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Full Version: Swifter, Higher, Stronger - the training/competing thread
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CH, thanks for the info on running...I'm pretty much in girl logic's shoes, a complete newbie, so your advice was helpful.

Backing up a bit, I'm trying to up my fitness level, to tone up, hopefully lose some weight and generally get fitter. I swim once a week but want now to get rid of my wee pot belly and expanding thighs. I took a spinning class last week and tried again last night, but it was full so I went on the stationary bike for about 25 minutes, which sadly exhausted me! I am considering running but there's nowhere nearby to run, although I could explore some more. I don't want to be dependent on the weather though.

Does anyone have any suggestions for workouts or other forms of exercise that would be sufficiently strenuous to get rid of some flab? I do enjoy exercise when I do it, but haven't really pursued anything beyond swimming before.
Syb, swimming is an excellent activity!! Running will help, but you could also go for an hour long brisk walk, I found that longer walks also did wonders for me.

You should also do a weight routine, because sticking to cardio only will not only break down fat cells, it will also break down muscle tissue, so you're best off doing a combination of both.
What? Cardio breaks down muscle tissue?
Sybarite, I find dancing classes a lot of fun, afro-caribbean dances always draw a sweat.
If you only do intense cardio it will break down muscle tissue.
syb - I only took one yoga class (I can't really afford the $10-20 cost per class) but it was fun and intense. It combines cardio with strength and flexibility training all at once. I know it's annoying that all the hipsters are doing it, but the class itself was fun, and there was a wide range in age and physical fitness levels in the class.

GL, no heel spurs. I looked up runner's cramps and apparently I just have a severe form of it, on account of being so out of shape and breathing too hard while I run!

CH, isn't that only true for really intense cardio though? or also if you're not taking in enough calories? I mean, I can't think of a form of cardio that doesn't involve at least a little bit of strength training, because your muscles have to work just to get you to the cardio burning stage. Although, either way, adding weight training is definitely a good idea!
Yikes CH, I had no idea that cardio (by which you mean spinniing, the stationary bike, right?) breaks down muscle tissue too! I am so clueless on the exercise front.

I do like swimming but it gets me nowhere in terms of losing weight; if anything it bulks me up a little (when I do it a lot.) I am reconsidering taking up running but am afraid of injuries. Besides stretching and good shoes, how are these best avoided?

Yes, it's intense cardio only and only if you do only cardio, if you don't do any strength training you will loose muscle mass as well. Keep in mind that any cardio is good for yout, but it's not necessary to do cardio to the point of exaustion. after you work out, you want to feel energized and good, not so tired you can't walk.

Moderate cardio is good for you as well.

No one says you need to do hours and gobs of high intensity cardio, but if you go for an hour long brisk walk, that will get your heart pumping and whatnot.
Wow, there's soooo many inspiring posts in here, it's nuts smile.gif I just found lounge, and am totally blown away by how everyone is so supportive of one another! That rocks.

I used to be a hard-core runner -- did more than a few marathons. I miss running so much. You guys are inspiring me to get out there again and try -- going to be hard for me, that's for sure! I was in a car accident in Jan '08 -- ended up losing part of my right leg as a result. So running is going to be weird and hard now -- really hard. I'm started saving up for a fancy running leg -- soooo expensive, and of course my insurance won't cover it.

Anyway, you guys are inspiring, whether you all know it or not smile.gif

Have a lovely evening everyone!

- Brooke
CH - this makes me think of a form of anorexia that involves doing super intense cardio to the point of destroying your body. I've seen more than a few overly-skinny girls at the gym who seem to be trying to run until they drop dead.

syb - one girl told me its best for your knees never to run when you're doing stairs, up or down, just take them at a good challenging pace. That's all I know because I don't run. smile.gif

Brooke - good luck with training! I bet you can run better than me, fancy running leg or not! Let us know how it goes
brooke -wow, that's amazing! I hope you are able to get a leg and get back into it!!

I used to run every day up until about 4 years ago - I was training for a marathon, and blew my knee out - totally my fault, I overtrained and was running too many hills. I thought "well, if they say only do hills once a week, I'll do it two (and sometimes three) and get better results!!" the result was that I totally fucked up my right knee and had to stop. I've still never gotten back to really running. I'm trying to get back to it, though. My advice for anything like running & stairs: lean into the uphill and take small, short steps. Up your step count if you're running. You can do uphills more than once a week, but don't do a steep downhill more than once a week. that's what fucked my knee up. When you run downhill, go with gravity, don't try to fight against it. on stairs, like angie said, take them at a good challenging pace. Anyway, I learned all this from a bad experience, so wouldn't want anyone to make the same mistake!!

