Weightlifting & Exercise/Getting back into shape



Well i have taken sort of a one month break from exercise due to university exams ( but i did try to keep up with occasional runs). Now my exams are over and i am looking to improve my fitness level back to its optimum. Also i intend to have grow bigger but in terms of lean mass,  as i dont want to end up looking stocky. I also want to be able to continue to dance and perform stunts. The reason being i am an actor and although i need a nice body, it needs great functionality as well. Currently i can complete a 2.4 km run in less than 10 min, perform 7 pull ups, and complete 45 sit ups in a minutr. As you can see my fitness is really bad now, especially due to my break.

All in all, what should i do? I know i have to put in alot of effort to get into the shape i want, but where do i start? Thank you for your time.


ANSWER: Greeting Thava,

I'm not sure you need additional direction because you were in good shape and are just temporarily out of shape because of school.  

First I would do the running as you did before. Then I believe you can start to lift weights if you have the time and a facility to use. If you could answer the following questions I would be able to answer you better.

1. What kind of exercise were you doing before your break?
2. How often?
3. What kind of stunts do you perform?
4. What is your diet like? please write down the food you ate this weekend.

Thanks, I'll talk to you soon.

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


Before my break I was doing core exercise workouts 3 times a week, and short 15-20 min fast runs 2 times a week. One core exercise workout would include 3 sets of pull ups, push ups, planks(or leg raises) and squats (or lunges).

As for stunts, I have not been involved in any thus far, but I want to be fit and mobile enough to perform basic action stunts for an action scene for example. Also my priority is to be able to continue to dance without feeling too heavy. All in all,my concern is to be able to continue being mobile without feeling heavier because of the gain in muscle mass.

My diet typically looks like the following:
Breakfast: Either cereal with milk or bread with butter and chocolate milk.

Lunch: plain white rice with an Indian side dish(E.g. Chicken curry) and vegetables

Dinner: same as lunch

I hope the information helped. Thank you for your time!


Tha a,
Well, to remain lean most people need to eat protein, and minimize the amount of grain and sugar you take in. Make sure you have lean protein at every meal. I am not a trainer who approves of loading carbs for any reason. I also don't think it is advisable to worry about what you eat before or after a workout. Just eat when you are hungry. Drink plenty of water. With your food you can eat more vegetables and more protein and less rice.  Instead of cereal have eggs for breakfast and perhaps sausage.  I would cut the bread out too.  Just my humble opinion.  Add vegetables and protein.

In regards to your workouts.  You can do two ways of working out.  You can do full bodywork with body weight. You can do squats, pull ups, push ups, lunges.  All the things that will build muscle and strength, but won't make you muscle bound,  OR you can workout in a gym with full body again.  Lighter weights (that's relative because you still want to work) and higher reps. Like 15.  3-4 sets are good for either way of resistance training.  

Does this help?  Not knowing your equipment situation I'm not sure specific exercises, but if you go to sparkpeople.com they have exercise videos that will help you with form for both kinds of exercises.

Be Well!  Karen

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Karen Fili Sullivan


Get on the inside track with Karen and her daily advice. http://karenfilisullivan.com. Or on FacebookLIKE us at ZWL - Zen of Whole Living I have more than 30 years experience and can help with lifting technique, muscle recovery, weight loss, body building and powerlifting. I've been certified by AFPA as a Personal Trainer and 12 years ago acquired a second certification from the same agency as a Post Rehabilitative Exercise Specialist. Any recommendations or advice rendered are based on fitness information as specified by the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Fitness Professionals and Associates. Follow my Blog on http://karenfilisullivan.com


Almost 25 years coaching and training. Wow! I feel old. Before that I was a competitive bodybuilder and powerlifter (ask my Chiropractor -- he can tell you). I have trained kids ages 12 to 89. From sports specific training to stroke rehabilitation. I love helping people move more gracefully, powerfully and safely.

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Published in Spring of 2013 The Zen of Weight Loss: A Mindful, Livable Approach to Fitness Get your copy at Square Market. https://squareup.com/market/body-restoration-by-karen/zen-of-weight-loss-in-mo

English with a Journalism concentration was my college education. My training has been with my mentor, Jack Michaels, ACSM and professor at the College of William and Mary. My certifications are with the American Fitness Professionals and Associates. AFPA. I hold a certification as a Personal Trainer and a Post Rehabilitation Exercise Expert (Isn't that a mouthful?l). My continuing education requirements have been fulfilled at a number of organizations and are monitored by AFPA. I keep my Red Cross CPR and First Aid current.

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Clients include athletes training for marathons, mountain climbing and general weight loss. In addition I have clients troubled with COPD, Fibromyalgia, and Parkinsons as well as stroke rehab. She was the Strength and Conditioning coach for Williamsburg Aquatic Club, a USA Swim Team, in Williamsburg, Virginia for 3 years.   Karen is presently working at Main Street Gym in Historic St. Charles, Missouri where she teaches Pilates and continues her work with clients. Her training reaches across the country with her long distance Body Restoration eTraining. Her dedication to fitness reaches into the nutritional supplementation with Shaklee products. She only works with clients who add nutritional supplementation to their training. Read more of her story on www.shaklee.net/BodyRestoration

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