You realize you cant convert fat into muscle, don't you?
Just start lifting.
Warning this is a long post explaining my reasoning and method behind my getting ready to start lifting weights, I just want to explain myself so to give the reader a clear idea of where I am headed. The questions are more towards the end and you could totally skip what I've written below if you want.
I've been eating Primal now for the last two months my goal when starting was to lose 60 lbs this year. I've gone from 5'10" 260 lbs to 236 at this time on basically diet changes mostly and some light exercise the last couple weeks, obviously a lot of it is water weight but I have taken the pant sizes down a couple numbers and shirts are hanging baggy on me. I could stand to lose more lbs. than 60 but at the time that number was a goal that I knew was ambitious but still attainable and truth is I could lose more. I don't however want to lose more than 2 lbs a week while eating primal and exercising. I didn't get fat overnight and I'll obviously not get skinny overnight also, anyways so far so good on the weight loss.
For the last 5 years or so I've been working at a computer job sitting in a chair for 10+ hours a day living off fast food daily and zero exercise and zero doctor visits. I do mean zero exercise unless you counted putting on my shoes in the morning that used to kick my butt every day. The point is that I don't want to jump in to exercise hardcore right off the bat because I'm not physically ready yet and my heart probably couldn't take it.
I've come up with some goals as to help me ease into incorporating exercise as a daily occurrence and I was hoping to get some input from members here who know more about this kind of thing than myself.
Step 1. Obviously change the diet, it all starts from here and no matter how much you exercise if you don't eat right you are spinning your wheels. I think I've got this part down as I eat a somewhat strict Primal/Paleo based diet. I'd say instead of 80/20 I am about 95/5 or so. I've got Marks blueprint, Robbs paleo solution and the primal cookbook and I follow the dietary advice fairly well.
Step 2. Incorporate light exercise into my day. I've been doing this for a couple weeks now in where I am doing core exercises which will being difficult are low impact and don't get my heart rate maxed and gets me ready for lifting heavy weights so that I don't hurt myself with a weak core. I stick to crunches, full body crunches, planks, bicycles and bridge lifts to get the abs and obliques stronger. I do sphinx, cobra, supermans and camel/cats to get my back stronger as well. I also do push ups, leg kicks and that's all I can think of right now. I do these exercise every other day.
Step 3. Jogging/Walking. I don't do sprints yet because I don't think I am ready to start putting that kind of pressure on my heart or lungs but I will be adding sprints in the backyard too at some point. I did recently buy a treadmill last week and have been using it every other day. I do a mile and a half between alternating with a fast walk to a brisk jog raising and lowering my heartbeat several times during the session to best mimic a more natural way to exercise. I spend at least a half hour using it every other day on the days I'm not doing core exercises.
Step 4. Lifting Weights. I am not at this point yet. I want to get around 220 or so before I buy some weights and start lifting. Before I begin lifting I believe that I need to get my core stronger and stabilize all the muscles I never used in the last 5 years and get some stamina from jogging and running. I'll be purchasing a power rack along with weights, a couple of dumb bells to work on core exercise like bench presses, squats, dips, pullups and using the dumbells for arm and shoulder exercise, that kind of thing. I've got the equipment spec'd out and am waiting until I am ready for it. My plan is to lift 3 times a week max but to train heavy when I do.
The reason I am picking 220 as my weight to start lifting is I want to bulk up my muscle mass and its easier to convert existing fat into muscle than it would be for me to get to 185 (my lean mass weight approx.) or so and then try to add it. I'd rather add muscle while I've still got the fat to lose. This should give me 35 extra lbs of fat to convert into muscle.
But 220 is just an arbitrary number do you guys think that I should start sooner or later to begin lifting?
I'm already averaging 2 lbs a week with diet alone and if I start lifting and sprinting I think that number will jump which is what I don't want to end up with "loose" skin because of too rapid weight loss. What can I do to ensure when exercise more that the number doesn't jump?
What diet changes will I need to make once I start lifting so that I don't deplete myself of the right nutrients?
You realize you cant convert fat into muscle, don't you?
