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Thread: Which athletic and exercise regimens do you use?

  1. #1
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    Default Which athletic and exercise regimens do you use?

    In the spirit of the Getting Into Shape thread, let's be pithy and share our daily relatively minor or relatively medium effort in weight/muscle building, or fat loss. Either goal is achievable. Either goal is worthwhile. And yeah, over a span of a year or more, you get someone with rock hard abs like Kisota.

    So! What do you do to lose fat and gain weight?

    I personally ordered a $400 rowing machine from Amazon. It works out the muscle fibers of not only your lower half, but also your core muscles.

    How did you lose weight?

    I run. I hike. I walk.

    Following the keto diet. Throwing MCT oil onto stuff like salads makes it so much easier to fall asleep and dream weird, weird nightmares about missed exams and impolitely missed salads.
    Last edited by Coyote Jones; June 30th, 2020 at 03:17 AM.

  2. #2
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    I'm fond of basically all the various sayings that emphasize that diet, not exercise, is where the brunt of the work of losing weight happens.
    "You can't outrun your fork."
    "Weight loss happens in the kitchen, fitness happens in the gym."

    Or, a particularly amusing one: "Eat well to look good. Exercise to look good naked."

    Creating a caloric deficit is how to lose body fat, hard stop. It's simple... but it's not necessarily easy. That said, it's generally easier to create a deficit with your eating habits than by trying to exercise your way to a deficit. Exercise burns fewer calories than we think, and most estimates on exercise machines or even on fitbit/fitness trackers are WAY off.

    (It's worth noting here that while creating a "calories in < calories out" scenario is The Way where fat loss is concerned, CI<CO says nothing about nutrition. You can lose weight on a steady diet of duck fat and Little Debbies if you eat little enough of it, but if you don't make smart choices about nutrition, you're gonna have a bad time. If you're counting your calories, also WEIGH your food! It's so easy to misjudge how much you're eating - people's inability to even remotely accurately track their calories is something that's been researched. It's HARD. Don't count on eyeballing it or going by volume. And find a good Total Daily Energy Expenditure calculator to find out how much you're, roughly, actually burning in a day to figure out your goals.)

    I also am a fan of Michael Pollan's simple, perennial eating advice: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." In other words, try to eat actual foods rather than processed bullshit, keep your calories in check, and for nutrition and general health, eat a good portion of plant material.

    I also HIGHLY recommend doing some research to try to dispel misconceptions in your brain. There's SO much misinformation out there about food and eating. No, "set points" aren't real. Somatotypes are descriptive, not prescriptive for health practices. "Starvation mode" isn't going to make your body magically save fat if you skip a meal. There's LOADS of this weird fatlogic out there.


    So, How Did I Lose Weight? (Also disclaimer; I was never overweight by BMI, possibly by body fat %, so I'm not speaking as someone who overcame obesity and knows all the struggles; I am genderqueer and changed my habits because of dysphoria, which I now largely manage by staying lean.)

    I actually DID use exercise to kickstart some good habits and get back into better cardiovascular shape after grad school, too, but making more conscious eating decisions is most important for the weight loss portion of this. So. Eat and drink in a way that establishes a caloric deficit. Simple... ish? Maybe. But what works for one person might not work for another. Thankfully there's a ton of different strategies you can try. Here's some of the specific things that worked for me. Your mileage may vary:

