So I made a post about this previously, but only recently did I find gainful (even if it is seasonal) employment, so I can now afford the 10 dollars/MO for a gym.

Where should I even start? My goal currently isn't even just to lose weight, it's to get acclimated to being physically active after a long period of battling depression. I've been told I'm never going to be under 200, and I really don't care about my weight, just my body comp. That being said, I'm currently 390-393 (at a 6.5 foot height), and I've been in pretty much complete stasis with this weight for 2 years, no significant gain or loss. I've been not eating much these past few years, and I can only assume that's the only reason I'm not immobily fat.

The routine I had before (and which I am intending to pick up again) was to do about 20-30 minutes of cardio before moving on to my actual workout (either upper-body or leg day, alternating). This was the workout I had the most success with in the past, and I'm obviously not expecting to go back after all this time and be where I was before. That being said, I was hoping for you folks to give me some feedback, tell me what worked and didn't work for you in respect to burning fat/gaining muscle. My current state of mind is that I'd rather be healthy than light, and as a result I care more about how I FEEL than how I WEIGH.

And beyond that, I want to start propagating a mindset NOW that will aid me years from now when I'm healthy and looking to keep it up. What are some habits or little things I can start doing now to make healthy eating and acting second nature long-term?

I've said in previous posts that by the time 5 years have passed, I want to be able to pass the physical entry exam for the US Army Rangers, even if I don't intend to join. I just wanted to be able to say I could have physically done that test if I wanted. That still holds true, though I realize now this is a state of mind more than anything. Any advice helps.

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Could be better. I've got a nervous habit of wringing my hands and that's been detrimental to my wrists. The fat is not kind on my knees.

I grew up in a very arid desert and now I'm in the Pacific Northwest, and my body has never aclimated to the myriad pollens and spores and what have you, so my breathing hurts. The doctors I've been to say my lungs are in excellent condition, but the breathing is still difficult for me regardless of what they say
I've actually tried the raw honey stuff when I first moved here. I planned on doing stationary/actual bike and just powering through it best as I can.

That's about the diet I'm trying to go for, as well as gradually trying to reduce my carbohydrate intake.

Congrats for your healthy attitude about getting in shape.  You really need sound advice from a trainer and doctor about getting in shape, but it doesn't mean you can't without them.  Some general advice I can offer: 

Stay focused on habits of being physical.

Keep a journal of what you do, as simple as how many times a week you go into the gym or as complicated as your exercise routine.

Ask questions.  People are glad to help. 

Cook your own food, that way you know what you're eating. 

Get a lot of sleep. 

Cut back on sugar and refined flours (commercial baking goods, sweets, white flour). 

Set realistic, attainable goals month by month.  Start with just making it into the gym 3x week and don't even demand you work out.  Maybe you need to get acclimated to the locker room first. 

Consider core strengthening routines (such as squats). 

Listen to what your body is telling you to pay attention to.

Keep up the good self talk.  

I'd look into a lifting routine.  I've had some success with StrongLifts 5x5, which is a 12-week three-day-a-week barbell routine.  It's not too time-consuming, and fairly simple to follow.  I'm on week 7, though took nearly a week off over the Independence Day holiday.

The basics are that you do five sets of five reps (thus 5x5) on each lift, and increase the weight by 5 lbs. on each day you do each lift (unless you fail a rep, then you repeat it until you can do all 5 sets).  Meaning, if you're benching 200 lbs, and can do 5 sets of 5 reps, you'd increase to 205 the next time you do the bench press.

You alternate between squats/ overhead press/ deadlift (day 1) and squat/ bench press/ barbell row (day 2).  Take at least a day off in between to recover.  The recommendation I saw was to start at 50% of your 5-rep max, and work your way up ... unless you don't know your max, in which case start with just the bar.  The weight increases pretty quick, so don't worry about starting too low.  And, if you've never done it before ... watch some YouTube videos and work on form with just the bar.

I don't do cardio, but I'm pretty sure you can on off days.


Is there a pool at your gym?  It's easy on joints.  I keep on changing my routine over the years and find that the more I stay focused on things I can control, like my gym visit frequency visits and enjoyment of food that agrees better with my needs, the greater my improvement is.  Your body will tell you a path forward, and will also give you the endorphins to counteract depression.  Keep your progress long and slow if you want it to be real.  I hope you will keep us informed!

- From today forth you will live, act, eat and be healthy.  This needs to be a statement you believe.  Changing your life and the way you live it needs to be a permanent decree not a temporary until you reach your goal statement.  The issue with dieting, new years resolutions, quiting smoking that deep in the recesses of your mind you believe that once you reach your goal you can cheat and go back to your habit.  YOU CANT.  Until you come to grips with this you will always be on a yo-yo.  Once you accept and embrace it, its as easy as breathing. 

