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Sun Wukong
7/17/2008 6:14am,
Ok, began a new workout regimen to replace my old non-existent one.

I have had a tendency to over do training in the past, and decided to actually do the smart thing this time.

OK, right now, I really don't have the capacity to overdo weight training simply because I get too fatigued to push nearly what I was accustomed to, but my strategy right now is to work with smaller weights for longer sets with fewer sets and a minute of rest between them.

All of my sets are compound super-sets, which means I'm alternating between two different exercises that utilize opposing muscle groups.

First of all, is all that even necessary? I mean, do compound sets even really provide many benefits? Supposedly the benefit is that you are giving muscle groups time to rest in between sets without actually slowing down too much, but what else does it do for me? anything?

Secondly, I've gained a lot of weight in the last 3 years and decided to pick up a cardio routine. Now, I've always had enormous problems with shin splints, ankle and knee pain when running, even when i ran all the time in the army, so I decided to spend a little extra cash and purchase a commercial eliptical machine. I've had very good results with eliptical's in the past, so I feel like it's a good investment as long as I put it to good use.

However, I keep hearing it repeated that cardio in excess of 30 minutes is a waste of time... I can't help but think that's bullshit. In the past, my best cardio workouts lasted well over an hour and the results of doing that 3 times a week were tremendous ( I lost 20 lbs in a single month). Now, was I just fooling myself and I perhaps lost that weight because of other factors combined with the recommended 30 minutes of cardio or what? Was I just wasting my time with those long workouts?

Thirdly, I'm in absolutely **** shape. I'm about 60lbs over-weight maybe more. I haven't had a regular intensive workout regimen in 5 years and I wonder if I might be going overboard. What is the best advice you can give me to avoid injury while keeping my workouts productive?

Sun Wukong
7/17/2008 6:24am,
right now my regimen is minimal.

four compound super-set groups per day consisting of two sets of 15-20 reps per exercise, except every third day which I have reserved for intensive cardio lasting at least an hour with a quick abdominal workout. the routine resets on the 1st and 4th day of the week with the 7th day reserved for rest.

so in total that's 8 different exercises with 2 sets of 15-20 reps per workout, except on cardio days.

As a note, I weigh 270lbs, and I'm 6'1". I did this **** to myself and I'm looking to undo it. I'll take whatever constructive criticism that is offered.

honesty
7/17/2008 7:01am,
I'd have a look at the 5x5 on stronglifts.com for more info on a good weights programme. On the cardio thing, I think that the 30 minute limit may just be that its not that its useless over 30 minutes, but just that you could be doing something far better with the time and past 30 minutes the benefits gained get smaller. You'd be far better doing something like HIIT for example.

Eddie Hardon
7/17/2008 7:23am,
Consider Circuit Training, 3 times per week with a day between each session. Give it 3 months to assess yourself in terms; Weight, Shape, Strength, Flexibility, Recovery. A structured class will give you options for the days when you feel well and the days when your energy level drops. Expert Instructor who can guide you and can recognise when you need to be held back and those other times when you need to be urged on.

Remember, Weight training builds Muscle or Tones depending on Heavy Weight=Small Reps or Low Weight=Lots of Reps.

For 275lbs you need to consider Heart Fitness as a factor in your Training. No point in going flat out and falling over. Cardio, steady pacing over a reasonable distance will be a good start. You can vary with Fartlek training: Walk-Trot-Sprint between lamp-posts or 100M distances. This is more long term after you've dropped some weight.

Go Circuit Training and re-assess after 3 months. Good Luck.

muddy
7/17/2008 10:17am,
right now my regimen is minimal.

four compound super-set groups per day consisting of two sets of 15-20 reps per exercise, except every third day which I have reserved for intensive cardio lasting at least an hour with a quick abdominal workout. the routine resets on the 1st and 4th day of the week with the 7th day reserved for rest.

so in total that's 8 different exercises with 2 sets of 15-20 reps per workout, except on cardio days.

As a note, I weigh 270lbs, and I'm 6'1". I did this **** to myself and I'm looking to undo it. I'll take whatever constructive criticism that is offered.


IMO, right now, your diet is at least every bit as important as any of the other stuff. Dont overlook that. Get on a good diet with a realistic weight goal and stick with it.

Bang!
7/17/2008 10:35am,
First of all, cardio is pretty much a waste of time for anyone. Let me rephrase: low-intensity, steady state cardio is hugely inefficient compared to interval and circuit training; unless you're so out of shape that it's all you can handle, there here is no good argument for it. Especially if you're a fatty (double-especially if you're the long-suffering joints of a fatty).

Secondly, "tone," Eddie? Really?