    * Don't drink your calories. BIG one. Soda, cocoa, sugared tea, alcohol... man. Those calories add up big-time. They are also frequently mostly sugar calories. No bueno. I stick to non-sugared drinks. I do make exceptions for alcohol, but when I was actively trying to shed the grad school squish, I limited that pretty dramatically.
    * Try a restricted-eating schedule. I am BIG on intermittent fasting, I love it. There's an increasing amount of research suggesting that schedules like this can have other tangentially health benefits. Many different types of I.F. schedules are out there, so there's many to try. I usually try to do an 8-hour eating window (12-8pm for me), but it varies. I can skip a day entirely sometimes, or take a total break from I.F. on weekends sometimes.
    * STAY HYDRATED. It's easy to mistake thirst for hunger. A big glass of water upon waking and before meals can help.
    * Up the fiber intake. Helps you feel fuller. Also just good for ya. Bonus points if you get a lot of it by eating more plants instead of just taking supplements.
    * Reduce carbs. This one is really individual, but it helped for me. Sugar and really processed carbs often come with a big blood sugar spike without giving you much nutrition. A blood sugar spike can be followed by a plunge, which can tend to make you feel hungry again!
    * Increase protein intake. Also helps with fullness. And helps with retaining muscle. You'll always lose a little muscle with the fat when you're in a caloric deficit, but strength training and high protein can help you retain as much as possible.
    * SLEEP and identify mental hurdles. Are you an emotional eater? A binger? Does stress make you feel snacky? If there are underlying mental health problems leading you to struggle with weight, managing those will be crucial for longterm success.

    How do I gain muscle / stay fit?

    I think of fitness in broad categories - flexibility, cardiovascular fitness, and strength. I've always been pretty flexible. Just keeping stretching as warm-ups is generally enough for me; I don't really make conscious efforts at becoming MORE flexible. I have sort of loose joints, anyway, so sometimes becoming too flexible can actually be bad for that.

    I rotate between cardio and strength. I try to do 3 cardio workouts and 3 strength ones per week. I really need to up the difficulty, honestly. But here's what has worked for me:

    Cardio: I am not a big fan of cardio, especially endurance. So I stick to 5k running distances (highly recommend the Couch to 5k program /apps). But mostly these days I do 25-ish minutes on my stationary bike, with the resistance up all the way. I haven't been lately, but I try to do High-Intensity Interval training on it periodically.

    Strength. Reddit's /r/bodyweightfitness Beginner Routine is fantastic. Do some searching and you can find further explanations. It takes about an hour. Since I have to leave for work so early these days, I often do a portion of it on my "off"/cardio days.

    The routine is really great because it's so progressive. It works you up from whatever level of fitness you're at. It's very cool to have learned how to do proper pushups. I had been being taught wrong for so long - you're not supposed to bow your elbows out perpendicular to your body! Keep the elbows in. Who knew? It does make them a lot harder. I had to start with incline ones. Same with the dips. I used a solid counter, then chairs. Now I do my dips with rings and can hold my legs out straight.

    And I can freely handstand, though I'm still no good at getting up into it without at least briefly pushing off a wall. Fun human tricks! I'd love to do more, but i'm hitting the limit of what I can achieve with my equipment. I only have one very narrow doorway where I can hang my pullup bar.

    Anyway, it's a great routine, requires minimal equipment, and is VERY well balanced.

    When it comes to both losing fat and putting on muscle, PATIENCE is key. It's a terribly slow process. Trying to find other measurements of improvement to feel successful along the way is a good idea.
    Last edited by Kisota; June 30th, 2020 at 12:49 PM.

  3. #3

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    you're not supposed to bow your elbows out perpendicular to your body! Keep the elbows in. Who knew? It does make them a lot harder.
    I was today years old when I learned this. No wonder they're so damn hard lol

  4. #4
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    Here's the secret to weight loss: 1. eat fewer calories than you burn in a day 2. exercise and 3. weight train for toning. That's IT.

    As for me, at my old job I had access to a full gym so I would walk on the treadmill and use free weights for strength training. Now though, at my new job, I can only walk over my lunch break. However, I've noticed that I'm getting a better walking workout outside rather than on a treadmill, so at least there's that.

    A few weeks ago, while I was still at home, I was doing a weight training regime from Darebee.com, which has hundreds of workout routines. This one was arm/barbell focused. I much prefer weight lifting to cardio, but you gotta' do both to keep fit!

    Additionally, I've been counting calories since 2009. It's hard, M-F, but it has worked so I'm sticking with it!

