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dangphat

Time to work on Strength and Agility (Because Intellect is maxed out obviously)

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I have been thinking of making this thread for a while, a little for my own sake and a little to see what other people in our community are doing.

 

The Health and Fitness Thread

 

Computers and fitness do not go hand in hand. As I sit here typing I am barely using more calories per minute than I did when I was sleeping last night.

 

So I will start with a proviso for this thread:

 

 

If you want to improve your health and/or fitness, you cannot spend all your spare time playing computer games

 

 

My story:

 

About a year ago I was the least "fit" I have ever been in my life. I weighed 144 Kg, I got out of breath with minimal exercise and my sweating was excessive. I considered myself an active person, I am a rugby player but had spent most of that season injured so hadnt done for 6 months rugby. I like a drink and I love cooking so my social life was great and everyone around me was drinking and eating and they weren't fat so I should be OK.

 

I am 6'5" so I can pull off being the big guy but it was time to change. In the last year I have lost 18 Kg and still have further to go to reach my target. So I would like to share a bit of how I did it, and what options are out there for people who want to get fit.

 

1. Eating and Drinking

 

1.1 Diets

 

There are many specific diets out there, and nearly all of them work. 

 

This may seem strange because, all they diets seem to disagree with each other. Weight Watchers and similar point score diets will let you eat just about anything as long as the sum of what you eats is less than a certain cap with each food weighted differently. Low-carb diets only set you limits on the number of carbs, low GI on the glycemic score of the food. Replacement diets give you chemical replacements for meals, and the cabbage soup diet gives you cabbage soup.

 

If the only effect of a diet is to make you realise what you are eating then the diet will have some effect.

 

I myself have been following something called the "Primal Blueprint", feel free to look it up, it is utter bullshit. The logic behind it is flawed, however it works for me.

 

My main advice here is to say find a diet that you can stick with, I love meat and veg and I am happy to cook food up so it suits me. If you prefer ready meals do weight watchers, if you need to snack on the go do meal replacement. Just do something.

 

1.2 Energy

 

A version of the second law of thermodynamics:

 

In a thermodynamic process of a closed system, the increment in the internal energy is equal to the difference between the increment of heat accumulated by the system and the increment of work done by it.

 

Eating - exercise = net effect on body weight

 

However there is more to it than this, energy in food comes in different chemical forms. Some foods will give sugar straight to the blood stream, some will release it over time. Your body react by releasing insulin if blood sugar is too high for a sustained period, this is the process that creates fat. Your bodies control logic is not perfect so if it sees a shit load of sugar it will create a massive amount of insulin after a delay often more than is needed (the reason why you can have low energy after a big meal).

 

Do not chuck a load of quick release energy into your body unless you are about to do exercise or have just done exercise.

 

This can be done by eating the same make up of food you eat now and modifying the amounts until it doesnt piss your body off or changing what you eat or both.

 

1.3 Protein, minerals and other good stuff

 

You need them basically, I have lumped together all the good stuff in food. Food is not evil. Protein, creatine etc. are needed for building muscle, calcium for bones and nails, minerals for all kinds of stuff.

 

Read about this shit, but in general eat a decent amount of green vegetables, fruit (in moderation) and lean meat and you are good to go.

 

Some symptoms that you are lacking certain things in your diet (and I have had some of these): tiredness, irritability, insomnia, constipation, diarrhea, pale complexion, balding, sweating, itching, libido reduction and much much more. You are probably fine, but what harm could an extra piece of fruit as your mid-morning snack do?

 

1.4 Drinking

 

Water is good, seriously drink this shit I will guarantee that most people reading this should drink a glass right now.

 

Refined sugar drinks (coke etc) are a treat and are not nutritionally valuable, they will turn into fat if you have too much.

 

Fruit drinks are better, but should still be moderated, fructose will still cause your body to pump out insulin, just because it is fruit does not make it good.

