am I doing things right? help please.
This is kind of long.. pls bear with me. :)
Hi! I just want to know if Iím doing things right. You see, Iím new to this working out thing. I want to lose fat and reduce my waist size since most of my old clothes donít fit me already. Iíve been doing cardio for a month already but until now, Iím still not sure if Iím on the right path.
A month and a half ago, I started seeing a dietician to help me change my eating habits and lose weight. She told me to eat at least 5 small meals every 2-3 hours everyday. I reduced my caloric intake since my first session with her but I only ate 3 times a day. It was only yesterday when I started eating 5 small meals a day. During our second session which was a month after the first, she told me to maintain my caloric intake and just do cardio to burn the fat I want to lose. So from August 22, 2007 to September 16, 2007, I did 60-80 mins of low-intensity cardio (are walking and step-ups/step aerobics low intensity?) everyday. I lost 0.5 inch the first 2 weeks. The next 2 weeks, I did not see any improvements so I figured, I must have been doing something wrong. I decided to do lots of research. IĎve read (and still am reading) articles from the internet on bodybuilding and fat loss to help me out but it only left me even more confused. Some bodybuilders say that HIIT for about 15-20 mins is the best type of cardio but some also say that 45-60 mins of low to moderate intensity is best. Iíve also read articles stating that you only need to do 20-30 mins of moderate-intensity cardio a day and that exceeding 45 mins is bad for the muscles. They also say different things regarding strength training (number of reps, sets). Anyway, I changed my schedule based on what Iíve read:
**BTW, I donít go to the gym. I do everything at home. I use anything heavy enough as weights.
Monday and FridayĖ low to moderate intensity cardio (jogging) for at least 30 mins, strength training for abs, chest, arms, shoulders
Abs: 30reps, 2 sets crunches, bicycle and lying leg lifts
Chest: 8reps, 3 sets chest fly
Shoulders: 8 reps, 3 sets lateral raise
Arms: 8 reps, 3 sets bicep curls, kickbacks
Tuesday and ThursdayĖ moderate to high interval training (about 3.5mins of jogging then 1-1.5mins of running/sprint. I repeat the sets for as long as I can. It took me around 30 mins yesterday), strength training for the back, butt and legs
Back: 8reps, 3 sets pelvic thrust, superman
Legs and Butt: 8 reps, 3 sets squats (no weights), 8 reps, 3 sets single leg thrust
Wednesday Ė low intensity cardio (step-ups) for at least 40 mins, strength training for the abs
Saturday - moderate to high interval training
Sunday Ė low to moderate intensity cardio (walking, jogging, step-ups)
I donít want to become huge and muscular. I just want a nice, toned body. Jessica Alba-ish.
1. Am I doing things right?
2. Should I change my cardio exercises? Do I have to lessen the number of days that I do cardio? Minus the exercises that I do, I have a pretty sedentary lifestyle. Should I really push myself into doing 40-45 mins of cardio all the time? It can get kind of boring :)
3. For a beginner, is my strength training schedule and exercises okay?
4. How long does it usually take before you see results?
Another thing, since I changed my cardio schedule, I have been having a hard time breathing even hours after the workout. Iíve also been feeling kind of weak. Does that have anything to do with the exercises that Iíve been doing?
Weight: 105 lbs
Waist (narrowest part): 26Ē
Waist (navel area): 28Ē
I donít know my body fat %. Iíve tried the different body fat % calculators available in the internet but I get different results. I only used the ones which only need tape measurements. I really donít know which one to follow.
On the low intensity cardio question, anything that you can maintain for 60 to 80 minutes is, by definition, low intensity. Basically the shorter the time you can keep it up the higher the intensity.
1. I think that you should change your resistance work to things that utilize your own bodyweight, since you workout at home. If you can do lunges, bodyweight squats, pullups, pushups and basically things that are COMPOUND movements (look in definitions training section) which are movements that utilize MORE than ONE joint, they will be 100% more productive for you.
Those types of things should form the core of your restistance training and you would be better off to do something that is fullbody maybe starting with twice a week. That means you would do something like squats or lunges, deadlifts, pushups, and pullups...just things along those lines...every day you do your weight work. That doesn't mean you can't add a little bit of the other stuff you've been doing just that that should be the main focus of your work. This will be higher intensity and so will have a greater impact on your post exercise fat burning.