    "That's wolves for ya', good guys!" -Wolf, t10k
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  5. #5
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    Thanks for the detailed advice and routine, Kisota.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kisota View Post
    Don't drink your calories. BIG one. Soda, cocoa, sugared tea, alcohol... man. Those calories add up big-time. They are also frequently mostly sugar calories. No bueno. I stick to non-sugared drinks.
    I love hot chocolate but the shop-bought stuff always contains a ton of sugar, which I started avoiding when I became more health-conscious a few years ago. Since then, I've found that mixing 100% cocoa powder with hot milk is actually much nicer because it makes it richer and the slight sweetness of the milk balances well with the bitterness of the cocoa. It's also relatively high in protein and calories, which is good for gaining muscle/weight.

    I typically go through long phases where I get into a routine and habit of exercising and eating healthily, only to fall back when work and stuff get in the way. As soon as that happens, I struggle to get back into the swing of things. Now's one of those periods where I haven't been doing much at all for months. I'm still fairly healthy overall and my diet isn't too bad, but I want to start again soon (the main issues now being Covid shutting the gyms, a lack of home equipment, a load of work, and using those 'issues' as excuses...).

    Anyway, here's a summary of the strength routine I used in my previous and most successful phase. It's based on a pull-push-legs framework on a seven day rotation with the seventh day being a rest day. I can't remember where exactly I found it and to what extent I modified it to fit my own needs and available equipment. Push-pull-legs (1) are less weight with more reps; push-pull-legs (2) are fewer reps with more weight. I would add one 'step' of weight to each exercise every week, although I would drop back down to the previous weight if my form was lacking (super important! Form > Weight). I would also track my weight each time I went to the gym to see how it progressed over time. My aim was to gain muscle/weight, which I managed to do even quicker than I'd expected to.

    I always started each session with a warm-up, which contrary to most advice usually consisted of a light treadmill jog (~200-400m) with stretches, a full-speed sprint (400m), and finally various stretches off the treadmill. Note: BB = Barbell; DB = Dumbbell; ≥N = At least N but until near-failure thereafter; Reps = Reps per set.

    Pull (1)
    Deadlift (BB)
    • Sets: 1
    • Reps: ≥5

    Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown
    • Sets: 3
    • Reps: 8

    Incline Bench Pull
    • Sets: 3
    • Reps: 8

    Cable Rope Rear-Delt Rows
    • Sets: 5
    • Reps: 15

    Hammer Curls
    • Sets: 4
    • Reps: 8

    Bicep Curls
    • Sets: 4
    • Reps: 8


    Push (1)
    Bench Press (BB)
    • Sets: 5
    • Reps: 5 (≥5 on final set)

    Overhead Press (BB)
    • Sets: 3
    • Reps: 8

    Incline Press (DB)
    • Sets: 3
    • Reps: 8

    Tricep Pushdowns
    • Sets: 3
    • Reps: 8

    Overhead Tricep Extensions
    • Sets: 3
    • Reps: 8


    Legs (1)
    Squat (BB)
    • Sets: 3
    • Reps: 8

    Romanian Deadlift
    • Sets: 3
    • Reps: 8

    Leg Press
    • Sets: 3
    • Reps: 8

    Stiff-Legged Deadlift (DB)
    • Sets: 3
    • Reps: 8

    Calf Press
    • Sets: 5
    • Reps: 8


    Pull (2)
    Bent-Over Rows (BB)
    • Sets: 4
    • Reps: 4 (≥4 on last set)

    Chin-Ups
    • Sets: 4
    • Reps: 4 (≥4 on last set)

    Chest-Supported Incline Row
    • Sets: 4
    • Reps: 4 (≥4 on last set)

    Cable Rope Rear-Delt Rows
    • Sets: 4
    • Reps: 4 (≥4 on last set)

    Hammer Curls
    • Sets: 4
    • Reps: 4 (≥4 on last set)

    Bicep Curls
    • Sets: 4
    • Reps: 4 (≥4 on last set)


