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How do you go from fat to fit?

(43 Posts)
CatBlaster Sun 08-Nov-15 11:18:06

I've never been sporty and I'm uncoordinated. I've never felt like my body does the things that other people's bodies do but I've realised it's because I've never used it properly (dur) and maybe my body could get stronger and fitter if I tried...

I've tried Couch to 5K a couple of times but couldn't get past Week 3 - just wanted to die!

I've started a weekly pilates class and I'm so much weaker than everybody else in the class, I'm embarrassed!

So where do I start? What kind of things do I need to do? What combination of exercises (and nutrition) will actually lead to changes?

My goal is to be 'healthier'. Any advice gratefully received.

MumOnTheRunAgain Sun 08-Nov-15 11:23:31

I lost 5 stone through low carbing

And did c25k-marathon in 3 years.

I'd recommend working on core strength and using mfp, then build up. Log it all and take body measurements before starting. Join online groups maybe for motivation?

CatBlaster Sun 08-Nov-15 11:45:00

I find the couch to 5k quite boring i think, just running 3x a week is quite monotonous and I end up counting the seconds til I can finish and go home.

I think I need more variety but I'd like some advice on what combination of exercise would work.

For example, I'm doing weekly pilates, but will I see any improvement with just once a week? And how often would I need to do cardio to see some improvements there?

hebihebi Sun 08-Nov-15 11:50:29

Try to find exercise that you enjoy. If you enjoy pilates then stick with it, you will get stronger. I used to belong to a gym which had a number of different classes in the evening so I used to do body pump and yoga which I loved. I tried hip hop dance but was awful at it so quit. I also took swimming lessons. If you enjoy it and look forward to it then that's half the battle.

hebihebi Sun 08-Nov-15 11:53:53

Ps. Try not to overthink it. Maybe pilates once a week and something more cardio once a week to start with and see how it goes. Like I said, focus on enjoying it and you will get stronger and healthier.

Namechanger2015 Sun 08-Nov-15 11:54:43

I agree that you need to enjoy it. I am horrendously unfit but have been seeing a personal trainer for a few weeks to give me a kick start. I've done 2-3 sessions per week for a month and am definitely feeling fitter for it, even though I've not yet lost any weight.

I think in the beginning you need to do lots to see a change and that keeps you motivated.

RJnomaaaaaargh Sun 08-Nov-15 11:56:04

The answer is, slowly. Have you tried resistance training? Weights, Kettlebells etc? Try lots of things til you find a few you like and then keep them mixed up so you don't get bored.

Running isn't really for me either.

Thefitfatty Sun 08-Nov-15 12:01:58

You need to find something you enjoy. What kind of person are you? For me I can't stand "classes" because I end up paying more attention to everyone else (like you said, feeling like I can't do the same things). I do like running but on a treadmill where I can focus on my music or just drift off with my thoughts and not have to keep an eye out for someone about to run me over or what have you. I can put in a program and just go.

I really love weightlifting too. I never thought I would, but I found a beginners program and just said F it. I ignored everyone else doing weightlifting for a long time because I thought they would judge me. They don't. They were all beginners once too, and with the exception of the odd annoying "mansplainer," everyone is super nice and supportive.

However, other people really like the group thing, and really enjoy crossfit, pilates and yoga. Again, if you let the walls down you will find that everyone was exactly where you were at one point.

As for overall health. I found that once I got more active, I wanted to eat better generally. I'm trying the low carb, high fat thing right now because a lot of weightlifting forums recommend it. I'm actually finding it pretty easy because my body is craving so much protein anyway. Only when I had the flu the last weekend did I find that I wanted carbs (and I let my body have them!), and nowhere near as much carbs as I used to eat.

KeyserSophie Sun 08-Nov-15 12:03:05

You'll get better. There's a girl at my Crossfit gym, who, when she started couldn't even lift the 15kg bar off the floor and now she is a competitor in power lifting. To quote Woody Allen when asked the secret of his success "I just kept showing up".

