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Bodyweight exercise
Old 01-15-2015, 11:53 AM   #1
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Bodyweight exercise

Historically I've always been an aerobic exercise person but have belatedly come to realize that with age I really need some weight training. Being a cheapskate and minimalist at heart I stumbled across Mark Lauren's book "You Are Your Own Gym" and have been impressed by (a) his background and physique; (b) how hard the exercises are for a beginner.

From the posts here on the "what was your workout" thread there are clearly a lot of you that are way further down the combined weights-and-cardio path than I am, and I'd be grateful for any advice on balancing those two things, bodyweight vs. the more typical free weights and machines route that's gym-dependent, etc. I much prefer to exercise outdoors, but the loss of muscle mass (and gain of the other kind of mass!) have made it abundantly clear to me that I need weight training. Lauren basically says that's all you need and the aerobic stuff invariably causes you to consume more calories than you burn.....I'm not there, but I am beginning to understand what he's saying.
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Old 01-15-2015, 12:28 PM   #2
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I've been into running and walking for decades (age 66). What really convinces you that you need to do weight training? You mentioned loss of muscle mass and getting fatter. Getting fatter suggests to me not enough exercise, too much eating or both.

I'm interested in this because I do a lot of activities around the house like heavy duty gardening and haven't really seen the need to get more muscular. But I could be wrong. Most of my slight injuries seem to be alleviated by rest and adding some stretching exercises as they seem necessary.
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Old 01-15-2015, 12:32 PM   #3
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bodyweight with the TRX bands is as good as or better than weight training, IMO. It requires a lot of balance which gets your core.
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Old 01-15-2015, 12:45 PM   #4
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I've been into running and walking for decades (age 66). What really convinces you that you need to do weight training? You mentioned loss of muscle mass and getting fatter. Getting fatter suggests to me not enough exercise, too much eating or both.
I completely agree. I've been into weight lifting for decades (age 66 too), and in my case it hasn't done much at all to help me with my excess weight. It's great for other stuff like being able to move furniture and that type of thing around the house. It turns some of my fat to muscle but I still jiggle too much when I walk.

Honestly I think that the most effective way to attack obesity is to eat better food and much less of it. My doctor and my Weight Watchers' leader also recommend cardio instead of weight lifting so I am trying to fit in at least some cardio now and then.

I love the other benefits of weight lifting. It makes me feel younger and more capable, and it lessens the aches and pains of aging for me. Also it's nice to not be feeble and weak despite my age. And, for me it is just plain FUN.

I lift weights at our most high end gym here, with a tremendous amount of great equipment and weight lifting machines. To me it is worth the $42/month gym fee, even though that low rate doesn't include the early morning or evening hours when they are the most crowded with working folks. Being retired, we just work out in the middle of the day when other gym members are at work.
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Old 01-15-2015, 01:08 PM   #5
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I guess it depends on the individual. I had far more success with weight/resistance training as a means of weight loss (more reps, less weight) than cardio or diet, I practice all three in moderation.

When I got serious with resistance training (only took 30-45 min, 5 times/week) I went from 215 lbs to 180lbs in about 6 months, and have mostly kept it off for almost 10 years. I have a Bowflex and adjustable dumb bells, but in retrospect I could have done without the Bowflex (it takes up a lot of space). I use the Bowflex less now, because I believe unless your focus is building muscle (vs maintaining muscle mass/weight loss etc.) you can accomplish all you need with body weight exercise, and maybe some dumb bells. The Bowflex is nice to have, but I plan to sell it before we move/downsize.
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Old 01-15-2015, 01:20 PM   #6
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Well... a lot of different thoughts here. I actually think about these things a lot since I blog about weight loss and read a lot of weight loss/fitness blogs.

For those talking about losing weight...the general thought is "You can't out-exercise a bad diet." That is, exercise for most people can't add enough calories burned to allow you to eat with wild abandon.

