Hey guys, I've recently become interested in becoming healthier. Right now I am fat. Now, before puberty I was skinny, but once puberty hit, with no substantial change in lifestyle or eating habits, I became a fat kid. I was active, played sports year round, Baseball in summer, Soccer in the fall and spring, and practiced Martial Arts from the age of 12-16. I wasn't very fat then, but I was pretty pudgy, even though for the majority of the year I was going from 3hr soccer or baseball practices to a two hour martial arts class. I was exercising four to five hours per day six days per week, and still pudgy. Then we moved when I was 16. I wasn't able to play sports any more because I had to work to help support my family, and we couldn't afford the rates the martial arts schools charged in our new location, so I got way out of the habit of exercising. I went from almost constant exercising, to no exercising and I got fatter, but between high school and working 30 hrs per week, I was tired all the time and unable to find the time to exercise. I went to college but was at this point after three years of non-exercise too out of shape to play any sports. I was also working 30 hrs per week while going to school and so didn't have much time at all. I tried sometimes to make use of the school's gym facilities but having never done any kind of workout plan or anything like that, just mostly ended up getting bored and frustrated.
Fast forward to the past few years, I have been out of shape for a good ten years. Every time I try to exercise my out of shape ass body gets injured. I invariably pull something, or strain something. I get really zealous about working out and push myself too hard. I also have major problems with gout (I thankfully have managed to eliminate attacks successfully for the past eight months through diet).
I also started smoking about seven years ago... something I have since understood to be self medicating for ADD (note the lack of an H in there). I have researched ADD medications for adults and have found that there are pretty much no solutions on the market that work for more than a couple of years. I quit smoking a couple years ago for two weeks. I got past the normal cigarette cravings but the ADD was so bad, I couldn't concentrate on conversations for more than a few minutes at a time, I would pick up and put down five books in the span of 20 minutes. Even video games couldn't hold my attention. I started smoking again. I don't want to smoke, it's terrible for your health (obviously) but at least I don't feel like killing myself every hour or so (worse for your health).
Anyway, now I am 28 years old. I am 6'1" and 280lbs. I know I will never be cut or ripped no matter what I do because of the genetic component (all the men on my mom's and dad's side are fat. All of them, no exceptions. Every picture I see of second and even third cousins, fat guys all of us). I can live with never being that 2% body fat ideal that marches around out there, but I would like my body to not be a shabby piece of shit. I would like to be able to use my body at least somewhat.
My problem is figuring out how to work out without injuring myself, having to recover, and losing my motivation during that period. I don't really have access to a gym, or a track (I can't really run until I drop about 60lbs anyway, it plays hell on my legs).
I would especially like advice from big guys that have started working out, or formerly big guys that have managed to drop weight. I know that diet is also a component to losing weight, but I don't honestly eat that much, or very poorly, it's just that I don't DO anything active.
As I said in chat, I have a family member with ADD. I advise getting a pedometer and setting up a reward for every 1,000 steps, with a goal of 10,000 steps per day.
I know one of the most frustrating things with my family member is the inability to know when he's approaching exhaustion. Rather than noting "I'm getting really hot and thirsty, I should take a break and get some water" he'll keep going until he feels almost too sick to go to the kitchen. I imagine it's the same lack of awareness that contributed to your injuries. Accordingly, besides starting real gentle, as with walking, I recommend being really structured about your workouts. Drop any conventional attitude about "push yourself to go for another 5 minutes or another mile." Figure out what you can handle, and do only that. Increase things really slowly.
1. You might not think you are eating that much or very poorly but you might be surprised. I used an app called My Fitness Pal to help track what I ate and how much I exercised. I knew my eating habits were pretty poor but didn't realize just how bad they were. Try it for a few weeks (it's a free app and really easy to use and set up) to see.
2. Buy a heart rate monitor. They provide instant feedback as to the intensity of your workout and can alert you when you are working above/below your target HR zone. Target HR zone is an important factor especially when you are just starting.
