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Health and Fitness Programs

michaelskis

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19,983
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49
I have started to see several advertisements for different health and fitness programs in an effort to get people in the doors before the new year starts.

Between Cross Fit, HIIT, MovNat, Ninja Warrior, Powerlift, Zumba, Pilates, Yoga, and a crap load of other lifestyle based programs, it is almost overwhelming and one really has to start wondering how any of them can claim to be 'the best' when every person's needs are different.

Is there a particular program that you do? Is it a strength, cardio, or stretch based platform and how do you like it? Is it exercise only or is there a dietary component to it? (for example, I know a several yoga people who are vegans and several power lifters that are high protein, high fat, and low carb)

Personally, I am doing a hybrid program that has elements of MovNat, Cross Fit, and Power Lift and I am going with a clean eating (low processed) meal plan. But I am also training for another mud filled 1/2 marathon obstacle course next fall.
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
Staff member
Moderator
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28,263
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71
My system is really no 'system' at all. I just mix it up and use whatever equipment happens to be available at the moment when I'm at the Y. Seems to work.
 

DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
14,643
Points
51
My system right now is to get better control of my diet. No point in all that exercise if I just load up on crap.
 

RandomPlanner

Cyburbian
Messages
1,715
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25
My system right now is to get better control of my diet. No point in all that exercise if I just load up on crap.
I had a trainer once who swore that 90% of being healthy was about food. Now if only I could remind myself that again and again this holiday season...
 

Rygor

Cyburbian
Messages
2,760
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18
I used to be a cardio junky (swimming, running, mountain biking). Then I got into weightlifting and powerlifting. Learned everything I could about nutrition and competed in powerlifting for about 8 years. Got to a pretty good level. Had a few state and national records for my age group/weight class. Even did a few strongman comps and did alright. After too many injuries I've toned it down over the past 2-3 years. Age is catching up with me and my body just can't take the continuous heavy lifting like it used to, so I get into the gym 2-3 nights a week now and will do hike or a quick mountain bike ride on a weekend day. I still move some weight but I'm not maxing out on deadlifts or heavy back squats anymore and find that a good balance of cardio/body weight movements mixed in with the weights keeps my mobility, stamina, and flexibility higher along with my strength.

As for food I just try to keep protein high to retain muscle mass and avoid too many sugary foods or "empty" calories.
 

WSU MUP Student

Cyburbian
Messages
10,367
Points
43
I belong to a health club that offers all sorts of classes for the members: boot camp, yoga, spinning, pilates, tri, cross-fit, TRX, etc. I've tried most of them and the only one that I do with any consistency is spinning. I've been doing that at least once a week for about a decade now and sometimes I'll go two or three times a week over the course of a couple months. It's relaxing and it's one of those workouts that you get out of it as much as you put into it.

If somebody is choosing a fitness program, I think the main thing they need to consider is what is their goal? Besides the weekly spin class I do, I rarely do any of the organized classes or programs anymore. These days my primary end goal is to shave time off of my half marathon and my secondary goal is to maintain my current weight (or ideally lose weight). This means more cardio at or above a certain pace and less heavy lifting. I've turned it into sort of a modified cross-fit routine. If I am at the gym my workout is usually something like:

  • 7 minutes on treadmill as fast as possible (95% max rate) with a goal of running 1+ mile
  • 10 dips
  • 10 pull-ups
  • 10 dips
  • 20 push-ups
  • Repeat the sequence of dips, pull-ups, dips, push-ups 2x
  • Various leg exercises (press, calf raise, extensions, abductor, adductor) for 4 sets each at 12 to 20 reps, depending on the exercise and weight
  • Repeat another 3 sets of the dips, pull-ups, dips, push-ups sequence
  • 10 minutes on the treadmill at about 80% max rate and slowly increasing the incline
  • (Occasionally I'll mix in some curls or shoulder presses)

The above sequence should be done with as little rest between each set as possible. I like to wear my stopwatch and I've found that on a good day that I can do everything between the treadmill sessions in about 18 minutes. The goal here is to keep the heart rate up while building endurance and fatiguing my muscles enough that I'm tired at the end but not adding massive amounts of weight/bulk. I like to keep the weights on the machines or barbells at a level where I can feel it, but I am not yet struggling with it at the end of each set. Heart rate, heart rate, heart rate!

