1

votes

Advice for a fitness beginner?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 23, 2010 at 8:38 PM

Okay I've been paleo for 7 months now and recently cleared up some hormone issues so I think it is time to start getting fit. Although I have an active job I don't currently do any exercise. I'm a 44 year old female 5'6" and I weigh 128lbs with body fat about 19/20%. I'm mainly interested in building some lean muscle mass, getting some definition and generally improving my health. There isn't a Cross Fit gym anywhere near me so I'll have to do it by myself. Also my husband (not 100% paleo) broke his collar bone in a motorbike accident about 12 weeks ago and now needs to really start rebuilding his strength. Anyone got any ideas on where we should start? I've got a pretty comprehensive set of dumbbells gathering dust but no other gear apart from that (did Body for Life for about 3 weeks a while back until I got bored).

4e6e7ce2caee0797f3bd18b464727f76

on January 11, 2012
at 04:11 PM

The goal is to improve fundamental conditioning using very simple movement patterns.

1f24d4895246892ef4ee4d79b7f9eeeb

(373)

on March 28, 2011
at 03:22 PM

Following up on my progress with SlowBurn, I have made very good improvement in strength in 7 weeks. Started 2/6/11 and have done a total of 8 workouts. For example, when I started, I could do 3 pushups from my knees and now I can do 6 real pushups from my toes in slomo. For curls, I started with 5 reps with 10 lbs and now I can do 5 reps with 20 lbs. Started with 3 crunches and now I do 22. Very pleased, and no injuries.

F034ee9771c7ac0e1832fc104c116379

(90)

on February 08, 2011
at 12:12 AM

Couldn't agree more. Esther's work is great.

F034ee9771c7ac0e1832fc104c116379

(90)

on February 08, 2011
at 12:12 AM

What's the goal here? Handing someone a circuit layout over the interwebs is like handing someone a knife without showing them how to cut.

F034ee9771c7ac0e1832fc104c116379

(90)

on February 08, 2011
at 12:09 AM

Great post, Eva. That's borderline Rhabdo, which not only can cause muscle cell death, but also destroy the kidneys if advanced stages exist. Keep things slow and gradual. If you're just starting out, leave the bootcamps and Crossfits alone, imo.

90fc4f1e94bab32e4fbab7468e3cecb5

(224)

on February 07, 2011
at 09:17 AM

Get Vibrams -- rather than going barefoot completely. It's safer! :)

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

(10778)

on July 25, 2010
at 12:59 AM

I love most everything that Krista at stumptuous has to say!

12b11f3a35bba9f5ef305db6899562d3

(30)

on July 24, 2010
at 12:21 PM

But do remember that there's going to be a difference between your perfect form, and someone elses. Don't let the fear of "perfect form" keep you from making strength gains. Listen to your body.

F3951b3141a6ab7036b33e70b4bfad71

(269)

on July 24, 2010
at 03:43 AM

AFTER you get the form and basics of the lift you are working on perfect though. Do not start out heavy, learn the proper way to execute the lifts, Starting Strength is a great (and very technical) book...

Cf1189fc2e0acdd49ce566e43238ffb6

on July 23, 2010
at 11:19 PM

8 steps to a pain free back is an amazing book and Esther Gohkale is great, she has free web seminars often.

5841391284e7af8c495c54bd90d3a795

(2764)

on July 23, 2010
at 09:27 PM

Ooh! Melissa, that looks good. My posture sucks since I lost all the belly fat that was propping me up. I'm going to get a copy of that book. Thanks!

Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

8 Answers

6
4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

on July 23, 2010
at 09:49 PM

  • Play.

As stupid as it sounds, just go find stuff you like doing outdoors.

Simple stuff like nature hikes will start you off with exercise without stressing anything

  • Go Barefoot.

For your back and posture it's amazing. Take it slow to start

  • Stretch and Move

Omni directional twisting and turning mobility for injury prevention If you have kids, play with them on the floor, or with the dog or cat, twist left right up down, slowly

  • Basic Muscle Exercises

Push, Pull, Squat.

I do pushups, pullups and air squats If you can't do pushups, do them girly or against the wall, if you can't do pullups find a weight you can handle and press it overhead... Slowly

  • Interval Sprints

Once you're comfortable running, find a track and run 100m all out then walk 200m then run all out . If no track just time it, I do 20 seconds of all out and 40 seconds of rest. A good 6-10 min and you'll be knackered and will have seriously benefited your hormonal profile

  • Find a Sport

Whether it martial arts, volleyball, tennis or ultimate frisbee, a sport will keep you working where you might otherwise quit because it's FUN. I'm an Ultimate Frisbee Fanatic personally.

