The "design me an ideal workout!" thread

Inspired by DSeid here, I’d like this to be a thread where you can post details about yourself and others on the board can design a workout for you.

Me: 34-year-old female, 5’11", 208 pounds. Very clean eater. Currently, I do Couch to 5K (in Week 7, so almost done) two or three times a week, and body-weight or kettlebell exercises 2-3 times a week. I’ve been doing this since May.

I’m pretty weak and would like to be stronger. Lately I feel like my body weight and kettlebell circuits are getting harder, not easier, and I’m not sure why. I’ve been doing them for a couple of months now.

My standard body weight routine is as follows:

10 squats
10 lunges
10 push-ups (the girly kind)
15-second plank
10 sit-ups
10 Russian twists (weighted 10 pounds)

After that, I’ll rest for a couple of minutes and do it again. If I’m feeling particularly energetic, I’ll do it a third time.

Kettlebell routine is this one. Two circuits, 10-pound weight.

So for someone whose goal is to burn fat and build muscle, what would you suggest I do? I can also give you access to my food diaries if you’d like to see them. I eat 1600-1900 calories a day on average.

The equipment I have at home: Select-a-weights, a 10-pound kettlebell, and pull-up equipment (not that I can actually do one–it’s my husband’s). He also has a rowing machine. I have access to a gym as well, but generally only go there to run on the indoor track and use their ab machine.

Is your priority to burn fat or build muscle/strength? It’s hard to do both at the same time. If you goal is to rid yourself of body fat and maintain strength, it’s almost all diet. How do you keep food logs?

I keep food logs on MyFitnessPal–they have the best database, and their recipe builder is awesome.

My primary goal is to burn fat, as my body fat percentage is way higher than it should be. But I would like to lose as little muscle as possible while doing this. Once I get down to a reasonable body fat percentage, then I can focus on building muscle.

Drain Bead, I’m new to exercising and the trainer at the gym recommended intervals or interval training for me.

Using his recommendation, I would have done 5 minutes of any cardio first to warm up (using any elliptical, exercycle, treadmill, or 2 laps on a short running path), and then half of the exercise routine you listed- also about 5 minutes worth.

He has me do three exercise between the cardios, and changes those three exercise up each time.

He would have had me repeat that cycle (cardio, other stuff, cardio, other stuff, cardio, other stuff) about 3 times.

They whole thing would run about 45 minutes, including the time to change activities, and
I’m feeling like I’ve had a good workout afterwards. I’m pretty out of shape and am having to modify many exercises because of foot problems.

I am currently back on the fitness thing and I truly believe that if you are going for fat loss, weight training is a key element.

I have been successful at this weight loss thing twice (losing 40 pounds and 10 inches off my waist both times) and the key for me was weight training.

I train heavy with low reps and train my whole body (legs, back, chest, arms, abs).

While there is still a pretty thick layer of fat over my muscles, they are certainly there. I have only lost 13 pounds so far but I have lost 5 inches off my waist.

I know that you started this thread to get advice and I am pretty sure you are not going to like mine. Join a gym. Do a session or two with a personal trainer who specializes in weights. Have them set up a program for you.

Two sets of 10 reps doesn’t sound like a whole lot, but since I don’t know your actual strength, I hesitate to suggest a different amount. Instead, why don’t you try taking exercises to failure? Don’t take every single one to failure every single day, but if you could do each exercise to failure one day a week that could be beneficial. (Taking to failure means doing an exercise until you literally can’t do it anymore.)

This will actually help your cardiovascular endurance as well as your strength capabilities, because you will be training your body to be taxed for an extended period of time. If you keep track of how many reps you do each week, you will be able to see your improvement from week to week, which can be pretty motivating. (As long as you know what to expect. Chances are you won’t see huge improvements, but if you can do 10 russian twists on week one and 12 by week three, it’s exciting to see that you’re getting better. And if you discover that one week you can’t do any real pushups but a month later you can do one, imagine how awesome that would be!)

Finally, this would be a good indication of how many reps you should shoot for normally. For example, if you do squats to failure and end up doing 12, then it’s probably a good idea to stick with 10 reps for a while. But if you realize that when you take it to failure, you can do 30 before you have to stop, that’s a good indication that 10 squats isn’t giving you a very good workout.

You sound like you have a great plan in place, but perhaps your routine is getting stale.

The big thing I would suggest is to really push yourself until you can’t do anymore of the exercise on your last set. You shouldn’t be backsliding on your exercises if you’re putting in max effort every time.

For variety, you might want o cut out a couple of your exercises and move in some:

Bench dips (triceps)
Dumbell bench press
Different version of a sit up (crunches, leg lifts, etc)
Step outs instead of squats
Push up into a side plank
Pull an exercise ball from your feet to your butt (hamstrings)

You may need to get an exercise ball for some of these.

Goals are increasing strength and fat-free mass (FFM) while losing fat.

  1. Resistance training. Per the American College of Sports Medicine do 8 to 12 reps (unable to do more and keep good form) per set, 2 to 3 sets, 2-3 times a week. Focus on getting all the large muscle groups. You’ve got an okay set but maybe do some thrusts in there too. As you advance increase the weight and increase the variety - of exercises and of ways of doing it, sometimes lower weight more reps, sometimes more weight less reps. Keep yourself challenged. No ruts.

