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BBryans07 03-29-2010 05:53 AM

Looking for advice on how much to work out...
Hi there. I'm a 20-year-old full time college student who gained over 20 lbs my sophomore year. I know it was from eating tons of TV dinners and drinking 800 calories of pop per day. I stopped the junk food and went to diet pop (I feel like such a hypocrit for going diet because I always told my friends about the chemicals in it...but I can't find any other way to quit drinking it!) I weigh around 168-170 lbs now, though I've weighed myself throughout the day before and I've been 165 so I'm not exactly sure how much I weigh. My goal is to be 140. So many people say this is so low but I used to be 130 lbs when I was a cross-country runner in high school. My goal is to be around 140, have great toned legs (to hide at least some of that cellulite) and to become more fit.

So here's the dilemma. I prefer to use my elliptical trainer at home since I don't have to run out in the freezing cold or go get a gym membership. I love the trainer, I'm just trying to get the most effective workout for my time. I've tried interval training but I just don't know how long I should do it for to be really effective. I'm looking to lose approx. 2 lbs a week, but I'll take anything. :D

Anyways, any advice would really help! Oh and I eat around 1900 calories a day and burn about 2500. Thanks guys!

Yadi84 04-02-2010 06:26 PM

What I would suggest is losing the soda period, if you are craving something sweet to drink. Try getting V8 juice or any juice you like and add water to it so you don't drink all that suger all at once.

1- mix ur work out do 10 mins machine and then do repetitions of launches, crunches, light weights ect. Then jump back on the machine for another 10 mins, and repeart the launches, crunches, light weights. You should do 3 repetitions of 15 for each.

2- you can try and eat ur heaviest meal during lunch and for dinner have something like Tuna salad, small amount of grilled chicken w salad or veggies. I sometimes drink Isopure protein shake as my dinner because it keeps me full and it is great after a work out. Isopure i get has 0 carbs so I tend to add 2 scoops of light ice scream to make it creamy and yummy.


cephalic 04-03-2010 06:39 PM

People's weight tends to fluctuate throughout the day, usually it's water weight. If you consume a lot of sodium, your body will retain a of water making you heavier. You can lose a few pounds if you go in a sauna or sweat a lot from exercise in the heat, but it isn't fat. Most people tend to weigh less when they weigh themselves in the morning before eating or drinking anything. Reducing your sodium has many benefits besides weighing less, it can keep you blood pressure low.

It would also benefit you to start a weight lifting program with your dieting and cardio. Some programs like P90x or Joe Defranco's Built Like a Bad Ass use both weight lifting and cardio in their weight lifting programs.

But if you refuse to go to the gym, you could buy a pull up bar, set of dumb bells, and do a full body work out three days a week. A simple program would be chest, shoulders, triceps on Monday; back (lats, traps), biceps, core, on Wednesday; and legs and core (abs and lower back) on Friday. Do 3-4 sets of one or two exercises for each body part in the 8-12 rep range for most body parts, but 20-25 for abs and calves. You can find a ton of bodyweight and dumbbell exercises on and Joe Defranco's channel on YouTube. Yet it is always preferred if you follow a program designed by a professional. If you can't do a pull up, do inverted rows, assisted pull ups, pull up negatives, or hangs until you build enough strength to do a pull up. The pull up is one of the king of exercises besides the squat and bench press or push up.

Weight lifting preserves muscle mass when losing weight. Muscle mass is a metabolically active tissue that burns calories while fat does not, so having, building, and preserving your muscle mass will benefit you greatly in your weight loss goals. If you can, buy a skin caliper to measure your levels of body fat to ensure you're not losing too much muscle, but burning fat.

As for interval training, you don't have to time your intervals, you just need a work interval and rest interval. In the work interval, you work hard to increase your heart rate (bust your ass and sweat) and in the rest interval you recover from the work interval to slow down your heart rate in preparation for the next work interval.