I do the above routine 2 days one week, 3 days the next and if I get a chance to make it to the gym on a Saturday morning when I have more time, I'll make my second time on the treadmill 30 or 40 minutes (and maybe move it to the Stairmaster instead) and then repeat everything starting back at the first set of dips.

All of this is done while maintaining a regular schedule of running outdoors as well. Depending on the time of year, I try to get anywhere from 40 miles a week outdoors up to 80 miles a week with various paces and elevations that I'll do. In the spring and summer I also like to add in a couple mornings of track workouts with various speed exercises, sprints, push-ups, mountain climbers, etc.

My area is relatively flat but there are a few steep, short hills that I've found and I occasionally like to see how many times I can sprint up them in a row. No matter how good of shape I think I am in, or how much endurance I think I have, 5x up the local sledding hill destroys me and makes me want to crawl back home. Another good one is to run to our downtown early in the morning where we have 5 public parking garages and do a loop running from the street up to the top of each of them sprinting up the individual ramps and then relaxing on the flat parts. It's not as brutal as the hills but I often find dollar bills on the ground that some drunk had probably dropped the night before!

Sometimes I get bored with the running but I use an app called RunKeeper to track my routes and miles (and the GIS/data nerd in me likes it because I can download all of my routes into Google Maps or ESRI!) and they have some canned training plans on there for everything from "couch to 5k" up to a marathon and I've found that doing one of those plans over the course of a few weeks or a couple months, is a good way to mix things up. I'll even do something like the basic couch to 5k program, or their weakest 5k or 10k training program for a few weeks just to get something different for a bit. It's nice to have the little voice chime in on my headphones every once in a while telling me to slow down or sprint, etc.

My problem with the organized boot camp or cross fit type classes at the gym is that they are open to too many people so you have too wide of a range of fitness levels going on and I often found the instructors slowing things down to match those at the lowest strength levels. This is probably more of a problem at a big gym or health club like the one that I go to that caters to everybody - young, old, families, etc.There are little studios popping up that focus only on one or two types of work outs with just a few people in each class at a time. I imagine that these are much more focused and its probably easier for the instructor to make sure everybody is being challenged. I belong to a running group made up of about a dozen vets all in our 20s and 30s and we are always getting offered free group classes at some of the local specialty fitness places. Maybe one of these times I'll go try one out.

I had a trainer once who swore that 90% of being healthy was about food. Now if only I could remind myself that again and again this holiday season...
I would believe that. I don't usually pay attention to my diet too much but every once in a while I will use an app like "My Fitness Tracker" to track my diet for a week or two and that really helps to remind me about portion sizes and how much salt and how many calories I eat on daily basis and I always notice that I clean up my diet, without really thinking about it much, for a few months afterwards. When I do cut back on the bad stuff, I notice an almost immediate change in how I feel, how my clothes fit, etc. The gist: I need the occasional reminder to not over eat (especially at lunch) and not over due it with the sweet and salty snacks.
 
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michaelskis

Cyburbian
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19,983
Points
49
I had a trainer once who swore that 90% of being healthy was about food. Now if only I could remind myself that again and again this holiday season...
I agree with your trainer.

But the biggest thing is understanding what is healthy and what is not and keeping it in moderation. The problem is understanding what is healthy and what is not as it keeps changing. Eggs, healthy or not? I say healthy some don't. Bacon healthy or not? I say I don't care.

A few years ago, I read a book by Mark Macdonald of Venice Nutrition, and he talked about understanding your glycemic index. After that, I cut out almost all processed sugar and cut my carb intake in half. Then we have watched a bunch of food documentaries and many of them contradict each other.