- If it doesn't suck don't do it...Workout routines should be anything but routine.  I'm not saying to hurt yourself.  Work within your body limits but you should always be sore after a workout.  Good sore not injury sore.  if you are not sore then your body has figured out how to efficiently burn energy for that given task.  There is no net gain or loss there. 

- Find out what works for you.  Personally I lift heavy and beat myself up there first.  Then cardio.  Cardio pumps the blood and oxygenates the muscles and speeds my recovery.  Lifting heavy will force your body to burn a ton of calories.  Again be careful here and work within your body's limits but push the envelope.

check out youtube for lifting videos there are a ton.  its very good for you if done correctly.  Make sure to protect your shoulders and lift right.  Dont underestimate maintenance exercises and dont put too much emphasis on how much you can lift beyond recording your progress.  That isn't important unless you are going to be a professional athlete.

A lot of good advice here already. I will add or reinforce a few suggestions.

Go to the gym at least 6 days per week and make it a habit. Don't give yourself any argument about why you should miss a day. Making this a habit is vital.

Don't diet. Instead change the way you eat. Diets are typically short term with no lasting benefits. Statistically you will not stick with a diet and will probably rebound and gain even more weight. Cut out all the junk food and continue to eat your meats, eggs, vegetables, and rice/potatoes, etc. Drop the soda, fruit juice, chips, fast food, etc. I also suggest eating sauerkraut or kimchee occasionally to improve digestion and gut bacteria. Stay away from yogurt as most yogurt is suger-ed up and not really as healthy as you are led to believe.

Walk every day. I hate running and find treadmill/elliptical/stationary bike training to be mindless gerbil activity. Get outside when the weather permits and walk for 20 or 30 minutes a day. Walking and fresh air/sunshine are good for you. Ride a bike if you want in addition to walking. Your joints need to move to bring blood and nutrients in. My last physical therapist used to say that "movement is life" and I firmly believe it.

Do strength training. The 5x5 routines already suggested are very good. Do a total body split 3 days per week. Muscle burns fat so concentrate on getting stronger over the long term. Don't expect to get strong overnight (no matter what magazines or the internet says about the latest workout). As already stated; it is better to start to light and gradually move up than to start heavy and stall out almost immediately while being extremely tough on your joints. Give your body time to adapt and you will be fine.

The other days of the week can be dedicated to conditioning, pre/rehab training, mobility training, etc. Just get there and do something for 20 or 30 minutes at least. You need to develop the habit of staying active.

Your breathing issue may just be due to carrying extra weight. You will probably find that your breathing becomes easier as you drop weight and get more used to just moving around.

All the best

From someone who has struggled in the other direction (weight gain), these tips are all awesome, but I don't think recommending anyone start at a gym six days a week is a good idea.

I'm a huge proponent of starting slow. Three days is much more reasonable, with doing the walking/moving daily. My hope is that one day you get hooked, want to go more, and do so.

So many tips I would like to throw out to you but I don't want to overwhelm you with a book of text.

Best advice I can give you that helped me. If you are a midnight snacker (wake up hungry and hit the pantry) then put something in your way of that pantry.

By that I mean keep something healthy between you and the kitchen.

For example I keep a box of protein bars beside my bed. When I'm in the process of cutting weight I always wake up from hunger in the middle of the night.

If I don't have something between me and the kitchen I'm most likely to splurge on ice cream or something similar to that.

Also get yourself some tunes and throw them on there when lifting, makes a word of a difference for pushing yourself.

So how has your goal been going?  Continuity counts!

If you're not sure about what to do at the gym, why not pick an activity you think is fun and do that instead. For example, biking or swimming or martial arts or boxing or rock climbing or extreme polar monkey joust wrestling, etc. That way it'll feel less like a chore or task that you have to incorporate into your life and it'll feel more like a hobby you actually enjoy doing.

So much great advice already - let me just add my two cents as well.

Change your diet - don't diet. The important thing is to change your mindset, not to starve yourself or deprive yourself of what you love. If you eat right 80% of the time, 20% of it can be spent on whatever you'd like, as long as it does not exceed your daily calorie limits.

Don't get yourself down - If you skip a day at the gym, or if you eat something you think you were not supposed to - don't let it get to you, and don't feel bad about it! If you treat yourself badly for it, you will only make it harder for yourself to keep going. 

Choose the right program - I also completely agree with the advice on strength training! It will do you a world of good, much more than just cardio. I'm not saying you should ditch cardio altogether, but lifting can have amazing results. Choose a reliable and simple program - this one is pretty good, and has only a few exercises involved:

Take small steps - don't expect miracles in a matter of weeks. If you put in the work, the results will follow! 

Let us now how you are doing! 


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