3. Try a walking for a few weeks. Take a short walk each night after dinner. Or wake up a bit early and do it in the morning. Your body needs to adapt to the new stress. If you jump right in with both feet and crush yourself in the first workout (or as you stated injure yourself) you will need a longer recovery time and set yourself back. As the walks become "easier" for you ramp it up a bit. Find some gradual hills, jog for 10 seconds walk for a minute, walk faster, etc etc.
4. Do you have access to a pool? Very low impact way to exercise. Take 30 seconds and tread water, swim a lap or two, grab the diving board and do some assisted pull/chin ups (the water takes a lot of weight away from you).
5. Do you have a dog? Are you interested in one? Take it for a walk, throw a ball or stick around the park with it, chase it around the yard.
A lot of the time the thought of "exercise" is a turn off to becoming more active. The ones who have the most success are the ones who find joy in what they do. Find something enjoyable for you that you look forward to doing not something that feels like a chore.
I hope some of that helps. I'm no guru but I'd be happy to help you out more if I can. Feel free to ask questions.
Well, right now the thing I h ave the most access to is hiking trails with lots of hills. Which honestly, is not a bad place to start. I devised a plan this evening that will help motivate me, overcome the boredom obstacle, and improve my mind. I picked up an audio book for my iPod that I am interested in and also will only listen to while exercising, so if I want to listen to the book, I have to exercise. I picked up a pedometer and went for a hike after dinner, the pedometer measured it at 2800 steps but that seems high, I think because of the hills and my ungainly gait it may be adding more, but that also seems fair since walking up and down hills is way more work than walking flat terrain.
I also really enjoy swimming, and while it's not really an option right now, in five months I will be moving somewhere with a YMCA and if I can get the money together for the membership, I think that would go a long way toward providing me with a good exercise outlet. I also really like riding bikes, but the area I live in is very dangerous to ride bicycles, however the place I am moving to will be perfect for riding so I may pick up a bike and do that.
So what I have access to right now is not much, but five months from now, my options will be greatly improved.
EDIT: I know it's definitely possible to be fat and in shape. I mean there are a lot of football players out there that are plenty fat but also insanely in shape. I'm comfortable with the way I look, and because my family tends toward heavy, my frame carries the weight really well. My primary goal here is not to lose weight. It's to get in shape, and feel healthy. If weight loss happens as a side effect, that's great.
Agreed on the hiking trails.
Do you have any parcourses/fitness trails in your area?
If you're worried about the damage to your health that smoking causes, but need nicotine, have you considered those e-cigarette things? A guy at work who has smoked for decades is using them, and he said that they totally satisfy his nicotine cravings, and that he hasn't even wanted to smoke a real cigarette since starting them. I've also heard good things in general. Either that or you could try 'snus', which is a tobacco product that is quite common in Scandanavia. It looks like a little tea bag, which you place underneath your tongue or between your lip and gum, and it slowly secretes nicotine. I've tried them a couple of times. Stuck it under my lip, sat there for five minutes. Stood up quickly. I was as high as a kite.
I have been considering e-cigs, just haven't pulled the trigger on them. I have some friends that use them, but none of them smoked more than five cigarettes per day before switching to them. I've heard they're effective but there are a lot of brands. I have such a hard time finding reliable reviews of the different brands. A friend bought me a disposable e-cig once, and that was shit. Tasted like shit, burned my throat, and didn't really do the trick of satisfying cravings.
First off, you're gonna need to measure your TDEE here:
Spend some time working on your diet because if you haven't got that locked down any excerise you do is going to be made redundant. Jot down for a few days what you eat then replace with better foods. It doesn't have to be expensive but the diet is the first step before any excerise.
Then you're gonna need to work out what kind of excerise you can do. You don't need a track to run. You also don't need a gym to lose weight. Have you got a pair of trainers? Or whatever Americans call them. Slip those on and go for a stroll. Map out a plot on Google maps on your phone or print it out. Go for a brisk 15 minute stroll. Once a week, then bump up as you go along. Don't smoke along the way. Listen to some music and keep an eye out for traffic.
