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  1. #1
    Registered User felyasocal's Avatar
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    Struggling with building strength, stamina, and endurance

    I am 42m, 5'11". I don't look my age according to most, but I have been severely overweight for a number of years due to unhealthy eating habits, depression, and life's circumstances. Over the last 18+ months I have dropped around 60-70 lbs through healthy eating and cardio. Progress stopped a few times due to injuries and other events, but as of April I have been pushing myself harder than ever to get healthier.
    I eat healthy - Intermittent fasting, 16\8 Tuesday>Saturday, normal meals on Sunday with one cheat meal, and full day fasting on Mondays. So food is not my biggest problem. I eat crap once in a while, but for the most part I eat incredibly healthy. My only vice is Diet Coke, but I've cut out everything else. No drinking. No smoking. No weed. No fast food. No junk food.
    Most of my exercise was done through walking, then jogging and eventually running at a slower pace. And weekend hikes. I have since started biking (cycling) and it has become my passion.
    I started at around 280+. I am about 220 lbs right now. I keep losing weight at a healthy pace (Goal weight 180-185).
    My problem is that even after all this time, I have very low stamina\endurance. I have inadequate strength in my legs when I bike (horrible thigh pain because of lack of muscle). Can't run faster than 15 min per mile with 2 miles at the very most. After hiking my back hurts because again, no muscles. I feel like I am going to fall apart often times from hands to toes. I did a 20 mile bike ride with some climbs last weekend and my hamstrings are still sore.
    I have been doing body weight training and some Pilates, but this is very recent. I will be going back to the gym when they open up.

    My question is this? What is your advice for me to build strength, stamina, endurance, and just become stronger over all? I am relatively young. I don't look my age and don't feel my age, but my muscles are pathetic. Should I cut down on the cardio and other high intensity activities such as hiking, running, jogging, etc., and concentrate mostly on strength training? I have this weird feeling like I no matter what I do I will never be able to be strong.

    What am I missing? What am I overdoing? What am I not doing? What should I be doing to be strong in the body so I can run, bike, and lift weights without falling apart?

    Thanks!
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  2. #2
    Registered User Luclin999's Avatar
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    Weight training. You are dealing with issues all over because several parts of your body are likely underdeveloped which is effecting your overall activity/athletic progress.

    You can't go from "inactive" your whole life to just "active" with some parts of your body and then somehow expect the rest to not lag behind and hinder the overall progress.

    Start a basic lifting program for beginners like Stronglifts or Fierce Five and follow it to the letter for six months then reevaluate.

    Also understand that you aren't going to build up very much muscle while in a caloric deficit. At best, your underdeveloped muscles if stressed properly, will likely build up to what would be their baseline "normal" levels and due to the deficit even getting to that point will probably take 2-3 times longer than it would if you were not dieting at the time.

    With all of that said, you should still do it this way and will very likely see some noticeable improvement in your strength/endurance over the next three months.
    ~ Like Tae-Kwon-Leap, my goals are not a path to a door, but a road leading forever towards the horizon.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Leprechuan71's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by felyasocal View Post
    I am 42m, 5'11". I don't look my age according to most, but I have been severely overweight for a number of years due to unhealthy eating habits, depression, and life's circumstances. Over the last 18+ months I have dropped around 60-70 lbs through healthy eating and cardio. Progress stopped a few times due to injuries and other events, but as of April I have been pushing myself harder than ever to get healthier.
    I eat healthy - Intermittent fasting, 16\8 Tuesday>Saturday, normal meals on Sunday with one cheat meal, and full day fasting on Mondays. So food is not my biggest problem. I eat crap once in a while, but for the most part I eat incredibly healthy. My only vice is Diet Coke, but I've cut out everything else. No drinking. No smoking. No weed. No fast food. No junk food.
    Most of my exercise was done through walking, then jogging and eventually running at a slower pace. And weekend hikes. I have since started biking (cycling) and it has become my passion.
    I started at around 280+. I am about 220 lbs right now. I keep losing weight at a healthy pace (Goal weight 180-185).
    My problem is that even after all this time, I have very low stamina\endurance. I have inadequate strength in my legs when I bike (horrible thigh pain because of lack of muscle). Can't run faster than 15 min per mile with 2 miles at the very most. After hiking my back hurts because again, no muscles. I feel like I am going to fall apart often times from hands to toes. I did a 20 mile bike ride with some climbs last weekend and my hamstrings are still sore.
    I have been doing body weight training and some Pilates, but this is very recent. I will be going back to the gym when they open up.

    My question is this? What is your advice for me to build strength, stamina, endurance, and just become stronger over all? I am relatively young. I don't look my age and don't feel my age, but my muscles are pathetic. Should I cut down on the cardio and other high intensity activities such as hiking, running, jogging, etc., and concentrate mostly on strength training? I have this weird feeling like I no matter what I do I will never be able to be strong.

    What am I missing? What am I overdoing? What am I not doing? What should I be doing to be strong in the body so I can run, bike, and lift weights without falling apart?

    Thanks!
    Congrats on the weight loss.

