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AIBU to ask what is the best exercise for me to lose weight?

(96 Posts)
Latara Tue 18-Jun-13 14:25:05

I'm nearly 5'4'' weight 12st and i need to lose 2 stone at least.

I like the gym and have just started warming up by walking 10 mins to the gym; then work out for 15 mins on the rower followed by 20 reps of the (not v heavy) heaviest weights i can manage on each of the weights machines.
Then 5 mins on the cross-trainer and 5 mins on the sitting bike, followed by 10min walk home and some stretches.

At the end of this i'm very shaky and dizzy because i'm not used to exercise.

I like it though and heard that a mix of weights and some cardio is best for weightloss.
Is this true and is eg 4 times a week enough? I work 2 days a week on my feet all day walking around the ward.

I eat 1500 cals a day inc lots of fruit and veg, no alcohol.

Opinions please!

Trazzletoes Tue 18-Jun-13 15:09:46

Sorry, there is an optimum heart rate at which to burn fat.

And of course swimming can help you to lose weight(!) it just might not be as dramatic as some other forms of exercise.

ButternutSquish Tue 18-Jun-13 15:10:06

rowing intervals! It's bloody hard and makes you sweat loads!

Trazzletoes Tue 18-Jun-13 15:10:33

Hence why I said it would be best to check hmm

Ijustbluemyself Tue 18-Jun-13 15:17:46

Be warned as well if you do go for heavy lifting, this will lead to more muscle growth than if you just go for endurance (again, this is totally your choice, benefits of both) so your weight not might fall as much you think it should as.

If you get a chance get on one of those machines that does BMI and fat% even couple of months, that way you can see if you're changing your body composition

And I wasn't making fun about the HR, just helping smile

themaltesecat Tue 18-Jun-13 15:21:02

This lady.

Every time you're about to die, the exercise changes.

If you follow her, you WILL nearly kick the bucket, but you will see some serious changes in your body shape within the first few sessions. It's hugely motivating.

ephemeralfairy Tue 18-Jun-13 15:23:53

I've found that most branches of Boots have the BMI/body fat weighing machines, think it costs 70p and you get a print-out which is useful to compare the next time you weigh yourself.

Ijustbluemyself Tue 18-Jun-13 15:24:12

I second the more calories thing, your metabolism will slow down if you undereat too much and you might plateau

sarahtigh Tue 18-Jun-13 15:25:50

just one note of caution drinking too much water is very bad for you, unless doing really hard exercise over a long period 2 litres a day is plenty,

one of the newsreaders nearly died running a marathon because she had been drinking water at every stop

stepawayfromthescreen Tue 18-Jun-13 15:27:51

I agree, Sarah. The water myth is an odd one.
We don't need to drink water constantly to stay hydrated. 1.5-2 litres max per day is plenty. 3 litres would be too
much for most.

wickeddevil Tue 18-Jun-13 15:28:06

Mrs T P - wow that's really interesting re the swimming. Do you know why? just wondering if its because swimming makes you hungry.
Wow. Best avoided then. Can't take the risk.....

Ijustbluemyself Tue 18-Jun-13 15:30:02

Also reading back, a word of warning on the low carb, high fat/protein diet. I follow this kind of diet but I am a very regular trainer and I have the right metabolic type. If you're just trying to do weight loss ignore all the metabolic type specifics, just eat lots of fruit and veg and cut down on the processed foods, anything else at this stage isn't really relevant and might cause you nutritional imbalances.

MrsTerryPratchett Tue 18-Jun-13 15:37:01

wickeddevil the research didn't give any reasons why. My theory is that there are many reasons. One, you get cold rather than hot so don't burn as efficiently. Two, it makes you ravenously hungry. Three, because you don't notice if you are sweating, people take it much easier than they think they are. I used to overtake men in the fast lane doing crawl when I was in the middle lane doing breaststroke. I bet they thought they were really going for it. Lastly, most impact exercise is directly proportional to what you weigh. If you are 18 stone and running you carry 18 stone. If you are 7 stone, you carry seven stone. With swimming, you are weightless so you don't have the proportional effort benefit.