Keep yourself hydrated throughout the day with water. Remove your temptations of cola or whatever else you drink at the moment.
You say you don't eat that much, what are you eating? You might be eating enough to maintain your weight or completely the wrong things.
You seem like a smart lad and you know you want to make a change and you can do it. You've got five months before you've got access to a gym/better options so use this time to start on basic excerise and eating well and you'll be surprised how different you feel IN five months time. Rebekah is right, figure out YOUR limits and go from there.
The first steps are the biggest and if you stick to it you won't need to use excuses like "genetics" anymore. You're fat because you eat shit and don't move around.
I'm a fat man in recovery, topped out at 301lbs so I know how you feel and how easy it is to fall into the same traps.
And for the love of god, stop smoking. That shit will kill you before the obesity does. E cigs are getting better and better as the months go on. Do your research and spend a decent amount on one.
As far as the cigarettes go, lose them. There are other ways to get nicotine. Even if you chew a million packs of nicotine gum, or use chewing tobacco or "pack lip"(all of the tobacco options still have cancer risks), at least you won't be damaging your lungs, which will make it harder to do cardio.
If you are constantly injuring yourself, I would look at the low impact cardio activities. Swimming, which you responded to below, is great. It's got some resistance, and cardio training, and the only injuries you really have to worry about are shoulder related. Honestly though i doubt you would get a shoulder injury unless you are already at least a semi-serious swimmer.
You also mentioned my other suggestion, which is bicycling. If you don't live in a great area for biking, but don't want to buy a stationary exercise bike, there are jacks that you can attach to your regular bike to use it as a stationary bike for training. I know a few triathletes who use them; they cost about 90 bucks.
I would also like to echo Paul in encouraging you to re-evaluate whether you are eating healthy. There is a lot of misinformation about what's healthy. If you are trying to lose fat there is more to it than just eating fewer calories. You need to drink more water (not just in place of other drinks, but as a way of keeping your body running), you need to get regular sleep, eat less food but more often, and you need to be taking in the right type of nutrients.
There are some really interesting books and documentaries about American food, and the dismal state it's in. If you really want to become healthier I would research them. If you are interested in losing weight, try the Tim Ferriss book "The Four Hour Body". The book has a couple of options in terms of choosing your end goals, and between myself and some of the guys I work with we did a decent number of his programs all with some level of success. It's definitely worth a month to test how it works.
Have you tried HIIT to get you started? Or if you really dont like running , there's other ways to lose weight
I would like my body to not be a shabby piece of shit.
The Law of Attraction--which is purely psychological hopefully not "magical thinking"--states that you get more of what you attend to. If you think your body is a shabby piece of shit, that's the reality that you manifest.
Love your body. Appreciate it and treat it well. When you think of your body as a precious gift worthy of being taken care of, then that's the reality that you manifest. That's the first step bro. Can you do that Bud?
I know that diet is also a component to losing weight
I'm glad to hear that you know that, because it's true. In fact, it's more important for weight control than exercise.
Without knowing what you already eat, I don't know exactly what to suggest, but a lot of what you said sounds consistent with unstable blood sugar levels.
One of the most common dietary problems is too much refined carbohydrate, too little fiber, and not enough micronutrients like vitamins and minerals. You improve a diet by eating more of what's good for you, to displace what is not. You do that by introducing ONE improvement, and making it stick. So, for example, if you eat a lot of, say, white rice, then switch to brown rice, and make it stick. Keep doing it until it becomes a habit and you don't even think about it. If you eat a lot of white bread, switch to whole grains, and make it stick until it becomes a habit and you don't even think about it.
Then make another change. More veggies. TWO (not one, two) servings per meal. Maybe a raw veggie smoothie and a cooked veggie, or a hearty salad and a cooked veggie.
Then another change. Only lean meats or vegetable protein sources. No breading, no fried meats.
Wean yourself off sugar. Switch to Stevia if it helps, but the less sugar that you ingest, the more you will lose your craving for it in the first place. You'll start feeling better, and you'll notice your energy levels rising.
it's just that I don't DO anything active.
