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Zaris 2008-07-12 22:31

Health, Fitness, and Maintaining It
 
It annoys me that I can't stay healthy at all, but then again I am probably being a hypochondriac about this subject. I'm 24, 5'8" (173 centimeters), and 175 pounds (79 kilograms). And yet, information my dad pulls from the Chinese newspaper says that at my age and height, I should be in the 138-166 pound range (62-75 kilograms). That's quite a stretch! With the work that I do, which is mostly sitting in the office on the phone, I can stay between 170-180 pounds pretty well (77-82 kilograms). I have ample opportunity to get out of my seat and walk around places. Yet, I find myself studying charts and learning that I am one color tone below actual heart disease risk.

And it does make sense, sort of. I do have a bit of a gut, but at least I can see my toes. But losing weight and achieving twig status with a six pack has not been easy for me since taking a 40-hour-a-week job. At the end of the day, I find myself wanting to do nothing but idle in front of my computer. During my lunch hour, I rotate between sleeping 40-50 minutes on the car or in the meeting room where it's usually empty, or driving to various fast foods to eat 5-6 dollar meals (15% McDonalds, 15% Jack in the Box, 15% Panera Bread, 40% Chipotle, 15% everywhere else), or both. I eat a bowl of cereal every morning and my mom packs me a small sandwitch and a carrot/apple side to go with me. I feel like I eat too much; sometimes all I do is eat my mom's stuff for lunch, but it doesn't feel enough for me to carry me until dinner.

I do, however, go to the gym, but it's sometimes hard to convince myself to go there - even if it is along the way home. Sometimes all I want to do after a stressful day is go home and unwind because I don't think exercising can help relieve stress. Sometimes I have trivial plans that I think is more important than losing the fat I consumed on that McChicken (and like I said, I'm mostly on my computer at home). Overall, I go to the gym like twice a week. It's enough to keep my muscles from being sore the day after I work out after not doing so for a long period of time, and I can stay between 170-180 pounds that way. But if I can just change something, I can probably hit the target I want to reach in the first paragraph.

But enough about me.


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Topic is Health, Fitness, and Maintaining It. You may have a 40 hour work period but can make time to gym like I do, or you may still be in school with regular P.E. an hour a day. Maybe you have hobbies that involve healthy exercise. Maybe you eat enough and eat right. Share how you maintain yourself so that your system doesn't give you an actual "blue screen of death".

- For me, it's the gym primarily. When I do go twice a week (or more), I spend 1.5 to 2 hours there. 30 minutes on stretches and core exercises, average 90 sit-ups and 30 push-ups (weak?). I lift avg. 35 pound weights on each hand and I run the treadmill or elliptical 20 minutes, getting my heart rate to where it needs to be, getting to what the machine tells me is approx. two miles.

- I like soda, and I would hate to give it up. However, I may have found an alternative to Pepsi. Hearing it on the radio, I decided to give Zipfizz a try. It's caffeinated powder mix with 10 calories, 2 carbs, 0 sugar, and a ton of vitamins (Vitamin B12 is at 41667%), and I think it tastes great.

- Drink water. Lots of water. Supposedly, the body can fool your brain into thinking you're thirsty when you're actually hungry, and vise versa. Drinking water can make you less hungry, in a way. I have a cup ready on my desk at work when I feel bored. I avoid getting a soda when I'm at the fast food unless the comes with it by default. Then again, McDonalds does label the McChicken meal as just fries and a sandwitch. I should just say "no" to the soft drink.

If you're not embarassed and want to share, share here. You (and hopefully, I) might find a plan or workout that's worth inheriting into your routine. And no, I'm not going back to P.E..

Reckoner 2008-07-12 23:45

I'm not the best example to look to for someone such as you who has a 40 hour week of work. This is because I play 5-6 hours a day of tennis, with very intense drills incorporated and matches, 5-6 days a week. I don't regularly drink anything else besides water and apple juice, and I mostly eat chicken with little red meat and some fish in my diet. I eat fruit and vegetables everyday. So for me it is pretty easy to stay fit, my doctor actually says that I am underweight for my 5'9, 130 pound self.