  • Find a group

Whether is Crossfit, MovNat, Yoga or otherwise a group dynamic keeps you accountable and makes it more fun

90fc4f1e94bab32e4fbab7468e3cecb5

(224)

on February 07, 2011
at 09:17 AM

Get Vibrams -- rather than going barefoot completely. It's safer! :)

4
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 24, 2010
at 02:50 AM

Some of those groups like crossfit can be tough if you are just starting out. SOme of them are very intense and geared more towards those that are already in shape and just want to be more so. Might want to do some basic hiking, stretching and a bit of weight lifting first. If joining a group, make sure they don't kill you on the first day. When I joined my local gym, I got one free training session. I don't know if that guy just didn't like me or what, but he had me doing bicep and tricep supersets and other arm and shoulder muscle workouts repeatedly to failure for most of an hour. I knew I was going to pay later but it turned out much worse than I thought.

The next day, my arms were frozen in a bent shape like a T-rex. I could not straighten them. The next day was even worse. All I could do was soak the arms in near boiling water and try to get them straight. But as soon as they cooled down, they we bend up again. I couldn't stop them. I spent most of those two days soaking the arms and applying heat packs. It was several days of disability and like 2 weeks before I could even go back to the gym. No more do I blindly trust trainers! Now that I have lifted for a while, I could handle that kind of workout, but not when I was first starting out.

Start out slowly and don't let some slap happy foolish trainer push you harder than you are ready. I like to push myself a bit and expect to be a bit sore after a good workout, but overdoing it is counterproductive or sometimes just downright dangerous. When I start a new exercise regime, I take it easy the first day and see how fast I recover before deciding to push harder the next time. And never work out a muscle that still feels sore from the last time. Overworking a muscle is counterproductive to downright dangerous to the health of the muscle. Another guideline I like is if you are wiped out and take a long time to recover after the exercise, you are probably pushing too hard. You should feel fine several hours later, not collapsed on the couch (unless of course couch collapse was already normal..) Take your time and build fitness gradually. -Eva

F034ee9771c7ac0e1832fc104c116379

(90)

on February 08, 2011
at 12:09 AM

Great post, Eva. That's borderline Rhabdo, which not only can cause muscle cell death, but also destroy the kidneys if advanced stages exist. Keep things slow and gradual. If you're just starting out, leave the bootcamps and Crossfits alone, imo.

2
4e6e7ce2caee0797f3bd18b464727f76

on July 23, 2010
at 11:14 PM

Well done on your latest efforts! Back to basics exercises are always good I find, practical and go anywhere.

Do 5 reps of each exercise below as a circuit and repeat as many times as you can in 15-25 minutes. Rest as required. But complete as many rounds as you can in that timeframe.

This circuit will improve your cardio and strength endurance in no time, requires no minimal equipment and covers all major muscle groups (and stabilisers) as they are compound movements.

Push Ups (start on the ground and push up, much better way to build strength)

Air Squats (straight back, flat heels, below parallel) - harder than it sounds.

Tricep Dips (against chair/sofa)

Walking Lunges (add dumbbells as you improve)

Push Press (Press dumbbells above ahead, slight dip and drive with the legs)

Dorsal Raise (Back Extensions) - raise and hold for 1 second.

F034ee9771c7ac0e1832fc104c116379

(90)

on February 08, 2011
at 12:12 AM

What's the goal here? Handing someone a circuit layout over the interwebs is like handing someone a knife without showing them how to cut.

4e6e7ce2caee0797f3bd18b464727f76

on January 11, 2012
at 04:11 PM

The goal is to improve fundamental conditioning using very simple movement patterns.

2
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on July 23, 2010
at 09:01 PM

I've been using this book- 8 steps to a pain free back, even though I don't have back pain, because the goal of the book is to send your posture back to the stone age, which is a great foundation if you want to start getting in shape.

5841391284e7af8c495c54bd90d3a795

(2764)

on July 23, 2010
at 09:27 PM

Ooh! Melissa, that looks good. My posture sucks since I lost all the belly fat that was propping me up. I'm going to get a copy of that book. Thanks!

Cf1189fc2e0acdd49ce566e43238ffb6

on July 23, 2010
at 11:19 PM

8 steps to a pain free back is an amazing book and Esther Gohkale is great, she has free web seminars often.

