Author Topic: Trying to get in shape - Recommendations?  (Read 3261 times)

maglomanic

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Trying to get in shape - Recommendations?
« on: June 19, 2018, 09:09:31 AM »
Hello Mustachians, so as you read I'm trying to get in shape and I could use some advice. I was thinking about googling ideas on how to get in shape but the internet can be terrifying and have a lot of different ideas so I thought I might start by asking some real people. So here's some basic facts about myself: I'm a 26 year old female. I currently weigh 140lbs and I'm about 5 feet 4 inches. I have two jobs, one is mostly sitting all day (Receptionist/Concierge for a hotel, also work as a Receptionist for the spa in the same building.) the other is a little more active as I'm on my feet all day which is a cake decorator for a grocery store. I try to ride my bike to the hotel job as it's about a 10 minute bike ride, the other job is in a town over so I drive there. Another fun fact, I'm getting married this July 7th so I was trying to get in shape a little for that.

What I had started at the beginning of this month that has worked for me in the past is that I eat 1300 calories, do a 20 minute exercise routine (which includes things like jackknifes, push ups, lunges, etc.) and I jog in front of my tv for 30 minutes. I know the tv thing probably sounds weird but it's something I like to do. I do these exercises with Wii Fit. If I do these things consistently I know they work, I did it back during the whole month of December and didn't give myself any cheat days and I lost about 15lbs.

My thing now is that I really don't need to lose weight. I'm mostly wanting to tone myself some. I'm thinking the 1300 calorie thing might not be as efficient for gaining muscle? The jogging also might not help so much as it's mostly useful for burning calories. I''d been thinking about getting a weight set/bench press type thing for my basement but I haven't made the move to get one yet. The hotel I work for also has a few pieces of exercise equipment that I would be free to use if it's not busy in the hotel. So I could most likely use those during the weekdays. I'm mostly interested in toning my stomach. My legs and arms are pretty toned. So any thoughts? I like specific advice, If I don't make a specific plan for myself I'm likely to quit half way through and get lazy on it. Or just feel free to share things you've done that worked for you. Thanks!

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Trying to get in shape - Recommendations?
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2018, 09:17:19 AM »
A super easy, free, fast option is the "7 min workout". There's even a free app that walks you through it. I'm definitely pro lifting for women (we will not turn into annie schwarzenager. Muscle is not gross. High impact activity is really important for good bone density). You are right that 1300 calories is going to be a major roadblock to gaining that healthy muscle. At this point, you're getting into the tricky proposition of balancing eating ENOUGH with eating RIGHT. See, when you're just trying to lose weight, cutting calories can be enough. But how your body responds, what it does with that fuel, is very dependent on what you eat. This is where it gets super tricky- I imagine the keto folks and the low fat folks will both be crawling out to have their say ;) The key is read a lot and experiment a bit and see what feels right for you. Different bodies respond differently to various macro compositions- fat vs carbs vs protein. I think the big one everyone will agree on is, if you're increasing your strength building activities, you will need to make sure you're getting adequate protein, and that the amino acid profile is balanced (aka, you're eating complete proteins).

honeybbq

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Re: Trying to get in shape - Recommendations?
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2018, 09:17:54 AM »
While everybody is different and there are lots of theories, it sounds like maybe you'd like to lose a little weight and tone up a bit. If it were me, this is what would work:

For losing the weight or keeping it off, I'd get extra cardio in. Run outside. You can do a 3 minute run 1 minute walk routine. I can't imagine jogging in front of the TV is doing much unless you have a treadmill? If you want to blast calories, try running up some hills. Or if you don't like running, try swimming.

To tone up, I like doing stuff like pilates, yoga, and exercises with weights. Depends on what keeps you entertained an engaged.