What I am going to recommend to you is to exercise a little differently in the gym, and just in general.

Every time you exercise, the most important thing to do is always your cardio, so if you are going to cut out something, do not cut that one out. On one day you need to do certain exercises like curls, bench press, and military, but then the next day you need to switch it up with things like squats, abs, and core. The important thing to remember is that to lose weight you need to exercise everywhere with your body, not just a select location.

Instead of going to the gym only twice a week, I'd try to increase that to three times at least. Select specific days to do it, make it routine.

If you can, besides going to the gym, jog around your streets a little bit for a set amount of time without stopping for maybe like 15 minutes. You'd be surprised how different it is to run on a street and go a length of distance compared to running on one of those machines in the gym.

Last thing I am going to say is that if you are truly serious about losing weight, cut out carbonated drinks and fried foods as much as possible. You cannot eat like you would right now and exercise and hope to lose much weight. The key is always to burn more calories than you take in.

Papaya 2008-07-13 01:16

Chinese, 21, and 5'5 125lb here ;O

Anyways, some tips for you.

If you're going to do cardio AND weight training, do HIIT. High intensity interval training. There's a ton of info on it everywhere, so I won't bother explaining it much. Basically, just do 10-15 minutes of cardio, but do it at different intensities. If you're on a treadmill, do 50 seconds of jogging, then 10 seconds of high-angle, high-speed running, then repeat for the rest of the duration. Since you say you're weight training (or rather, well... no you didn't, but I'll assume you are), this is important as to not lose muscle. Well, not lose TOO much muscle, since ALL cardio results in muscle loss--including doing 100 crunches, or something silly like that.

Unfortunately, to get in shape, the easiest and hardest thing to do is to change your diet. If you're on a budget for food, that's still not an excuse to eat poorly. In bodybuilding we have a saying that goes "75% of bodybuilding is diet". You are what you eat, quite literally.

No
More
McDonald's!

Keep your soda--that's fine, there's not much fat in it. Here's a diet I would suggest for you:

Breakfast:
1-2 egg whites (skip the yolks--that's about 10g of fat or so)
1 cup oatmeal

Morning snack:
4 oz. low-fat cottage cheese with crushed pineapple

Lunch:
4 oz. chicken breast or 2 cans tuna or 4 oz. sliced turkey
Wheat bread
Some fruit

Afternoon snack:
Fruit <3

Dinner:
Same as lunch, but add some salad in there too

This comes out to a bit less than 1500 Calories, while staying high on carbs and protein and low on fats. It should be conducive to your weightlifting as well.

As far as increasing your base metabolism, I would suggest getting a bit more serious about weightlifting. Unlike cardio, which only burns calories as you work, lifting results in continual burns even after you go home. It's not THAT bi g of an increase, but it may end up meaning your body doesn't feel the negative effects of a candy bar here or there =P

The benefits of lifting are endless though, and if you need tips or a good workout designed for your work schedule, feel free to PM me for a push in the right direction.

tripperazn 2008-07-13 05:37

I'm 6'1", at 149 lbs.

Actually, I think those measurements are totally irrelevant to your health. BMI is a horrible way of measuring fitness. Since muscle is 3 times heavier than fat for the same volume, most bodybuilders have >30 BMI and are considered obese. Body fat percentage is much better. You can ask your doctor to perform the test for you with calipers. Ideally for a guy, you want somewhere around 10%.

You need to eat as many meals as you can. Since you are at a desk all day, either at work or at home, make a point to eat portioned meals at set times (NOT fast food, healthy, high protein). I think anywhere over 5-6 meals is fine. The point is to keep your metabolism going all day, not just three times a day after meals. On a heavy workout day, eat about 2500kcal. On a resting day, eat about 1500kcal. You need the calories. Mass is very hard to gain if you aren't eating enough protein. Aim for at least 100 grams per day, anything under that and you are losing muscle.