You can also create your own interval program such as 30 seconds at level 8 resistance at full intensity for your work interval and 1 minute at level 3 at low intensity for your rest interval. Your recovery interval will be longer than your work interval to allow sufficient time for recovery.

If you time your intervals, it allows you to see if your conditioning is improving, then if your conditioning is improving, you increase your work interval time, decrease your recovery interval time, or work more intensely (increase heart rate more) in your work intervals.

Interval training should take 20-25 minutes and be done three times per week or more. Your interval training workout should be scheduled as 5 minute warm up, 10-15 minute interval training (e.g. recovery interval-work interval-recovery-work and so on), 5 minute cool down. Preferably you do your cardio or interval training after your weight lifting.

Diet is your most powerful weapon in weight loss. If you want abs, you diet, you don't do crunches. First off, your main choice of drink should be WATER. Get a good water bottle, buy a water filter, and drink water all day. Another good drink is tea with no sugar. Home brewed green tea is excellent as it has no sugar unlike the processed teas and contains many antioxidants.

You should increase your protein, and decrease your carbohydrates (25-35% of daily calories), alcohol, and bad fats (saturated fat, transfat). What will help you accomplish this is eating foods with high protein content, and low carbs; foods such as eggs, fish (tuna, Salmon), whey protein, skinless chicken breasts (not breaded), lean beef, beans (even though can be full of carbs if eaten alone or in mass quantities), cottage cheese, milk, and turkey. LEARN RECIPES from YouTube, here, or anywhere else.

Fast food, restaurant food, and processed food (e.g. Hot Pockets) of course are generally bad as they are high in sodium, calories, bad fats, simple carbs, and have few to no vitamins or minerals besides maybe iron. However, if you moderate, you can still have some of these foods. Just read the nutrition facts, and pick the right foods.

Your carbs should come from whole wheat sources while neglecting simple carbohydrates sources with little to no fiber such as white bread, white rice, white pasta, white tortillas, potatoes, soft drinks, candy, a lot of breakfast cereals, and so on. Also be aware of the condiments you put on your food as they pack in many hidden calories and sugars. You can also eat low carb fruit (beware of fruit juices!), and tons of vegetables as most vegetables do not contain many carbs.

The only time when it is good to consume sugar or simple carbs is immediately after working out, within an hour time frame of working out as your body's sugar levels (glycogen, glucose) need to be restored, so 15 to 30 grams of simple sugar from fruit juice or a cup of Gatorade would be appropriate with a protein shake.

Drinking a low carb whey protein shake will decrease cravings, lower your blood sugar, and make you feel full longer. Ensure that the whey protein you buy has 0 grams of carbohydrates and sugar in it. You can also blend veggies, fruits, and other foods together to create your own shakes. Shakes are my personal weight loss weapon along with drinking home brewed green tea.

cjohnson728 04-03-2010 07:56 PM

I think that there is some very valuable advice here. However, the one caveat that I have is that you should find out what works for you and your body, so there will be some trial and error. Not all diets/workouts will work for all people (for example, I've tried the 25-35% carb thing and was exhausted, cranky, and brain-fogged, so I had to move on to something more moderate, which eventually resulted in me getting to my goal weight and beyond). Be patient with the process of experimenting and make small changes over time until you come up with a plan that works for you.

The bottom line is that fewer calories taken in than burned is going to result in weight loss, no matter what diet or exercise routine you take. You could follow the best plan in the world and if it is not something that you can sustain and are comfortable with, you won't stick with it. You will also need to be flexible enough to change over time, as your body gets used to what you do, so change it up every few weeks (this applies more to exercise than food) Best of luck to you!

cephalic 04-03-2010 11:25 PM

It's true, you must have a calorie deficit, but some people overdo their calorie deficits (a 1,000 calorie deficit or more), and it burns off a lot of muscle. High protein diets, weight lifting, and cardio combined with a calorie deficit of 500 calories or less will preserve lean muscle mass. If you burn off muscle, you'll look like a coat rack and that's never sexy, especially for a man. Moreover, muscle will also burn off calories as it is metabolically active tissue.