    Push (2)
    Bench Press (BB)
    • Sets: 4
    • Reps: 4 (≥4 on last set)

    Overhead Press (BB)
    • Sets: 4
    • Reps: 4 (≥4 on last set)

    Incline Press (DB)
    • Sets: 4
    • Reps: 4 (≥4 on last set)

    Tricep Pushdowns
    • Sets: 4
    • Reps: 4 (≥4 on last set)

    Overhead Tricep Extensions
    • Sets: 4
    • Reps: 4 (≥4 on last set)


    Legs (2)
    Squat (BB)
    • Sets: 4
    • Reps: 4 (≥4 on last set)

    Romanian Deadlift
    • Sets: 4
    • Reps: 4 (≥4 on last set)

    Leg Press
    • Sets: 4
    • Reps: 4 (≥4 on last set)

    Stiff-Legged Deadlift (DB)
    • Sets: 4
    • Reps: 4 (≥4 on last set)

    Calf Press
    • Sets: 4
    • Reps: 4 (≥4 on last set)
    Last edited by Lupus Paws; July 2nd, 2020 at 10:15 PM.
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  6. #6
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    Nice routine!! I know a lot of people like the pull-push-legs split. I also appreciate the amount of compound exercises there. The lack of home equipment (or even space to HAVE such things) keeps me from doing the really big, good compound exercises - namely deadlift, barbell squat, bench press.

    I definitely need to add more weight if I want to build more muscle / strength. I'm tempted to get a weight belt for my pull-ups and stuff, but it's hard to find one that FITS!

  7. #7
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    I never had any problems with weight. My usual weight is 72 kg (varies from 70 to 74), and BMI is 21 (20.5 - 21.6). Also, probably, have dense bones, so I look a bit thinner...

    I'm a bit lazy now and mostly rely on my outdoor and travelling activity to get in a good physical shape. Brain is somehow remembered what I am capable on, when I am in a good shape, so I gain it back very fast, and after the couple of weeks outdoors usually reach reasonably good state. Also I'm not spare myself usually, so it may be a bit intense for other persons...


    I'm also training from time to time, especially when I have to be at home for relatively long period to not loose physical shape too much. And I like to maintain at least descent fighting capabilities, just in case. Usually focus on speed, endurance and technique, rather than strength. Also I greatly dislike stereotypical boring exercises, and avoid them as much as possible. I replace them with interesting, and variable ones that have more natural and complex effects... From all equipment I use only horizontal bar and dumbbells, and some training weapons.


    Great way to train upper limb belt is punching-blocking combinations with the dumbbells in hands. Extremely efficient, and trains speed as well as strength. Moving with maximum speed returning hands instantly after hits, making interesting combinations, maintaining the technique despite tiredness - it trains basically all hands muscles at once and very naturally. The load on the muscles comes not from weight of the dumbbells, but from acceleration. So, the faster you will move, the greater it will be. And if mixed with evasive moves trains also the back and side body muscles.

    Second way to train hands I use - is fencing techniques with heavy unbalanced weapon, like axe (I have DIY training sabre, deliberately heavy and unbalanced). Basically making strikes from different directions, stop the weapon, making blocks, etc. It's a bit worse for biceps/triceps/shoulders, but it trains all forearm muscles and grip strength very well. And coordination of both hands.

    Both exercises are very variable and not boring. Could be used for endurance training as well by extending the length of combinations.


    For legs, if indoors, I use combination of squats with fast high kicks and/or jumping. But mostly rely on outdoor - running, bike, skiing, and so on. With running I like to do it in the forest with obstacles, like fallen trees, stumps, hills, etc. Like this kind of freedom of movement, and running on flat road feels more boring.


    Also mixing usual stuff like push ups (including on fists, fingers, with claps, etc.) pull-ups (with different grips and variations), press with different methods, and so on...
    Last edited by Forest Wind; July 3rd, 2020 at 03:50 PM.

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