Do NOT drink soda. The high fructose corn syrup in the soda and processed foods are extremely bad for you. Avoid sugary food, period. Avoid going out to eat unless you are with friends. Seriously, look up the nutrition facts for Chipotle...Jack in the Box is pretty bad as well.

Learn to cook! A list of food/ingredients I like: canned tuna (cheap protein), chicken legs/thighs (cheaper and tastier than breast meat, make sure to trim the fat), smoked almonds (tasty, good source of healthy fat and protein), cottage cheese (very low fat source of protein)

Furuno 2008-07-13 06:20

I'm a kind of guy that sits in front of my computer most of the time. I'm an IT student in college and also a game programmer at home. I think I spend around 12 hours a day in front of a computer.

Also I don't do any special exercise such as fitness or other sport (yes, maybe you can call me a lazy bum :heh:). But, because I'm a kind of "Night" people (my college is from 7 P.M. and I sleep at 3 A.M), and since there's no "cheap" public transport at night (only taxis and express train available), so I have to walk quite a bit when I'm go home from college. Well, maybe about 10-15 kilometres a day. And I think thinking also an activity that needs energy. So, well I think I'm quite healthy this way. Unless for my low blood pressure that always make me passed out when I'm too exhausted.

Kakashi 2008-07-13 08:15

Consider the advice given to you about diet. I think it's important to cut out the excess fast food and soda. If you really need a meal, go to subway! Much healthier than McDonalds etc. Try to balance the calories you get from food with the calories you use through physical activity.

Research suggests that brisk walking can be just as good for you as an activity such as jogging. Try to do a total of 30 minutes of constant physical activity, such as fast walking, most days of the week. Also try a new activity, ideally a sport you enjoy and ask a friend to join you. I found going to the gym regularly to be difficult, mentally to maintain that dedication is tricky, especially if you work long hours.

Do you have any friends that are enthusiastic about a sport you enjoy? If you do then they can motivate you on the days you just feel like unwinding, because the most important thing is to keep at it. You'll be suprised how sport can actually help you unwind. Swimming for example is very relaxing once you get past the hurdle of struggling to breathe. :heh:

raikage 2008-07-13 08:29

Quote:

Originally Posted by tripperazn (Post 1724874)
I'm 6'1", at 149 lbs.

Actually, I think those measurements are totally irrelevant to your health. BMI is a horrible way of measuring fitness. Since muscle is 3 times heavier than fat for the same volume, most bodybuilders have >30 BMI and are considered obese. Body fat percentage is much better. You can ask your doctor to perform the test for you with calipers. Ideally for a guy, you want somewhere around 10%.

You need to eat as many meals as you can. Since you are at a desk all day, either at work or at home, make a point to eat portioned meals at set times (NOT fast food, healthy, high protein). I think anywhere over 5-6 meals is fine. The point is to keep your metabolism going all day, not just three times a day after meals. On a heavy workout day, eat about 2500kcal. On a resting day, eat about 1500kcal. You need the calories. Mass is very hard to gain if you aren't eating enough protein. Aim for at least 100 grams per day, anything under that and you are losing muscle.

Do NOT drink soda. The high fructose corn syrup in the soda and processed foods are extremely bad for you. Avoid sugary food, period. Avoid going out to eat unless you are with friends. Seriously, look up the nutrition facts for Chipotle...Jack in the Box is pretty bad as well.

Learn to cook! A list of food/ingredients I like: canned tuna (cheap protein), chicken legs/thighs (cheaper and tastier than breast meat, make sure to trim the fat), smoked almonds (tasty, good source of healthy fat and protein), cottage cheese (very low fat source of protein)

+1 to everything listed here -- except for the body fat percentage.

You can go 15-20% and still be overall healthy. 10% is more a goal if you're looking for the six-pack abs.

Zaris, look up the Rippetoe workout. It's far better a weight routine than what you posted you do (pushups/curls), and the Rippetoe builds tons of usable strength.

