I'm 57, 6ft 1.5 inches tall. I weigh 309 pounds. My BMI, when I last checked it at my physician's office, last March, was 40. Ideally, it should be 26. I certainly don't want to offend, but I want to be able to look down and see my "masculine assets", not flab.
I am not able to purchase a gym membership. (I haven't found a job, yet.) But I recently moved into an apartment complex that has a fitness room. I have access to it, 24/7, and it's free. There are 6 machines. Two are treadmills. The other four I couldn't name if my life depended on it. One appears to be something that simulates cross-country skiing; another, a stationary bike. Your legs are stretched out in front of you, not down, as a regular bicycle or stationary bike. I've done 1 hour at a time, on the treadmill, for 8 of the last 9 days. On the other day, it was nice enough to where my wife and I could get out and walk. We did 90 minutes.
A friend of mine says I should reduce my time on the treadmill to 30 minutes per session. When I do a full hour, I feel a little light-headed when I'm done. It's nowhere near bad enough to where the room spins or I feel like I'm going to pass out. It's a very brief walk to and from my apartment (about a minute or two); the lightheadedness is gone before I'm halfway home. I haven't dropped down to 30 minutes because I'm tired of looking like I spend my life in front of the boob toob with 3 or 4 super-size bags of Doritos and Cheez Doodles in my lap. A few weeks ago, I did 30-minute sessions on two separate days. It didn't feel like a challenge at all; it felt more like a "token" effort.
I also have a bicycle. I took the advice of another friend, and got a well-built one at a professional bicycle shop, not a mass merchandiser. I'm fortunate to live right next to the Santa Fe Trail, in Dallas, TX. A 1-hour ride is my limit. I feel exhausted at the end of an hour but not light-headed. I plan to ride more, when the weather permits (I don't mind cold weather, but I don't like being outside when it's cold, and I'm hot and sweaty).
I don't expect to qualify for a Mr. America bodybuilding competition, at least not before January of 2015. (It would be nice to hear someone suggest it, without snickering). But I'm not sure what I should do or how much, on these other machines. Is it possible to have bad results from incorrect usage of a machine?
I weighed and measured myself, on December 22. I started using the treadmill on December 20. Nothing is impossible with God! I asked Him to "zap" me and make me fit and trim. Ever heard God laugh? I took that to be a "No. Get OFF your blessed ASSurance and ON the treadmill!" Seriously, though, I want to get into shape, but I don't want to drop dead of a heart attack right in the middle of a workout, either. I've got grandchildren that are in desperate need of spoilage.
Larry, good advice from Danger..
More is not always better especially starting out or even continuing a maintenance program.
An eating plan that is sustainable for the rest of your life is another key element. Message me if you like. I have some very sustainable eating plans. I was able to lose over 40 pounds over a period of time back at the end of 2011. I've kept it off not only because of my exercise program but mainly because my eating plan changed. Went from 194 pounds to 152 pounds...height is 5' 8".
You will be able to do this over a period of time. I never thought I could, but when my glucose levels kept spiking at 118 (which isn't high) I knew I couldn't continue this way and stay healthy.
Yes, you are right about your "masculine assets" being visible after healthy weight loss. By the way, my wife likes having less of me at the belly-line but more of me below the belly-line.
Just remember to go slowly with the exercise and change you eating plan. Persevere. It will be well worth it.
Congrats on your first steps. The following is a generalization. Every body is different and responds differently, so you need to experiment to find your own particular sweat spot. That's why you'll get a lot of different advice, some of it contradictory.
The caution against going an hour revolves around our bodies being pretty stupid. Your body just doesn't know what your mind wants it to do, or the fact that you still have Twinkies despite Hostess going under. Once you get into the >60~90 minute range of steady exercise, your body thinks it's going on a death march and starts storing fat while burning muscle for energy. It's how endurance runners end up with a thin body, high bodyfat percentage, and no muscle mass (skinny fat). It even happens on a caloric deficit. So the advice isn't, "30 minutes only", but rather , "30 minutes at a time". The good thing is, the break doesn't need to be that long, just long enough to recover. And by recover I mean, let your heart and breath rate go back to normal.
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) gets around your bodies metabolism by providing rest within your workout. It also act as an appetite suppressant. Don't be fooled by reports that HIIT is more effective at burning calories than Steady State Cardio (SSC). Scientists use the word "significant" in a very different manner than lay people. The actual difference in HIIT work and SSC for caloric burn over the course of a week is roughly equal to a cookie. Think about that, one extra cookie, per week. So, there's no real need to be beating yourself up every workout.
However, HIIT and SSC cause different metabolic and hormonal responses, so a good program should integrate the two. Since you have so much weight on your frame, I can't recommend anything high impact, like running/sprint work. But, I think we can get you where you need to be to start a serious program, just using the equipment in your fitness center. So here's my suggestion:
Actually get familiar with the equipment in your fitness center. Learn the names of them. Google model numbers if you need to. Start out on the elliptical machine, that's the one that looks like a cross country ski simulator (unless you have an actual old school Nordic Track, if so, get back to me). I used an elliptical when I was rehabbing my knee, it's good no impact training you can sprint on. There's a twelve minute (yup that's it) routine called a Tabata, named after some Japanese dude who figured this out. Perform a four minute light warmup. A light warmup means you go easy and break a sweat, without creating a labored breathing. The concept is to warm your body and increase blood flow, not be a pre-workout workout. After that four minutes, do 8 rounds of 30 second intervals (4 minutes). For those intervals, go all out for 20 seconds, and slow way back to a crawl for 10, all out for 20, slow for 10 (Watch the clock or get a free Tabata Timer app). Then a four minute cool down, just keep moving.