    My advice is to add a strength training program 3X per week and drop the running. A good beginner program would suffice and my recommendation here is Phrak's Greyskull LP. I started back about 2 years ago and did a bunch of different programs to get going again and found Phrak's the best. To learn the lifts, a good coach is the best option with with youtube and articles the next best options. Stronger by Science has good but lengthy articles on how to perform the big 3, bench, squat and deads and there are lots of good vidoes on exercise technique on Youtube. I recommend recording your lifts on a phone so you can analyse form. Don't rely on a mirror.



    As for cardio, I would stay away from high impact. Hiking, biking and swimming are all good alternatives. 3 days of cardio and 3 of strength training and you should begin to improve in the strength department.
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  4. #4
    Registered User felyasocal's Avatar
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    Thank you very much for the info. So you think this is a matter just me needing to build strength through growing muscles mass, etc?

    And yes, I've already found Greyskull and will be probably doing that. I am getting a lot of info from the Fitness Wiki on Reddit. I can't post links here yet, but it's very informative.
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  5. #5
    Registered User Leprechuan71's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by felyasocal View Post
    Thank you very much for the info. So you think this is a matter just me needing to build strength through growing muscles mass, etc?

    And yes, I've already found Greyskull and will be probably doing that. I am getting a lot of info from the Fitness Wiki on Reddit. I can't post links here yet, but it's very informative.
    On a cut, you probably won't be able to build too much muscle but you will be able to get stronger. Getting stronger is the key here.
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    Trying to be good at strength and endurance at the same time can be tough.
    You can do both but to be your best at either you have to focus on one over the other.
    You talk about having muscle,a strength protocol won't necessarily inhibit muscle size.
    A progressive type bodybuilding protocol would be better for that.
    If your were to do both i would do them on separate days and vary the intensity.
    You don't want to be burned out when you weight train or sore when you do your endurance/cardio work.
    You could make your weight training into cardio type sessions with circuit training moving from one exercise to another with little to no rest for so many rounds.
    This will get your heart rate up and weight resistance training in but it's not a bodybuilding protocol per say.
    If your eating fairly well record your diet in a journal all macros and calories so you can see what your intake is daily and be able to adjust if needed.
    Take in more protein as your main macro,close to one gram to each pound of bodyweight.
    Get enough rest so the body can recover from your training.
    This means take time off and get plenty of sleep at least eight hours.
    You won't make any gains if you pound and pound yourself constantly.
    There is a balance there.
    Good luck.
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  7. #7
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    Just to add to what everyone else said: Your before /after pictures look fantastic. You've done far, far better than most people in your situation. Don't get discouraged, you're doing generally the right things. You just need a few tweaks to keep the progress going and to start feeling physically better.

    Make sure your diet has plenty of protein. This is especially important in a deficit. And as Garage Rat said, get a lot of high-quality sleep. That's when most of your recovery and growth actually takes place.

    Keep doing the activities you enjoy, but pace yourself. You'll get where you want to be, but don't try too much too soon. Increase your work capacity gradually and systematically. You want growth, not damage.

    Stay positive, you're on the right track. The suggestions you've received above are good ones. Good luck, and good work!
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  8. #8
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    Felyasocal, your progress is profound. What you are doing obviously works.

    Since you are cutting, there will always be a "lack of strength" feeling to any endurance exercise you do, like biking or running. It is unavoidable, you kind of have to embrace this feeling until you reach your weight loss goal. Endurance in general one of the hardest aspects to progress at. It is very sport-specific, biking endurance will not translate into swimming or boxing. There are highly specialized protocols to train for endurance, but mostly it involves two hours or more of grueling and exhaustive training sessions. When athletes preparing for a competition, endurance training usually comes last, after your muscles had a chance to grow, not before, as this is tied to building a mitochondria density in newly obtained muscle tissue. As suggested above, you may want to do more weightlifting while in calorific deficit, as this is the best way to preserve muscle. Preserving is about all you can aim for at the moment. You already noticed this feeling that you will never get stronger, well, this is only correct until times when you start eating for growth.
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    Registered User felyasocal's Avatar
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    Everyone, thank you very much for all the wonderful advice.
    I think I am just going to go with strength training for now. I need to start lifting, need to learn how to do it, find the routines, etc. My cardio workouts will still be there and I will alter what I do depending on how I feel, butI think I need to build some muscle before I can do anything else. It will also help with most of my future goals. I'll be back with more questions later on, no doubt in that ! My only thing that I cannot control or even tame is patience. I have none. I want it it all now. My ADHD is super OCD these days =)))
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    Originally Posted by felyasocal View Post
    Everyone, thank you very much for all the wonderful advice.
    I think I am just going to go with strength training for now. I need to start lifting, need to learn how to do it, find the routines, etc. My cardio workouts will still be there and I will alter what I do depending on how I feel, butI think I need to build some muscle before I can do anything else. It will also help with most of my future goals. I'll be back with more questions later on, no doubt in that ! My only thing that I cannot control or even tame is patience. I have none. I want it it all now. My ADHD is super OCD these days =)))
    Stick to the training, and you will learn patience -- willing or not!
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