HayashiTakara 2008-07-13 10:58

Want some tips? Thats easy enough. Eat, don't ever let your body go hungry, it'll slow down your metabolism. Personal trainers recommend that you eat 5 ~ 6 times a day. In reasonable portions that is. Try not to skip out on meals as it tends to cause you to eat too much in one sitting which makes it difficult to digest properly. Also, take into consideration that weight doesn't mean anything if you are building muscle density as muscle is heavier than fat.

Also, despite what others may say, fat is good for you. Without fat you cannot survive and your body will starve causing your metabolism to falter. If you wan't to lose "fat" is in the jiggly parts, burn more calories than you consume on a daily basis. Lets say you consume 2000 calories, if you burn 4000 calories, IIRC, you lose 1lb.

2000 calories is basically the recommended daily consumption of daily calories to keep your body from going hungry. If you burn 3000 or more, you'll be good. If you maintain that sort of regiment you'll be lean in a matter of a few months. Its a matter of staying dedicated. You sound rather average to me. But if you really wanna be twigs... not much I can tell you, as I think its rather unhealthy. I'm rather bias in some ways that I think a man should have a certain amount of muscle mass.

Papaya 2008-07-13 17:06

Quote:

Originally Posted by raikage (Post 1725249)
+1 to everything listed here -- except for the body fat percentage.

You can go 15-20% and still be overall healthy. 10% is more a goal if you're looking for the six-pack abs.

Zaris, look up the Rippetoe workout. It's far better a weight routine than what you posted you do (pushups/curls), and the Rippetoe builds tons of usable strength.

Hmm, I wouldn't suggest something like that. Squats and deadlifts aren't easy to transition into if you've been doing pushups and curls all your life. 99% of the people at the gym--including the big guys--aren't doing squats and deadlifts right anyways =X

tripperazn 2008-07-13 17:29

Quote:

Originally Posted by raikage (Post 1725249)
You can go 15-20% and still be overall healthy. 10% is more a goal if you're looking for the six-pack abs.

Sure, I know plenty of successful athletes with over 15%, but the ideal, at least IMHO, is at 10% body fat eventually. It's a fine line to eat enough to build mass, but not too much so that you become fat over time.

Zaris 2008-07-14 01:03

Welp, fortunately, I paid some for a few sessions with a personal trainer at my 24 Hour Fitness long time ago and told me about the importance of squats/deadlifts. It's thoroughly in my routine. He told me "chest, back, legs one day; shoulders, triceps, biceps, legs the next day; twice a week" is the best.

I eat and drink all day. Thanks to mom, I have fruit and a healthy sandwitch which I consume around the 11am or 3:30pm period, depending on what I'm in the mood for. Maybe I should just have more of mom's cooking - while I still have her. When I move to L.A. in 2009, I'm not gonna have that healthy luxury.

I do plan on going to the gym more often than just twice a week, or so I keep telling myself. And I will lookup this Rippetoe workout at work tomorrow, see what it's all about. Not really shooting for twig status, but at my prime one year ago, I had a pretty confident six-pack - not a body-builder's one, of course, but Olympic swimmer-like: not big, but there. That's my real goal.

This is good stuff, all the more convincing that I'm doing some things wrong. Keep it coming.

Papaya 2008-07-14 01:15

Quote:

Originally Posted by Zaris (Post 1727555)
Welp, fortunately, I paid some for a few sessions with a personal trainer at my 24 Hour Fitness long time ago and told me about the importance of squats/deadlifts. It's thoroughly in my routine. He told me "chest, back, legs one day; shoulders, triceps, biceps, legs the next day; twice a week" is the best.

I eat and drink all day. Thanks to mom, I have fruit and a healthy sandwitch which I consume around the 11am or 3:30pm period, depending on what I'm in the mood for. Maybe I should just have more of mom's cooking - while I still have her. When I move to L.A. in 2009, I'm not gonna have that healthy luxury.

I do plan on going to the gym more often than just twice a week, or so I keep telling myself. And I will lookup this Rippetoe workout at work tomorrow, see what it's all about. Not really shooting for twig status, but at my prime one year ago, I had a pretty confident six-pack - not a body-builder's one, of course, but Olympic swimmer-like: not big, but there. That's my real goal.