A set of simple adjustable dumbells and a pullup bar can do wonders. But I like the idea of using other things that are heavy too :).
Read through this thread: http://www.bodybuilding.net/womens-f...html#post39816 to get some ideas of a good basic setup. Read through to the end for the cardio adjustments. You don't have to do the five rep scheme like in that thread. You could do 8 reps or whatever just look at it in terms of a good basic setup that is really all you need right now.
2. Yes, you should lessen the number of days you do cardio. I think you started out with too much. Better to start with a little and add to it as you body becomes better able to cope with the workload. Starting with too much can actually be detrimental to fat loss because your body basically goes in to a kind of starvation mode, expecially if your caloric intake has been lowered. Basically you are telling your body that the shit has hit the fan (pardon my english :)) so it will want to maintain energy reserves (fat) in order to survive that.
This is all very general I know but maybe you should try two days of resistance and two days of cardio. You can do some HIIT and some steady state (low intensity longer duration) for now.
3. See 1.
4. It is best to go for a FAT loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week. You may start off dropping it a little faster but if your primary goal is fat-loss then 1 to 2 pounds, slow and steady, is the preferred way to go. That will garner the best long-term results. That means you should start seeing those kind of results right away but it could take several weeks before you start really noticing favorable changes in body composition.
Diet is not my strong suit, especially for fat-loss so I won't go there. Hope some of this helps gives you some things to consider and maybe some more specific questions. I know this isn't everything...just a start.
But again, if you haven't had a checkup lately I'd encourage you to get one.
Eric is on point for all the cardio/resistance training
Now the diet:
The best thing you can do as far as diet goes is to keep a journal of what your eating. A lot of people use an online resource like fitday.com, if you find that helpful then go for it. but if you could post up your diet, broken down by meals and what time you eat them, and your stats (ht, wt, age, sex, goal) then it will be a lot easier to help you get your diet in check, or atleast confirm what the dietition is telling you.
Thanks for helping out Eric :)
Actually, yes, I feel dizzy almost everyday and I have been experiencing leg pain for several days already. I considered reducing my cardio before but then I thought that decreasing my cardio sessions means I’ll also lose less fat or it will take me a hell of a longer time before I reach my goal. My dietician also told me to do cardio everyday. But after what you’ve said, I guess I really have to do something about it now! I still have a few questions though. I’ve been doing cardio 7 days a week for a month and a half already. Isn’t reducing it by that much too much? I won’t be losing even a pound in a week at that rate, right? Or will cutting the number of times I do cardio from 7 to 2 days help in burning fat faster?
Hi hrdgain :) I do keep a journal. My dietician asked me to record what I eat. She also told me to as much as possible lose the weight/ fat through exercise and avoid sacrificing food. She doesn’t want me to go below 100 pounds. I’m not really consistent with how much and what I eat. I just try not to consume a lot of calories as much as I can. There are times when I feel I eat too much though. Sometimes, I eat chocolates and candies (I love sweets!). But when I do, I try to limit the amount.
Anyway, here is what I ate last Sept.20. It’s the first time I tried eating 5 meals a day:
-2 egg whites with a little catsup
-Oatmeal with sugar substitute and a tsp. of powdered milk
-1 slice of toasted whole wheat bread w/ sugar free strawberry jam
-tofu with teriyaki sauce
-1 slice of whole wheat bread
-4 egg whites with little catsup
-1 fortune cookie
Fried fish with sweet and sour sauce
4 spring rolls
There are times when I can’t eat 5-6 small meals like today. I was out the entire day so I was only able to eat 2 med sized meals and a big one for dinner.
This is what I had today:
-Chicken bbq with peanut sauce
-2 slices of whole wheat bread
-low fat cheese
-fat free thousand island dressing
-salad: lettuce with honey mustard dressing
-1 baked scallop
-4 pcs squid rings with garlic
- fried chicken (1/2 of the leg part)
-about 2 tbsp. of sisig. It’s a Filipino dish made of parts of a pig’s head and pork cracklings. It doesn’t sound so yummy but it’s actually pretty good. :)
-a bowl of frosties cereal
Anyway, based on what I gave you, do you think I’m eating too much? SHould I change something?
I gave my stats in my first post. But I’ll just repost it for you.
