I’ve never liked lifting weights indoors, whether it’s using free-weights or stationary equipment, it’s just not stimulating or motivating for me. I do it sometimes, but it’s not something I could rely on for my regular source of exercise. I like to move around more, if possible, and I like being out in the fresh breeze, getting dirty. I’m also a believer that it’s important to find activities you enjoy if you want to stick with it long term.
I have my core activities that I enjoy doing (hiking, sprinting, using the elliptical) and I can do them almost 7 days a week if I don’t have time to be creative and switch things up. I plan on focusing on the elliptical and calisthenics while I continue to get closer to my lofty goal of 10% body fat.*
(Weighted Lunge Walk)
It’s easier for me to regulate my appetite when I’m not lifting weights, so things like riding the elliptical, doing calisthenics, and hiking have been really effective for staying active consistently through the weight loss period (I would put more emphasis on the elliptical and calisthenics because hiking hurts my back).
I like to focus on things I can do nearly every day without experiencing much muscle breakdown or requiring a recovery period. That said, I don’t want to turn into a twig, so I do some muscle training. Also, it’s fun to do the Rocky IV style workouts!
One of my favorite things to do, and a favorite of lots of people, is just to slap together a workout based on what’s laying around. It could be logs, boxes, tires, chains, a car battery, a low hanging tree limb. Get creative!
For me, weight loss is always halted for a few days after a muscle training workout, even if I don’t eat more, I think it jostles the equilibrium in the body. It churns the waters and it feels great, but it makes it harder, for me anyway, to focus on burning fat.
You’ll hear that muscle burns fat, and while this must be true, I believe, functionally it must be more applicable to maintaining a healthy fat balance than it is to achieving it.
Exercise is uncomfortable, painful, and can even cause long-term damage to your lower back and knees when you’re extremely overweight. It makes progress so slow and hard fought that it prevents most people from making real, long-lasting, accomplishments.
I truly believe that you’re much more likely to experience long-term success if you address diet and weight issues before committing to a hard exercise program. Moderate, daily exercise combined with your specific diet is all most people are going to be able to handle until the weight is off. Even 20-30 extra pounds makes something like jogging significantly more painful and damaging, preventing you from sticking with it. It might take a long time to figure out how to get the weight off, but your body will thank you later if you do it.
Exercising feels like a privilege now! And with every chunk of weight that I lose it gets easier and easier to enjoy the harder workouts. I find myself wishing, a lot more now, that I had more free time to get out and be active.
Starting in high school, I remember, grudgingly forcing myself through various types of workouts. I would start a new jogging schedule or lifting program, no clue how to pursue targeted success, just generally aiming at a goal of exercising more and eating less. I would hold to the new program for 3 or 4 months, but eventually the soreness and muscle fatigue, the lack of progress, the lethargy from under eating, the lack of any real path towards achieving, would all come together and break my will to continue. Usually the shame that was caused afterward would lead to dark periods of laziness and poor eating.
The first time I noticed a huge shift was when I cut carbs. It was like a switch flipped somewhere over the course of that first month. I would be working out and the wall disappeared, or moved much further away. My muscles and joints were less sore, and my body felt less restricted. I’m led to believe that the symptoms were from inflammation, but I have no way of verifying that nor do I know to what extent that really is a factor. All I know is that, now, on a free day, I’ll do three activities for fun that previously would have been a tremendous ordeal.
I enjoy lots of things now just because I have the energy and the ability to rebound quickly. It’s such a luxury to exercise without the days of soreness afterwards! And I don’t mean the good soreness that you get in your muscles. I mean the kind of soreness that feels wrong, the kind that has sharp, shooting, pain and comes from things like pinched nerves, misaligned joints, compressed disks, or bone fissures.
Shedding weight is an obvious factor in the relief from damage and increased performance ability, but another factor, that I noticed almost immediately, was a change in stamina that I attribute to having managed a better balance of carbs in my diet. I had extended endurance during workouts and a heightened resilience for recovery after a workout when I started cutting bread and sugar.
It won’t be the same for everybody, but if you’re feeling unhealthy keep trying things out! I had all but given up and was just looking to keep myself from having serious health issues. I never thought I would have had nearly the success I’ve achieved.
There’s a solution to every problem!!
*I don’t want to stay at 10%, it’s just recommended for tightening skin after dramatic weight loss (and I’m not even positive that I can do it, but it’s the goal I’m working towards).
The next thing I want to do that will help tighten skin is to build muscle, not bulk, but just a healthy layer of muscle. It’s also good for mobility and functional movement through life and to help stay healthy and active as a person gets older.
-Twisting Toe Touch
– 4part Stretch (Bend to touch toes, next bend knees into squat/crouch, reach arms straight overhead, stand with arms up and back kept straight, repeat)
Set bar opposite burden carry weight with preferred distance for burden carry/walking lunge/ sprint
Start on either bar or box and proceed
-Lunge walk w bar to box
-Carry box back to other side
-Sprint back to bar
Repeat as desired
-3 Position Crunch
Repeat as desired