 

No -sugar drinks are OK, I drink them, but really do you want those chemicals some of which have known side effects. Do not drink a 6 pack of coke zero and assume you are now healthy.

 

Alcohol is a difficult subject. It fucks with your insulin levels, first lowering them then rising them and it is known to be a contributing factor to diabetes. I love socialising with my mates over a drink, so I have begun changing my drinks to make it easier to limit the damage while not being "that guy". Most alcoholic drinks have residual sugars reducing the amount of these will help limit the damage. Beer is bad! In general non-sweet drinks are better, dry wine and spirits are the safer bets. Remember though alcohol has many other negative effects, I am not encouraging anyone to drink (at least not in this post)

 

2. Exercise

 

Do some

 

2.1 Strength and muscles

 

You can be strong without big muscles and you can have big muscles and not be strong.

 

Gaining strength and muscle has many benefits: confidence, injury prevention, increased resting calorie usage, self protection etc.

 

From my experience if you do resistance training for at least half an hour twice a week, you will get stronger and your muscles will get bigger.

 

This may seem a little daunting as a prospect for some people, but I guarantee you if you stick with it, it becomes fun.

 

2.1.1 Body weight exercises

 

There are many you can do, just type it into YouTube. But as a general note here are four that if you did every day would make your whole body look better and can be done by anyone.

 

[*] Box Jumps - jump onto stuff with two feet, you activate loads of stuff in your legs and back, start small work up to really high stuff. - set of 20

[*] Press ups - yeah they are old school but depending where your hands are placed will work chest and triceps nicely and help your core stability, if you are starting out put your knees down until you can do full ones. - set of 20

[*]Sit ups/crunches - there are many variations, but try and concentrate on your lower core muscles (yep your peeing/sex muscles) these really improve balance and poise. - set of 20

[*]Pull ups - these are bastards, after a year of trying I am up 6 chin ups, and like 1 and a half wide arm pull ups. Find yourself a bar/ledge, most local play parks have these next to them. If you cant do them, cheat. I started out putting a bench underneath me and putting my toes on it and pushing off. You can also do negatives by jumping to the top of the pull up and just reducing your falling rate. If you are still having issues lie under a tall bed and just pull your chest up off the floor with your feet on the ground using the bed rail. - set of 20

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If you do these regularly you will notice improvements within a fortnight.

 

2.1.2 Gym work

 

I am not going to tell you what to do here, its up to you there is so much out there. Join a gym, talk to an instructor ask for a work plan, they will do this for free. They will also show you how to do all the exercises.

 

The advantage of going to the gym is that it removes distraction and can create a social aspect to working out. I would recommend trying out a week trial before signing up though, most places will organise this.

 

In general low rep(0-6) + heavy weight (80%+ of max)= strength, medium reps (6-12)+ medium weight (60-80% of max) = muscle gain, high reps + low weight = strength endurance. These are not exclusive, but does explain why guys with big muscles normally do sets of 10 reps.

 

2.2 Fitness cardio

 

Get your heart and lungs working, they need training as well. It has been shown that doing exercise that increase your heart rate above 60% of maximum regularly is good for you. It is this training that will make you feel "fit".

 

The easiest way of doing this is sport, do it.

 

Sport in general is cheap and peer pressure is a good way of forcing yourself to work harder. I am biased because I love it, but there are so many opportunities to get involved. Go to your local council website and click on their sport link, there is sport everywhere and it is so varied. Go learn Karate, kite surfing, or whatever you feel like. Most sports clubs are welcoming to new people. Just show willing. It is also a great way of meeting new people to socialise with.

 

If you have to do it on your own then I would recommend swimming and running. Make sure you put sprints in though, otherwise you may as well just walk (which is good but fits below).

 

2.3 Fat Burning

 

I have put this separately because you don't need to put on shorts and lycra to burn fat. Slow and steady wins the fat race, get off your arse and walk around. The more resting time you can replace with low- intensity exercise the better. Your body isnt eating its quick release energy its actually burning fat. So how do you do this? Get off the bus a stop earlier, walk/cycle to work, don't take the lift, walk back from the pub, do house work/ gardening. Take breaks from your computer on the weekend and walk to the shops.