Once you've completed your 12 minutes on the elliptical, get off and take a break. And I mean a break. Get some water, sit down, don't do anything for a few minutes. Just cool off completely.
Now it's time to get on the treadmill. And here's a special protocol, set the incline. Set the incline on the treadmill so you're walking up a moderate slope. By that I mean, your ankles and knees shouldn't feel a lot of pressure (I set mine at 10*, you shouldn't be less than 5*). Set your pace at brisk. I know there's no brisk setting, but you need to be faster than a mosey but slower than a hurry. Your call, for my stubby little legs it's 3.2mph, which is slow. The trick to this is three fold, your slope, your pace, and your posture. Don't let yourself lean back, don't hold the rail. Lean into it and walk, you should feel it in your hip flexors a bit. Now the fun begins, if you've done it correctly, right around the five minute range you'll feel like someone just lit the wick on a birthday candle. You're gonna start dripping. Without tension in your legs, without labored breathing. Sweat's just gonna start pouring off, you've found your sweet spot. Keep that up for 10 minutes at first. Work towards 20 minutes total.
So now we're up to ~40 minutes total time, with breaks. You won't be exhausted, but I can guarantee that will be a much more workout than haphazardly walking around for an hour. Try it out for a month. If you're not exhausting yourself, you can keep it up every day. Though I would take a day off and do a bunch of stretching and foam roller work. You're at an age where recovery is much more important than when you were a kid.
So endurance and flexibility, I'm sure you want some strength. My advice since you're broke, get a Navy Seabag/Army Duffle, and a bag of play sand from your local lumbar yard/hardware store. It should set you back maybe $10 total. Double/triple up some trash bags, and pour the sand into them, and drop those in the seabag. You now have a 50# sandbag that can be increased to ~150#. Look up sandbag exercises on YouTube. Spending some time on a sandbag will work up your strength on the cheap.
Other than that for the next few months, keep playing on the bike. And I mean playing, like when you were a kid. Race cars on the flats, power up hills, and coast down them. Just have fun with it.
Don't worry about offending anyone with wanting to look down and see your dick instead of a fat belly. Here's the general rule, every three inches off your waste line is an apparent one inch lengthening of your dick.
I'm a huge fan of HIIT, and for someone not in as good as shape as say a CrossFit fanatic, HIIT can be as simple as don't stop moving until the end of your set. And when you do stop moving, limit it to just enough time to get your wind back then back at it. Hit the full circuit and don't stop moving until it's done.
You will scorch fat by doing sets like that. I'm a huge fan of circuit training, and it's easily transformed into a HIIT program once you get your bearings.
Crossfit pushes a lot of bounds, and I wouldn't recommend it for a beginner. Also not a big fan of metcon with weights. Doesn't matter anyway, Larry doesn't have a proper gym.
Yeah, I can't in good conscience tell someone to get on top of moving machinery and use it incorrectly. I've seen more than my fair share of treadmill accidents for me to recommend backwards running on one.
You've got some great suggestions here so I'm not gonna add any more to it, I'm just gonna give you a couple simple fitness facts.
In order to burn fat, you have to build muscle.
Exercise is only 50% of the plan. Your diet is as important, if not more.
Not saying you aren't doing building muscle right now because you are by riding the bike and doing time on the treadmill, but at some point you are gonna plateau and need to add in more resistance training to balance the cardio. Building muscle will burn fat all day long, where as cardio will burn fat while you are doing and for about an hour or so after. Like everyone has said here, getting that first milestone can be the hardest
Good job on taking control of your life. It's not an easy thing to do and you are doing it, that is a huge step in and of itself.
Thanks, to all of you! If anyone else has any suggestions, please add them! One of the mistakes I made, in the past, was trying to do it alone, and without advice.
Clean up your diet. Just dumping excess salts and sugars will go a very long way.
Ditto on the excess sugars and salts.
You could try one of the many videos such as P90X. There is also craigslist and other possible sites to buy weights.
Push yourself but don't overdo it. I think the first thing you'd need to do is to do cardio and work on your diet but that's my advice. Others will tell you to gain muscles. I think it depends on your goals. You have the weight, which you're trying to loose so to do so you need to expend more calories than you take in. DON'T diet, can't stress that enough... diets fail where as eating correctly and the correct amount won't fail. Work on cutting the high caloric dishes out of your diet, cut back on soft drinks, DO NOT buy diet soft drinks, cut the fat out of your milk.
Try to cut back on carbs and sugars. Sugars will slow down your metabolism and carbs, if not burned off, will be stored as fat. Fastfood and sodas are also very bad for you. I have found that eating about 5 smaller meals a day instead of 3 huge meals will help burn fat and not store it. This is what other sites have told me and I am implementing these things into my life. Research some on the internet on what you can do and healthy eating tips. Also, Look for workout videos on youtube. FitnessBlender has some good cardio workouts that will boost your metabolism.
In addition to the excellent advice on cutting sugars and salt, watch your portions at meals.
I've found that cutting my heretofore "normal" servings to 1/2 or 2/3 size works for me. It also has the benefit of cutting your cash outlay, since you wind up with a meal's worth of left overs.
A few other eating tips:
Don't wait until you're very hungry to eat. You tend to wolf your food and eat more than you intended.
Leave the last couple of fork fulls on the plate.
Skip dessert or order a fruit cup.
Alcohol should be limited to one beverage at lunch or dinner.
Mineral water can replace any mid-afternoon snacks.