Help moi!

The Food Forum's Evil Twin. Trying to lose weight or get in shape? Tips, encouragement, status reports, and so forth go here.
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wst
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Help moi!

Postby wst » Sun Feb 24, 2008 12:01 pm UTC

Note: The bold is where the sob story ends and the real stuff starts. ;)

Well, I'm unfit. Severely. Not fat, but I've always been a stick figure. No sirree, my problem is my pulse, mainly. It is, (that this exact time it's 80, seated, having done jack-all all morning) high. It recovers slowly. It'll happily shoot waaaay up into the 150s after 1 minutes medium jogging. It is, bluntly, crap.

Anyway, the problem with such a high pulse is that it affects my shooting. I wobble slightly every time my heart beats. Not a lot, but 1mm at this end of the shooting range could be 5mm at the other. Not good!

With my entire lack of fitness, (I am not physically strong either! No, seriously, I'm screwed if I have to do more than 1 pressup 0.o) I have no idea where to start with making myself fitter. My neck is probably the most musclebound area of me now, it has to hold up my head, that's how unfit I am.

I would like ideas from you, the fittites of this fora, to help a 15 year old, asthmatic (only after cold-exercise or when I've got a cold, really), unfit twig, gain some muscles of some sort (arms, legs, torso, not really my neck ;)), and help with a plan to bring my pulse down to at least 60 resting, and bring my recovery rate down to around 5 minutes.

Summed up, as that last bit doesn't read easily:

Problems and desired changes:
Pulse is around 80, resting - I'd like it down to 60 or below, and a sub 6 minute recovery period.
Bad lungs - I don't know what you can do about them really.
Weak muscles - I'd like stronger muscles, but ideally ones that aren't massive, anaerobic things, but nice compact aerobic ones. I don't know how my lungs will affect how my muscles will develop, but I'm not keen on lactic acid and stuff. A little bit of anaerobic might be useful, I don't know.

So, slightly above average fitness then ;)
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Barbie
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Re: Help moi!

Postby Barbie » Sun Feb 24, 2008 7:37 pm UTC

To decrease your resting heart rate and increase your lung efficiency, you need to do cardiovascular exercise like running or swimming. This (PDF) is an excellent program to get you into running. It's really gradual and achievable.

As for strength, to start, choose 3 strength training exercises and do them three times a week. It will only take you fifteen minutes. The idea is to develop the habit of working out regularly, and then once it's part of your routine, you can start adding exercises and making it harder. If do too much too soon, you wont stick with it. You kind of have to trick yourself into this stuff ;) For three general exercises, I would choose:
1) squats (if they're too hard, get one of those big exercise balls between your back and a wall, and lean against it to help you slide down) -- these work most of your leg muscles.
2) push-ups (these can be done from the knees for an easier option) -- these work the chest and back of the arms (triceps).
3) pull-ups (here's how you build up to them: get a chair under the chin-up bar, you get yourself up to the top of the chin-up using the chair, and then you lower yourself down (no chair) as slowly as you can. Also, many gyms have assisted chin-up machines that offset your weight) -- these work your back and biceps.

You want to do 12-15 repetitions, 3 times per session. Take a rest between each set of 12-15, or just alternate exercises.
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Izawwlgood
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Re: Help moi!

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Feb 24, 2008 7:43 pm UTC

Join a sport at your school, like cross country, track, swimming, etc. Succeeding at fitness solo is much more difficult then having other people to do it with, for encouragement, competition. A school's program will also be infinitely more organized and disciplined then you'll be, and you'll have fun.
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Pathway
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Re: Help moi!

Postby Pathway » Mon Feb 25, 2008 6:24 am UTC

I was really skinny in 9th grade. Our cross-country team did exercises that I think really helped me out. They weren't very hard to complete if you were in good shape, but I was a runty little character. Certainly I was better off for having done them.

We would do the following, in order, every day. For those of you who will judge us poorly: many of us also lifted weights, and as a cross-country team the meat of our work was of course running.