Just start lifting.
i'm going to suggest Starting Strength ( FAQ:The Program - Starting Strength Wiki ) for heavy lifts. I would also suggest starting as soon as you have your weights, you can start the movements with just the bar to work on form and slowly add weight (5lbs a workout as opposed to 10 or 20lb jumps Rippetoe suggests to get to your starting weights). Doing it that way will reinforce the movement patterns well before you reach challenging weights and would slow down the accumulation of lean mass (and subsequent fat loss) that you seem to be concerned about.
As for diet changes, simply make sure you get enough protein for muscle repair and growth (1g per lb lean mass).
I didn't like the rules you gave me, so I made some of my own.
Strong people are harder to kill than weak people, and more useful in general. - Mark Rippetoe
Start lifting! you don't even need weights, get down and do push ups (on your knees if you must) do some bodyweight squats, see if you can start working towards a pull up. At your weight external loads aren't necessary, especially because you're a complete beginner by your own admission.
I am NOT saying you shouldn't lift weights if you have them, by all means go ahead, but if you DON'T have them that doesn't give you a pass to do absolutely nothing, get moving!
Bodybuilder / athlete eats 6000 cals a day - gets huge and strong.
Stops lifting / training, keeps eating the same - gets hugely fat.
The haters and the ignorant yell 'look, all that muscle just turns to fat when you stop lifting'
** EDIT** I should have read a few of the previous posts. It appears that many of us are in agreement. Most of what I say in the following post is redundant, however, I do list some basic exercises to get you started that expand a little on what was said by fellow groksters.
Some thoughts on lifting:
Why not start preparing now? As people around these forums get to know me they will see that I am a big fan of the compound lift in all of its forms. The beauty of many of the compound lifts is the need to start at a very light weight in order to develop technique first, sometimes just starting with a stick or a 5lb dumbbell until you get technique down might be enough for a few months. By the time you've mastered technique you will see strength and stamina gains and probably be hankering for some extra weight. My favorite lifts ( here you see why I am big on technique) are the squat (start at body weight), the lunge with a barbell across the shoulders (start at body weight, use a broom stick maybe), the dead lift (start with a broom stick or 5lb dumbbells), the clean jerk to overhead press (start with some milk jugs or 5lb dumbbells), the snatch and grab (start with a broom stick or 5lb dumbbells). These are all complex full body lifts that I feel are as grok friendly a lift that you are going to find in the standard gym with standard equipment. They work the heck out of the core muscles and lower back and do wonders for strength and explosiveness. Since you will be using body weight to start, you shouldn't feel too much stress on your joints.
Now, I do many other types of lifts, however I can say that compound lifts play the prominent role in my lifting routine, more so than any myologicaly isolated presses or pulls. The bench press is fun and yeah you get a big chest, and yes it's cool to see that double head on your biceps from doing a million curls, but nothing triggers muscle growth (and as such a metabolism increase) and an increase in overall fitness like the lifts in the previous paragraph.
What am I trying to say?
Start lifting when you are ready but if you wanted to start sooner than later, perhaps some of the advice above might help. Perhaps not. Good luck and don't give up. Never...ever...give up...
Last edited by Chromal; 03-09-2011 at 07:57 PM.
Oh and one other thing, find an exercise you really love to do. If you are going to kill yourself doing cardio and I do tons of it, you might as well enjoy your time. For me it was martial arts, of which I currently study 3. I still do my sprints, walk, and lift but I could practice Tai Ji, Ju-Jitsu or Kung Fu all day, its so much fun that no matter how tired I am I could keep going until I pass out (that's not the goal but I could), truth be told I couldn't really say the same for sprints.
Moral of the story:
Find something you really like to do, so you have more motivation other than a mirror and scale. As Mr. Sission says, "go play!" That's the best advice I have heard in a long time.
Avoid the running/jogging trap, all that does is slow down your strength building and screws with your heart. Plus at your fitness level it'll be terrible on your joints. Lean muscle burns calories really well so the sooner you start with the weights, the quicker you'll lose the fat! If you're concerned about your core try to stick with full body types of movements (deadlifts/squats/etc). Doing these full body things at low intensity in the beginning will mean that you have pretty much no choice but to wait for your core muscles to strengthen before moving up in weights. But. Do keep moving up in weights. If you're following the diet as much as you say you are you'll be getting some good results for strength building.
"You can demonstrate the purpose and limits of human digestion with a simple experiment: eat a steak with some whole corn kernels, and see what comes out the other end. It won’t be the steak."