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Can't do a push up but would like to start strength training - advice?

(15 Posts)
LoganMountstuart Sun 19-Apr-15 19:35:26

Hi, hoping someone can give me some advice.

I am very weak and can't even do a proper push up! I have a small build and don't gain muscle easily. I have never been sporty or done much exercise, and now I have an office job so spend far too long sitting still. I have done yoga and pilates in the past so my core is fairly strong but my arms and legs are weedy.

I'm a size eight so it's not about losing weight but I am "skinny fat". My diet is OK but not brilliant - I'm a bit of a sugar addict. I would like to be stronger and leaner/more toned.

I have read that strength training is a really good thing for women to do. I hate gyms though, and would rather work out at home.

I would also like to take up another sport/activity, for cardio and stress relief. I'm interested in martial arts but scared of getting hurt! Are there any where you are unlikely to get hit in the face?

I am also confused about nutrition/diet. I don't want to lose weight but I want to eat the right things to help build muscle and strength.

Can anyone recommend some resources? Thanks!

suzannecanthecan Sun 19-Apr-15 19:53:55

Hi Logan, I recommend youtube as a resource (I seem to say that so often on here that it's become my mantrablush )

there are lots of things that can be done at home, press ups you can start with the easy versions and then build up to the regular versions.

Search terms like, 'home strength training' bodyweight exercises' are worth a try smile

I'm clueless about martial arts but I think the risk of actually getting hurt is extremely minimal with any reputable class/school!

Vivacia Sun 19-Apr-15 19:57:31

I half wonder if you have too many goals.

How about trying..?
- to swap one sugary snack for a protein one, each day for two weeks.
- researching martial arts locally and finding one class that you can attend as a taster this month.
- doing one cardio activity next week.
- researching some different strength training approaches and identifying what aspects appeal - Stronglifts 5x5; body weight etc.

(From another size 8 sugar fiend).

Vivacia Sun 19-Apr-15 19:58:23

I second Suzanne's suggestion about YouTube. I like Fitness Blender when I'm stuck in a hotel room for work and craving the barbell.

GunShotResidue Sun 19-Apr-15 20:00:15

I second YouTube, and 'You are your own gym' is a good book/app for bodyweight exercises.

You can do push ups on your knees, but I find that doing them on an incline, ie with your hands on the arm of the sofa, is a better way to work up to a 'normal' one smile

avocadotoast Sun 19-Apr-15 20:02:02

I came here to suggest Fitness Blender, so it's nice to see they've already been mentioned smile

They have tonnes of videos but if you want something with a bit more structure they also sell workout plans that tell you which videos to do on certain days.

(They have meal plans too if that's your thing.)

LoganMountstuart Sun 19-Apr-15 20:03:46


What approach to strength training would you recommend for a complete beginner, Vivacia? I am quite interested in the own bodyweight stuff to negate the need for gym/loads of equipment.

Also - which is the best kind of push up to begin with? I read something that says doing them against the wall first is better than resting on your knees as it builds core strength better.

suzannecanthecan Sun 19-Apr-15 20:03:50

Agree with GunShot, knee pushups always seem a bit awkward to meconfused

LoganMountstuart Sun 19-Apr-15 20:04:22

X post!

smoggy Sun 19-Apr-15 20:05:21

Karate is fantastic for core strength, I have been learning it for the past 2 years and even managed to suprise a lovely lady giving me a sports massage who was surprised to find strong muscles in someone with a flabby belly. Have never got hurt during training as it is about learning moves rather than actual fighting.

Vivacia Sun 19-Apr-15 20:08:38

I've heard the same about push-ups smile

I'm in to compound moves with a barbell, and love what it's done to my body. However, DP was in to body weight so I just asked him and he mentioned Nerd Fitness (website) and Neila Rey 100 no-equipment workouts (pdfs).

suzannecanthecan Sun 19-Apr-15 20:30:10

there are loads of options, which is great because there's bound to be something that you'll get on with
but it can all be very confusing to start withconfused

if you read around a bit you should start to get a feel for whats whatwink

seekingthesun Sun 19-Apr-15 21:01:23

You might like to have a look at this website I found it a useful and encouraging read when starting out. I also second having a look for some videos smile

LoganMountstuart Tue 21-Apr-15 20:07:38

Thanks everyone! After a bit of looking around I have downloaded 'You Are Your Own Gym' book and app, which are really good. I have done the first 2 days of the 'basic' program. Only problem is I don't have the right equipment for the 'pull' exercises. But so far I feel v. inspired.

What is the best thing to eat right after a workout? He suggests that it is a good time to eat carbs, although I have also heard that you should eat some protein after a workout. Also - are protein shakes helpful/healthy if you're not doing serious exercise (by which I mean many reps/heavy weights - I am still shaking after a workout!)?

suzannecanthecan Tue 21-Apr-15 20:14:42

imo real food is preferable to protein shakes, unless you struggle to eat enough of it to maintain (or attain) your desired bodyweight, in which case drinking calories can be helpful.

Most of us dont have a problem with eating enough food grin

any good healthy food is fine, most of it contains carbs and protein, I like peanut butter on toast, which (in common with most of the food I eat) has fat, carbs and proteinwink

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