 

Those annoying people who seem to eat more than you and do no sport and are still skinny do this. I guarantee they will keep doing stuff through the day that adds up to more than your 45 minute gym/sauna session.

 

3. Why should I?

 

I dont really care it's up to you. A lot of you are very fit anyway so great. 

 

If nothing else a good reason to do all this is so you can spend more time with your current/future partner and kids, being the first to die is quite rude.

 

 

 

 

 

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My (uneducated) advice is just to live sensibly. I started walking to work and back consistently around last summer (around 3 miles each way so 6 each day) and since than have lost about 2 stone (currently I'm around 11.5).  At lunch I'll tend to go for a walk for 20 minutes or so. If I'm feeling energetic I may jog part of the way home.

 

A decent amount of exercise and not eating stupidly is all it takes. I don't consider myself as fit as I was when I did my DoE and Queens Scout but I do think I'm in pretty good shape. 

 

I sigh at people at work who come in saying "I've started new diet X!" as thats all they do. They'll not do more exercise and generally get tired of the diet within 3 months (if that).

Edited by Sharp

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Ok, so I have a lot of... crap? to sort out in my life, this stuff is one area that needs work. Just before Christmas I started back at Taekwondo, which trains a lot of endurance type things - extended sparring with quick reflexive movements, jogging and sprinting. A couple of weeks back I joined a "Body Tone" class some of my close friends were attending - it does more to strengthen muscles and the "Body Weight" exercises you list above seems to cover the bulk of this (Yes, that class is basically all women, so?)

 

My diet is the bit thats somewhat troubling. I drink predominantly fizzy drinks (Coke, Fanta, Sprite), with alcohol being Cocktails or Spirit with Fizzy Drink mixer. Before christmas I would have 5-7 "Take-Outs" a week. I dont have time to cook - which people tend to question because it doesnt take long, but I generally do my evening activities straight from work rather than going home first as I would lose an hour to that, so my food tends to need to be fast when I get back, and even then I'm eating just as I go to bed, or I have to have my main meal at lunch in or around the office (so no kitchen). I've ended up in a situation however where if I try to move off of this stuff, I find it harder to function, my other problems kick in, and I have to revert to regain a modicum of control - i'm looking for a healthier source of similar kinds of energy input patterns. I don't really ever snack however.

 

My problem is motivation. I dont look unfit, I don't generally do things that make me feel unfit (outside of times when I'm actively working on it), I dont have a need to lose weight (i'm very slightly overweight for height, but I mean slightly - my stomach is deceptive), your logic above about living longer for others doesn't fly for me as something else will have killed me long before this if I dont fix it.

 

The information I need is stuff like what sorts of foodtypes should I be aiming for before and after this sort of training. I have to have my main meal at lunch generally, except on Taekwondo day, where my parents feed me (but this is typically Chinese Takeaway anyway...)

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In a thermodynamic process of a closed system, the increment in the internal energy is equal to the difference between the increment of heat accumulated by the system and the increment of work done by it.

I, too, loved the latest Muse album.

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Dan you have a lot of positives on your side:

 

Just before Christmas I started back at Taekwondo, which trains a lot of endurance type things - extended sparring with quick reflexive movements, jogging and sprinting. A couple of weeks back I joined a "Body Tone" class some of my close friends were attending - it does more to strengthen muscles and the "Body Weight" exercises you list above seems to cover the bulk of this (Yes, that class is basically all women, so?)

If you are doing exercise two or three times a week involving some strength and some cardio this is really great, and you get to meet people. You could even build on this, awesome!

 

with alcohol being Cocktails or Spirit

With a subtle change this is no worries, just go for low fat mixers, diet coke/lime soda/slim line tonic etc most of the fittest guys at my rugby club drink vodka diet cokes in the clubs.