SwanneeKazoo Sun 08-Nov-15 12:13:31

I found a range of activities helps - you get stronger/better/faster at one and it helps with getting stronger/better/faster at the others, plus you don't get bored with doing the same thing. Cycling, swimming, running go together well but also add in some weight training with kettle bells, weights or barbells - the more muscle you build the more calories you burn even when resting. Probably doing one or two things once or twice a week is not going to make much of a difference but gradually you will get fitter so could add in more sessions. Don't get disheartened if you feel knackered after the warm-up or can't keep up, just go at your own pace and if you go regularly you will start to notice a change. Good luck!

CatBlaster Sun 08-Nov-15 12:15:51

Thanks all, this is really helpful.

I tried a step class but omg, it was impossible! I nearly broke my ankle a couple of times trying to keep up. I was so embarrassed I left half way through.

I'm a member of a gym but I don't know how to use any of the equipment, so I guess that would be a starting point, to book in for an induction!

I've done low carb high fat before but I end up feeling a bit crazy for carbs which causes massive rebound bingey feelings which I don't think is healthy. I've been reading Beyond Chocolate and trying to learn about what a healthy diet is, but there's so much conflicting advice out there.

CatBlaster Sun 08-Nov-15 12:16:51

So three session a week would be best do you think?

Thefitfatty Sun 08-Nov-15 12:22:06

I've done low carb high fat before but I end up feeling a bit crazy for carbs which causes massive rebound bingey feelings which I don't think is healthy.

Oh it certainly does! The only reason I suggested it was as an example of how my body wants different, healthier foods now that I'm building more muscle, not suggesting you do it!

An introduction at your gym would be great, and if you are interested in some moves just google arm exercises, or chest, etc. There's LOADS of stuff for all levels online!

HaveYouSeenHerLately Sun 08-Nov-15 13:15:57

I'd honestly give Body Pump a try if your gym offers it. Arrive a bit early, ask another class member to help you set up your station (I'd suggest being nearish to the front, with a mirror beside you - watching your form is really important). Explain to the instructor that it's your first time if you don't want to stick your hand up wink

It can be a bit busy and intimidating at the start as everyone rushes in and busies about setting up their weights, but remember everyone was once a beginner in Body Pump! You'll be a natural in a week or two.

The reason I mention Body Pump is that the music is quite familiar/ motivating, the tracks are <5 minutes and they focus on different parts if the body so it's not too repetitive. You build up your weights at your own pace. Every 3 months they release and teach a new track listing to keep things interesting!

I really enjoy it as you see progress in your muscles and the weights you're lifting. I'm quite uncoordinated and don't enjoy step/ aerobics/ zumba as I get distracted trying to learn the routine. In Body Pump you stay in a set position! It really gets the heartrate going and builds muscle which burns calories long after the class has finished. It also means I don't feel guilty about not bothering with the (imo boring) weights machines in the gym. I prefer free weights anyway.

You might want to try classes by a variety of Body Pump instructors (quite a lot teach it in our gym) as some are better/ more humorous than others imo wink I find that keeps me going to the end of the track if I'm flagging a bit.

If you enjoy it aim for two classes a week increasing to three if you can.

The increase in muscle mass will really help you in Pilates, especially in strengthening your core (do remember to engage core in the Body Pump tracks besides the abs one, you will get a cheeky extra work out and it will help your form).

Les Mills also do various other programmes such as Body Combat, Body Attack etc which use the same format of 10 short tracks in an hour focusing on different parts of the body. I've done Body Combat before. I found it hard at first (again, learning the routines) but persevered and enjoyed it. I've always enjoyed boxercise/ kick boxing more than regular aerobics so it was a nod to that.

In addition to your Pilates you could complete the 30 Days of Yoga challenge with Adriene on YouTube. I've started it and am already seeing improvements in my flexibility and ability to relax! The videos are 30 mins or less so there's no excuse not to slot one into your day grin

HaveYouSeenHerLately Sun 08-Nov-15 13:21:27

Oh and spinning (studio class with bikes, set to music) is supposed to be amazing for weight loss. I've never done it to my regret as the classes were always VERY popular and full of athletes at my last gym that offered it. See if you can find a beginners class or a shorter length class (our gym offered 15/30/45 min options) to get you started and let the instructor know you're a beginner. I believe you can dial the resistance on the bike down if you're finding it too hard at first.