Thirdly, push/pull supersets are fine and dandy for strength development and generally just preventing yourself from sitting around admiring your biceps in the mirror. However, most people who perform them a) fail to utilize proper intensity or rest periods. Hint: higher and longer.

Truth be told, I would recommend full-body circuits. Typically, I like hip-dominant, vertical pull/push, abs FOLLOWED BY quad-dominant, horizontal pull/push, abs. These can be light and fast or heavy and hard. Both will work for you. Both should be utilized.

As far as nutrition goes . . . well, the guys above are right. If you are trying to make up for poor eating choices by adding exercise time, you're running an uphill battle on your traumatized knees.

In closing, I would like to say that I'm going out for dim sum now. I'm hoping it will be delicious.

Eddie Hardon
7/17/2008 10:43am,
I'm going with my rec of Circuit training as his best option to avoid injuring himself or droppind dead. Especially as I don't know the geezer. If he falls over in a Circuit class at least someone should be able to administer First Aid or the Last Rites.

I'm cycling home shortly via Sainsburys 'cos the fridge has run out of food. Then I shall run Hampstead Heath, up hill and down dale and sweat my Bollocks off. This would probably kill the OP.

Then when I get home, I shall have a cup of Tea and a lot of Chocolate ('cos I deserve it).

Sun Wukong
7/17/2008 4:56pm,
it probably would kill me, mostly because I just quit smoking too. Which I did the entire time i wasn't working out for 5 years. Sadly, i'm not that old as to justify the condition I've put myself in, only 33.

Sun Wukong
7/17/2008 5:02pm,
Since several people have made dietary recommendations, I'd like to ask a question about supplements.

I don't have the worst diet in the world. Actually, I eat pretty healthy foods most of the time, but you can eat too much of a good thing while sitting on your ass and you'll still get fat.

I'm thinking about using whey protein supplements. I don't want a lot of extra calories so I'm thinking i'd be better off just getting the whey protein powder and not the whey protein shake powders; is there some benefit that I might consider from the shakes? I mean, do they add anything special to my diet that I might be over-looking?

muddy
7/17/2008 5:38pm,
it probably would kill me, mostly because I just quit smoking too. Which I did the entire time i wasn't working out for 5 years. Sadly, i'm not that old as to justify the condition I've put myself in, only 33.

Thats a great thing you are doing. 33 isnt that old ... definitely dont wait any longer though.


I'm thinking about using whey protein supplements. I don't want a lot of extra calories so I'm thinking i'd be better off just getting the whey protein powder and not the whey protein shake powders; is there some benefit that I might consider from the shakes? I mean, do they add anything special to my diet that I might be over-looking?

Try to get as much of your calories as possible from whole natural foods. I would only use a protein supplement as necessary to balance my protein intake. Till you get your weight under control I would probably concentrate on a balanced diet (40/30/30) (protein/carb/fat) and eliminate as much sugar, alcohol, and unhealthy fats as possible ... keeping enough calorie deficit for healthy weight loss ... and of course drink plenty of water. Weight loss isnt any more complicated that that IMO.

Im just a random guy on the internet, though ... you should be getting personal assistance/advice from a qualified expert (MD, nutritionalist, and/or trainer).

TheRuss
7/17/2008 10:31pm,
First of all, cardio is pretty much a waste of time for anyone. Let me rephrase: low-intensity, steady state cardio is hugely inefficient compared to interval and circuit training; unless you're so out of shape that it's all you can handle, there here is no good argument for it. Especially if you're a fatty (double-especially if you're the long-suffering joints of a fatty).

Care to elaborate?

Eddie Hardon
7/18/2008 3:55am,
it probably would kill me, mostly because I just quit smoking too. Which I did the entire time i wasn't working out for 5 years. Sadly, i'm not that old as to justify the condition I've put myself in, only 33.

Er, sad to say but I'm almost 20 years older than you. So, for you there is certainly lots of hope; for me, probably less so....:-)

I was entirely serious about the Circuit training class. It will give you structure to your workout and you should only go at the level with which you're comfortable. When I first went to Circuits, I was badly out of shape (yet had run 8 miles in 42 mins during my lunch hour before I got out of shape so badly). The class was what I expected, small numbers, no music, fairly macho and I sweat buckets and feared the next morning expecting to be very sore and unable to get out of bed. In fact, I got out of bed and felt OK because the Instructor knew his job and had done: Warm-Up; Stretch: Work; Warm-Down; Stretch.