You could get a small weight set and a Jillian Michaels DVD for maybe $20 on Craigslist. Planks, lunges, squats, arm raises, things like that will help you add some lean muscle. Or there are definitely some free youtube videos you could try - for me, some of the people are so annoying you'll have to find someone you like. Or maybe old school Tai bo? 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6NIWNnvOK0


Bracken_Joy

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Re: Trying to get in shape - Recommendations?
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2018, 09:26:28 AM »
While everybody is different and there are lots of theories, it sounds like maybe you'd like to lose a little weight and tone up a bit. If it were me, this is what would work:

For losing the weight or keeping it off, I'd get extra cardio in. Run outside. You can do a 3 minute run 1 minute walk routine. I can't imagine jogging in front of the TV is doing much unless you have a treadmill? If you want to blast calories, try running up some hills. Or if you don't like running, try swimming.

To tone up, I like doing stuff like pilates, yoga, and exercises with weights. Depends on what keeps you entertained an engaged.

You could get a small weight set and a Jillian Michaels DVD for maybe $20 on Craigslist. Planks, lunges, squats, arm raises, things like that will help you add some lean muscle. Or there are definitely some free youtube videos you could try - for me, some of the people are so annoying you'll have to find someone you like. Or maybe old school Tai bo? 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6NIWNnvOK0

Yeah, a really big thing will be finding something you like enough to maintain long term. Community really seems to be key here to a lot of people. Finding an activity that you love that you will bring through you life is way more valuable, ultimately. There aren't really any "finish lines" to health, as much as people like setting goals. =)

neo von retorch

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Re: Trying to get in shape - Recommendations?
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2018, 09:33:57 AM »
To pile on what Bracken_Joy said, lifting weights is your friend.

"Tone" is basically having firm muscle without too much "padding" that hides it.

Doing squats uses major muscle groups, and is one of the most effective/efficient ways to use your time (and effort) to stimulate your muscles into increasing their density (aka firmness). Adding weight to a squats just improve the efficiency and effectiveness. As a bonus, using all these muscles in these big compound movements burns calories and helps to stimulate your metabolism. The two big problems are just - having access to the equipment you need to do weight squats (aka barbell squats), and learning form - you must practice and perfect form before increasing the weight too much. If you do, though, it's worth your while!

GuitarStv

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Re: Trying to get in shape - Recommendations?
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2018, 09:40:07 AM »
I'm not sure exactly what you mean by 'toned'.  If you mean that you want to lose fat, then dieting is probably the easiest way to do so.  A 1300 calorie diet will likely achieve what you want in this regard.  That's a pretty restricted diet though, and will put your body into a catabolic state . . . if your goal is to gain muscle, it will be exceedingly hard while following it.

The bodyweight exercises you've listed are really more cardio-related than strength training.  You may gain some strength from doing them initially, but in a few weeks your body will adapt to them, and you won't be able to easily increase the resistance.  I'd recommend getting a barbell and some plates, and learning basic compound lifts (overhead press, squat, deadlift, bench press, lunches, cleans).  Again, I'm not entirely sure what you mean by 'toned' but if you mean 'look good naked' then you'll probably find that strength training works well for this purpose.  It develops a narrower waist, bigger hips/thighs, and better shaped calves and arms (women do not typically become bulky from weight training unless they're using steroids).

kandj

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Re: Trying to get in shape - Recommendations?
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2018, 09:51:08 AM »
I'm in the same boat. 26, 130 lbs, 5'4" wanting to tone up and coming out of a year of weird gut/stomach health issues where I wasn't working out much, which is a great point for me to reevaluate our vegetarian lifestyle and find new protein options as well.

Since January I've bought a pair of 8 lb dumbbells and a medicine ball. I've got a "lazy" routine I've patched together out of several workouts I found online that I enjoy.
It goes something like this (I adjust it as I feel like)
  10 reps bicep curls, x2
  10 reps triceps kickbacks, x 2
  10 reps dumbbell deadlift, x 2
  10 reps presses, x 2
  20 squats with medicine ball, sometimes more or less
  20 squats + press with medicine ball or dumbbells, sometimes
  20 core High Boat to Low Boat, sometimes x 2
  1 minute plank
  10 pushups, sometimes
  sometimes I also add lunges.
  stretch it all out
 
I've already noticed an increase in my muscle tone on my arms, and my thighs seem a bit firmer. Again, this wasn't about me losing weight so I haven't  been tracking anything. I also had about a 5 week break while our house was torn up for a kitchen remodel.

