gym rats--criticize my regimen

While reading this,

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=201288

I became aware that there are inefficient ways to exercise, or even counter-efficient ways, that are well known to gym rats. I’m wondering what’s inefficent about my method of choice.

The most comfortable exercise, ensuring that I’ll actually do it three times per week or more, is to ride a recumbent bike for a hour. I watch TV, listen to music, but I peddle at capacity about 20 minutes, for two or three minutes at a clip, and try to maintain a fairly rigorous level of exertion the rest of the time.

I work up a torrential sweat, and am pretty bushed after each hour.

Problem is, my weight stays constant (I’ve been following this regiment for a couple of years) and it’s pretty discouraging. Sometimes I wonder if it makes any difference. No matter what, I’m pretty much a consistent 15 pounds above where I want to be.

Is recumbent biking just a poor method of exercise? Am I not doing it for long enough? Am I not doing it often enough? Could I be biking wrong somehow?

I’ll be interested to hear what people think.

Well, yeah, you’ve been doing the same exercise day in and day out for years. That’s about the worst thing you can do.

I can help you out, but I need to know a little bit about you. What are your goals? How much time do you have to spend exercising? How dedicated are you?

Goal: To drop those 15 pounds, and keep them off.

Time: about 3-4 hours per week.

Dedication: well, I’ve been putting in the time the last few years.

What else can I tell you?

Well, it’d be helpful to know your bodyfat percentage, as well as your age & gender. Height and weight might not be bad either.
Any health problems or old injuries?

You might want to incorporate some moderate weight training into your routine. It is easier for your body to burn the fat off of your muscles if they are more efficient calorie burning machines, which means stimulating them to grow.

I forgot to add: Your bones and joints will only support a finite amount of tissue attached to them. So, the more muscle tissue your develop, the less fat can accumulate on and around them.

I forgot to add: Your bones and joints will only support a finite amount of tissue attached to them. So, the more muscle tissue you develop, the less fat can accumulate on and around them.

You also need to be in the appropriate fat-burning HR zone for your age, gender, and body type.

My advice is this:

-High-rep, low weight body circuits 3 times per week.

-The other 4 days, 45 minutes to an hour of total-body CV exercise. Recumbent bike, rowing ergometer (if you know how), running, skating, cross-country skiing (obviously, these are all dependent on conditions).

And stop with the hard-soft-hard-soft stuff. You need your HR to be up there, CONSISTENTLY, the whole time. If that’s too difficult, don’t go out as hard. Better to be consistent the whole way through.

I coach rowing, which is a total-body sport that gets you into phenomenal shape. I’d be happy to modify my beginner training program to your needs, given a bit of information.

Question for you guys:

I’ve started in on a gym routine - 45 minutes cardio (usually on the bike) and about an hour of a weight training program my gym set up for me. I’m going to consistently add resistance to the weight training until I find a comfort (or uncomfort) level.

Anyway, that’s not the point. My point is that after my routines, I’m ravenously hungry. Which is fine, because this suggests that I’m increasing my metabolism. But what should I be eating? Something light, carbs, fish, lots of veggies? Can I slam down some heavy mexican?

I started back at the gym about a month ago and can warn you that if weight loss is your only goal lifting won’t help. I can tell I’ve lost fat and created muscle and the scale says the same thing it did when I started.

FWIW the first go-round I went from 223-197 with weights and running on the treadmill and restricted diet.

If you just want to lose weight, eat less. The soldiers in Iraq lost mad weight by running around in the desert with 1-2 MREs a day.

Munch on this:

Within 20 minutes of a weight session you should drink about 25-30 grams of protein in a shake form. Make sure you get a pure protein powder mix and not a weight gainer. Ideally, the protien shake should have about 3.5-5 grams of fat per serving. I use EAS’s Simply Protein. There are more expensive and higher quality protein supplements out there, but this one gives you the best bang for your buck in my opinion.

About an hour to 2 hours after you drink the shake, eat a regular, healthy meal with a balance of carbs, protein and fiber.

There is going to be a lot of advice on how to lose weight, and some of it will be contradictory. I just read that the best way to lose weight doing cardio is to do intervals (very high intensity periods followed by less intense rest periods), which sounds like what you’re doing. But other will (and did) disagree.

The scientist in me says the only way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you take in. So if you’re goals are to lose weight, it’s great and quite helpful that you’re excersizing, but you need to look at your diet too. Take inventory of EVERYTHING you eat for a few days, or a week. Then cut out a couple hundred calories a day (500 calories a day is a pound a week, but that may be a lot depending on how much you’re eating now), but keep your activity level the same. You may be hungry for a while, but you’ll lose weight.

That’s my $.02. I’m sure some may agree, and some may disagree. Different things work for different people. Good Luck.

There’s no reason to take in fat after a workout. The goal is to get protein to your muscles ASAP while they’re still highly insulin-sensitive, and fat can’t speed that up.

Whey protein and sugar is about what you want. Check out this, this, and this.

I never said you should take in fat after a workout, I was just saying what the average protein shake fat content is. The only brand that has near zero fat per serving is Isopure, but in my opinion their mix tastes awful.

Sorry, I misunderstood you. You definitely do want to keep fat low after a workout. I like Biotest’s protein powder cause it tastes good.

Hey, can you tell me more about this high insulin-sensitivity after a workout?

There’s not a whole lot to say. Basically, after you exercise, the muscles you used are more sensitive to insulin and will better absorb whatever nutrients you send their way. I use another Biotest product, Surge, as a pre/post-workout drink, and it definitely helps me recover faster.

Read the articles I linked to earlier for more information.

I probably won’t be online this weekend, but as far as your goals go, pseudotriton ruber ruber, you can probably get where you want with some dietary changes. Picking up a lifting program would be very good. Check out Tree Boy’s rowing program, which might be worth checking out.

The alternating hard-soft-hard-soft aerobic work is known as HIIT, and it’s the current darling of anyone who wants to be lean and muscular. It’s good stuff, but an hour’s way too long. Do a google on HIIT for more info.

read “Sugar Busters”

I assume when you mention the 15 pounds it’s 15 pounds of fat or flab that you want to lose.

If you’re not losing it, it’s because you’re eating at the same rate you’re burning it off. Pull back your eating a bit and you’ll see a difference. “Working out” won’t cause you to lose weight. Exerting more calories than you take in will cause you to lose weight. You can easily out eat your workout. But your current workout is keeping you from gaining weight since the extra exertion is using up the extra calories which would have been converted to fat.

Also, stay away from Gatorade and PowerBars after your workout. If you were training for performance those would be useful. But if you’re concerned with losing weight, those are as bad as soda and a candy bar. A bottle of Gatorade and a PowerBar is about 450-500 calories. That would probably be a large percentage of your workout.

Also try a machine where you have to support your own weight. I’ve read that the recumbent bikes are one of the “easiest” machines at the gym since the seat is supporting all your weight. Your legs are the only muscles doing work. If you use a machine which involves more of your muscles, you’ll burn more calories without feeling like it’s that much more of an effort. Try the eliptical machines which involve your arms to get a pretty good workout.

My tips for what they are worth. At the gym, weights followed by stairmaster, until you want to die, followed by the bike. I don’t like the recumbants, if I fart the smell comes up in front of me. However what has worked for me lately is real actual riding. Another good idea for the cardio is a heart rate monitor. There are a million people more qualified to teach you what means what, however combined with how I feel I can now tell when I’m over trained, slacking off, on pace for a 4 hour ride, etc…

Good luck, but I think that adding variety will help you.