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Out of shape stagnant newbie, where to begin?

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  • Out of shape stagnant newbie, where to begin?

    I admit it, I hate exercise. Truely.

    I find every excuse to NOT do it.

    But I know I need to.

    I'm ready to make life changes.

    I'm turning 40 this weekend and, while I'm not freaked out about the age thing I'm finding it's a very reflective birthday for me. I'm not where I thought I'd be at 40 years old.

    I'm a stay-at-home/work-at-home/homeschooling mother of seven kids. For 17 years my children have defined who I am and what I do. I'm only half way through the child raising process - my youngest is only 4, so I'll be at this for several more years to come. Please don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining. I LOVE being a mom, I LOVE homeschooling my kids. Now that I'm out of the infant/baby/toddler stage I'm reaching a point that there can be MORE to my life than my children. They are and always will be my major focus. But it's time to let ME take a little of the stage now. Not only for myself, but for them as well. My health has become a real factor in my energy levels and I want more for myself and my family.

    So, having said all that: where to begin?

    I'm more than a few pounds overweight, likely a good 50 pounds, though I don't buddy up with my scale often so I'm not sure. I found out just a couple months ago that I'm severely anemic. My theory is that my grain/carb addiction has decreased my stomach acid to the point that not only did I have frequent heartburn, but I am no longer able to absorb my iron (and other nutrients) from my diet. The anemia has caused me to have little energy, tire easily, and get short of breath. I've been taking iron supplements since the diagnosis and have recently begun supplementing liver as well. I am feeling better - still tired, but not the severe all day long exhaustion that I had before. I'm feeling well enough now that I'm ready to tackle some major life changes. Bring it on!!

    But where to start? I intend to implement walking and mild hiking right away. But what kind of heavy lifting should an out of shape middle aged mama start with? And sprinting, almost comical thinking about it!

    I am out of shape, but I'm not a whimp by any means. Despite little cardio activity I am still fairly strong. We have a mini farm and I'm able to move 80#hay bales for my goats and pack 50# feed bags for the chickens, but I can't do either for much repetition and if I've moved very many I can be quite sore then next day. Are kettle bells perhaps a good place to start?

    I know I need to do something. I've just done so little for so long I don't even know what a normal starting point should look like.

    Any advice?


  • #2

    First, major props to you for three things:

    1. Despite your health problems, you clearly have some significant strength to hoist those bales and bags
    2. You've made some corrective actions already, with significant improvements noted
    3. You're living a long term responsibility by your own choice, and celebrating it - regardless of which choice is made, too few people celebrate their choices

    For building muscle stamina (since you have strength but not stamina), I'd start with the classic body weight exercises -- pushups, squats, planks, walking lunges, etc. Download Mark's eBook - it's a great start. Pullups when you can fashion a bar -- and I bought 2 tie-down straps at Home Depot and a little 1" PVC pipe and made my own "rings" (running rope through the PVC and tying the rope in a knot, then running the strap through the loop). That "system" lets me raise and lower the grip height to do all kinds of pulls and pushes.

    Last edited by Annlee; 05-24-2012, 06:02 PM. Reason: typo


    • #3
      You're heaps stronger than I am when I started (You're probably stronger than I am now, but I'm tiny. My 13 yr old daughter is bigger than I am) But what I did was lift a 10kg weight whenever I thought of it, as I sat here on the computer. I can now hoist myself up and hold a pullup for 5 seconds, but at the start I could only hang. So that's what I did - at school, I hung on the monkey bars as long as I could and soon, I found I could pull myself up a little bit, then more and more. I will 'drop and give myself 10' or hold a plank for 2 minutes at times. It's not much but it's working


      • #4

        You are getting the same exercise your great grandmothers have gotten for 4 million years since they came down out of trees. You need to get your rest and proper diet. You do not need any additional exercise. Ignore any nice, helpful suggestions about getting exercise. More
        Ancestral Health Info - My blog about Primal and the general ancestral health movement. Site just remodeled using HTML5/CSS3 instead of Wordpress.

        My MDA Friday success story - Stubborn Senior's Testimonial


        • #5
          Last edited by Tribal Rob; 05-25-2012, 01:01 AM. Reason: double posted d'OH
          You know all those pictures of Adam and Eve where they have belly button? Think about it..................... take as long as you need........................


          • #6
            Hey, home-edding 7 kids you are awsome and my hero (we have 3, aged 6mnth, 3 and 10)

            I would download Mark's Primal Fitness E-book and have a read if you haven't already, even if you don't follow the excersises it gives loads of useful info on fitness, I learned much.

            I reckon you are probably good for your move slowly, especialy if you are working a mini farm and are generaly active, add in some walking and you are better than most.

            Sprinting dosn't have to be running, it's what I like, but there are other options, skipping with a rope, a bike (stationary or real) anything that you can go full out on. BUT (BIG BUTT) ease in to this sloooooooly, otherwise you will hurt afterwards, and if you hate excersise then you won't want to do it again. It is so good for you it is worth trying to find a way to sprint that suits you, plus it only takes like 4 mins once a week.

            I second that bodyweight excersises are good, I follow the Primal Blueprint Fitness bodyweight excersies, you can get through a short programm in about 15 mins, and again to start with once a week would be enough.

            So if you really want to do more stuff then does an extra 20 mins a week sound do-able?

            You will lose the weight eating primal, and you may well be getting enough excersie as it is anyway, if you move slowly for at least 2 hours a week, Lift heavy things once a week and go all out effort(sprint) once a week in everyday life then why add more

            All the best
            You know all those pictures of Adam and Eve where they have belly button? Think about it..................... take as long as you need........................