This is good stuff, all the more convincing that I'm doing some things wrong. Keep it coming.

Mmm. At your level, compound movements > isolation exercises.

There really is no such thing as a twice-a-week workout. Three times a week is more or less the bare minimum. I would suggest doing HIIT cardio on the days you don't go to the gym, so you can save up all your energy for lifting.

Remember to push/pull quickly, flex your muscles at the apex of the movement, and descend slowly. Don't rest at the bottom either!

Also, if you're going to do Rippetoe, make sure you keep track of the rest time. Decrease rest between sets each week, but keep the total amount of rest constant. For example...

Week 1
10 reps rest 2 min
10 reps rest 2 min
10 reps rest 2 min

Week 2
10 reps rest 1.5 min
8 reps rest 1.5 min
8 reps rest 1.5 min
8 reps rest 1.5 min

Week 3
10 reps rest 1.5 min
10 reps rest 1.5 min
10 reps rest 1.5 min
10 reps rest 1.5 min

Weight training is about shock, not adaptation, and this will help your body adjust to the requisite power for more advanced workouts.



Oh, and if you're Chinese, and your mom cooks Chinese food, you're gonna need a change.
Chinese is just terribly, terribly unhealthy =X

HayashiTakara 2008-07-14 01:15

1 year ago? then you shouldn't have changed that much, unless you ate way too much for your lifestyle. The amount you consume should correlate with your life style.

tripperazn 2008-07-14 01:46

Quote:

Originally Posted by Zaris (Post 1727555)
I eat and drink all day. Thanks to mom, I have fruit and a healthy sandwitch which I consume around the 11am or 3:30pm period, depending on what I'm in the mood for. Maybe I should just have more of mom's cooking - while I still have her. When I move to L.A. in 2009, I'm not gonna have that healthy luxury.

"All day" is probably not ideal in practice. In theory, it's perfect, by constant intake, your metabolism is always kept at it's peak. However, there is no way that you can realistically keep yourself from overindulging or under-eating at times. Eat at set times throughout the day with set caloric intake.

Also, it's easy to say "I'll eat what I feel like", but it's also not good for bodybuilding. Your body has a requisite intake for all sorts of macro and micro-nutrients. If you don't fulfill them, your body is not at peak performance. This means possibly not being able to complete your workout, which leads to much smaller gains (all of your gains are made at the end of your workout). Pick and choose your foods carefully and deliberately. As Papaya said, 75% of bodybuilding is diet. That is the consensus in the bodybuilding community.

Your Mom's cooking is highly unlikely to give you the 100+ grams of protein you need everyday, not to mention carbs and good fats for your recovery.

Micro-nutrients are relatively easy. One good multi-vitamin will usually suffice. Optional supplements like BCAAs and creatine are pretty cheap and speed bulking significantly. I think you would spend about $20 a month for both at the recommended dose. Take in a lot of salt and iron (iron for upping red blood cell count, salts to replenish what is lost in sweat and to power muscle contraction/neural firing). Calcium is vital to strengthen bone to handle stress from lifting, as well as in the basic biochemistry of muscle contraction. Red meat should take care of all 3 to some degree. Drink more milk to get a lot of efficiently absorbed calcium. Multi-vitamin capsules lack all 3 in sufficient quantities.

Instead of waiting until you move out, start cooking for yourself now. Go to Costco and buy wholesale packs of lean meat (I like chicken thighs, it's less than $1/lb), trim the fat then grill. I don't know if they have one in Saratoga, but I know there is one in Mountain View where I go that isn't too far from you. This is the only way you're getting protein. The protein shakes are very very expensive and disgusting to drink.

BTW, fruits generally pack too much sugar to be good for you. Apples and bananas are just about the only 2 I'd recommend.

raikage 2008-07-14 15:18

Quote:

Originally Posted by Papaya (Post 1726266)
Hmm, I wouldn't suggest something like that. Squats and deadlifts aren't easy to transition into if you've been doing pushups and curls all your life. 99% of the people at the gym--including the big guys--aren't doing squats and deadlifts right anyways =X

Probably true.

