Weightlifting & Exercise/Startring to exercise

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QUESTION: Hi there.  I just have some basic questions about starting an exercise program.  I am 35, 5'6" and weigh 170 now.  I want to get in better shape because I just feel tired and lazy a lot, feel bloated and full most nights after dinner and once in awhile when I am working hard outside all day or something, while being sore at the end of the day I actually feel great!  I want to feel like that all the time.  I'll try to keep it short here, but I have tried jogging and I stick to that for a couple weeks usually, but then stuff comes up where I may have to do something after work, or I play with my kid when I get home and before I know it it is late or it is raining and I don't want to go out.  I was thinking of maybe getting a treadmill or elliptical (probably leaning more toward and elliptical).  I figure then I can do it anytime of the day and won't have to take time to go somewhere.  Plus my wife also wants to start exercising but doesn't have time to get out.  I know it will all take time and don't expect anything to happen overnight, but I am just wondering if that is a good idea and what type of time should be set aside for it?  How many days a week and how long to start off with?  What time of day is best?  I also don't expect to completely change my diet overnight either but I have slowly been cutting out snacks and junk food.  I just think if I know this will make a difference and if I will feel better (less tired and less full all the time) that I would stick to it.  Plus it might be easier to do that while watching TV or something, might not even realize I'm doing work!  OK, well any advice or encouragement you can give about this would be helpful.  Thanks.

ANSWER: Hi Dan,

You touched on some great points and I just wanted to share my point of view on these with you. First off a treadmill or elliptical are both great choices and the elliptical is a great choice to save your ankles and knees all the impact that jogging/running causes. Also exercising while watching TV I highly recommend as you will have a half-hour work-out in before you know it and are more apt to stay on your fitness schedule if it doesn't seem daunting. As far as feeling full and bloated, that typically comes from consuming unhealthy foods that are high in sugar. Your pancreas responds by secreting insulin to regulate your blood sugar and you get what they call "hitting the wall" where you feel sluggish. Try this: right before exercising (maybe 20-30 minutes# eat something high in carbohydrates such as oatmeal,cereal, bread or even fruit. After approx. 20 minutes try warming-up and start your exercise session. I am willing to bet you will feel much better and less bloated. Watch out for peanut butter however as it sticks to your intestines and is very slow to digest causing discomfort in the belly. As far as what time to exercise, go with what your body likes best. I for one do not enjoy working out in the morning, I am more of an afternoon and evening type person. But if the morning works best for you, hop to it. That is great your wife is interested in working out as well. It would be great if you both could work-out together as you both will be more likely to stick to the program. I would also advise finding an activity that you both enjoy to make the work-out fun by mixing it up. Perhaps kick a ball around outside as you run to catch it like a soccer player, or run around and play Frisbee or badminton. Volleyball is also a great option if perhaps you could start or form a league or a group who meets regularly. Dan, the surest way to success in fitness is to not become bored with the activity and dread having to do it. Mix in jogging with weights and walking the park or neighborhood and try different routes to keep it interesting. Perhaps it could be a family affair by bringing the kids into it as well. I would advise starting off fairly light by walking 20-30 minutes at a brisk pace. Shoot for 3 times a week and after a week or two #listen to your body and how it is responding to the program) and adjust accordingly.
Let me know how the program is going for you and if you have any further questions, concerns or need additional recommendations, write me back and we can take it further. Just remember to warm-up and stretch and cool down before and after each exercise. Best of luck to you and your wife in you fitness adventure.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Greg

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Greg,

Thank you so much for the reply.  It took me a while to respond but now that the holidays are over things are back to normal. Anyways, I was trying to think of what I might eat that may be high in sugar.  I work where I travel around town most days so I typically eat lunch out 3-4 days a week.  For the past several months, I have cut back fast food to maybe once every two weeks and try to go more to a Subway or other deli, teriyaki restaurant, or something that is not greasy. I didn't think of it but usually get some sort of sugary drink too so I will cut back on those when I go out.  I usually feel very hungry for lunch and not so much at dinner, probably because for breakfast I usually eat a bowl of cereal, or toast, or yogurt, or something small and have a larger lunch.  As far as using the elliptical, I think I would have the most time to do it in the late evening.  Is there a certain amount of time I should wait after I eat dinner, or is there a certain amount of time I should do it before bed, or does that matter? Is it bad to exercise and then go right to bed?  We are gonna start looking around for a machine and hopefully get one this month.  We can't afford a real expensive one but maybe in the $500-$600 range. I don't know if you have any recommendations or not but if so, feel free to throw some out there.  I am kinda looking at Costco though in case this doesn't work out then at least its easy to return things there! Thanks again for your advice.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Answer
Dan,

Welcome back! Great job on being cognizant of what you are eating. You may want to start a food journal of what you are eating each day, at least for a couple weeks to see if there is any consistencies with your diet. Some people swear by it, but personally it is not for me but it may be for you. As far as sugars you may be consuming, you know darn well to stay away from soda but also watch out for fruit-juices as those are crazily high in fructose (fruit sugar.) Go with H2O or 1% or 2% milk. If you drink alot of coffee start skipping the sugar, it is strange at first but you will grow to loathe sugar in your coffee, I did.

Subway is a good choice (depending on what you get) as far as eating out quick on your lunch break as long as you are consuming lean meat like turkey or chicken and not steak & cheese. If you have Chipotle near you and you like Mexican, they have alot of healthy alternatives as well. You stated you are hungry at lunch so staying away from greasy, sugary food should help as sugar causes the pancrease to secret insulin and balance your blood sugar which gives you that non-energy feeling. Maybe you are not eating enough as well. Also try snacking healthily before and if need be, after lunch. A box of raisins may be what you need to counter low blood sugar or an apple, banana etc. Your breakfast looks like a good choice so just make sure you don't skip it and and keep doing what you are doing.

As far as waiting until after you eat to workout, depending what you have will dictate how long you wait. Give it at least 30 minutes so your cells have time to get the fuel they need for the workout, but if you eat something very heavy like a big pasta dinner or steak, probably closer to an hour would be optimal. There is no real clear-cut time, you have to play it by how you feel. Your body will tell you if you should wait longer, if you get that feeling like you have a big rock in your gut-you will need to wait longer. Also as far as how long before bed should you workout, I would not do it right before bed or within the hour for one reason only, you may not be able to fall asleep. Exercise releases endorphins and gets the blood pumping and it is why some people like the early morning workout. If you go to bed at 10pm try to be done by 8pm, I use a hot tub at night at my club and hit the pool so that helps wipe me out personally.

Dan as far as exercise equipment goes I don't have a specific recommendation but I do have a warning. First off really ask your self is this something you will use, and use frequently or will it be a big waste of money. I can't tell you how many basements I have seen where fitness equipment goes to die. I don't know what you currently use for a workout and if you have a gym membership or not, if not save the money and get a membership. Also, for $500-$600 dollars whatever you get will be chincey and a waste of your hard earned money. The quality stuff will probably run closeer $1500 minimun and closer to $2000-$3000 for ideal equipment. I know alot of people swear by and have had success with PX90, that looks great to me. It works all the muscles and includes aerobic, anaerobic and stretching activities so it is complete and I believe it comes with a food/diet guide. I don't want to see you waste your money and this industry has no shortage of people trying to sell you things.

I hope that provided some clarity, feel free to provide some feedback or any other questions that may arise. Keep up the good work.

Greg

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Greg Hoppe

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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.

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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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ISSA, Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals

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B.S. in Physical education, Black Belt, ISSA certfified Fitness Therapist.

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