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Need a workout plan. Any ideas?
Old 05-06-2008, 08:11 PM   #1
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Need a workout plan. Any ideas?

So, I quit going to the gym two kids ago (about 3 years) and am finally ready to start back up with a structured exercise program. About four years ago DH and I followed the "shape of your life" program outlined in Outside magazine and really enjoyed it. Fast-forward to today, and I've got less time and a new chronic injury (a herniated disc in my lower back). So I'm looking for a new workout regimen.

Does anyone have one that they follow / enjoy? I need a mix of cardio and strength training, have 3 days a week to dedicate to gym activity, and will mix in a weekly yoga session. I also have about 70 minutes a session to devote.

Thanks for any ideas/leads!
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Old 05-06-2008, 08:24 PM   #2
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I go to a water aerobics class . I was skeptical because a lot of the people are older ( but they are mostly socializing and wimping out on the exercises`)but if done right it's a workout and easy on your joints . The class I go to is water pilates or white water aerobics and it is an hour of cardio. I also swim on other days which I find is a great all around exercise .
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Old 05-06-2008, 08:46 PM   #3
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Hard to tell regarding your age. Physical condition. What might be good for someone else is too easy for you or way too hard. More information would help.
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Old 05-06-2008, 10:01 PM   #4
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Hard to tell regarding your age. Physical condition. What might be good for someone else is too easy for you or way too hard. More information would help.
Female, 34. Physical condition: not so good. I can walk up several flights of stairs without stopping to catch my breath, but my heart is pounding at the top. I can walk two to three miles easily, but it takes me an hour or so. Today I did about 35 minutes on the elliptical trainer at the gym and could have gone for much longer, but I was at a low resistance level and a moderate program.

I feel that I'm starting at the beginning here. Think overweight, bum knee, sore back, low general fitness level. My flexibility is also average right now (used to be very good, but after having kids I've really stiffened up).

What I want is improved cardiac ability and muscle tone with a focus on functional fitness and core strength. I'd like a workout plan that mixes things up a bit.

I also want a plan that tells me what I'm going to do in the gym each day (or week or month), so that I can get in and get going and not waste time wondering what Nautilus machine I should use next.

Hope that helps! Thanks for any advice.
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Old 05-06-2008, 10:32 PM   #5
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I go to a water aerobics class . I was skeptical because a lot of the people are older ( but they are mostly socializing and wimping out on the exercises`)but if done right it's a workout and easy on your joints.
So true! I did water aerobics when I had a sore knee. I was working soooo much harder than the majority of others (who were mostly ~ 20 years older than me). At first I couldn't figure out why I was the only one breathing hard, then I realized they were all just there to chit-chat, while I was working my tail off! Water aerobics can be very challenging; it's all what you put into it.
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Old 05-06-2008, 11:06 PM   #6
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Circuit training - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Studies at Baylor University and the Cooper Institute show that circuit training is the most time efficient way to enhance cardiovascular fitness and muscle endurance. Studies show that circuit training helps women to achieve their goals and maintain them longer than other forms of exercise or diet.
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Old 05-07-2008, 06:14 AM   #7
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Urchina - I would say "get thee to thy doctor" first before you do much of anything. If you are that out of shape (heart pounding after a couple of flights, 2 miles walking in and hour) you will want to make sure you have your doc's blessing, and his/her advice on what to do. If it were me, I would probably focus on light cardio (walking at the pace you described, slowly increasing speed and distance) first for a couple of months, then begin strength training after making some cardio progress. I'm not a doctor, but you know we hear this advice all the time. After a bit of overdoing things a couple months ago, then having unrelated problems and discussing exercise with my doctor, this is the way I would have done it if I had it to do over. But, you are not me, and your doc may have better advice for you.

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Old 05-07-2008, 07:54 AM   #8
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Urchina, I'll agree with Rambler on the doc appt. I started a very ambitious program at two years ago (I'm 37) to lose 60 lbs and get into shape. It has worked, and I'm maintaining the weight loss and the improved body condition. I started with the doctor's office to talk about appropriate nutrition for weight loss/strength training, which helped a lot. But what really worked? Was paying a trainer 2x a week for private sessions. It is quite expensive but keeps me in the gym on weeks that I might would rather slack off! I do cardio three days and weight training w/ trainer 2 days. I agree that it is nice to know that I don't have to decide what I'm going to do when I get there.
Good luck and congrats on starting back on the path to better health--especially with your injury, you want to be sure you aren't doing more damage with your exercises.
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Old 05-07-2008, 08:58 AM   #9
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You'll get plenty of good advice on this thread, but I'll put my 2 cents in.

