As I was going for a walk the other day I reflected back on my journey of losing 25kg (55lb) over the last two'ish years but not just think about the weight, but my mentality of the obstacles that stood in my way, so thought I would put those thoughts here.
I'm not a medical professional, or a personal trainer but I've spoken to a lot of them! This is just what worked for me. So feel free to take all of it, none of it, or bits and pieces of it to make it your own.
Firstly – I'm a 39 year old, married Australian male with two kids (3 and 5) and have a 9-5/5 job. My work reequires that I travel about 50% of my time either interstate or internationally.
Seriously, this is the biggest thing that I had to do. Put your phone down or away from your bed if you can't help yourself. Try to get eight hours sleep a night – Minimum six but don't sustain that if you can. You'll be amazed how motivated you are when you're sleeping well. The world is busy and this is usually what gets sacrificed first before exercise and diet.
If you have a significant other and you like to cuddle/chat or sexy time then allow for it in your bed routine. Have morning sex… Or sex in the afternoon. Don't sacrifice sleep for it.
I did CICO – I'm not going to go in to it. There are 1,000 posts on it. The thing for me was 'seagulling' my kids food. I would cook a meal for the family then finish my meal and then pick at the kids meals. Sometimes 200-300 calories extra either from boredom waiting for them to finish (Kids are slow eaters) or whilst I was cleaning up. To combat this, I always put less on my plate – I filled up the rest of my belly divebombing the kids plates when they weren't looking.
I started walking, then running but in winter when it was below zero degrees Celcius I chickened out and stayed at home or walked/ran on the treadmill which bored the hell out of me. Esepecially when I was travelling because many hotels had shitty treadmills or none and it's not nice running outside in a country where traffic is going in the opposite direction.
I knew I should lift and go to the gym but I was intimidated by it and had literally no idea what to do or how much weight I should lift. I hired a PT for 8 sessions for two months. My goals were to learn how to use the gym so I could do it myself, especially when I travelled and made this clear to my PT. Everyone is different, but I think the goal for most should be to get education for independance, not give someone money to merely tell you what to do – You're paying for an education, not instruction. I see people paying for the same PT for years and they look and feel great – But I guess for me, there comes a time when I think I should be in a position to offer advice (Like here!).
Anyway – Here is my weekly workout routine that works for me and is adaptable for where I am and what season it's in.
3 x gym sessions a week, 2 x cardio sesssions a week, 1 x round of golf (Except when I'm on holiday, then this replaces my cardio), 1 x stretching session = 7 days.
At the end of your exercise, you should feel good. You might feel a bit sore the next day, but you should feel good and motivated to exercise again. If you didn't have a good time or your body hurts so much that you don't want to exercise again or it causes you to lose motivation then you did too much. You ran too far or fast or you lifted too much – Knock it down a bit. There's no point burning an extra 100 calories on a run that's going to affect you not wanting to burn 400 calories in a new workout the next day.
Here are the definitions I'll use below:
Warm Up – You need to spend at least 5 minutes stretching the muscles that you're about to use to prepare them for the work that they're about to receive. Your warm up activity should directly relate to whatever you're about to work on, which I'll go in to below.
Work – The activity
Rest – A recovery from the work. Pace, stretch, do another low tempo activity. Get off your phone.
Cool Down – Stretch, relax, breathe, keep on standing up and moving unless you're doing specific stretches that call for you to lie down/sit. Get off your phone.
Lets get the easy one out of the way first. Just move for 40-45 minutes 2-3 times a week. Walk, jog, run, eliptical, row machine, exercise bike, swim.
Find a nice place. Lake, park – Drive there if you have to. Look for places along your route home from work or to work if you're doing it in the morning. Try to stay away from hills. Worst case, just find your nearest oval and do laps. Google hiking or cycle paths in your area and go there. Maybe travel for new experiences on the weekend if your timetable allows it.
My advice is if your BMI is over 35 – Don't run. It's too much weight on your body. Obese people will often talk about their 'poor genetics' and how they have great, toned legs but a fat belly and can't figure it out. Your legs are toned because every day is leg day carrying that weight around. Stick to walking/swimming or the non-impact machines listed above.
When your body is ready and you feel confident start upping the tempo. My current cardio is (Tue/Thur):
- Warm up – 5 minutes – Maybe some light stretching on the move, kick yourself in the bum with the heels of your feet, do some high knees, some side-steps each way.