Do you think it might be possible that your diet is draining you of energy?
I know I will never be cut or ripped no matter what I do because of the genetic component (all the men on my mom's and dad's side are fat. All of them, no exceptions. Every picture I see of second and even third cousins, fat guys all of us)
Think of your genetics as being like your "hardware". You need "software" that is right for the "hardware". You need to adapt your habits to what is right for your body type.
Even video games couldn't hold my attention
Video games are the problem, not the solution. Video games, computer use, mobile devices, school (being lectured to), television, and even books are all "passive attention".
Active attention is when you do an activity that requires you to plan, stick to plan, decide what to do next, and take it to completion.
Here's a suggestion that will boost your will-power AND your attention span: do 10 minutes of body-weight exercise, then meditate for at least 10 minutes. Daily.
This is important: while working out, maintain your attention on the exercise. Focus your attention on the exercise, how your muscles feel while you are doing it, how your body feels. If you catch your mind drifting off to other things you'd rather be doing instead of the exercise, gently bring it back to the matter at hand.
It is similar to Vipassana meditation, except instead of focusing your attention on your breath, you're focusing it on the exercise.
In-between exercises, while you rest and recover, allow your attention to broaden, focusing on nothing in particular but instead whatever you are experiencing. Be like a warrior in a dangerous situation, alert for anything. When you start the next exercise, narrow your attention again and focus it on the exercise. Keep alternating that way. Please do this for yourself.
The trainers who came up with this idea--as far as I am aware--are the Phillips brothers, Shawn and Bill. Shawn especially. Their clients have achieved some spectacular results. The key to the method is to train briefly but intensely, and stay focused. It's a cycle of getting ready for the intense exercise by charging yourself (sort of building adrenaline), then doing the exercise and focusing your attention on it, then relaxing and broadening your attention, repeat. You can look for a more specific description of it in one of Shawn's books on Focus Intensity Training.
The books all refer to common gym machines, but you can do bodyweight exercises instead because the core of the method is not the machines or the free weights, its the cycle of running your brain though different phases.
This will exercise your body and your attention.
DON'T DO ANY RUNNING until you lose some weight, build some muscle and endurance. You could seriously injure yourself that way. Do however get into the habit of walking more and driving less, to the extent you can do so safely (some parts of the country are dangerous for pedestrians...).
I don't really have access to a gym, or a track (I can't really run until I drop about 60lbs anyway, it plays hell on my legs).
That's fine because that's not what I would suggest. Do Focus Intensity Training bodyweight exercises at home. That way, you won't need to find time to get to the gym, and have an excuse when obstacles get in the way. Also cheaper, and less time consuming.
There is one more thing you might consider, but you need to get your blood sugar under control first, and that is "intermittent fasting". The purpose is to recalibrate your insulin sensitivity. I suggest avoiding any extreme regimen and only doing something like one fast day a week, and that only after building up to it. I care about your health and don't want you to do anything that could harm you. Consult with a doctor and get his OK first.
OK? Take care of yourself, Bud.
OK, hate the term. Surely you don't really think I was endorsing magical thinking when I specifically stated
which is purely psychological hopefully not "magical thinking"
Other people engaging in magical thinking is not something I have control over. I use the concept because it works. Contrary to modern usage, it didn't come out of the New Age Movement; it came out of the "New Thought" movement, and means essentially what your 2nd paragraph is saying. We're actually agreeing, aside from my use of a term you hate.
Hopefully the rest of what I wrote was more useful.
No need to apologize. I was not offended and didn't take it personally. I've benefitted from learning that the term might draw controversy, and I appreciate you bringing that to my attention.
There are some people who abuse the term to refer to a magical process. They don't know how or why it works so they backwards-rationalize something that makes sense to them but not to you. It actually works--to the extent that it does, no guarantees--but for psychological, not magical or pseudoscientific reasons. It's a process (with steps to it) of tidying up beliefs and unconscious goals that are incompatible with conscious goals. I think we both zeroed in on the negative beliefs about body value and image that Adam would be better off without.