So now, I make sure that I eat 3 real meals a day with one no-carb snack in between. I also drink about 2 gallons of water per day starting with a quick 32 oz as soon as I get up. I also avoid processed foods whenever I can, mostly by making my own foods at home. We eat more veggies that we did before, but we are not vegetarian. Each week I will have at least one fish meal, one beef meal, one chicken meal, one pork meal, and one vegetarian meal.
 

DVD

Cyburbian
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14,643
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51
I'm just trying to keep myself to about 2000 calories a day of decently healthy food. Not eating as many sugary things like cookies like I did today. No eating out, especially fast food, and simple recipes that aren't from a box. I'm glad my wife is good at that part.
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
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19,983
Points
49
I am going to bump an older thread given the situation that we are in. Different doctors are saying different things when it comes to COVID-19. One, Dr. Steven Gundry claims that if you heal your gut issues, it can boost your immune system to the point where you don't need to worry about getting COVID-19. While I am not sold on his theory, it did get me thinking about nutrition, health, and fitness.

Personally, I want to be healthy and to stay healthy and over the past year, I have sucked at doing healthy things. I am not waiting for all of this to be over to get back to a healthy lifestyle. I also realize that if I jump in too fast to hard it is going to backfire on me. So for me, I am starting out with little things. I stopped drinking the other day, every day I am going out of a walk with the dog and in the mornings I am doing pull ups and push ups before I get into the shower. Every few days to a week I am going to make additional adjustments. I am going to reduce the amount of unhealthy foods I eat, increase healthy foods, and I am going to start meditating or some form of guided relaxation. The wife suggests Yoga, but I am not sure if I can handle that right now... I might break myself. The hardest part is knowing what to do, what actually works and what is just hype.

What about you? Are you doing anything now or planning to do anything to improve your health? If so, what are you doing, how are you deciding what is right for you, and who's information you are trusting?
 

Hawkeye66

Cyburbian
Messages
612
Points
21
I have been grinding out workouts nearly every day. In March I mostly did the bike trainer in my basement along with some toning free weight stuff. This last week I was able to get out and do two actual 12 mile rides. As the weather improves I plan on upping my biking even more. Multiple reasons; I want to lose some more weight, I want to keep my body strong in case I do get it, and I really need to burn off stress during these times.
 
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WSU MUP Student

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10,367
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43
I've increased my running outside a bit over what I would normally be doing this time of year. It's still in the mid-30s here during the mornings and we have some days coming up in the forecast with highs only in the 40s so it's hard to get myself motivated to get out there but once we have consistent daytime temps in the upper 50s or so, I'll take my mat and a few pieces of equipment outside and do a couple HIIT routines that I like to do. I need to check out the high school track down the street to see if that's still open because I really like to use that for speed workouts and fartleks a few days a week when the weather is nice.

Late March and early April are rough here when one day it's nice and sunny and close to 60 and the next day you might have freezing rain and highs in the 30s. By the end of the month, morning temps should consistently be well above freezing.

I've thought about adding yoga to my workout for added flexibility but never did so because I wouldn't know what I was doing and didn't want to look like a fool. Some of the local yoga studios have started doing free online yoga videos. Maybe I'll check to see if I can find one for beginners and give that a shot from the privacy of our living room.
 

Whose Yur Planner

Cyburbian
Messages
11,264
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39
I'm walking a minimum of one hour. I'm doing stretching and the cycle of kicks from Tae Kwon Do. I'm also doing wall push ups. It last about an hour and a half.
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
19,983
Points
49
Has anyone started (or is continuing) to do some sort of medication or mindful practice to reduce stress? If so, what?
 

Hawkeye66

Cyburbian
Messages
612
Points
21
Has anyone started (or is continuing) to do some sort of medication or mindful practice to reduce stress? If so, what?
I am lucky enough to live close to work, so I go home on my lunch hour and lay on my bed and clear my mind. I might doze off a little, but I generally just keep my head clear. Leave the phone downstairs. No music, no TV on, nothing. Breathe deeply.