That said, exercising definitely helps exercise along. Early last year I was losing about .8 pounds a week (slow loser here) exercising quite a bit. Then I injured my leg (probably due to to the aforementioned "quite a bit") and couldn't even do weight bearing walking for some time. My eating stayed the same but with exercise down I did lose at a slower pace.

Cardio exercise has health benefits apart from how much you weight you lose. I am absolutely positive that I don't eat more than what I burn of in exercise (I have a Fitbit and a HRM and I track what I eat). Some people may use any type of exercise as an excuse to eat more.

As far as bodyweight exercises, the two negatives that I would see is that many of these require very exact, proper form to be effective. Lots of people when doing them at home don't have that proper form. Of course, some do and that is fine.

Some bodyweight exercises aren't appropriate for everyone. For example, I have almost no cartilage under my left knee cap and I can't do lunges. In fact, I am very limited in the lower body exercises I can do (basically no lunges, no squats, no leg extensions) so tend to end up doing more machine based exercise (leg press is OK) due to this. Obviously, this will be individual per person.
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Old 01-15-2015, 06:24 PM   #7
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I do a combination of weights (2X/week) and cardio (running and cycling) the other days. Since I live in a rural area I needed to build up a home gym, I have a treadmill and weight exercise equipment. Like Midpack I used a Bowflex for a long time, and really liked it, but found a good deal on a set of adjustable dumbbells and since then the Bowflex has been collecting dust. There isn't much that can't be done with a good set of dumbbells, from standard strength exercises to dynamic stretching. The adjustable ones are the way to go IMO, they take up very little room, just need a good bench to go with it. I really believe the weight training has helped my golf game (3X/week), not losing any distance as I age and no major back or muscular/joint problems.
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Old 01-15-2015, 06:56 PM   #8
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I completely agree. I've been into weight lifting for decades (age 66 too), and in my case it hasn't done much at all to help me with my excess weight. It's great for other stuff like being able to move furniture and that type of thing around the house. It turns some of my fat to muscle but I still jiggle too much when I walk.

Honestly I think that the most effective way to attack obesity is to eat better food and much less of it. My doctor and my Weight Watchers' leader also recommend cardio instead of weight lifting so I am trying to fit in at least some cardio now and then.

I love the other benefits of weight lifting. It makes me feel younger and more capable, and it lessens the aches and pains of aging for me. Also it's nice to not be feeble and weak despite my age. And, for me it is just plain FUN.

I lift weights at our most high end gym here, with a tremendous amount of great equipment and weight lifting machines. To me it is worth the $42/month gym fee, even though that low rate doesn't include the early morning or evening hours when they are the most crowded with working folks. Being retired, we just work out in the middle of the day when other gym members are at work.
+1

I love lifting weights, have been doing so for decades as well. And like you, if that's all I did it tends to INCREASE my weight due to denser muscle mass. I've found that supplementing my workouts with a 45-60 minute bike ride really helps with the cardio/weight control part.

A real bike, not a stationary one. I don't run because it hurts. Cycling just has a nice smooth motion for me.
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Old 01-15-2015, 09:02 PM   #9
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I do the women's version of YAYOG, called "Body by You". I'm a huge fan. I think it's great.

I also think that you need 3 factors to have a truly well rounded exercise program - cardio, strength, and stretching.
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Old 01-15-2015, 09:22 PM   #10
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In the last few years I have moved more from weights to body weight exercise. While I do not disagree with Katsmeow post, all weight bearing exercise requires good form for both injury prevention and best utilization of time. I do like using bands and balls which we have at home. I also like that when I am traveling or away from equipment, I can do my weight bearing exercise. Having said all this, I am now looking for tone and feeling good. My desire for muscle build, which I really never accomplished, are behind me.