BTW the idea behind the research is not that swimming isn't good. It is great for your tone, fitness, brain, all sorts. But, the average person who takes up swimming and doesn't diet or do any other exercise gained a pound or two. Running, walking et al. they lost.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 18-Jun-13 15:49:51

Can I just big butt in and ask something? I do want to shift some weight but more than that I want to get stronger - upper body/core mostly - to try to keep up with my watersporty 14yo, and not give into the decline of being over 50. I took a quick glance at that shred link, looks like it might be a good combination ... or might there be something more apt? I don't do gyms - mostly I prefer 'real' activities but might be able to do that sort of thing with weights at home.

Ijustbluemyself Tue 18-Jun-13 15:57:12

Press ups, pull ups and planks are very effective! No equipment necessary. Also rather than doing press ups on your knees, try doing full press ups at an angle, then working your way down so eventually you'll hit the floor, this is more effective.

Core strength is another easy one to do at home, but make sure you hit all the different core muscles (abs, obliques, transverse abs, and your back muscles). Youtube are good for find little routines.

I weight lift a lot in the gym, I have dumbbells at home but I never use them, so I'm always wary advising people to get them because they often just sit there confused

GrimmaTheNome Tue 18-Jun-13 16:01:25

I'm sure I can't do a pull-up, but surely you need some sort of equipment, a bar or something to pull up onto there some part of a normal house you can use for this that I've not noticed? grin( DD might want to try some!)

Ijustbluemyself Tue 18-Jun-13 16:03:56

You could find a tree? grin When I go out with friends we do them on those things in car parks with the height restrictions.

Or maybe just stick to press ups, and military planks, that would hit your arms and core together

wickeddevil Tue 18-Jun-13 16:05:56

Thanks mrs TP. I actually used to swim a lot pre DCs. Used to do 20 -30 lengths, though at a leisurely pace, so I get what you are saying.
At the time I wondered why I didn't lose weight though...

Undertone Tue 18-Jun-13 16:10:38

<bustles in, self-importantly>

Right! I am a veteran of various types of exercising to lose weight. I find it really tough to limit calories below 2,000 per day. When I do manage a 'good' day eating I tend to sabotage myself with 2 glasses of wine. From a size 22 I got stuck in a rut at size 12 for months and months. I was getting fitter and fitter (getting better personal best times in running half marathons) but the wobble remained. This is basically what I have been up to and how different exercises have affected me (BTW I am 5'7"):

16 stone, very unfit
I got a 2nd hand elliptical cross-trainer and set it up in my flat. I built up to doing 30 minutes on it 5 times a week and eating healthily in the first heady rush of addressing my size. Lost over a stone in 2 months. The good thing about a cross-trainer is that it is low impact for over-loaded leg joints, you can keep going on it for a long period of time at a moderate heart rate (which racks up calories burned without over-exerting yourself), and it's straightforward and easy to stick to. That's why most starter exercise programmes focus on low-impact cardio to begin with.

15 stone, a bit more confident
I started running at a slow pace (with walking intervals) in my local park. Over the course of another couple of months I built up to running continuously for 30-40 minutes, losing another 1.5 stone in the process. This was basically an extension of the above cardio-only approach but increasing the intensity of the workout, burning more calories in effect.

13.5 stone, eyes on the prize
I bought the 30 Day Shred and it was a bit of a revelation. Adding resistance/circuit training to what I was doing meant that I was increasing my strength to push myself harder in cardio sessions - plus increasing my metabolism which accelerated weight loss. I kept up my running (by the end of this 6-month period I could slowly run for 6 miles without having to pause to walk) but did 30DS sessions 5/6 times a week too. I quickly lost another stone and joined a gym.

12 stone, aiming for a half marathon
At the gym I extended the movements I had picked up from 30DS, but did more sets, or with heavier weights. I would do about 20 mins of this after a warm-up and then do cardio like a treadmill, cross-trainer or spin class session 3 times a week. I went for a long run at the weekend, building up to 13 miles. My weight loss continued but slowed down because at this point my diet habits became a bit more chaotic. Getting to 11 stone took a few months. I ran my first half-marathon in 1 hour 55 minutes, weighing 11 stone.

