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  1. #1
    girlhk's Avatar
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    fitness advice?

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    So I've managed to start "exercising" now that I've got some help with my toddler. I used to walk 1-2 hours a day carrying my daughter, but can't do it anymore for over an hour now that she weighs over 20 lbs. Lower back hurts. I started doing some squats, jumping jacks, wall-pushups, and try to do pull-ups a few times a week. But I think the intensity is lacking. I always stop once I feel my heart start racing. I have never lifted weights or played sports so my body is not used to any sort of intense workout. I'd like to change that. Right now I do yoga a few days a week, do some pushups/jumping jacks/pullups a few times a week, elliptical for an hour (but low intensity) a few times a week. How can I improve my fitness? How can I strengthen my lower back?

  2. #2
    Allenete's Avatar
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    I was like this exactly! (minus baby). I'd stop at the first sign of discomfort, and I used my mild scoliosis as an excuse I think. (It's not actually visible, so I don't think people believed me anyway). There were lots of exercises that hurt my back, and the pain signified to me that it was because of my scoliosis.

    I started doing crunches on an exercise ball, which was much better for my back. Then that became too easy and now I do 100 a day on the floor. Planks also hurt my back before that, but now I can do them reasonably.

    What made the difference for me was having someone there to push me, because so much of it is mental. Your brain makes the obstacles more than your body. Start small and build up, and I REALLY recommend having someone you can be answerable to! It helps so much.

  3. #3
    Ripped's Avatar
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    I would just recommend 1-2 full body weight training routines per week. That really should be all you need to build up your strength. And it will leave you with plenty of time left over for other sports.

    Example:
    Note: Let each exercise be progressively heavier, working your way up to a top set.
    Workout:
    1. squats/deadlifts (do squats or deadlifts every other workout 5 x 5
    2. military press 5 x 5
    3. weighted chin ups 5 x 5
    4. Any strong man event (for endurance), i.e. farmers walk, clean and press for reps, sand bag carry, et..
    5. calf raises 1 x 12-25

    I like a workout like that because it's long and provides plenty of volume. You therefore can't push too hard on your sets, so you avoid burnout. You can do a simpler version of it if it's too long.

    I think it would work good for a woman too. Some women are worried about getting too bulky from lifting. But if it comes to that, you can always back off in weight, do faster reps, and try to make the workout shorter. You could also decrease to one workout per week and save time for other sports/activities or even spending time with your family. The other reason why I like a workout like that is because it provides plenty of variety, so it keeps you interested.

  4. #4
    jfreaksho's Avatar
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    20 pounds should not be too much to carry. Your back hurts because it is either weak, or you have bad posture and mechanics (or both). Tight hip flexors, a weak core, and other deficiencies can contribute to you overcompensating with your back muscles.

    As for intensity, you need to train your mind to tolerate it. When you feel yourself wanting to quit, push for a few seconds more. Take a short rest (not quite enough to catch your breath) and go again.

  5. #5
    girlhk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfreaksho View Post
    20 pounds should not be too much to carry. Your back hurts because it is either weak, or you have bad posture and mechanics (or both). Tight hip flexors, a weak core, and other deficiencies can contribute to you overcompensating with your back muscles.

    As for intensity, you need to train your mind to tolerate it. When you feel yourself wanting to quit, push for a few seconds more. Take a short rest (not quite enough to catch your breath) and go again.
    I agree that 20 lbs is not much to carry. My core and lower back are not strong, and have gotten weaker in the past 6 months due to lack of exercise, yet carrying the same load every day.

    About 6 or 7 years ago, I used to do long-distance running, and I ran a couple of marathons. For some reason, running at slow low-intesity is enjoyable and I could go on until my knees gave out. Sprinting is different story. I avoided it. Nowadays I don't run long distance anymore because my knees won't take it, so I do jumping jacks and occasionally sprint. Still, I know the intensity should increase. It just seems a lot harder than training my mind to run 20 miles.

    Will keep trying though.

  6. #6
    girlhk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allenete View Post
    I was like this exactly! (minus baby). I'd stop at the first sign of discomfort, and I used my mild scoliosis as an excuse I think. (It's not actually visible, so I don't think people believed me anyway). There were lots of exercises that hurt my back, and the pain signified to me that it was because of my scoliosis.

    I started doing crunches on an exercise ball, which was much better for my back. Then that became too easy and now I do 100 a day on the floor. Planks also hurt my back before that, but now I can do them reasonably.

    What made the difference for me was having someone there to push me, because so much of it is mental. Your brain makes the obstacles more than your body. Start small and build up, and I REALLY recommend having someone you can be answerable to! It helps so much.
    Wow, 100 a day on the floor! Plank is still hard for me. As for finding someone, I'm going to try harder to see if there's anyone around me wanting to build strength as well...

  7. #7
    girlhk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ripped View Post
    I would just recommend 1-2 full body weight training routines per week. That really should be all you need to build up your strength. And it will leave you with plenty of time left over for other sports.

    Example:
    Note: Let each exercise be progressively heavier, working your way up to a top set.
    Workout:
    1. squats/deadlifts (do squats or deadlifts every other workout 5 x 5
    2. military press 5 x 5
    3. weighted chin ups 5 x 5
    4. Any strong man event (for endurance), i.e. farmers walk, clean and press for reps, sand bag carry, et..
    5. calf raises 1 x 12-25

    I like a workout like that because it's long and provides plenty of volume. You therefore can't push too hard on your sets, so you avoid burnout. You can do a simpler version of it if it's too long.

    I think it would work good for a woman too. Some women are worried about getting too bulky from lifting. But if it comes to that, you can always back off in weight, do faster reps, and try to make the workout shorter. You could also decrease to one workout per week and save time for other sports/activities or even spending time with your family. The other reason why I like a workout like that is because it provides plenty of variety, so it keeps you interested.
    How can I modify that workout for a woman who is a total beginner?

    I'm not too worried about bulking up. I have the kind of body type that doesn't build big muscles. I've been doing wall push-ups for some months now, and my shoulders have widened. To my surprise, it made my clothes fit better! LOL. Anyway, so far I've only managed to increase the reps on the wall for push-ups, and still can't do a single one on the floor. I try to do pullups whenever my daughter and I are at the park, I can lift up a couple of inches now versus nothing before.

  8. #8
    jfreaksho's Avatar
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    Primal Blueprint Expert Certification
    The Primal Blueprint Fitness ebook has a pretty good scale for what numbers you should be reaching in order to move on to a more difficult exercise. It's a pretty decent beginner book, actually.

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