            • #7
              Exercise is very painful and draining when you are out of shape, hence your hatred of it. But it is the avoidance of regular exercise for many years that has led you to this place. You just have to start out with a couple days a week. The body weight stuff is a good starting point, then I'd add some weight training. It doesn't need to be hours of lifting. I do about 15 minutes a week and am asked all the time how many hours I spend a week in the gym. Its about intensity, not duration. For sprinting start out jogging and increase the pace gradually until you are running decently fast. slow it to a walk and repeat. No need to start out full on. You'll just injure yourself and get discouraged. Build up slowly until you can do all out sprints. I use a hill as its easier on the legs and there's less chance of blowing something out. Its harder and more effective as you are fighting gravity.

              Do these things and in a short time you should feel much better! Then you will actually start to enjoy being more active. You will crave it. When I read seven kids I felt exhausted!! I don't know how you do it quite honestly. But it is time for YOU!! That doesn't take away from you being a good mom either! If you aren't at your best, can you honestly be the best mom you can be? You can only enhance that by taking control of things, now! Also, you deserve to enjoy yourself too! Life isn't all about work and taking care of others. Those are virtuous things to be sure but there has to be a balance. You are still young enough to make dramatic changes. Changes that you can't imagine at this time. All thats to it is to do it!!


              • #8
                Oh and something I thought of seeing how it is your birthday this week and you not being where you thought you'd be.

                I always tell anyone who is unhappy with their condition to take a real good look at it both visually and internally. What you see right now is the absolute best shape you will ever be in for the rest of your life. That's it. Next week, next month, next year it will be worse and worse and so on.

                But, only if you do nothing!

                There is a concept and I believe its called physiological headroom. It is basically the gap between the least one can do which is nothing and the most they can do. The bigger the gap the better. As most people age that gap closes gradually and then after a certain point quite rapidly, until its final conclusion, death. The point of a good exercise and diet plan is to widen that gap a far as possible and then maintain that gap as long as possible. You are young and you still can add a lot of "headroom" and this is the key to healthy and quality aging. The longer you wait, the less that potential gap becomes.


                • #9
                  7 kids, wow. I have 2 and barely keep up with them! Anyway, I would focus first on your diet. Get rid of the grains and focus on eating whole foods to heal your body. As you begin to absorb nutrients better, you should start to feel better. With more energy, you will likely find you want to exercise. At that time, look into Mark's plan. It only takes about 20 minutes but you can see progress quickly if you push yourself. What I really like about his plan is that you choose the right level for you and work up from there.

                  But seriously, focus on healing your body first.


                  • #10
                    Thanks guys, each and everyone of the responses are encouraging! Hedonist, you are awesome! I love your blog that your post references about moms! I'd give you a big hug if I could!

                    Having said that, I'm passed the baby lifting and toddler chasing stages of child raising. My children range in age from 17 down to 4. 5 of them are boys - and on most days they are great workers! So much so that there isn't a whole lot of physical work demanded of me. I'm with them always and I move with them, but I don't get my heartrate up EVER anymore. Most of them can help themselves to whatever they need or, if not, they have an older sibling around them to help most times. I've worked myself out of a job! I used to be the mover and the shaker, but that's no longer needed of me. Much of my day consists of either sitting with the kids doing schoolwork (they don't each sit for long periods, but I do - that is, each one has an hour or two of focused "sit-down-and-study" time, I sit with each of them for part of that time - add it up and it's a lot of sitting!) or I'm sitting at my desk doing office work. We are self employed in organic and whole food distribution - I help my husband with much of the office work.

                    Currently I walk a bit in the morning and the evening to get the goats milked and I pull a few weeds in the garden each day, but none of what I do gets my heartrate up. I'm busy, but not active. Seven kids is busy, and when they were all younger I was much more active - but I was way busier with two or three than I am with seven - more hands makes the work light. And with each baby I've held onto an extra 5-10 pounds - times seven.

                    So yeah, I'm busy, but still stagnant, if that makes any sense.

                    I did download the fitness book last night and I read it from start to finish. A huge wealth of information there! I'm going to start walking and taking some mini-hikes immediately - the kids will love going with me on occasion. I'll add the four basic moves as I get more comfortable with my walking and hiking. The sprinting I'll add in after I've managed to work the basic moves into my day.

                    I can't tell you how encouraging it is to know that it doesn't have to be all or nothing! I'd be setting myself up for failure for sure!

                    I think the eating will be easier than the excercise for me. Subtract the grains/starch and I already eat primally. We buy a half side of grass-fed beef each year. We raised and butchered meat chickens this past fall. We have two dozen laying hens that provide us with our eggs that we eat daily. The dairy we consume comes from our goats that I milk daily and consume fresh and raw. When the goats aren't milking we use a mix of coconut milk and almond milk. We've been using coconut oil as our sole cooking oil for the past 8 years and the kids add it daily to their hot cereal that has been soaked over night to lower the phytates. It won't be a huge leap for us to take out the grains - though I'm sure it will present it's own difficulties - I'm truely a carb addict, but at least the back bone of my eating is already in place.

                    The kids won't be going grain free, just myself and my husband and it's really only the next progression in how we eat most days anyway.

                    I'll be forty the day after tomorrow. Isn't it said that life begins at 40? At least my new way of life will.

                    Thanks everyone!


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Revitalize View Post
                      So, having said all that: where to begin?
                      “BODY BY SCIENCE” — ESPECIALLY FOR WOMEN