-I also enjoy yoga for a more relaxing workout but it really does help with flexibility and toning the upper arms.
-I recently discovered the free Nike Training App and I think this is what I've been searching for in regards to motivation for longer workouts, easy to follow, etc. You can either pick workouts or set a workout schedule, put in what equipment you have (or no equipment), choose how often you'd like to workout if you want to start a plan. The part I really like it that it walks me through a workout, explaining the exercise and giving breather/water breaks. No thinking necessary ;)
-I'm not into running but I am trying to pick it up when I take my dog for walks. I figure if I can get to the point where running to the lake (1/2 mile) and back without having to carry the dog back we will be sitting pretty and have some play time in the water.


Looking forward to seeing what others suggest!

doggyfizzle

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Re: Trying to get in shape - Recommendations?
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2018, 09:56:25 AM »
Swim for 45 minutes to an hour a day, 5x a week.  Light impact, burns calories, you get some Vitamin D, and it makes your lungs feel amazing.  If you want to “tone” a bit more, grab some zoomers (fins) and some hand paddles that will work your legs and arms/shoulders a bit more.

meghan88

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Re: Trying to get in shape - Recommendations?
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2018, 10:00:41 AM »
I suggest upping the weights, and alternating periods of building strength with improving endurance.  In other words, some days of heavier lifting followed by a period of lower weights, more reps and less rest.  If you're short on equipment, try to get the most out of your bodyweight exercises by making them as difficult as possible - e.g., for pushups, do full pushups from your toes, experiment with changing your hand positions (narrower and further back towards your hips will target different muscles in your arms and chest).  Stick your legs straight out when doing tricep dips against a chair or bench.  And, eat clean with lots of veggies and clean protein.

tyrannostache

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Re: Trying to get in shape - Recommendations?
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2018, 11:49:18 AM »
IMO, the most important thing is figuring out what your goals are, and how you want fitness to fit into your life. "Get in shape" is a great place to start, but as a goal, it's pretty vague. As with anything, vague goals are not likely to lead to long-term change. Once you build up some muscle and lose some flab, what then? Are you done? It's not wrong to have a goal like "develop buff arms for my wedding," but that's also not a recipe for long-term fitness. Figure out what you enjoy doing and what you will do consistently.

As we grow up, it seems like people start to see fitness as something you do to punish or limit yourself, rather than something you do to enhance your life, increase your joy and health, master new skills, etc. What do you love? Do you enjoy running? Cycling? Hiking? Chasing after kids?

Personally, I fell in love with weightlifting around age 30, and it has led me down a fun path toward mastering new skills and exploring movements I never would have tried otherwise. I like having simple goals, like "learn how to do a perfect pushup" or "squat 100 lbs... and then 150lbs" or "do a heavy snatch without falling over" that seem really basic but involve building up a whole bunch of different skills. I started out with the workout guides on stumptuous.com and a busted-up copy of Starting Strength. There's also a book called The New Rules of Lifting for Women which has a lame title but supposedly good instruction and good workout plans.

So, to get back to your original question, I suggest not shying away from heavier weights. You can start with 8lb dumbbells, but don't be afraid to go heavier, as GuitarStv and meghan88 mentioned. If you live in a bigger area, Craigslist should be full of dumbbells and bars and weights. Olympic bars and weights are usually higher quality than the sand-filled plastic weights that go on smaller-diameter bars. 

BuildingmyFIRE

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Re: Trying to get in shape - Recommendations?
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2018, 07:45:17 AM »
I agree with Bracken_Joy that you need to start doing weights.  I personally love weights.  Once you build muscle mass, you can actually eat more without putting on weight.  If you only restrict yourself to a 1300 calorie diet, you will have to make sure you don't deviate from that diet or the weight will come back.  Doing weights and eating "smarter" are probably more effective for what you want.