I don't want to make this all religious, but I practice what is called the Daily Examen before I go to bed each night. I find that those two things plus exercise do help me. Sometimes I also fall asleep in my recliner listening to Yacht Rock. That helps too.
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
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19,983
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49
I am lucky enough to live close to work, so I go home on my lunch hour and lay on my bed and clear my mind. I might doze off a little, but I generally just keep my head clear. Leave the phone downstairs. No music, no TV on, nothing. Breathe deeply.

I don't want to make this all religious, but I practice what is called the Daily Examen before I go to bed each night. I find that those two things plus exercise do help me. Sometimes I also fall asleep in my recliner listening to Yacht Rock. That helps too.
Yacht Rock... is that like Jimmy Buffett?
 

Hawkeye66

Cyburbian
Messages
612
Points
21
Yacht Rock... is that like Jimmy Buffett?
Yacht Rock is really a sub genre that is basically late 70's-early 80's soft rock; Ambrosia, 10CC, Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald, Rupert Holmes, Christopher Cross, Toto, Seals & Crofts, and some others.

For an Xer like me its all good fun.
 

Doohickie

Cyburbian
Messages
2,709
Points
37
Yacht Rock is the "rock" that the entitled would play on their yachts, at least that's where I think the name comes from. Hawkeye pretty much nailed it: It's "mellow" pop-rock. It's meant to be background music.
 

Doohickie

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37
I've been out riding my bike a bit too. The nice thing about working from home is I don't spend an hour driving to-from work so if it's nice at quittin' time I can go for a 10-20 mile ride. I had the good fortune to get a flat on my two-speed townie



so I switched over to the fixed gear and have had some good rides on that.



I have 5 bikes, but only two are rideable at the moment; two need flats fixed, and one needs a little more extensive maintenance (an old English 3-speed).
 

Whose Yur Planner

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I walked 6 miles both Saturday and Sunday on the rails-to-trails. The only thing I am lacking are weights. I would like to get a couple of 25 lb dumb bells but those are long sold out.
 

Hawkeye66

Cyburbian
Messages
612
Points
21
I biked 13 miles yesterday. There are wayyyy too many people in groups on the trail stopping and congregating. I actually felt more safe street riding yesterday than I did on the trail.

I only have my mountain bike/hybrid. My other hybrid with a little thinner tires is still on the trainer in my basement. It needs a new tire and some tune up. Who knows when I will be able to take it to a shop again?
 
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Salmissra

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5,945
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I have switched my weekend long walks out of circulation because there are way too many people on the trails not practicing distancing. So now I do 3 shorter walks each day (unless it's raining), staying on residential neighborhood streets. I take the dog is she's ready for a walkie, otherwise, it's just me. I don't do distance - I base it on time. So 2 30 minute walks during the workday, 1 45 minute walk each evening and longer walks during the weekend.

I did a stretching session through Peleton over the weekend, and afterwards I realized I should do more of those. So I'm adding that to my lunchtime routine.

Hubby does a ride every morning, and on the weekends he does 2 rides plus the evening walk with me.

Both of us are stress eating, but since we're not buying unhealthy things, it's more a portion control issue. So I'm making the salad portion larger, and forcing myself to have leftovers. I'm at that point of trying not to gain weight.
 

Whose Yur Planner

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I noticed that lack of distancing myself over the weekend. Sunday, I made sure that there was distance between me and others, even if it required getting off the pavement.
 

michaelskis

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19,983
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My wife has been using the Pelaton app. Apparently there is more in there than just bike rides... which is good given we don't have a bike. She really likes using it.
 

Planit

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I noticed that lack of distancing myself over the weekend. Sunday, I made sure that there was distance between me and others, even if it required getting off the pavement.