Low carb diets used with carb cycling will burn off the extra fat that normal low calorie dieting won't shake off, this is especially effective if you want a six-pack and apollo's belt.

Some people have different ways of using carb cycling. One way is to do a low carb diet for three days, then the fourth day have a high carb day. Of course, never carb load on candy, white bread, white rice, white pasta, or pizza on your high carb day.

Another way is to eat starchy carbs on your weight lifting days, such as whole grain rice, whole grain pasta, beans, whole grain bread, potatoes, corn, peas, carrots; and eat non-starchy carbs on your cardio days such as radishes, celery, mustard greens, kale, lettuces, spinach, Asparagus, broccoli, peppers. This is wear blending becomes extremely useful.

Carb cycling should prevent the exhausted, cranky, and brain-fogged symptoms.

cjohnson728 04-04-2010 12:03 AM

Actually, I do weight train. I know from experience now that I do well with a higher ratio of protein and carbs, lower on fat. Over the days, my carbs cycle naturally with the food I choose to eat and I'm not running a calorie deficit now because I'm at my goal weight, but when I did, it was 500. I do calorie cycle, though, and have been for months. I find it extremely effective.

I'm not a man, not interested in a six pack, and I have about 20% body fat, which for a female is in the "fitness" range, so I'm happy with that, though with continued weight training it may go lower. My cholesterol is 114 and my triglycerides are 43. So I'm no longer interested in carb counting or cycling other than natural variation...I realize that some swear by it and it's great that it works for them, but it definitely does not work for me and my body, and that's my point...everyone has to figure out what works for them individually.

cephalic 04-04-2010 12:49 AM

This video is informative on carb cycling: YouTube - MetroBoxTV's 5-Day Carb Cycling Plan

20% body fat is good for a female, it's in the high end range for athletes according to this chart:
Understanding Your Body Fat Percentage

You probably wouldn't even have to lose 10lbs of body fat to look ripped in a fitness model sense.

For males, if they want to see definition in their abs, apollo's belt, or "great toned legs" as the OP wants, males want to shoot for a body fat percentage below 10% depending on how toned they want them. He might want to do some squats, leg presses, lunges, hamstring curls, and calf raises too.

I believe that it's below 14% for females to get well defined abs.

This book sheds some light on carbohydrates.

almeeker 04-05-2010 12:51 PM

I'm not a diet or fitness expert, but I have been a 20 year old full time college student with a 20+ pound gain. What I might suggest is to schedule your workout time, however you keep track of your life, computer/palm/day runner/iphone/etc, write it down so it's "golden" and "may-not-be-disturbed" time for working out every day (or nearly every day). Personally I shoot for 2500-3500 calories of exercise burn every week, which means I need 30-60 minutes every day. Go through the calculator here to determine what your restriction is and then base your workout time on that.

By the way an elliptical is a great calorie burner, at your weight and depending on your energy level, you're probably burning 7-12 calories/minute. If your goal is to have great legs I would suggest that you mix up the workout by adjusting the angle of the elliptical, the lower the angle the higher the group of muscles that get worked on. The lowest angle works your buns, the highest works the calves, and so on. You might also mix it up with weight lifting or swats and lunges like the other suggested. One thing I like to do is check out workout videos from the library and try a new one every week or so.