The second class was packed and with lovely girlies. It was an Aerobic warm-up and entirely alien to me. I also couldn't co-ordinate and was all at sea. I was about to walk out when I realised that I was a fat b*stard and needed to train and there were quite a few big blokes there as well so I thought it must be OK. In 10 mins, the Instructor had done the Warm-Up and Stretched us and demo'ed the Stations. Jeezus, but I found out how bad I was during the first set (16 Stations) and we had 2 more circuits to go plus the Instructor threw in an Aerobic section and a Plyometric section between those 2 circuits.

It was the start of an Education. I went on to do Circuits for some 12 to 15 years.

You will learn much and always remember to ask the Instructor for advice. It doesn't matter if the Instructor is Male or Female or a Dancer (he set out one of the hardest Circuits I've ever done) provided their qualified and in a reputable place, this should be axiomatic.

After my initial 3 months, I had lost 8lbs, which I then put back on. In my ignorance, I mentioned this to the Desk Staff and got the classic answer. "You've lost the fat and replaced it with muscle". It was true.

The tortoise wins the race not the hare. Train for yourself and don't compare yourself with others. Men are competitive especially when women are near and this can be OK to get the best from yourself. OTOH, although I am short, I used to do my training and it could embarrass the taller chaps (6ft 4ins one springs to Mind) but none of them could match me. Their fault, I was only competing against myself.

Remember, you can tailor the station to suit your fitness. When you're below your best, drop the intensity, when you're flying, go flat out.

Go easy to begin with and Good Luck.

Raining_Blood
7/18/2008 4:19am,
The most important thing when your are overweight is to gradually increase the intensity of the programme. Failure to do so will almost undoubtly result in injuries that will delay your progress and hinder your motivation.

In terms of weight training I think you need to rethink what you are doing. I dont like the idea of supersetting large compound movements because fo the intensity of the movements. Also factor in that you are doing high reps of the movements I can almost gurantee that your technique will degenerate towards the end of the sets. It is generally the norm to keep the reps low when performing compound movements. An option if you want to superset compound movements is to combine it with an isolation exercise.

I would recommend you avoid trying to create your own exercise programme currently as it is obvious you have insufficient knowledge of how to do so. Find a good programme online and follow that. I suggest a 5x5 programme or Westside for Skinny Bastards. In time you can start to modify the training to suit your changing needs.

With cardio there is still debate within the exericse community regarding interval training versus steady state cardio. The majority of coachs these days recommend high intensity interval training but there are still some very highly respected coachs who get great results using steady state cardio. My personal preference would be HIIT but that is influenced by my sport background.

No disrespect Eddie but I would strongly advise against circuit training. They are a ecclectic mix of training ideologies and there are far more efficent ways to go about body recomposition

Lily
7/18/2008 6:46am,
Sun :) - give me an example of how long you go for on the elliptical ('level', 'time')?

Some things I like to do when I use the elliptical machine once a week:

1. 30 second intervals on level 15-20 (20 being the highest on the machine), then 30 seconds on leve 1-5, repeat 10 times

2. Steady state training but jump off every 2 minutes and do one of the following before getting back on the elliptical for another 2 minutes aiming to maintain the same pace throughout the workout (find a comfortable yet challenging pace and 'level' - this will improve over time):
a) 1 min skip rope -
b) 1min bodyweight squats all the way down
c) burpees 1 minute
d) 1min push ups

There are so many exercises you can substitute on the interval with minimal equipment and minimal space requirements.

BudoMonkey
7/18/2008 7:01am,
You say you have a good diet, but that's not enough for us to know if that's true.

What's an average day of eating for you?

Bang!
7/18/2008 9:17am,
Care to elaborate?

"Short Term Sprint Interval Versus Traditional Endurance Training: Similar Initial Adaptations in Human Skeletal Muscle and Exercise Performance Journal of Physiology Sept 2006, Vol 575 Issue 3

Yeah, I know it's just one study, but it pretty much sums up what I'm trying to say. In this one, Martin Gibala at McMaster compared 20 minutes of HIIT (30 seconds sprint, four minutes rest) with 90-120 minutes in the "target heart rate" zone. Oxygen utilization improvement was comparable in both programs. "So they're equal, right?"

I'm not saying that steady state stuff is useless, but when you get the same results for 20 minutes of exercise (with only about two and a half minutes of intense work) as you do for one and half to two hours of work, it's clear that something is up.

The fact that duration of exercise magnifies all training errors is yet another log on the fire for me.

Some of the people here have been going, "No, that would surely kill me. I can't even eat a deep-fried Mars Bar without sweating." The thing is that your intervals don't have to be the same as those of a competitive athlete. You just need enough fitness to create a contrast between a hard push and a jog. If you can't do that, then yeah, work up from steady state. If you can and you still have a good argument for it, I would love to hear it.