But he should still incorporate them into his workout. :)

Quote:

Originally Posted by tripperazn (Post 1726325)
Sure, I know plenty of successful athletes with over 15%, but the ideal, at least IMHO, is at 10% body fat eventually. It's a fine line to eat enough to build mass, but not too much so that you become fat over time.

Ideal? Around there, yes.

But it doesn't sound like the goal is competitive athletics.

If the goal is to be in decent shape, enough that you'll be healthy throughout your life, you can afford to be significantly over that ten percent mark.

You wouldn't be ideal, but you would still be fit enough that you shouldn't have to worry about heart disease or diabetes. And you'd still get to eat ice cream once in a while.

Reckoner 2008-07-14 16:48

Quote:

Originally Posted by raikage (Post 1728987)
Ideal? Around there, yes.

But it doesn't sound like the goal is competitive athletics.

I was under the impression that competitive athletes typically have under 10% body fat, I personally only have like 7-8%. However, I think you are correct in that you can be healthy from anywhere 10-20% body fat.

oompa loompa 2008-07-14 17:51

10% is actually a very low percentage, even for a 6 pack. you can have a 6 pack in 13-15%. then again abdominals are different for different people. some people will never manage to get an 8 pack, while a few wont be able to get a 6 pack no matter how hard they work out. muscles wont develop the orthodox ' cuts '.

one thing i have found from experience,which is the best way to get rid of fat, ( apart from a healthy diet of course - the posters above will probably know more about this than i do ) is sprinting. perhaps im only talking from personal experience, but doing anywhere between 7-10 100 m sprints for 3 days a week for a couple of weeks, has phenomenal results. however, ive always been into track, so doing sprints was never any problem for me. im not sure how heavy a session doing 7 100 m sprints is. then of course there is the possibility of injuring yourself ( shouldnt be a problem with stretching ). i always preferred sprinting to jogging, just saves so much time. and even if it doesnt, it certainly feels like it does :D

while im at it, ill throw in the routine i used to combine the cardio - and it can be done at home.. which wont take more than 15-20 minutes. i say used to, because in the end for real gains you have to hit the heavy weights. but it certainly makes you feel fit as hell - it works like this

15-20 leg raises ( its not a reverse crunch..)
20-25 vertical crunches
20-25 oblique crunches
20 crunches

then, without a break
10-15 closed hand pushups ( bring your hands together completely.. its a bit tough initially so do it on your knees, baby pushup style:) )
15-20 regular pushups
if you have light weights lying around -
you can do 15 curls and 10-15 of a shoulder exercise of your choice

then, without a break repeat the ab routine, this should have given you enough for your abs to recover enough for another rep of abdominals and so on and so forth do it as many times as you can.. i guess 3 is the minimum though.. and while i say do it without a break, its not that easy to do in practice. a better way to put it is push yourself to reduce the time you spend in breaks as much as you can. as for regularity, you should have a basic idea of what your body can take and what it cant take. if you do any workout 6-7 times a week youll end up hurting yourself. ive always done it according to how my body feels

unfortunately i made this routine myself, so im not sure how easy or tough it is. im sure someone else can say whether its applicable as a beginning routine. though i suppose it should, its not like im the fittest person alive either..

yezhanquan 2008-07-14 22:06

Everything in moderation.

Papaya 2008-07-15 01:00

Regarding six-packs, the abdominals are actually one large muscle with multiple heads, the same way biceps have two heads, and triceps have three heads. The distinct shape of each head is not determined by how much you work it out, as some people think, but genetically via the way the tendons wrap around the abdominals.

Spectacular_Insanity 2008-07-15 02:02

I'm not a good example because I'm UNDERWEIGHT. I'm not sure what my weight for my age/height group is supposed to be, but I'm 5'9" and weigh 120 pounds. Ugh, I can't put on weight at all, despite the fact that I eat well. I am glad to be underweight rather than overweight, though, because I'm sure putting on weight is a whole lot easier than trying to lose it. So I won't complain, but I am still way too underweight for my age group (I think I'm at least 15% underweight).


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