Weight: 105 lbs
Waist (narrowest part): 26”
Waist (navel area): 28”
I don’t know my body fat %. I’ve tried the different body fat % calculators available in the internet but I get different results. I only used the ones which only need tape measurements. I really don’t know which one to follow.
Goal: A toned body. Like what I said, Jessica Alba-ish (She’s hot!). I’m not exactly huge but my tummy area doesn’t look nice. There’s no shape and I can still see that it’s filled with fat--so far from a bikini body. I can’t still wear my old clothes. I used to have a 24-inch waistline, small arms and skinny legs. I had a flat ass though. Haha! But I didn’t exactly get it through healthy means. :( Right now, I want that waistline, nicer arms, legs and butt and I want to get those through a much healthier way. I really want to stay fit and stop the yo-yo effect and also, not be anorexic!
btw, i was also told that doing cardio helps increase your metabolism and a person's metabolism decreases after 48 hours of cardio. so you should try doing cardio everyday or at least not let 2 days pass by without it to maintain/increase your metabolism. is that true?
K2, I don't think you have a choice but to reduce it for a while. You are having bad symptoms and if you keep it up what's bound to happen is you just can't continue at all, feel like complete crap, and have to give it up completely for a while. Lot's of people never get back to it after that. But this enthusiastically going out with all guns blazing only to burn out and end up with no results is really common. It is never the correct approach to start out anything with 7 days a week. And certainly, if one does, you need to adjust the intenstiy, or the duration accordingly.
Breathlessness, dizzyness, leg pain....need I say more? Look up overtraining syndrome or "cardio overtraining". I'm not saying you have reached a point of true overtraining but you are certainly overreaching heading towards overtraining. Simply because your body is not able to recover between workouts. Fatigue and metabolic stress is building up.
You may actually want to take a rest...maybe for a week, until those symptoms subside and then get back into it with an appropriate workload.
You will have a much better chance of success if you start out with two days and add to it slowly rather than all at once. But you should always have some days off, imo.
Also, keep in mind that the improvement in your resistance training will make a lot of difference.
I would say that you may get 1 week of 2 pounds loss but after that I wouldn't expect any more than a pound to a half pound a week. Don't get discouraged if you don't lose weight at a pound a week, the fat will come off.
Damn, you're right. Absolutely, Dave. I was so worried about the over-working that I really didn't see how light she was. Good call. Up to 2 pounds could likely mean you were dropping more than fat. Whatever the case, slow and steady is the way.
I should have paid more attention to the last paragraph. That doesn't seem like a bad weight even for a woman with a small frame. So it sounds like there is not really much fat but what little there is is concentrated in a certain place. Also a lack of lean mass could mean there is a higher percentage of weight from fat. So this means, to me, like Dave, said, slower fat loss. Also I think, going by that, the resistance work is very important to you and it is a mistake to put SO much emphasis (meaning quality of though) into the cardio.
The weight work, should, over time help effect a very nice change in body composition. But I think that diet really is the most important thing as far as getting the fat off the belly. The thing about relying on cardio exercise for fat loss is that it is kind of like the yo-you dieting you are trying to avoid (rightly).
Some people find very little success at all with just cardio. But some women (and I know a couple) go all out with the cardio and drop weight very quickly (and lean mass, probably) getting all skinny and as soon as they are not able to keep up with the constant cardio the fat comes back with a vengeance. Plus the fact that, body comp wise, they were skinnier but didn't really look all that great. Not like Jessica Alba :biglaugh:. So unless you want to be a slave to your body and workout 7 days a week forever, a re-think is needed anyway.
I've done it both ways... 2 hours of cardio a day with more food, less calorie tracking.. and minimal cardio with strict dieting. And between the two, I've had the best success and more rapid fat loss with the less cardio approach.
Cardio should be a supplemental aspect of fat loss, not a primary aspect. Especially if you're doing steady state cardio. The body adapts to that pretty easily and you'll have to keep increasing time and/or intensity to get the same effect.
And as it's been stated already, resistance training will do more for metabolic boosts than just the endless hours of cardio.
IMO, your dietician isn't doing anything for you in terms of what a true dietician does (please don't take that the wrong way). A dietician should be writing your nutritional programs for you, in specifics, not prescribing cardio sessions and just telling you to eat a lot.
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