- Work – 1 minute – Light jog/run
- Rest – 1 minute – Walk – Keep your head up
Alternate between work and rest 15 times, so it's 30 minutes of exercise.
- Cool down – 5 minutes – I take my hat off, turn my music off, then the lady telling me my intervals off, enjoy the breeze, enjoy the view and do a few stretches.
This is a good exercise because I worked up to the full 30 minutes of exercise. I started just doing just 5 minutees of walk/jog. Then I did 10 minutes with 5 minutes of rest in between. Now I'm doing the full 30 minutes of walk/jog-run.
If you're just getting started, walk for 40 minutes.
Lifting – It's scary. There are thin, fit, confident people with muscles everywhere. The thing is, they don't care that you're there. They're happy that you're there. You hear stories of people being picked on at the gym, but there are assholes in everything we do. Dismiss them.
8 reps x 5 sets – Enough weight that you're feeling good by the end of the first set and struggling on about the 3rd/4th rep by the 5th set but can still finish. I have all my weights and exercises mapped out in on a Google Sheet. Find what is best for you.
Don't put the weight up until you've done maybe 3 to 4 sessions of the same weight and you're feeling confident that you can go up. Sometimes you'll just have good days and think you can put the weight up but then the next session you're struggling. Likewise, sometimes you'll just have bad days and feel shitty about it.
The bar is 20kg (44lb) – If you can only lift the bar, then that's still 20kg of lifting. Feel proud about yourself 🙂
I don't have a 'back day' or a 'leg day' or a 'chest day'. I have exercises that I want to complete each day which is dependant on what equipment is available. Feel free to jump in and offer advice if you see where I can make some efficiency gains in my workout routine.
Always commit 5 minutes to a warm up stretch and 5 minutes to cool down stretch. Everyone just wants to get in and lift, even the fittest people. Don't do this. Stretch muscles you're about to work and any niggles you may have.
This is my workout routine – About 45 minutes each:
Warm up (On top of your 5 minute warm up at the start) – Minimal weight or just the bar doing the actual work that you're about to do.
Work – 8 reps
Rest – 1.5 – 2 minutes (Have a stopwatch if you need it.
Day 1 (Monday)
Exercise 1 – Barbell Squat
Exercise 2 – Bench Press
Exercise 3 – Bent over row
Day 2 (Wednesday)
Exercise 1 – Deadlift
Warm up – Stretch your back. Be careful. Start with minimal weight
Exercise 2 – Dumbell shoulder press
Exercise 3 – Bicep Curl
Day 3 (Friday)
Exercise 1 – Reverse Lat Pulldown
Exercise 2 – Seated Low Row
Exercise 3 – Something new. Look at other people in the gym and what they're doing. If you're up for it, talk to them, ask them what the exercise is called then do it.
Sometimes I'll have some extra time at the gym, or I'll miss a workout or and/or I just feel like doing something extra so I go to one of these two activities to do a bit of conditioning. Totally optional and don't make yourself sore the next day.
This is what I do if I'm up for it:
It's 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest, eight times. You can do whatever you want or what you think are your weak points or muscle groups you want to work on. Pushups, situps, exercise bike, crunches, running/sprinting, lunges, burpees – Whatever you want!
I use this Spotify playlist when I'm doing it which is fun
Row and Carry
Personal fave of mine because it's a bit different. I grab two weights with handles on them (Some barbell weights have handles or kettle bells or dumb bells) and place them next to a rowing machine. Then I row for 300m (1,000ft) get off, lift the weights (Like a deadlift at the side) and do a lap of the gym. Repeat five times.
On the 7th day he stretched.
Chill out in front of the TV or put on some chill music and work your legs, ass and back for about 20-30 minutes.
As I said, this is what works for me. It's managable and 40-45 minutes of my day.
Keep a towel handy and always have a gym bag ready to go in the car. I have two towels – One nappy towel that I use in the gym and one big towel that I keep in the car to put over my seat to sit on when I'm skanky.
Rack your weights when you're finished at the gym, wipe down all surfaces with a sanitisere that the gym should provide and leave the equipment in a state you'd like to find it in.
Hope this helps some people – If you're still scared, practice at home with some milk cartons or something then enter the gym! 🙂