5x push-ups. (Do 'em from your knees if you can't get through 5.)
5x crunches.
4x push-ups
4x crunches
3x push-ups
3x crunches
4x push-ups
4x crunches
5x push-ups
5x crunches

As you can see, it's just an inverted pyramid of alternating push-ups and crunches. Sometimes we'd make it 6, 5, 4 instead.

We would do them slowly--and this was key, I think. We also didn't get any break between push-ups and crunches.

This worked well to build strength back then. From there I moved to weights.
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Barbie
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Re: Help moi!

Postby Barbie » Mon Feb 25, 2008 6:42 am UTC

Pathway wrote:5x push-ups. (Do 'em from your knees if you can't get through 5.)
...
5x crunches

As you can see, it's just an inverted pyramid of alternating push-ups and crunches. Sometimes we'd make it 6, 5, 4 instead.

Be careful about doing push-ups and crunches without balancing them. If you have a really strong chest, but no upper back strength (from doing a lot of push-ups and no back work) it pulls your shoulders forward, and makes you hunch. If you do a lot of sit-ups without working lower back or glutes (butt), you tend do get tight hip flexors (muscles in the front of the hip), which can cause lower back problems.
Pathway wrote:We would do them slowly--and this was key, I think.

Good point. Doing exercises slowly makes you master every muscle fibre. Moving slowly makes it so that you can't just use momentum to do the movements. Focus on going especially slowly on the down phases of push-ups, crunches, pull-ups, etc.
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Zak
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Re: Help moi!

Postby Zak » Mon Feb 25, 2008 6:49 am UTC

Well, a really simple workout for your arms that you can do at any time is just to spread both of your arms out from your body, so that your body makes a T with your arms, then twist both of them backwards and forwards, as far as you can both ways, until you can't hold your arms up anymore, this should take around five minutes.
*waggles eyebrows*

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wst
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Re: Help moi!

Postby wst » Mon Feb 25, 2008 9:29 pm UTC

Barbie wrote:Be careful about doing push-ups and crunches without balancing them. If you have a really strong chest, but no upper back strength (from doing a lot of push-ups and no back work) it pulls your shoulders forward, and makes you hunch.


Luckily I have good posture, so any changes will be obvious to me :D

This advice is all really useful, I think I'll do the idea suggested by Pathway on days when I'm not doing that 'train to 10k' thing.

But I'll figure out time and stuff this weekend and come up with something from these ideas.
Anything I said pre-2014 that you want to quote me on, just run it past me to check I still agree with myself.

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Pathway
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Re: Help moi!

Postby Pathway » Wed Feb 27, 2008 12:18 am UTC

Keep in mind that it might not scale well, that's just what we did just to get a basic level of core strength.
SargeZT wrote:Oh dear no, I love penguins. They're my favorite animal ever besides cows.

The reason I would kill penguins would be, no one ever, ever fucking kills penguins.

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nezha
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Re: Help moi!

Postby nezha » Wed Feb 27, 2008 1:31 am UTC

For just general fitness a few sets of pushups and pullups a day, supplemented by some running would be enough. However, something I haven't seen mentioned yet is DIET, which is critical. Since you're a skinny kid I recommend eating as much as you can of any healthy foods, i.e. lots of fruits and vegetables along with some rice/whole grains and some protein. There's all kinds of trendy low-fat or low-carb diets, but you don't need those, just stay away from heavily processed foods and junk food.

For more serious fitness goals, I agree with the person who said to take up a sport. Not only will playing a sport get you into good shape, you can ask your coach for a more complete training and diet plan. Not a team player? Give boxing or wrestling a try. Both are among the most physically demanding sports and they will quickly whip you into shape. If you want to do something unusual, or if you just feel like training on your own, handbalancing is fun and it will really build your upper body, particularly your shoulders.

Above all, remember to have fun with what you're doing.
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