Pearls of wisdom for getting into con-shape by mllny

By: mllNY 

Alright there kiddo’s DRWHO42 has asked me to write an article on my thoughts on fitness. Instead of a long winded article I’m just going to call this my pearls of wisdom from my time spent in the gym. I’m no expert these are just my observations from my years of working out. I generally look at being in shape as having three pillars: Cardio, Strength Training, and Diet.

One quick general point before we begin for those nervous about stepping foot into a gym whether that is because you are self conscious about your shape or abilities. I know you may have the notion when you first start working out that other members will judge or mock you. Ignore this feeling. Most people are either absorbed in their own workout or really have no ill will towards you. In fact if I personally witnessed something like that I would step in, so don’t go into the gym with the mindset that people will judge you if you are not in shape. Planet Fitness commercials that propagate these sentiments when going into a non-Planet Fitness gym are a lie!

• It took me a while to realize the benefit of cardio but for any con-goer there is arguably no more important activity that you can do to get into con-shape.
• Start slow and build your way up, don’t run a marathon on day one.
• Start by doing cardio 4-5 times a week for 20-60 minutes (walk/jog/run for a drop) I promise in even just 4 weeks you will be insanely better off and things will only get easier from there.
• Try mixing it up, most gyms have treadmills, arc trainers, elliptical, bikes, and more. You don’t have to only do one machine for the entire time you are there as that can get boring.
• DO NOT turn on the TVs and start getting wrapped up in a show, you are there for CARDIO! Music is OK, but don’t get wrapped up in making sure the tune is right and slow down.
• Get sweaty and get your heart rate going.

Sidebar for people who want to start swimming….
When I started swimming I was most definitely not swimming the 1-2 miles a clip I can do now, I could barely swim 4 laps in a row.
There are different ways people measure a mile in a pool. For clarity the measure I use for 1 mile (1760 yards) in a 25 yard pool is 72 laps (technically 70.2) however if you are swimming that much the extra 2 laps won’t matter by that point. Also a lap is one way wall to wall (not a full loop) in a 25 yard pool.
• Learn proper pool etiquette, if you are coming into a lane with someone already in it always inform that person you are now in the lane before starting your laps, do not assume they have seen you enter. That is how head on collisions occur. Trust me on this it is not pleasant!
• Start where I did, tell yourself to do 20 laps.
• When you are fresh try doing as many laps in a row as you can (for me that was mostly 4 laps in a row and a rare 6 laps); finish the remaining 20 laps in groups of 2 to 4 laps resting between them.
• After 2-3 weeks try to stretch the first laps to 6 laps and then doing the remainder of the 20 laps in 4 lap bursts and a few 2 lap bursts.
• Continue building the beginning laps and the remainder laps into larger chunks.
• Add an extra 10 laps to your workout.
• Rinse and repeat until you are comfortable with the number of laps you are doing.
• Form will come but it’s never a terrible idea to ask a lifeguard or fellow swimmer if they notice anything with your form.

Strength Training
• For beginners do not start heavy, that is the quickest way to injure yourself.
Form first, even if you feel you look ridiculous using the bench press with only a bar and 5 pound plates on each side make sure to get your form down.
• There is always more than one way to work a muscle and each person responds differently to various exercises, if something doesn’t work for you try something different.
• Work to the advantage of your body type. If I didn’t work out I would become a much heavier person, others are naturally skinny and if they cease working out will lose all their muscle mass and get skinny again.
Form first.
• I don’t care if you want to work a specific area of the body on a specific day or if you want an overall workout covering multiple groups, do what works for you
• Don’t forget your core, abs are the hardest part to get but are important to carry lots of stuff at con
• It is not a competition, if someone is bench pressing (insert other exercise) a lot of weight they likely have been training a while, don’t try to mimic them that’s how you injure yourself but don’t feel intimidated by them otherwise you may feel like losing your motivation

• I hate dieting, I don’t diet, I work out extra so I can eat what I want.
• I really enjoy All You Can Eat Sushi Buffets, Steak, Daddio’s BBQ, and Pumpkin Pie. Literally during the 2 months Entenmann’s makes pumpkin pie I will eat 4-6 pies by myself!
• Realistically though if you don’t want to do a diet like weight watchers don’t go cold turkey take gradual steps, modify little things in your diet and then more little things until it becomes easier and easier.
• Soda is a perfect example. If you drink one can of Sunkist (my drink of choice) a day that is 308 grams of sugar. If you cut that to 1-2 cans a week you’ll end up cutting close to 200 grams of sugar. You will notice the weight loss immediately.
• Crystal light!
• Try making small adjustments to any unhealthy food you are eating. Switching the General Tso’s combination with a steamed chicken combo; getting broccoli (other preferred vegetable) instead of fries.

So there you have it; there are certainly numerous methods to accomplish your weight loss goals and these are more along the lines of things that helped me in my weight loss goals. It takes time and changes may not happen overnight but as long as you stick with whatever program you end up with results will follow.

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