 

i'm looking for a healthier source of similar kinds of energy input patterns. I don't really ever snack however

So just subtle changes and you will be golden, this is looking really positive.

 

You have identified the area where you need to improve and these are all really low effort areas to fix. So lets look at them:

 

  •  

     

  • Fizzy drinks - they taste really good, but so do the zero sugar options, coke zero, ribena no sugar, dr pepper zero, and no sugar 7up. Sure they are still full of chemicals but without the sugar. If in doubt drink water.

     

     

  • Take aways - yeah there are times where you dont have time to go home and need to buy something. Make sure that you chose the right options, for takeaway a kebab with salad isnt all that bad, a stir fry from a decent thai place with little sauce and no rice is great. Fish and chips should be avoided and pizza. If you want pizza go for a smaller size and order a salad with it.

     

     

  • Lack of time for cooking - cooking can be quick, the BBC website has a quick meals filter on its food part which is useful. In general my fast options are omelettes, salads and stir fries. All of which you can be eating in 5 minutes and are really cheap, the ingredients for those can last the majority of a week so stock up. You can get frozen stirfry veg to have in when the fridge is bare. I can give you recipes and instructions if you want.

     

     

  • Eating just before bed- this is the worst time to eat carbohydrates like sugars because your body doesnt work them off and they get stored. So munch some veg/meat/dairy instead or a packet of nuts.

     

     

  • Lack of motivation - this can be self perpetuating, exercise and healthy living are proven to improve mental attitude. People who have a healthy life style in general are happier people, so are more motivated to do stuff.

     

     

  • Belly fat - fat round the midriff is shown to correlate with a number of diseases when you get older, also if you get a toned belly the women will notice.

     

     

 

 

So overall you are in a great position and it would not take much to get to an awesome one! 

Edited by dangphat

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Where is the scaremongering Tom?

 

You cant drum people into shape unless you scare the with the looming threat of late onset diabetes type II  oOooooOOoOOOOOoOOOOoOoO.

 

More seriously though I expect a lot of our generation to get this unless they exercise regularly. The science is about levels of blood sugar and insulin recognition but it is bad, and there isn't in any way a "cure" for it. Once your body starts altering the way it recognises the chemicals in your body it doesn't turn back if you are good for a bit. You have to be aware for it the rest of your life.

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Fizzy drinks - they taste really good, but so do the zero sugar options, coke zero, ribena no sugar, dr pepper zero, and no sugar 7up.

Lies, they taste like shit.

Anyway, we were talking about something related to this yesterday actually. I wish I lived somewhere where it was practical for me to cycle to work because I think I'd actually do that and it'd be an easy way to get exercise and avoid rammed trains at the same time. Even if you don't do it every day.

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Fizzy drinks - they taste really good, but so do the zero sugar options, coke zero, ribena no sugar, dr pepper zero, and no sugar 7up.

Lies, they taste like shit.
Lies, they taste like the Ambrosia of the gods (not the one of the shops).

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I loved cycling to work when the office was at the old location - I walk to work every day now (I have no other sensible option!)

 

I can get behind the "Max" approch - Pepsi Max is fine, but diets\sugar free of other ones don't work so well for me. Tbh, thats probably sufficient - If I stick to Max as my "filler" drink for when I'm just thirsty I can have other things more rarely around it and I haven't changed too much. Drinking water tends to make me continue to feel thirsty, even though actually its the lack of energy from it thats the issue (It would seem that realising this is half the battle?)

 

Take Aways - I have this problem every day, but already steer clear of Fish & Chips and Pizza. I tend to instead go for one of Subway (Where I load up on salad), Burger King (Usually for a Whopper style thing - I like the salad!), KFC (Opting for a chicken burger rather than pieces) or Mumtaz (Good quality indian restaurant - As its just across the dock they deliver to my place for free).  Not a fan of Thai or Chinese really. How bad is this approch really?