Tip - a couple of weeks of body pump will get you a bit fitter and maybe give you confidence to try it.

CatBlaster Sun 08-Nov-15 13:27:40

this may sound stupid, but is swimming any good for improving fitness?

It just seems so gentle! I can easily swim 1k but I rarely feel that nice muscle ache afterwards, so I guess I'm probably swimming ineffectually or something.

CatBlaster Sun 08-Nov-15 14:03:20

<googles body pump>

CMOTDibbler Sun 08-Nov-15 14:10:30

Swimmings great for improving fitness - if its head down, swimming hard type fitness. Not that pootling up and down isn't exercise, but if you swim 2km of freestyle going hard twice a week, then you will see body changes.

Personally, I couldn't bear going to a class indoors. I run, cycle and swim and enjoy the headspace and challenging myself.

KatharineClifton Sun 08-Nov-15 14:13:06

Have you thought about at home DVD'? I've found the Cindy Crawford DVD's very good when I was larger - they aren't massive quick ones. Then I move onto Jillian Michaels and Davina DVD's. I also adore my NYC Ballet DVD which is great for toning and strengthening and not mad cardio.

HelenaJustina Sun 08-Nov-15 14:13:44

You need to be swimming really quite quickly to elevate your heart rate enough to burn calories/increase cardio fitness levels.

I think a goal of 3 hours exercise a week is a good one, 2 half hour runs, 2 classes or 1 class and 2 free weight sessions. But build up to it so you don't hurt yourself.

Agree with pp that you need to try lots of different things to see what gets you buzzing, if you don't enjoy it you won't go back. But give something a good go, 3 weeks maybe before you decide if it is for you or not.

Pilates, yoga, Zumba, c25k is great if you can stick at it, Body Pump, jazzercise, salsa, adult ballet, aqua aerobics, circuits, spinning, boot camp, there is so much choice out there!

KatharineClifton Sun 08-Nov-15 14:14:29

It is 80-90% diet though, exercise makes weight loss quicker and gives endorphins, but not on it's own.

CatBlaster Sun 08-Nov-15 14:18:11

I can only do breast stroke. The last time I tried to do front crawl my DH said I looked like I was being chased by a shark blush

So would 2 cardio and one pilates be beneficial?

I think I'll have a mooch around youtube for beginner's stuff I can do at home.

confusedandemployed Sun 08-Nov-15 14:22:24

I recently went from fat to fit (well still getting there but I'm definitely on the right track). This is what I did:

1. Found a way of healthy, calorie-deficit eating which is sustainable for me. In my case it's 5:2.

2. Exercise in a huge variety of ways: Zumba, pump, aerobics, Insanity DVDs, running and gym to name but a few. I have 3 different gym workouts so I don't always do the same each time I go. I change these workouts every 3 months or so, that way I don't find the gym so boring.

3. Increased my exercise from 3 to 5 days per week after about 3 months. These days I feel wrong if I don't exercise.

I absolutely love my new way of life. I feel 100% in control of things, which is important to me bloody control freak. In my opinion it all starts with the eating. Pick your healthy and start there.

Good luck - it is totally worth it.

PhoebeMcPeePee Sun 08-Nov-15 14:25:34

I lost 3 stone last year and would now describe myself as pretty fit, enjoy regular exercise and really miss it when I can't fit a session in - rarely moved beyond a gentle walk 18mths ago! As others have said, it's about finding something you really enjoy that you want to sustain not feel yo have to. For me it's cycling & insanity classes and from an improved fitness angle I add in the odd swim/run. For weight loss it's mainly about diet changes with exercise helping it along & keeping it off long-term.

Try different classes (personally I hate spin & body pump) but also don't forget more outdoorsy stuff like cycling, hill walking, climbing, running, swimming etc - i find these solo sports more mentally therapeutic than an indoor group session so like the mix of each.

hebihebi Sun 08-Nov-15 14:27:20

Actually there is a lot of evidence that walking is just as good for fitness as running so I personally think that slow, steady swimming is just as good for you too. I know a guy who lost a tonne of weigh since he started walking daily. As long as your body is moving then you are doing well. I think the induction is a great place to start.

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