View Full Version : Setting foot in the gym Monday....

03-17-2012, 04:43 PM
After not being there in over a year. Bad, I know, but at least I'm going back. I'm also going back without a trainer. I was very thankful to have had a trainer to teach me the proper form and names for all of the movements we did. One thing I didn't learn is how to put my workouts together which is part of what has kept me from the gym for so long.

I'm very overweight, I'll just get that out of the way right away. I'm going to be doing cardio, not just for weight loss but for my heart. Eventually I want to run a 5K and more, so I'd like to get my heart in better shape. Right now cardio is the absolute toughest for me, I get very winded when I walk and I get lower back pain when standing up or walking for awhile just due to the amount of weight I carry on my abdomen. So for awhile it will just be riding the one bike and then eventually more and more treadmill and adding on elliptical and so forth once I get some of the weight off. With this in mind:

How many days a week can I/should I do cardio? On days of weight training I would always do a 10 minute or so warmup and would do cardio after weights.
Also, should I do intervals?
If I do steady state what % of max heart rate should I be at?

As for weight training:

For optimal gains how many days a week should I train? Ideally I would like to be in the gym 6 days but I don't know if that is ideal. The 7th day would be a total rest day.
Can anyone tell me how to put together a good weight training routine? I know once I figure out how many days I will be in the gym I can figure out a split. But then how do I decide on a day where I am training legs how many movements to do? Or if anyone could point me in the direction of a good weight training routine till I figure out how to build one? I want something that is fairly aggressive. I want to push myself and lift heavy. When I quit I remember doing something like 265 on the sled and could bench 110. So I really want to get back in there and get back to those levels again. :)

Any other help or advice would be appreciated very much. I know this will be a long journey to become fit and a life-long journey to maintain it. I'm trying to learn habits that will last me the rest of my life. I'm really sick of my weight limiting me in terms of what I can or cannot do. When someone asks me to go somewhere it's absolutely ridiculous that I have to think of how far I will have to walk.

Also, I have asked some questions on the nutrition board. I understand that nutrition is crucial and I want to get that part right as well. I really enjoyed lifting before I quit due to just getting depressed and coping with that in an unhealthy way. I loved feeling strong and even though I was sweating and a mess when I left the gym I felt more beautiful and proud of myself than any other time in my life. So I want to get started on that right away because I know that will help me stick to the nutrition part better. Any advice, encouragement, suggestions, etc appreciated. Thanks!!!

03-17-2012, 08:33 PM
Congratulations on getting back into the gym. It took me 2 years and a significant amount of weight gain to motivate me to get my but back in the gym and training again, so I know the feeling.

I work with a trainer and he designs my program for me. I'm really not knowledgeable about that side of things to advise you. I do know there is a sticky on training basics, and many people recommend the book "New Rules of Lifting For Women". My sessions with my trainer will be up in a few months and I personally will be doing the "Starting Strength" program which you could also have a look at.

As for the cardio, I can advise:

1) NO to interval training - at least not HIIT which is what people typically mean when they talk about interval training. Aerobic intervals where you pick up your pace/heart rate for brief intervals, and slowly extending them is a yes.

2) Your goal at the moment should be to work up to being able to do 30 minutes continuous activity at a pace that raises your heart rate but that does not leave you breathless. You should be able to talk, but with a bit of effort. If you could easily hold a conversation you're not working hard enough and if you have to gasp out a response, you're working too hard. You could maybe aim for an effort that feels like 5-6 out of 10 (RPE - rate of perceived exhertion). You don't need to worry about tracking your heart rate or sticking to a particular zone. Let how you feel be your guide.

3) Your plan of starting on the bike is fine, it will definately be easier on you joints. As your cardiovascular endurance improves and your weight comes down, your goal should be to be able to walk at a brisk pace for 30 minutes. Once you can do that, then you're ready to start training for a 5k.

4) Start with cardio 3x a week and gradually build your way up to 5x a week. That will help to both improve your heart and increase your caloric deficit for weight loss.

5) As you mentioned, it's ok to do a 10 minute warmup before your weight sessions, but other than that, cardio is after weights or on non-weight training days.

Best of luck on your journey. Just remember, you're in this for the long haul. It's a marathon not a sprint, but every day you stick with it gets you one day closer to reaching your goals.

03-18-2012, 02:21 AM
Congrats on getting back into the gym! I had always gone on and off over the years but last year I had the money so I picked up a trainer and was just cut loose in January.

Since I've had it on my shelf but never ran through it completely, I decided to start with the New Rules of Lifting. My hubby trains with me as well. We're a few days into stage 2 and it's already starting to kick his butt. ;-) After that he gets to pick a program so lord knows what he'll pick.

For cardio, something you might think about is putting c25k on your mp3 player (there's also apps that you can put on your phone so you can listen to your own music). It's interval training that's designed to get you jogging a full 30 minutes in 8 weeks I think. For example, week 1 is 5 minute warm up then alternating 60 seconds jogging with 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes. When I hurt my calf last year I was only allowed the bike so I followed the program cycling. Increase my rpm during the jogging part and decrease during the walking. So it's interval training that can be used with pretty much any cardio machine, or outdoors.


03-19-2012, 12:34 PM
Thanks you guys for your suggestions! I am going to keep you posted on my progress, I'm excited to get started!!!

03-19-2012, 03:48 PM
Let us know how your first day went. A year ago next week it was me setting foot back in the gym again. I've come a long way since then and I know you can too.

04-04-2012, 04:15 PM
Well, I got started a week later than I wanted to, but I'm glad I took the extra time to prepare. I started my new lifestyle on March 27 (the same day as my sister had bariatric surgery) and by April 2 I lost 5.8 lbs. I did a ton of research on what to try and for the first week I did a 4 day split between upper and lower body. Along with some cardio. The upper body I was sore for days, lower body not so much which was a little frustrating. I think I am self conscious to do some of the lower body exercises in the gym, it's different to climb into a leg press machine and do that versus walk around doing lunges or squats, maybe that's it. This week I did some more research and am going to try a 4 day split training each muscle group once during the week.

I feel better already. I feel like I have more energy and I feel stronger and I'm sure some of that is in my head but it's an awesome feeling to feel like even if you're not where you want to be you're working toward it. I am going again tonight and am excited to hopefully be sore again tomorrow :)

04-04-2012, 06:47 PM
Great work and congratulations on your first week back. Psychology is a huge aspect of fitness and keeping yourself motivated day after day is what is going to get you the results you want. Don't worry about the self-consciousness. No one in the gym is going to be looking at you and judging. If they actually take time away from their own workouts to even notice what you're doing, they're most likely going to be thinking "good for you".

As for the weight loss, you will often have a big drop the first couple of weeks. Unfortunately a good portion of that is going to be water, so don't get discouraged if after a few weeks things slow down a bit.