Now on to nutrition. The average run of the mill TV dinner is bad news, in fact so bad it's killing you. Seriously. If you don't believe me, just read the ingredients and the nutritional panel on the box, or watch Jamie Oliver. You might want to look over some of the "diet" versions to see if there is a better option, but I can't offer any insight on that as we don't eat them at our house. Now being a college student you probably don't have much time for cooking or shopping, but there are lots of things you can grab that are healthy, nutritionally beneficial, easy and affordable. Tuna - can or pouch, yogurt - especially low-fat Greek, low-fat cottage cheese, fresh fruit - keep it out where you can see it, low fat whole grain bread, fresh and fresh frozen veggies and eggs. You might also try cooking once a week and living off that for a few days. Chili is pretty easy and when made with ground turkey it's very low fat and very filling, chicken stew is another good one as are hard boiled eggs.

Pizza averages 300 calories/slice and 19 grams of fat, for a slice of a 12" pizza and exponentially more than that for larger diameters. It's much too easy to sit down for pizza and eat an entire day's worth of calories and a week's worth of fat. When pizza is the option, fill up on a salad or piece of fruit first, then try and limit yourself to just one or two pieces. Better yet, when pizza is the dinner option, go for a run.

I too am a pop addict. Did you know that diet soda can actually cause you to feel hungry? It's true. The artificial sweeteners can make your body crave sugar. While I've been dieting I've switched my morning beverage to coffee with skim milk, that way I get my caffeine boost plus a dash of vitamin D and calcium. Okay coffee is maybe not the healthiest drink in the world, but nutritionally it's a step up from diet soda and has helped wean me off Diet Coke. I still let myself have the occasional diet soda, but only as a reward after I've managed to drink my water. I try and throw down at least 64 ounces of water/day, this keeps me off the diet Coke and also helps the weight loss. If you aren't into water, try making green tea, it's a boost to the metabolism and it counts as water. It's also much cheaper than soda.

desertmountain 04-05-2010 02:47 PM


Originally Posted by cjohnson728 (Post 7533)
Actually, I do weight train. I know from experience now that I do well with a higher ratio of protein and carbs, lower on fat. Over the days, my carbs cycle naturally with the food I choose to eat and I'm not running a calorie deficit now because I'm at my goal weight, but when I did, it was 500. I do calorie cycle, though, and have been for months. I find it extremely effective.

I'm not a man, not interested in a six pack, and I have about 20% body fat, which for a female is in the "fitness" range, so I'm happy with that, though with continued weight training it may go lower. My cholesterol is 114 and my triglycerides are 43. So I'm no longer interested in carb counting or cycling other than natural variation...I realize that some swear by it and it's great that it works for them, but it definitely does not work for me and my body, and that's my point...everyone has to figure out what works for them individually.

First let me say congratulations on reaching your healthy goal!! Awesome. this was a very interesting post & I was wondering what the carb cycling is.

tandoorichicken 04-09-2010 10:04 PM

I posted a reply in a related thread, so I'm not going to rehash that, see here

When you're starting out, bodyweight exercises are KING. You can do them anywhere and you can do them multiple times in a day, while watching tv, etc. Push-ups, squats, lunges, dips off a chair, pull-ups (shoot for one if you can't do any now) are all terrific exercises. In any case, focus on total-body movements. You want to get the most bang for your buck without wasting time. Isolation movements are useful only if you need to build specific muscles, but for maximizing fat loss, complete movements that activate several muscle groups like squats, deadlifts, rows, and push presses can't be beat.

One way I like to do intervals is by using the Tabata method. Pick any basic exercise (push-ups, squats, sprinting, jumping rope, etc.) and do it at a pace of 20 seconds ON, and 10 seconds OFF, for only four minutes. Sounds easy? Just try it. Do that twice a day every day or every other day.

I'm with cjohnson when I say FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOU. This is probably the single most important factor in long term success, but everyone is fixated on finding the "perfect" plan out there. The "perfect" plan is really the one you can stick to without feeling forced or frustrated.

Finally, for your sweet tooth, look into a product called Zevia. It's sugar free but sweetened with stevia, a sweet-tasting phytochemical, and erythritol, a sweet, noncaloric sugar alcohol that's absorbed and excreted in urine. It's also surprisingly filling so you don't end up eating as much later.

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