with as little as possible of that being saturated fat, and as much of your fat as possible coming form vegetable or fish sources).

One thing that a lot of people forget, is that the simple key to losing weight is the old "calories in vs. calories burned" formula. In other words, if you eat more calories than you burn, you gain weight. If you burn more than you eat, you lose weight. How you balance that out, whether it's by reducing calories in, increasing calories burned, or both, is up to you. One warning, though. . . don't starve yourself. If you don't get enough calories, your bod y will think it's being starved, and try to store as much as it possibly can as fat. This is why it's important to not skip meals (reducing the amount you eat at a meal is cool, but don't skip it), and especially important to eat a decent breakfast. When you sleep, your metabolism slows down and is sort of "put on hold" (this is why you don't wake up after a few hours starved). When you eat breakfast, it's sort of a kick to your body saying, "Hey, time to wake up and start moving!".

Hrm. . . set yourself a schedule. If you say, "I'm going to work out next week", it's easy to put it off. If you say, "I'm going to work out as soon as I get home from class on Tuesday, and right after work on Thursday. . .", then it's harder, because then you know you should be doing it *right then*.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head. . . I'd be happy to try to answer any questions you have, too. I used to work out religiously back in high school and shortly after, my best friend used to play football at Nebraska (widely considered to have the best workout/nutrition/training program in college footbal), and my brother is working towards a sports physiology degree, so I'm usually fairly well versed on this stuff. ;-)
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