1)As you mentioned, you are not in the best health. However, your symptoms (outside of bad back and knee) seem to be a general lack of conditioning. What I would NOT DO is dive in and become a "weekend warrior", get hurt even worse, and give up. I think you need to do the foloowing steps:

1)Meet with your doctor and tell him/her you are committed to getting in shape. Ask them for a referral to a GOOD physical therapist for an assessment. Also ask if your doctor wants to do a stress test or anything before you embark on your journey.

2)You did not indicate how healthy your diet is. If you truly are committed to getting in better shape, it is VERY important WHAT you put in your body. A healthy diet will help with weight loss as much as exercise.

3)Set a REALISTIC goal for yourself, and write it down. Make it specific, and put it up in a place where you can see and read it several times a day. Some people I know write their goals down on a card, laminate it, and carry it around with them all day, as a reminder.

4)Start SLOWLY. You may need to heal your back through stretching and NO-impact exercise before you can try more of the impact exercises. Water aerobics, or walking on a treadmill will help that. A DAILY stretching regiment is almost a MUST if you have a bad back or knee.

5)Reward yourself when you hit a goal, like walking for an hour on a treadmill, or losing 5 pounds. just something little to keep yourself on the path......

6)You will be AMAZED at how much better you and your joints will feel if you lose some weight. It may really help your knee and your back problems......

7)Have a good support staff. One of those resources is this very forum. Plenty of folks on here have gone through what you have, so keep us updated. Also, if you can swing it, get a family member or friend to work out with you. That is a VERY strong motivator for BOTH.......

Best of wishes to you.
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Old 05-07-2008, 11:23 AM   #10
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Thanks for the advice, everyone. I do have my doc's blessing.

Rambler -- I read your post and thought "whoa, am I really that out of shape?" Then I realized that I walk 3 miles in an hour while carrying a 25-lb kid in a backpack carrier and pushing my toddler in his stroller (combined weight of kid plus stroller is ~ 60 lbs). I have no idea how long it would take me without the kids, but undoubtedly less. Ditto for the stairs -- when I take the stairs I'm carrying 25 lbs on my hip. So maybe I get extra points for that?

Sarah in SC -- congratulations on your weight loss and shape-up! Turns out we've got the same goal -- my goal is to lose 30 lbs this year (I've lost 12 so far just by not taking seconds at dinner and by having a glass of wine every other day instead of every day) and 30 lbs next year and improve overall conditioning as well. I'm seriously considering using a trainer at our gym, at least to get me started. I'll look into it.

FinanceDude -- Great list. I've already done some of these things, and I like the idea for an assessment with a physical therapist. I'll look into that. The last thing I want to do is aggravate the back injury (the knee injury is an old one, I know what I need to do, and avoid, for it).

As far as diet goes, I think ours is quite good, heavy on fresh and seasonal vegetables and fruits, whole grains, beans, whole foods, and with smaller amounts of lean meats, eggs, dairy, fats and fish. I can say with confidence that this is one area where our health is far ahead of the curve. Living in a place with year-round access to fresh and local foods really helps. We don't eat out much, that helps, too.

As for rewards -- well, I'm easy to motivate. Having my knee and back not hurt as much, fitting into smaller clothes, and being able to run my 3-year-old ragged will be reward enough!

Has anyone found an online or book regimen anywhere that they've enjoyed? Or maybe I should just go the trainer route and have someone help me make a plan and update it every few months....?
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Old 05-07-2008, 11:49 AM   #11
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Everyone wrote a lot of good advice. Just keep at it and dont get discouraged. Start slow and work your way up.
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Old 05-07-2008, 12:08 PM   #12
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Younger Next Year (either the for men or for women) is a great book, easy breezy read that has some good basic information. I've given a few copies away as well.
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Old 05-09-2008, 08:39 PM   #13
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Yeah Urchina I think we'll give you the extra points for lugging the kids with you. Flip side is this: lug them for a while, then put them down and do the same activity, and you have some idea of how good you'll feel if you are able to lose that much (BTW, I'm not pointing any fingers here, I've got more than a 25# toddler to lose...).

Good luck and keep up the walking with the kids. I'm sure that is great exercise, probably as good as you'll get in a gym.

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