Lowes Garden Center was packed Saturday, but I will say they are trying. They were only letting a certain number of people in at a time - if 2 left, 2 got to go in. The 'doorman' was also asking everyone what they needed or looking for. I said 10-15 bags of mulch, he responded to go straight to the register to pay and then get in line for loading (which I did).

In the line to get in and at the register was some social distancing, but not all. Inside the garden center, there was plenty of room to distance from each other. I did notice around the fertilizer/grass seed area and the vegetable plant area, people were closer trying to get the same things. I told Mrs. P that would be my last trip there during this.
 

DVD

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Wife has a friend running a garden center for a Homeless Depot across town. We're not anywhere near as good. He's okay with the people who come in buy their stuff and leave. He's even okay if it takes them a little time to figure it out. What's pissing him off are the families, especially older couples, that come in, wonder around, and leave without buying anything.
 

michaelskis

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Well, I decided to jump back into things fairly hard core. 10 days ago I stopped drinking until at least the restrictions are lifted, restarted both Keto and 18/6 intermittent fasting, taking the dog for at last 2 mile walk/runs and doing chin ups/ pull ups/ push ups every morning before getting ready for the day.

I am also adding in 10 minutes of meditation, cold shower therapy, and spending 40 to 60 minutes a day reading a good book.

I need to do everything possible to cut my stress levels and measurable productivity is the only relaxation that I know.
 

michaelskis

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49
I had my first "In the Gym" workout in months. (Private gym not open to the public) with a brand new 5X5 progressive load program. I fear I am not going to be able to walk tomorrow.

What is everyone else doing to stay healthy? Do you prefer to exercise inside or do you like the great outdoors?
 

Salmissra

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5,945
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30
So I've revised my plan a bit now that the heat is here.

Two walks a day with the dog. Not as long in terms of distance, but I've picked up the pace a bit to get my heart rate up for the duration.

I've gained weight, so I need to do more. I returned to the long weekend walks, forcing myself up earlier than I'd like to get it done before the hordes. I hate early mornings, so this is not fun for me.

Found the Calm station on Sirius, so listen to that in the car and at home when I'm alone. It has basic white noise type "music" and short meditation sessions (like less than 5 minutes) that can be done at your desk or just away from work. I like most of it, so that's a plus in the "could be good for you" column.
 

WSU MUP Student

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I had my first "In the Gym" workout in months. (Private gym not open to the public) with a brand new 5X5 progressive load program. I fear I am not going to be able to walk tomorrow.

What is everyone else doing to stay healthy? Do you prefer to exercise inside or do you like the great outdoors?
I would much rather be outdoors than in. I've been running a lot during the WFH period (over 300 miles last month and currently at 218.4 miles for June. I probably won't hit 300 miles this month but it will be close.

Most mornings before I go for my run, I do a series of weights and stretches and other exercises and on mornings I go to the track (twice a week now that it's open again) I do sprints and intervals and a bunch of other strength exercises.

FWIW, I am now down more than 25 pounds since all this started. Yesterday I went to work for the first time in more than 3 months and 3 different people commented on my weight loss so it must be more noticeable than I imagined.

Most of the year I like to go to the gym 3x a week but they've been closed in Michigan since the middle of March. A judge here has ordered that the state allow gyms to reopen on the 25th (but the state is appealing that). The place I go is a private "racquet and swim club". It's never very crowded (except for about an hour or so on Saturday mornings when all the swim and tennis lessons for kids seem to overlap and there is a particularly popular spinning class so the club and the parking lot get jammed packed for about 40 minutes) and always really clean and according to the updates they've sent out they have deep cleaned everything and moved a lot of the exercise and cardio equipment to one of the indoor tennis courts to help spread things out. And even though I am anxious to get back in there and add a lot more weights and some spinning back into my routine, I am in no hurry to actually show up again once they reopen.

One thing my gym has started doing in the last couple of weeks is some outdoor fitness and yoga classes. I guess they are pretty well attended but the earliest ones they offer are at 9:00 a.m. which is way too late for me.
 
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