My aerobic program continues but has been curtailed with age. over the years, my aerobic program at best help me maintain my weight. But, I feel I was not careful enough with my diet. The only time I really get a significant weight loss benefit from exercise is when I go on my LONG bicycle trips. In this case, I eat all and everything I want and drop 10 pounds in 2 months. If weight loss is a goal, plan a multi-week bicycling trip.
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Bodyweight exercise
Old 01-16-2015, 04:23 AM   #11
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Bodyweight exercise

For the past 30 years, my workouts have been primarily cardio. Recently started lifting weights again. Usually Dumbbells and Bowflex at home, machines when I'm not at home. But I'm interested in the bodyweight approach for when I run into a situation where there are no weights and I need a workout.


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Old 01-16-2015, 06:40 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by kevink View Post
Historically I've always been an aerobic exercise person but have belatedly come to realize that with age I really need some weight training. Being a cheapskate and minimalist at heart I stumbled across Mark Lauren's book "You Are Your Own Gym" and have been impressed by (a) his background and physique; (b) how hard the exercises are for a beginner.

From the posts here on the "what was your workout" thread there are clearly a lot of you that are way further down the combined weights-and-cardio path than I am, and I'd be grateful for any advice on balancing those two things, bodyweight vs. the more typical free weights and machines route that's gym-dependent, etc. I much prefer to exercise outdoors, but the loss of muscle mass (and gain of the other kind of mass!) have made it abundantly clear to me that I need weight training. Lauren basically says that's all you need and the aerobic stuff invariably causes you to consume more calories than you burn.....I'm not there, but I am beginning to understand what he's saying.
Being a cheapskate may not be the best attribute here. I think there is too often a disconnect between the material presented in books like Lauren's and our ability to effectively benefit from them. I've been calling popular publications like Money Magazine "financial porn" for years, and lately I've started to think of many of the popular fitness books and magazines as "fitness porn". It's nice to look at, to fantasize over, but that's about all the benefit most people get from it.

That's my way of saying that you should seriously consider getting some professional assistance. A quality fitness trainer who can assess your current situation, and who can map out a plan and lead you through a program to get you to where you want to be.

I haven't read Lauren's book, but I have looked at the videos he has posted online. I saw an interesting dichotomy of very easy exercises and some advanced ones, but I didn't see any intermediate exercises. The easy ones looked like things a novice would do on the first day, and the the advanced ones were the things I do (after two years of progression). There is a lot of work between those two extremes and it was not at all clear how his program gets you from one to the other.

Something else I noticed was that most of the easy exercises were nothing but weight training moves without weights - they even used the same names. Without weights, I don't see much benefit to those exercises except for someone who has very limited range of motion and very little strength. It's a good place to start, but you'll never get fit just doing that.

While I've spent a lot of time exploring athleticism and pushing the boundaries to see how fit I can be, my real goal is to age well. I want to be as physically independent as possible for as long as possible. Toward that end I combine resistance training (weights and body weight), with cardio and mobility work. While anyone can benefit from focusing on just one of those elements, you'll never be truly fit unless you do all three. Some days I do all three at the same time in one training session.

Nutrition is important as well. You will never out-exercise a bad diet. While exercise will help you lose weight, about 80% of weight loss is diet.
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Old 01-16-2015, 07:25 AM   #13
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I exercised for decades, primarily resistance on machines with no impact on weight. I added almost 100 miles a week cycling about 8 years ago, also with no impact on weight. Actually throughout all of these years I experienced the "standard" +1 pound a year weight increase that plagues the western world. Three years ago I changed my eating habits by cutting sugar to the bone, removing most processed food, increasing fat and protein. I quickly lost 16% of body weight and got as slim as I was in college. This peaked my interest in the value of diet and exercise leading me to read a lot of books and blogs. From everything I have read resistance training is important to bone health and general ability to flourish as we age. It doesn't take much to get the basic benefits. Same with moving - much of the basic benefits can be achieved by 20 minutes of brisk walking. Toss in a handful of brief sprints and some balance exercises and that is all you need. The latest thing on TV is about studies showing that being sedentary has a bigger impact on mortality than obesity. So get out there and walk folks and do some push ups, squats, bands, whatever to put some stress on your muscles and bones. We should all do that as a minimum. Weight is another matter - get real, get rid of sugar.
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Old 01-16-2015, 07:37 AM   #14
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Bodyweight exercise

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Weight is another matter - get real, get rid of sugar.
I agree. At this time last year, I had a large Pepsi and unhealthy food every day. Now I'm eating healthy, no Pepsi, and I weigh 20 lbs less. Amount of exercise being about the same.