I really did enjoy running, though, and I miss it. Once you can do 15 minutes straight, you can really pretty much run any distance. For me it's not so much my body, it's building my lungs up. Something that helped me a lot was doing Kundalini Yoga. It's all about breathing, and expanding your lung capacity, and WOW it works wonders for the stamina.

CH - agreed, and you actually burn calories / fat off faster during cardio, the more muscle mass you have, so strength training of some sort is really important for that balance.

Right now I'm doing that P90X fitness program that maybe some of you have seen on informercials. It's seriously the best thing I've ever done. It's not some fad thing, it's a whole fitness program. There's an eating plan that's NOT a diet - in fact, I've had to up my calories and eat more than I'm used to eating, in order to eat healthy and fuel my body for the workouts and the day. I'm really becoming aware of my eating habits and changing them in healthy ways - yet I'm never hungry. In fact, I seriously have a hard time eating enough some days. There are 12 DVDs and the plan rotates all the workouts, so you're alternating between weight and cardio every other day. and the cardio and weight workouts are never the same in a week. So basically you only do each DVD 4 x a month for 3 months. I'm not bored at all, and I can already feel results (not to mention that "good" burn in my muscles) I did a ton of research online before I bought it - looked for real people blogs and stuff that had nothing to do with the company who makes them - and it totally checks out. A couple trainer friends of mine even recommended it. I'm really glad I shelled out the money for it, I think it will be totally worth it. - it is, so far - I feel great.

I have, however, discovered the benefits of a good recovery drink. I went and shelled out £35 for a big jar of this powder stuff you put in water and drink after your workout or run, and MAN it makes such a difference. I don't know why I never found this stuff when I was running. My muscles would have felt a hell of a lot better.!!

Thank you zoya! Hills are going to be brutal for me -- as even walking up/down hills with a prosthesis is tricky smile.gif I'll find a way to deal with it though.

I've heard about p90x too -- do you think someone in my situation (ie wearing a prosthesis) could do it? Be honest! I'm pretty coordinated and strong -- even though I haven't been running, I'm at the gym 5-6 days a week doing other things (weights, stationary bike, and on and on).

Thanks to everyone's words of encouragement on here -- even a little support from other people in my life is helping my motivation to get back running again soooo much! So thank you smile.gif


zoya, what recovery drink did you buy? When I do fieldwork (in the hot sun all day) I notice I need more than water too. I've just been going with watered-down gatorade powder because it's cheap and definitely makes me feel better, but I hate all the refined sugar in it.
brooke - I totally think you could do it! actually, there is a guy in one of the DVDs who is wearing a prosthesis!! He does a couple things differently, but not much. The only one that might be challenging for you is the plyometrics DVD - plyometrics is also referred to as "jump training" and I don't know how much you can hop about, run in little circles, etc. There is also one that is kinda like Tae Bo. but the other ones, for sure. to be honest, I don't find the work outs as hellacious as I thought they'd be- they're well paced and they take water breaks all the time - it's just that they're really intense and you'll definitely feel it the next day!

It's more of a wholistic training thing - not just the workouts, but eating right and keeping track of that, getting enough sleep, etc. which is really what you need to do to properly get fit. I think that's why I like it most. That, and all I had to get, besides the DVDs was some dumbells, a yoga mat, and a chin up bar (I can't do the chin ups, so I bought a couple fitness bands to loop over it and pull - they give you the option in the workouts to do that and show you how) I also got the recovery drink and protein powder to mix with juice or soup , etc. but that's it. If you're into high level of activity, you'll really like it, I predict.

angie - this is the recovery drink I got - after looking at a whole bunch of them, this was the best one I found for my needs, not a bunch of weird shit in it. However, it's more designed for recovery from working out and using your muscles a lot - it's got protein powder in it, plus Carnitine and Creatine, which help muscles recover and build. So if you're doing a lot of lifting and stuff, it would be good - but it might not be great if you're just using it to replenish fluids after being in the sun.
Brooke - I just did the Plyometrics DVD, and THAT is the one with the guy who has the prosthetic!! So I guess you'd have no problem doing it, in other words!!! ha!!
anna k
I'm looking to reduce my trapezeius muscle. I started weight training six months ago, and lost weight and gained muscle, but feel more tension in my neck/shoulder area, and I want to reduce muscle there. I often do stretches, and have been using light weights for shoulder/back work. I don't know how long it will take, but I just want to feel better about myself in that area. I read about doing high reps with light weights to reduce the muscle fibers, which I can do when in my group gym classes. It can feel less challenging, but I don't want to put any heavy stress there.
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