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Weightlifting & Exercise/How Can I stick w/my health program?


Hello there,
Hope you are good.

I started a new health regime this Monday, which includes going to bed ~10pm, getting up ~6am, doing morning cardio (~45 min. running/hiking+jogging) Mon, Wed, Friday and either Sat or Sun with one of those days off for recovery, doing morning resistance work Tues and Thurs (~45 min. of mostly weight-bearing full body exercises such as pushups, lunges, situps and some 8pound barbell work for biceps, etc.), drinking 60 oz of lemon water per day (one fresh lemon cut in 5 slices), deep breathing and no second coffee in the afternoon since it's acidic and creates crashing and messes with natural body rhythms (only one in the morning since I like it so much).

I've tried this before in the past and I ALWAYS END OF FAILING and quitting :( Why? It makes me so dang tired ALL DAY LONG and my work is extremely demanding and I must be energetic to perform. Just last night I ended up sleeping 11 hours from the fatigue. I researched online how to stop this, but nothing is helping, they talk mostly about hydration (which, I am drinking enough), diet (my diet is good), and over-training (which I am not doing, my workouts are barely hard). The second reason I fail is that sleep schedule is also tough, and if I have a work deadline, I always talk myself into a second coffee and going to bed late. I don't want to keep failing at this, I want to get smart and find a way to stick with this forever!

So my questions to you are:
(1) How long does it take (on average) for the human body to adjust to a new health regimen?
(2) Is this a matter of getting over an initial hump and then I will stop being tired all day?
(3) Do you have any methods (maybe psychological) to conquer the temptations to cave back to my old patterns?

Thank you so much for your time! :)


Thank you for the question and congratulations on your new fitness routine. You ask a lot of very good questions and without knowing your personal details (such as fitness level, and existing health/medical conditions etc.) I will have to make some assumptions, however I will try to give as much advice as I can.

First of all many people swear by working out in the morning and true it does give you energy for the day, however you may be like me and just might not be a morning person. I get the best workout in the afternoon and early evening, you may want to try to workout later in the day and adjust it accordingly.

Second lets look at what you eat prior to a workout. You do not want to workout on an empty stomach because when you wake up first thing in the morning your blood sugar is at it's lowest. There are some people who do cardio first thing in the morning on an empty stomach because the reasoning is that the fat stores which are typically the last to be utilized (after carbohydrates first and protein second) will burn up first therefore making weight loss happen more quickly. At first this seems rational but what happens is you will quickly find yourself "hitting the wall" which is when your body no longer wants to exercise as it is starved for fuel. Also you mentioned you drink 60 oz. of water per day, but you may have to adjust that depending on the time of year, the indoor temperature where you are working and working out, as well as the activity level you are working at. Remember, just because you are not thirsty does not mean you are not dehydrated. Consider for a moment that when you experience dry mouth that your are about 2% dehydrated. Sip water when you notice this. I noticed you say you like coffee (I am with you, I drink lot of it as well.) It has been stated in several recent medical reports that coffee drinkers live longer than non-coffee drinkers due to, I believe it is, the "free radicals" (cancer fighting elements) that are in coffee. Caffeine is what is called in the fitness world as an "Ergogenic Aid" a fancy Latin word meaning work producing. It gives energy for your workout. From your stated routine it looks like you made good choices for getting a full body workout, don't forget to stretch before and after your workout to avoid injury and discomfort.

Thirdly you asked how long it takes for the body to adjust, that differs for everyone but by the second week you should be pretty well adjusted. This harkens back to the beginning of my response when I said not knowing what fitness level you are coming in at or what age you are. If you have been sedentary for say a year or more, go easy for the first couple weeks and add resistance as you feel the weights getting lighter if you want to ad strength. Or add reps if you just want to tone the muscle. If you are doing say 15 reps and not feeling a burn or struggling for the last few reps, the weight is to light. As far as will you be tired all day, perhaps you will. It is a bit early to tell. If you are feeling exhausted after next week, try changing it up. Maybe use your lunch hour to go for a walk around your work building or parking lot. If that doesn't work, maybe walk of jog when you get home. Another suggestion is lift weights after you get home from work or after dinner if you can and do cardio in the morning.
The only psychological goals I would recommend are would be to try to envision what it is you are trying to achieve. If you want to fit into an old pair of jeans, think of those jeans while you are on the treadmill/elliptical or bike. It's very easy to get irritated and want to quit, just keep plowing through. I would tell you to keep it interesting-your mind doesn't always want to do the same exercises each time, try push-ups instead of bench presses or leg presses instead of lunges. Keep your body guessing what is coming so it doesn't get stuck in a rut.  Monotony is a sure down fall to your goals. I like to make exercise fun, say badminton or volley ball instead of jogging. Hit a punching bag or do cardio-kickboxing instead of swimming. You get the point. Whatever you do, make sure to get your sleep. Think how exhausted you are in the morning when that 2nd cup of late night coffee is calling your name.
Alexandra, I hope this diatribe I went on brings you success. Sorry there are no short answers to thoroughly answer your questions. Keep me posted on how everything works out for you as I love to hear feedback. Should you have any other questions or concerns feel free to write me anytime as I always want to see people be the best they can be.

God Bless,

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Greg Hoppe


I can answer questions on proper exercise technique, starting as well as growing in attaining your fitness goals and questions regrading how the human body works from an exercise physiology standpoint. I can assist with any questions regarding anatomy & physiology, stretching and rehabilitation. I am also extremely well versed and experienced in martial arts, self-defense and massage therapy.


I have a B.S in Physical Education and a Black Belt in an eclectic martial art. I am also a certified Fitness Therapist through ISSA and a massage therapist. I can assist with questions regarding hiring a health and wellness professional as well as growing and succeeding in the field for those already working in it.

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