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Old 01-16-2015, 08:30 AM   #15
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For those talking about losing weight...the general thought is "You can't out-exercise a bad diet." That is, exercise for most people can't add enough calories burned to allow you to eat with wild abandon.
Agreed. I was able to get away with not watching my diet when I was running over 40 miles per week, but now that I've become more mortal and have adjusted my exercise level accordingly, I can't get away with what I used to.

Regarding weight training, I swear by it (along with a large dose of cardio). If you don't work your muscles, you lose them, which can have all kinds of negative consequences - lower metabolism, less ability to do the heavy lifting around the house, more easily injured, sore joints, stiff back, decreased balance, and a lack of endorphin rushes.
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Old 01-16-2015, 09:28 AM   #16
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I cringed when a female 50-something cow-orker bragged she never lifts anything over 2 pounds - gets someone to do it for her. She has no disability. This is an "I'm so feminine and petite" thing with her.

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If you don't work your muscles, you lose them, which can have all kinds of negative consequences - lower metabolism, less ability to do the heavy lifting around the house, more easily injured, sore joints, stiff back, decreased balance....
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Old 01-16-2015, 09:37 AM   #17
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I cringed when a female 50-something cow-orker bragged she never lifts anything over 2 pounds - gets someone to do it for her. She has no disability. This is an "I'm so feminine and petite" thing with her.

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Old 01-16-2015, 09:41 AM   #18
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Kevin, I was like you in that all through the first half of my 40's I was a runner only and I much prefer outside exercise. I had never really gone to the gym. But I started reading how resistance exercise was more important as you aged to help slow the average 1% per year loss of muscle mass men experience as they grow older.

Before I started lifting weights, I would get real skinny from running and I had more of a scrawny look. Now, for almost 5 years, I have been going to the gym, also (gym 2x per week, run 3x per week, on average). My weight is higher now (and pretty much optimal, 6' tall, 169 pounds, almost no fluctuation) and all of the increased weight, maybe 6 pounds, is muscle (and waist size is the same or less). But I do work hard in the gym for those 2 days per week, one hour of intense exercise. For cardio, I do about 3 miles on my running workouts (just-under-7-minutes per mile pace) and sometimes I do some intensive frisbee with a partner which is like running sprints.

I do almost no cardio at the gym, but I think it helped my running because any kind of serious gym exercise can be cardio-intensive for short bursts. I don't have the ability to do cardio and gym on the same day.

Besides a much better build, one more change I noticed is a huge appetite. I eat more than anyone that I know.

Overall, I see these changes as a big positive. I would encourage you to give the bodyweight resistance exercises a try and see if you notice a difference.
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Old 01-16-2015, 09:46 AM   #19
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AKA "the guy with the huge...Adam's Apple" look

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.

Before I started lifting weights, I would get real skinny from running and I had more of a scrawny look. .
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Old 01-16-2015, 10:54 AM   #20
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Weight training is a very good idea for older people. It helps with bone density among other things and IMO makes arthritis pain less. Like Katsmeow I have no cartilage in my left knee (and a few staples instead) but my knee is in relatively good shape because I don't do high impact exercise (running) but I do weight train including squats (though in my case I can only do 1/2 squats). My doctor encourages it.

But it's also true that any weight training needs to be done correctly so if you are not sure get some expert opinion...and watch yourself in a mirror if possible to make sure your form is correct.
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