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Fitness advice

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Sports and Fitness MoneySaving
41 replies 12K views
eeeteeeeetee Forumite
126 posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Sports and Fitness MoneySaving
Not sure if this is the best place for this but just looking for some general advice on fitness (33 yo M) main excercise currently is walking approx 5m/ day. Looking to increase fitness, tone up a bit. Tried gyms a while back, didn’t really work for me- not really my scene. Thinking about starting with couch to 5k to get into running. Also considered a Personal trainer, for motivation and technique, doing it ‘wrong’ is what’s putting me off (getting injured) was thinking of someone who would train outdoors, or are gyms and associated equipment essential? I just felt totally out of place there last time. Also with other commitments I’m quite time limited.


  • Fiona_CWFiona_CW Forumite
    127 posts
    A good PT will train you at home, in a gym or outdoors - whatever suits you! Equipment is not essential, bodyweight exercises can be very beneficial.
  • Finchy2018Finchy2018 Forumite
    461 posts
    100 Posts Second Anniversary Debt-free and Proud!
    A PT should train anywhere! I tried using a pt but I didn't enjoy it. I am on week 5 on c25k (2nd time doing it) I have come to accept running is my thing. I love it.
  • purple45purple45 Forumite
    2.5K posts
    Eighth Anniversary
    I took up couch to 5k last year and it has changed my life! (47 yo F) Hard to start but hooked from the beginning and no problems with motivation. There is a really supportive forum (Health Unlocked) you can join for help, advice and motivation if you need it. I have found everything I need there. Now coming up to a year since I started and I'm up to running 11k and happily pottering around cross country and enjoying the scenery as well as the exercise. I love the time out on my own! I'm also not one for the gym. Whole body is toned and the beer belly is under control :-) If you have any questions about it feel free to ask!
    Many thanks to everyone who posts competitions and works so hard to provide all the answers!
    Best wins this year so far: £100 Hobbycraft Voucher, £50 cash, GoPro Camera
  • Manxman_in_exileManxman_in_exile Forumite
    4.1K posts
    Sixth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    I'm a 61 yo male and have been a runner off and on for over 40 years. If you're walking five miles a day at a reasonable pace, you should be able to convert to running fairly easily.

    I've never read the "couch to 5k" thread, but I'm sure it must give good advice - the thing is to do is to do it gradually. When I returned to running after a couple of years of inactivity (had had a heart scare!) I started off again with one minute running, three minutes brisk walking, repeat for 30 minutes or so. Then after a couple of weeks, one minute running, two minutes walking, repeat. Follow this cycle for a few weeks and you'll be able to run 5k reasonably comfortably. Progress from there. (My neighbour took up running from scratch after giving birth and she started off with a target of run a mile per day for a month or two and built up from there. She's now a much better runner than me!)

    Best advice is don't get discouraged if it's difficult at first. Don't get discouraged if you seem to be "slow" (I'm a very slow runner!), you'll get quicker. And it is a good idea to keep track of times and distances - but don't get obsessed by them - it's meant to be enjoyable. Don't overdo it - plan to run on alternate days but take a rest day if you're knackered.

    As regards not using a gym for toning up etc. do bodyweight exercises as others have advised.

    Good luck!

    (PS - if you've got a heart rate monitor, that's useful to keep records of too.)
  • K80_BlackK80_Black Forumite
    467 posts
    A few of my friends have an app called Zombies, Run! which they love - if just running is a bit 'dry' for you, maybe try that :)
  • rybennetrybennet Forumite
    10 posts
    Bodyweight exercise may help you tone. I'm an introvert so going to the gym takes so much effort for me because I feel insecure and discourage before. I easily lose motivation as well but I was able to overcome my problem by having mental fortitude. You need to have a strong mindset in achieving your goal.
  • BananaRepublicBananaRepublic Forumite
    1.7K posts
    1,000 Posts Fourth Anniversary Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    I’m one of the last people who would go to a gym, but I was recommended to do squats to help with ice hockey, so I went to a local gym. I was totally lost among all the kit, so I enrolled for an hour a week with a PT. I do recommend it, he shows me how to use equipment, and shows me stretches too. Not only does that mean I do exercises correctly to gain the full benefit, it also means I don’t injure myself, which is easily done, either by poor technique or overdoing it.