I work out at home with 3, 5, 8, and sometimes 10 pound weight.  Start with lower weights and just work on form.  Once its too easy, then move up. 

I find Jillian Michaels' annoyingness to be directly proportional to her effectiveness.  I have several of her DVDs.  They are great.  She just released a new lift and shred DVD that has two 30 minute workouts that are probably exactly what you need to get started.  It covers all the basic weight lifting moves (i.e., lots of squats and lunges). 

I also used to really like Lindsay Brin but I couldn't stay hearing anymore "If you just had that baby ..."  during the workout.

Good luck and best wishes on your upcoming marriage!

MDfive21

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Re: Trying to get in shape - Recommendations?
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2018, 08:40:03 AM »
High Fat, Low Carb.

the most important factor in changing your body composition is what you're putting into it.  i switched from a very high carb diet to low carb a few months ago and i've dropped 10 lbs.  went from 165 to 155 (i'm 5'11" male) and it's not like i had a lot to lose so those 10 lbs make a big difference.  i found that even with more exercise, on the high carb diet i was just ravenous all the time and had to eat way more to feel like i wasn't starving.  with the high fat diet i don't feel hungry like i did on carbs. 

there's a keto thread on this forum with a lot of good info in it.  in a nutshell, your body can use fats/oils for fuel or carbs.  on carbs your energy level fluctuates wildly, but on fats your energy level is more stable, allowing you to feel satiated and eat less frequently.  also, once you train your body to use fats instead of carbs your fat burn rate goes up.

nina teicholz's book is a good place to start, or find her on joe rogan's podcast.  https://ninateicholz.com/about/the-book/

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/keto-challenge/?topicseen


eta:  you don't have to go full keto to get results.  just not eating bread, rice and cake is enough to move the dial.  i still nibble on chocolate bars every day to keep the sweet tooth at bay.  but anything with grain, whole or processed, is out.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2018, 08:52:51 AM by MDfive21 »

jeff2017

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Re: Trying to get in shape - Recommendations?
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2018, 09:12:26 AM »
80/20 rule here. 80% of your results are based on your diet. I'll echo the others about getting weights as well as cardio into your gym routine, but your diet is the key.

Track everything you eat for the next month using an App like MyFitnessPal. It's free and even breaks down the grams of Protein, Fat, and Carbs you are taking in each day. Vast majority of people underestimate the amount of calories they are consuming. This also will keep you honest as you'll decide against an extra carb, candy bar, etc. if you know it will hit your log. Track your Macronutrients and review these metrics at the end of each week and adjust accordingly.

A general guideline many people follow for Macros is Body Weight *0.7 = Grams of Protein you should consume in a day and Body Weight * 0.4 = grams of Fat you should consume in a day.

Good luck!

11ducks

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Re: Trying to get in shape - Recommendations?
« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2018, 04:31:33 AM »
Cut out any alcohol. I've eaten well and done 3-4x a week strength workouts for a few years, and eat fairly well. Always had fat around my middle. Now, after nearly 6 months alcohol free, finally in seeing the weight drop from my hips stomach and waist- I only had 1-2 glasses of wine most nights, but it was enough to hold that extra abdominal fat on me.

chasesfish

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Re: Trying to get in shape - Recommendations?
« Reply #14 on: June 22, 2018, 05:41:51 AM »
Lots of good advice in here already.   "Toning the stomach" is the by far and away the hardest of tasks.  Its a combination of diet and strength exercise on those muscles.   Let me chime in with a few random pieces of advice:

- Have you ever looked into a climbing/ninja gym?  You've got the body size to excel at climbing exercises and its incredible for your arms, legs, and core.  I always think picking a challenge you can naturally excel at is important.

