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Back on the wagon

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Myopic Rhino

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It's been a while since I've updated this, so I think that a non-development post will do well to get me back in the habit.

I've been struggling with my weight for years. When I a kid, I was always heavy for my age. This got better around 5th grade, when I shot up to 6 ft (where I stopped), and started exercising regularly. Initially, exercising consisted of pushups, situps, pullups, and some running. I soon started lifting weights regularly and did a minimal amount of cardio. I was in good shape throughout high school, where I wrestled and played football. When I graduated from high school, I weighed about 195 lbs - mostly muscle. I continued for a year after that, and got up to a 350 lbs bench press.

Then I went to Korea for 2 years as a missionary for my church. While there, I was able to keep in fairly good shape, but couldn't lift weights, so I lost a lot of strength and size. I mostly jumped rope and did some bodyweight workouts, but not consistently. When I got back I was around 185 lbs. After that, I went back to school, got married a year later, and then became busy trying to support my family, so I didn't workout consistently. My eating habits changed, and I started gaining weight. Within a couple of years, I was up to 240 lbs. In the fall of '96, I decided it was time to lose weight. I started the New Hilton Head Metabolism Diet, ran every day, and did a regular regimen of bodyweight workouts (I didn't have access to a gym). Within 5 months, I'd lost almost 40 pounds. Unfortunately, at that time, I changed jobs to something more demanding, and also decided to go back to school (I'd been off for 3 years just surviving). With the change, my regimen fell apart, and I started to gain the weight back. 2 years later, after another job change, I got a gym membership and tried again to get back in shape, but I lacked the discipline to diet. My next attempt to get back on the wagon came a year ago, when I tried the South Beach diet. It went really well - I lost 10 pounds in a little over a month - but I wasn't exercising, and I craved my favorite carbs ALL the time, so it wasn't sustained, and I gained all the weight back and then some.

This year, I peaked at 263 lbs, and finally, early last month, I committed to a sustained effort to get back in shape again. I read an article that said the middle of the afternoon was the best time to work out, and I realized that I could eat lunch at my desk and go to the company gym in the afternoon (making it harder to skip the workout). I looked at the diets I'd been on and came up with guidelines for eating (with a high protein/moderate good carbs & fats focus) that I thought would both allow me to lose weight while not leaving me craving all the time.

I've been following this for about 6 weeks now, eating pretty healthily and working out six days a week for an hour. I've lost 15 pounds and I feel great.

My goals are weight loss and building muscle. I know that those two things are conflicting in many ways, especially in the diet. So for now, I'm doing cardio and weightlifting every day, but I'm not expecting major gains from the weightlifting. Once I get to my target weight, I'll cut back the cardio to three days a week.

Right now, cardio is riding an exercise bike for 20 minutes. About every other week I'm doing a 10+ mile mountain bike trip as well - this in preparation for a 250 mile trek I'm making in the spring.

My current lifting split looks something like this:

Mon/Thu
Leg press
Seated leg curls
Seated leg extensions
Side leg raises (bodyweight)
Standing calf raises (bodyweight)

Tue/Fri
Seated row
Bench press
Lat pulldown
Incline or decline bench press

Wed/Sat
Shoulder press
Upright row
Dumbell flies
Dumbell curls
Overhead tricep extensions
Forearm curls/extensions

Mod/Wed/Fri
Abs
Lower back

I'm doing most exercises for 3 sets of 6-8 reps, with < 45 sec breaks between sets (which I usually spend stretching) and no rest between excercises. I also vary the excercises pretty regularly.

Anyway, the reason I'm posting this here is mainly as another incentive to stay on the wagon, but I'd also welcome feedback on my workout if people think it could be more effective.
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More cardio. Getting cardio up to 30+ minutes will increase the amount of fat burned. Ideally, 45+ minutes is when your body starts burning only fat, but getting that high can be difficult on time management if weightlifting is involved too. But if you alternate between weightlifting and cardio, you can have your strictly cardio days with the 45+ minutes, and on the mix days you can do 20 minutes or so.

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The challenge with that is that I absolutely *hate* cardio - mainly because it's so mind numbingly dull. 20 minutes I can stand, but I think that if I go beyond that, I may have a hard time keeping motivated to sustain it.

Although I am considering alternating weight training and cardio for a few months. That might be bearable.

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I agree with Kev. If you have the time, you should try getting into some kind of sport or activity to make the cardio more interesting. The mountain biking is a good start. But yea - time is the issue here isn't it?

Anyways good luck man. I'm rooting for ya!!

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The fittest I have ever been was when I was practising Tae Kwon do. It's a hard cardio and muscular workout that really rips through fat. I've not been able to find anything to beat it. I agree about the need for more Cardio, I often find that if I concentrate on building and reduce the cardio I burn little or no fat. But you're right - cardio is boring unless you can a) find a sport or b) find someone to run/cycle with.

Good luck on this, I'm also struggling to regain my lost fitness!

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