Edited by Dan

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I can get behind the "Max" approch - Pepsi Max is fine, but diets\sugar free of other ones don't work so well for me. Tbh, thats probably sufficient - If I stick to Max as my "filler" drink for when I'm just thirsty I can have other things more rarely around it and I haven't changed too much. Drinking water tends to make me continue to feel thirsty, even though actually its the lack of energy from it thats the issue (It would seem that realising this is half the battle?)

 

I love pepsi Max and agree the others are sub-par in comparison. There is pepsi Max and cherry falvour pepsi max now as well for some variety. I wouldnt say that I drink it when thirsty I would say I drink as a pacifier or placater. By ingesting it it makes me feel like im consuming something but Im not. It worked really well at first but I do tend to have to consume more to get the same affect these days. I found when I had a busy work day as a teacher to keep me occupied and this to distract my taste buds/ brain + regular exercise was enough to lose weight. However I have found  that you need all elements of that equation for effect.

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How bad is this approch really?
I assumed you were trolling as any person with an IQ over 90 and more than two GCSEs should be able to answer this but here goes.

I tend to instead go for one of Subway (Where I load up on salad), Burger King (Usually for a Whopper style thing - I like the salad!), KFC (Opting for a chicken burger rather than pieces) or Mumtaz (Good quality indian restaurant

I will be honest, I find the food from these places tasty but never satisfying. Lets have a think about what energy each give you and how they give it to you.Subway: I looked at the meatball marinara online. A 6 inch sub has a third of your daily recommended salt (before the addition of extra dressing or seasoning) and the majority of its energy comes in carbohydrate form, so quick release. It has a nice amount of fat as well. Overall subway is fine as a treat but it has little long term nutritional value and will not help your body.Burger King: Well lets be shocked here is actually bad for you. Looking down thislist I tried to find a low-carb option, the kids chicken fillets, a chicken salad and the garden salad seem to be the only options. If you ordered this it would actually be healthy. Every other dish is going to make your blood sugar spike. Thats before we start talking about saturated fats.KFC: This is one of my late night options, I normally tell myself its ok because it's cheicken but I have never looked it up. Looking at the figures it is still not great but the best of a bad bunch on average. Stay away from the burgers, fries and choose your sides carefully and it is relatively better for you than the rest. You will be getting your protein without excess carbohydrates. The salt levels are quiet high, but you can ask for ones with no added salt straight out the fryer. They have also recently changed the oil used for frying to reduce saturated fat.Indian: If you are having lots of veg a moderate amount of rice (brown/wild rice if possible) a main dish which is not sweetened by sugar (you can ask them) then it can healthy. If instead you go for poppadoms with sugary dips, pashwari naan, loads of rice and a really sweet curry well you arent doing your body favours. So as Todd says what are your goals? If it is a balanced diet to stop you getting heart disease, diabetes and massive gut by middle aged, then you need to change.

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General long term improvements. I don't really have an aim...

 

If there is an aim its this: I don't want to worry about it, I want to know and be told, how bad or how good aspects are, catagorically, and know where I can change bits for the better without changing everything at once.

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Different things are good for different purposes. There's a difference between trying to lose weight, trying to gain muscle, trying to improve endurance, etc. Also to some extent different things work for different people, so categorical truths are not that easy to give.

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Perhaps, but actually theres been some key bits in here that are already helping, I don't really know what will until it comes up, because I don't know what I worry about.

 

A comment such as "If you're trying to gain muscle, this is good" is a good one in my book. I know these things are situational. I liked the breakdown into why each of the Take Aways are bad - It is intuitive that they are, but I now know in what ways. I could google this stuff, but it doesn't stick if I do that. I also tend to re-read conversations like these, giving it a better chance to stick than if I look it up.

 

I don't feel a need to lose weight, I don't want to really gain loads of muscle, though a little more definition to my shape wouldn't go amiss.