    You don’t need to go to the gym, unless you really want weight training. Yoga and pilates could also be good for you, as could martial arts, which are largely about control and flexibility. The advantage of a PT is that he will teach you technique, which is easily learnt incorrectly in a large class. He has taught me some weird exercises which stretch specific muscles. Some feel quite uncomfortable, but they work. For much of the work all you need is a floor, a wall, a foam roller and a light bar such as a broom handle. Of coirse you could do 10 weeks or so with a PT, focusing on stretches, then go it alone.
  • billy2shotsbilly2shots Forumite
    430 posts
    100 Posts First Anniversary
    First off there is no such thing as toning up.
    There’s losing fat, gaining muscle or recomping.

    The first two speak for themselves, recomping is where you lose fat and gain muscle at the same time. Sounds perfect right? Wrong. Out of the 3 it is by far the hardest thing to do. You must master nutritional intake and timing of those macros around exercise to make it work in the long run. Luckily brand new trainees can recomp during their first 6 months of training. After that window you really have to choose between gaining muscle (along with fat) or losing fat (whilst losing a little muscle).

    However we are getting ahead of ourselves. No amount of training will out do a poor diet. Nutritional intake is key in being successful regardless of which goal you choose.
    First you need to work out your ‘maintenance Calorie intake’. This is how much you need to eat to stay exactly as you are.
    Once maintenance has been determined you will then tweak that number depending on your goal.

    Muscle gain=250 calories a day extra
    Fat loss =500 calories a day less
    Recomp=Maintenance (six months then pick from the two above)

    Those maintenance calories can then be split between food groups. I always recommend 0.7grams of protein per lb of bodywey (actually it’s 1g per f lb of lean body mass but not many are experienced to work that out so will stick to 0.6g of total weight)

    Fat- healthy fat from some nuts, extra virgin olive oil, eggs, coconut oil etc. Somewhere in the region of 0.3-0.5g per lb of body weight is a good starting point.

    Carbs- The remaining calories can be used for carbohydrates. Again healthy choices are prefect. Foods low on the glycemic index are better, so wholemeal breads and pasta Ofer white etc etc.

    Some respond better to low carb high fat diets and others the complete opposite. Above is a good staring point.

    Once diet is nailed down then you can move on to exercise.
    Running will not ‘tone’ your body as explained earlier. Running will help you lose fat through energy expenditure with the correct diet but will not add muscle (very small amount to legs not withstanding).
    Resistance training with weights or body weight is the way to add muscle.
    Those runners you see on tv with good muscle development have spent years in the gym.
    Swimming can add a little muscle and help lose fat but again the muscle will be nothing compared to resistance training.

    Please don’t us PTs. £499 and a few months is what’s needed to gain a PT qualification. In 20 years of training I can count on one hand the number of PTs that actually know their stuff.
    The amount of online resources these days is more than enough to refer to for exercise form. So many PTs teach dangerous form and it’s scary to watch.
    If you are desperate to throw good money away then make sure someone has qualifications relating to nutrition.

    This is the very basics but feel free to ask more.
  • StuHolmesStuHolmes Forumite
    142 posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    Have you tried parkrun. Every Saturday morning 9am, in most towns. Free. Very welcoming usually, as much or as little running as you like.
  • kerri_gtkerri_gt Forumite
    9.6K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Xmas Saver!

    Best advice is don't get discouraged if it's difficult at first. Don't get discouraged if you seem to be "slow" (I'm a very slow runner!), you'll get quicker. And it is a good idea to keep track of times and distances - but don't get obsessed by them - it's meant to be enjoyable. Don't overdo it - plan to run on alternate days but take a rest day if you're knackered.

    Another piece of advise if you go down the running route is don't get discouraged when you have good days / not so good days. You've still got out there and done something. My average pace can vary by up to 2mins a mile very much depending on weather / temperature (quite happy running in -11 degrees but hate running in the heat).
    Feb 2015 NSD Challenge 8/12
    JAN NSD 11/16

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