11 stone, the rot sets in
I signed up for another half marathon, and I wanted to do it faster this time. This meant that I mainly focused on running throughout the week and would do resistance training every now and then. Weight loss almost ground to a halt, but I did manage to do a 1 hour 50 half marathon 6 months after my first one. I was confused, because I was burning through SO many calories running, and for long distances and at a decent pace, but as I later learned I was burning the wrong kind of energy.

11 stone, goes to see Personal Trainer
Earlier this year I got a special deal to go and see a personal trainer. She made me stop focusing on the weight on the scales and instead on my waist measurement and my body fat %. To reduce body fat when you're already fairly fit, it's not as easy as calories in vs. calories out. She put me on a programme mainly focused on lifting weights (it's almost impossible for women to build significant muscle tissue bulk, so looking like Arnie will NEVER happen unless you put yourself on special supplements) and short, sharp interval training - I reduced the overall amount of time I spent working out every week by about 30% or more. So far I have lost another half a stone, and look set to hit 10 stone later this summer. My body fat percentage has reduced from 31% to 25% in 3 months. I can see my abdominal muscles (^just^), and I generally look like a total babe.

So - in summary - cardio to start with because you can do it slowly for ages and rack up lots of calorie burn. Then transition through to introduce more resistance training and more intense training. (My interval sessions last only 20 minutes but I am DEAD afterwards - purple faced and totally drenched). I still do long runs at the weekend, but because I am lighter and stronger I am getting faster. I am aiming for a sub-1 hour 45 mins half marathon in September.

Sorry for length of post. It's something I am very passionate about.

MrsLyman Tue 18-Jun-13 16:15:44

I go to an outdoor bootcamp where we do quite a variety of things like squats, lunges, powerjacks, sprints etc. It's really hardwork and it's definitely made a huge difference to my fitness levels and my waistline. I like it because it's social and also because there is an instructor making me do the exercises.

What I would say, is that now you've started exercising you may find that as you build a bit of muscle the weight loss will slow down, this isn't a bad thing as you should still be loosing fat but it can be a bit demotivating. To help keep yourself focused it's worth taking note of your waist, hip, thigh, boob and upper arm measurements and tracking how many cms you loose.

chrome100 Tue 18-Jun-13 16:16:54

Well I have swum a mile 5 times a week (about 30 mins or so) for the past ten years and have never once been fat or gained weight so I think that's a load of old cobblers. In fact, I am pretty toned and in good shape so I think that it is definitely worth doing as an exercise.

Ijustbluemyself Tue 18-Jun-13 16:21:25

Great post Undertone

I agree that in the end don't get all obsessive over the scales, your weight can fluctuate all day, I remember making sure I didn't drink water or tea before I got scale because I knew it would make me look heavier.

The most important thing is how you feel, and you will notice changes in your body (self 4 weeks, friends and family 8 weeks, rest of the world 12 weeks). Check up on the scales relatively regularly, but if you're eating correctly and doing regular exercise you don't really need to

chloesaidfred Tue 18-Jun-13 17:07:34

sarahtigh and stepawayfromthescreen it's not about staying hydrated - we can do this on below 2 litres or whatever the fashionable acceptable amount of water is because of the water in the food we consume, plus tea/ coffee etc. etc. But to really flush out your system and let your body know that it doesn't need to fear dehydration and cling on to water - we need to drink loads. I drink 3/4 litres per day (although I do lift!) plus lots of veggies (and vast amounts of coffee!) and no sign of dying just yet wink a few months back when I started my new regime, I lost 10lbs of water weight in 1 week!! Hence why I'm a huge advocate of drinking it.

Obviously water weight isn't the same as losing fat. But carrying water weight can make us feel like our efforts in the kitchen/ at the gym aren't paying off and cause us to feel we need to lose more than we actually do. 10lbs of fat would take at least 5/6+weeks to lose if done healthily.

plentyofsoap Tue 18-Jun-13 17:26:02

Body attack classes are hard, but really work. I'm pregnant now so not attending them, but I intent to go back after confident that it will work. Pilates shrank my tummy too. Second pregnancy so not expecting too much after though grin

stepawayfromthescreen Tue 18-Jun-13 17:26:38

Chloe, that's way too much water, sorry.
I'd be on and off the toilet all day for starters.

chloesaidfred Tue 18-Jun-13 17:28:32

Yeah, I have become rather familiar with the back of the bathroom door grin

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