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I have recently been getting back in to exercise after a period over Christmas where I noticeably gained a bit of a belly. I'm not the kind of person that weighs myself regularly enough to know for sure that I had put on weight but I like to think I'm fairly good at keeping track of how healthy I am from the little things like how much it takes to get me out of breath. Let's just say that at the time I wasn't doing so well.

 

I like to make little changes over time in order to get healthier rather some people that go all out on a diet or massively get in to gym sessions. I've reduced the amount of 'filler' I've put in to my dinner (the pasta or the rice for example) and I've slowly eased myself back in to more exercise such as a run a few times a week, football every now and then and the odd bit of weights. I think people would be surprised how big an impact it can have when you add a lot of smaller changes in to your lifestyle, that way you get the benefit and you don't have to go through any of the punishment. Granted I've started out without much work to do and I have a body type that means I don't put on weight easily and I respond quite quickly but these are things easily done by anyone.

 

As this topic is about being healthier and not just about weight loss I think I need to stress that everyone should be thinking about their long term health. The fact is that living a sedentary lifestyle puts you at risk of a number of diseases that they cannot cure (I believe this is disproportionately heart disease and type II diabetes) and even if you do do some exercise such as walking/cycling but you are still overweight/underweight or get out of breath easily then you simply aren't doing enough as your body isn't responding.

 

A quick point about the science, what's been mentioned above is very much the traditional view of fitness and I would still very much recommend this to anyone who doesn't want to experiment but new science in biology is starting to show us that there may be other ways. There were a few recent episodes of Horizon on the beeb, in particular one about intermittent fasting diets and another about the 'Truth About Exercise' that are particularly interesting and show how our traditional understanding of exercise and a one-size-fits-all regime is plainly false.

 

Personally I think that when it comes to keeping healthy the only issue is motivation (it certainly is for me). All of the people on this forum I trust to be smart enough about this sort of thing and should realise that eating pizza constantly or never moving about is probably bad for you. Just start out by working out why you want to keep healthy (should be obvious, but keep it in your mind) and just fold small changes in to your routine that hopefully you shouldn't notice. Humans are creatures of routine and if we can use this to our advantage by first realising that these routines are in our control, even if they are hard to change, and then making a constant effort to change them then when a time comes that we lose our motivation hopefully we won't lose our way and fall off the wagon like someone that stops a diet.

Edited by Grym

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I could not agree more Martin, I saw the same documentaries you did. The focus of one of them was how the body respond to sugar as a measure of health.

It showed that doing exercise at near maximum if only for a few minutes a couple of times a week is good for you. Also reducing high energy food helps slow many of the signs of aging.

One topic I would like to bring up is sleep. The body repairs while you sleep. Proper amounts of sleep, seven hours at the very minimum will help concentration, motivation and muscle growth after weight training are all improved.

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I like to make little changes over time in order to get healthier rather some people that go all out on a diet or massively get in to gym sessions. I've reduced the amount of 'filler' I've put in to my dinner (the pasta or the rice for example) and I've slowly eased myself back in to more exercise such as a run a few times a week, football every now and then and the odd bit of weights. I think people would be surprised how big an impact it can have when you add a lot of smaller changes in to your lifestyle, that way you get the benefit and you don't have to go through any of the punishment. Granted I've started out without much work to do and I have a body type that means I don't put on weight easily and I respond quite quickly but these are things easily done by anyone.

 

This.

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I am now running for 25mins, 3 times a week and still attend Tae Kwondo every week. I have significantly less take aways than previously and occasionally CHOOSE a salad.

 

I guess my stuff stuck...

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This thread reminds me that I need to get back to exercising. I managed to crack a rib not too long after my post above and no matter how hard anyone tries you aren't going to be doing exercise with a cracked rib I can assure you.

 

I feel I ought to start a new sport but it's a bit difficult to start something that you're supposed to attend regularly when you travel for work. Hmm, I'm sure I'll think of something.

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