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.
I knew a fat kid in high school. Was about 5'11" and weighed 300+ pounds, was just about as wide as he was tall, had three chins, fat rolls on his ankles. He could run a six minute mile, bench his bodyweight, and squat 500lbs. It's possible to be in shape and be fat. You're gonna have to work at it though. You can do it with ADD too, it makes it harder, not impossible.
Nicotine is the number one drug adults can use to self-medicate ADD. Don't let people lie to you and tell you smoking is unhealthy. There's a lot of things you could be doing which will kill you right fucking now. Smoking won't. It waits 60 years to kill you. Jogging will kill you quicker than smoking.
I've got an idea, but I'd like to know what you do have access to first.
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.
Hiking trails are perfect. So many opportunities for exercise and short attention spans. Have fun with that.
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.
1. I would see my doctor. From what you've said you didn't change your lifestyle (eating and exercising) so it may be a hormonal or endocryn imbalance (same thing actually). It may also be the root of your ADD.
2. Depending on the advice of your doctor I would join a gym or the "Y" either close to work or to home, there are lots of gyms so unless your in the middle of the Outback it should be possible. Get some advice from one of the health instructors at the gym. If you can't join a gym look around for a fitness group in your area or ask a friend that works out to help motivate you; it would have to be someone who you admire and would take criticism from.
3. Be honest with yourself. Everyone makes excuses as to why they don't want to do something. Learn to be honest as to your real reasoning why and negate the excuses.
If you start changing your diet and really working out, I can guarantee a gout attack if you truly have it. Go to a doctor and get your numbers tested and see about getting on allopurinal. As you already know the pain of an attack, nothing will derail your attempts to get in shape like a big ol' attack at the beginning.
Listen to your body, I tried my damnedest to start running, gave it almost a full month and I just had to listen to my body that I am not a runner. Of course this fat boy hasn't picked up another excercise yet.