F034ee9771c7ac0e1832fc104c116379

(90)

on February 08, 2011
at 12:12 AM

Couldn't agree more. Esther's work is great.

1
F3951b3141a6ab7036b33e70b4bfad71

(269)

on July 24, 2010
at 03:41 AM

The way I started was just going to my local gym but doing the crossfit mainsite workouts everyday (www.crossfit.com). I did not feel I was ready to go to my local crossfit gym yet because I was really overweight and had not exercised for years. It is pretty obvious how to scale the workouts (read the FAQ, watch the videos, ask on the comments) to your ability inside the gym. I ran on an orbital, I did pull ups on a gravitron (pull-up assist machine), etc...but I would do some sort of functional fitness program that engages multiple muscle groups in complex movements (i.e. no tricep pull downs or bicep curls)

It really worked for me, and eventually I went to my local crossfit gym and love it. Even if there was no local gym I would still be doing it on my own as I progressed pretty fast and there is a ton of really good, free information all over the site and it is very inspiring. I would always start with some classes at the gym or a trainer but it was just the same old thing over and over, I have never been bored with crossfit though.

I agree with what some of the other people have said here though, the first steps are getting more active, finding fun active things to do, start off slowly. I would most definitely NOT start out doing heavy weightlifting of any kind as you will injure yourself. You need to start out and work on attaining perfect form (based on videos or descriptions in a book like Starting Strength) and then add weight. It takes a few months to build up your supporting muscles so worry about form and strengthening your core and stabilizing muscles first. Get to the point where you can do a bunch of air-squats with perfect form, push-ups, shoulder press with light dumbbells, etc... and then start adding weight. That is what would happen if you went to a good crossfit gym (or any good gym).

Most of all, have fun...find something fun that you will keep doing. For me it was crossfit, for you it might be totally different, investigate your local gyms, they might do similar functional fitness type workouts.

Good Luck!

1
12b11f3a35bba9f5ef305db6899562d3

on July 23, 2010
at 11:52 PM

I'm a big fan of just plain weight training; heavy squats, heavy overhead press, deadlifts, basic movements. if you're willing to go to a gym with better equipment, Starting Strength is pretty popular, as is sean10mm's stripped 5x5 (http://newbie-fitness.blogspot.com/2007/01/stripped-5x5.html).

If you want to use the dumbbells, http://www.stumptuous.com/workout-6 is a pretty good dumbbell-only program.

Whatever the case, do not be afraid to lift HEAVY.

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

(10778)

on July 25, 2010
at 12:59 AM

I love most everything that Krista at stumptuous has to say!

F3951b3141a6ab7036b33e70b4bfad71

(269)

on July 24, 2010
at 03:43 AM

AFTER you get the form and basics of the lift you are working on perfect though. Do not start out heavy, learn the proper way to execute the lifts, Starting Strength is a great (and very technical) book...

12b11f3a35bba9f5ef305db6899562d3

(30)

on July 24, 2010
at 12:21 PM

But do remember that there's going to be a difference between your perfect form, and someone elses. Don't let the fear of "perfect form" keep you from making strength gains. Listen to your body.

0
C2502365891cbcc8af2d1cf1d7b0e9fc

(2437)

on February 07, 2011
at 04:15 AM

I've been doing this the last three weeks: http://stronglifts.com/stronglifts-5x5-beginner-strength-training-program/. So far it's been working really well.

0
1f24d4895246892ef4ee4d79b7f9eeeb

on February 06, 2011
at 07:22 PM

I just finished reading The Slowburn Fitness Revolution and it makes a lot of sense to me. http://www.amazon.com/Slow-Burn-Fitness-Revolution-Exercise/dp/0767913868 The idea is to do 90 seconds of slow-moving lifts to failure that will engage all of your muscle fibers. Heres an excerpt. http://www.enotalone.com/article/4605.html I'm 61 and way out of shape. I just completed my first Slowburn workout and I know I got the most out of my body at my present level of fitness, but I did not injure myself. Good luck.

1f24d4895246892ef4ee4d79b7f9eeeb

(373)

on March 28, 2011
at 03:22 PM

Following up on my progress with SlowBurn, I have made very good improvement in strength in 7 weeks. Started 2/6/11 and have done a total of 8 workouts. For example, when I started, I could do 3 pushups from my knees and now I can do 6 real pushups from my toes in slomo. For curls, I started with 5 reps with 10 lbs and now I can do 5 reps with 20 lbs. Started with 3 crunches and now I do 22. Very pleased, and no injuries.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!