As for working out for free, six exercises cover the majority of your needs:

Pushups
Sitsup
Dips
Pull-ups
Squats
Dead Lifts

Pull-ups will be the most difficult, but they're incredible for your core and you can always pull your legs up to your stomach as you're going up, that''ll burn your core.  Don't ignore the squats/dead lifts, those build mass in your core and the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn daily.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Trying to get in shape - Recommendations?
« Reply #15 on: June 22, 2018, 08:11:19 AM »
Cut out any alcohol. I've eaten well and done 3-4x a week strength workouts for a few years, and eat fairly well. Always had fat around my middle. Now, after nearly 6 months alcohol free, finally in seeing the weight drop from my hips stomach and waist- I only had 1-2 glasses of wine most nights, but it was enough to hold that extra abdominal fat on me.

Ugh. Sadly, this. I fight this with every FIBER of my being. "But I don't drink that much!" says I. "But it brings us so much joy to sip an ice cold cider on a hot day!" says my husband. We've got solid diets, activity, healthy weight and blood makers and all that jazz. We have stopped drinking a couple times this year for a few weeks at a time. It makes SUCH a huge difference in that little bit of 'cookie pouch' I'm still rocking. And I think it's even just an inflammation thing, not a calorie thing, because one of our go-to's is just whiskey with club soda. Delicious, but also a 'diet drink'. Not that I knew that when I started drinking it. But yeah, we also had periods of just drinking red wine, usually just 1 glass most but not all nights. Like you, enough to make a difference =(

drachma

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Re: Trying to get in shape - Recommendations?
« Reply #16 on: June 22, 2018, 09:47:10 AM »
same advice as the others here. "Tone" simply means you want to lose fat and gain muscle in X area. Well you can't target where your body loses fat specifically, you just have to lose fat overall. Unfortunately stomach is one of the last places it comes off.

So stick with the diet. Maybe shift it a little bit to add some extra protein, but for the most part as a beginner you don't have to worry about eating extra food in order to build muscle. And pick up some form of progressive resistance training and some form of cardio. The key is progressive. If you always do the same thing, you will adapt only just enough to make that thing tolerable and then your body will stop changing. You need to constantly increase the difficulty, resistance, or duration to force your body to adapt and change. This means, adding more weight to a movement or adding more repetitions (to a point). This is why you don't see a lot of results if you just buy one set of light dumbbells or always do the same workout video... you get fitter to a point and then stop making any progress.

There are plenty of options that fulfill these requirements. I would say stick to the basic movements and good news is most of them are free. Some kind of squat, some kind of deadlift, an upper body pull (pull ups or variants), and upper body push (push ups or variants), and some core exercises. Planks are great. Instead of endless flutter kicks, once you are able to plank for 1 minute, start adding weight on your back.

FINate

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Re: Trying to get in shape - Recommendations?
« Reply #17 on: June 22, 2018, 10:15:57 AM »
Restricted calorie diets work short term, but most people gain back the weight (often more) over the long term.

My suggestion is to focus on the quality of your food rather than how many calories. I don't think you need to worry about high-fat vs. low carb and all that.

Cut out sugar and refined/processed foods. No soda or sugary drinks - drink water. Have an apple or other fresh fruit instead of chips/packaged snack. This has the happy side effect of also reducing your food costs.

The fiber in fresh fruit and veggies will leave you feeling full and satiated longer, and it happens to be much lower calorie. The energy in fruits and veggies is also digested/released more slowly, so you don't get insulin spikes. Make meals at home with fresh, whole foods. Meat is fine, but get lots of greens and other veggies. Grow your own or get from a Farmers Market if possible - I don't fully understand why or how, but they just taste so much better as compared to store bought.

And yes, weight training mixed with some cardio.

ketchup

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Re: Trying to get in shape - Recommendations?
« Reply #18 on: June 22, 2018, 12:29:52 PM »
As others have said, "tone" is a fairly nebulous usually-female-oriented term that really means decreasing bodyfat and building muscle.