  2. Some high intensity interval training as part of your mix on other days (as referenced in the thread this came out of) can increase FFM while losing fat, more than aerobic alone.

  3. Again, stuff you enjoy doing.

  4. A diet higher in protein (1 to 2g/kg) and relatively low in grain based carbs is also associated with better increase in FFM while losing fat.

Have fun!

That’s thrusters (not “thrusts”).

Start at whatever weight you can do at least 8 and not more than 12; if that is body weight only that is fine.

And that kettlebell work seems like a good all around routine.

Again the obvious cannot be overstated enough: the most important component of “the best” work out is that you keep doing it, even if that means the “it” is changing all the time. Using big muscles? Breathing at least a bit hard and maybe sometimes very hard for at least short bursts? You good.

Somewhere else, I read about an app called BodyFate. You input your fitness level and how long you want to work out, then select what equipment you have from a pretty exhaustive list (it includes everything from dumbbells and resistance bands, to kettlebells and even flights of stairs). After you do that, it has you do things like spin a wheel or select one of two doors or press buttons to get each new workout. You have a certain amount of 60-second rests you can take–I did one, after some stair sprints–and you have one pass that allows you to skip a workout. Each exercise is animated, so you can see how to do it with proper form. It’s the best fitness app I’ve ever found.

That sounds like it might be fun!

Of the stuff in your house you may want to give the rower a try as part of the mix. And don’t write off the pull-up equipment. Start off with a chair to assist you up and focus on controlling your rate of descent. Then after you can do that 10 times use the chair to only partly support your weight as you pull up, and continue with controlled speed complete weight descents. The cool thing about pull ups (besides that they use many big muscles) is that you see significant improvement as you go, a consequence of both getting stronger and losing weight.

The reason though I bumped this thread was that it seemed a good place to share this little article from JAMA. I have no reason to believe that it applies to you specifically but for any others who may be at risk of diabetes or have pre-diabetes it is important to emphasize.

There are a lot of fad exercise routines, and quite honestly a hell of a lot of B.S. about training, particulary on M.B.s.

There have in the past been some complete and utter idiots posting nonsense about training on the Dope, who obviously know nothing whatsoever about training, and who have have obviously never trained in their lives, so treat all advice with caution, even mine as you don’t know me from Adam.

You say that you want to lose weight and build up muscle.

Bear in mind that muscle weighs proportionally a lot more then blubber, so if you become a brick outhouse your weight will go UP.

We are all of us different, there is no one size fits all solution, but I’d advise concentrate on cardio vascular training, circuit training and running as your first priority, leave the body building stuff for much, much later, if ever.

Don’t set yourself over ambitious targets, its better to run a mile a day EVERYDAY, then run five miles once and then don’t bother again because it was too hard.

Always warm up for a fair while before training, and warm down after.

(I have had a hot bath at times in the past after training as a cheat and it seems to have worked )
If you don’t, you’ll get tireder quicker, out of breath quicker, during training, and no or an improper warmdown will mean you’ll feel stiff the next day and less inclined to train.

As your stamina increases as a relative novice you can do short routines more often rather then long routines just once.

For running, if you become puffed out after short distances, try running then walking, then running, and so on.

Make yourself run, (insert number here ) for so many lamp posts, then walk (insert number here ) so many lamp posts/light poles.

Make the number small at the start of your run/walk, gradually increase as the number as you get warmed up, and then gradually decrease the number towards the end.
When you’re truly fit you can go on for very long sessions, but thats in the future.

Personally at your stage of training, I wouldn’t bother with weights, but if you must, very light ones.

Vary your routines to stop yourself becoming mentally stale and bored.

Leave a good interval between eating and the start of your training session.

DO NOT BOTHER with special food compounds etc. they are at best useless, extra vitamins , minerals and protein wont make you fitter or train harder.

(The water soluable vitamins like vitamin C will be evacuated from your body anyway when your body has the right amount of it)

And usually they’ll they’ll just pile the pounds on while making you less healthy.

Unless you’re doing extreme training as in marathons excetra, the “sports drinks” are positively unhealthy.

Surprisingly the best rehydrate is skimmed milk, followed by water.

(Don’t drink chilled water, no matter how hot you get as its likely to give you a cough, though its good for rinsing yourself off externally DURING, but not after training.)

If you can, have a dump before you start, as your performance will be decreased if once the blood gets flowing you feel a need to evacuate your bowels.

Always remember that when you feel really tired, when it really becomes an effort, when you’re really gasping for breath, then thats when its working.

Don’t think, "Oh I’m knackered, I’ll never be fit "

The more often you get knackered the fitter you’re getting.

Even when you get very, very fit you’ll still feel exhausted as you up your game.

And finally, theres no magic exercise set that will make you fitter then other exercise sets, its the keeping on doing it that gets results.

The hype is all for people selling books and videos.

Good Luck, and let us all know how you get on .

Do Starting Strength.