For the decreasing bodyfat side of the equation, you need a calorie deficit.  500kcal/day deficit is often recommended (works out to losing about 1lb/week).  That can be accomplished by a number of methodologies, whether it's strict calorie counting, keto, general LCHF, paleo, vegan, low-fat, high-protein, intermittent fasting, 30 bananas a day, Slow Carb, whatever.  The buzzwords don't matter, results do.  Any of the trendy diets (healthy or not) if successful all end up a calorie deficit.  Do what works for you and what you're comfortable with.  Personally paleo-ish loose LCHF with as many vegetables as possible, a focus on nutrient-density, zero snacking or sugar, plus some intermittent fasting does the job.  If you're hungry all the time, you're doing something wrong.  Strength training here ensures that you're mostly losing bodyfat instead of muscle.

For building muscle, you need strength training (whatever kind you land on, barbell squats, deadlifts, and the like is where I'd go) paired with a calorie surplus, and a little extra protein.  You don't need to go full gym-bro slurping down protein shakes all day, a small surplus is fine.  You'll know while working out if you're not eating enough.

As a beginner, you can do both (lose bodyfat and gain muscle while eating essentially at maintenance) but you'll hit a wall in either direction at some point and that's where typical "bulk/cut" cycles come into play.  I've noticed people tend to go overboard and gain way too much weight on a "bulk" and then have to lose too much on their "cut."  Just alternate every so often focusing on one over the other.  Focus on increasing your lifts while "bulking" and focus on a calorie deficit and maintaining (and not adding to) your lifts when "cutting" and you'll maintain progress in both directions.

wageslave23

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Re: Trying to get in shape - Recommendations?
« Reply #19 on: June 22, 2018, 02:10:25 PM »
Usually when people want to be more "toned" what they really mean is that they want to lose weight.  Whenever I lose that extra 5 lbs of fat, people think I must be lifting weights.  But really the muscle is already there, you just cant see it as good under the extra layer of fat.  "Toned" women like "Claire" on Modern Family or Kelly Ripa aren't more muscular than average women, they just don't have any fat.  You get enough strength training from body weight exercises, even running uses a lot of core strength.  Unless you are going more for the Serena Williams look, stick with the activities that you like and maybe throw in side lateral raises for your shoulders with a small weight.  Belly toning is all about fat loss - exercise, whole foods, calorie restriction.  No alcohol.  You are on the right track, keep it up.

neo von retorch

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Re: Trying to get in shape - Recommendations?
« Reply #20 on: June 22, 2018, 02:28:54 PM »
Usually when people want to be more "toned" what they really mean is that they want to lose weight.  Whenever I lose that extra 5 lbs of fat, people think I must be lifting weights.  But really the muscle is already there, you just cant see it as good under the extra layer of fat.  "Toned" women like "Claire" on Modern Family or Kelly Ripa aren't more muscular than average women, they just don't have any fat.  You get enough strength training from body weight exercises, even running uses a lot of core strength.  Unless you are going more for the Serena Williams look, stick with the activities that you like and maybe throw in side lateral raises for your shoulders with a small weight.  Belly toning is all about fat loss - exercise, whole foods, calorie restriction.  No alcohol.  You are on the right track, keep it up.
I agree with a lot of the things you said, about what "tone" means, alcohol, fat loss. I certainly agree that if you find you enjoy something, you'll stick with it

However, I'd argue a few things (to a degree)
 - Serena Williams is a rather muscular female. She trains VERY HARD to achieve this. There's no fighting the biology behind needing (at least some) testosterone and really hard work to achieve what she's done. She may or may not be predisposed to produce more testosterone than other women, but either way, she definitely didn't get her body by merely adding 10lbs to her squats. She practices her craft for hours and spends hours at the gym. If you are a female, do not expect (or fear) you'll get a "muscular" look by doing anything less than double digits of progressive strength-training each week for a long time!
 - Adding core strength, as already mentioned, will increase your metabolism (more muscle means more calorie burning.) You really need progressive workouts to continue to increase muscle density.
 - Body weight exercises quickly become a little harder to make progressive - sure you can just do them for longer, but that's a quick path towards getting bored rather than enjoying what you're doing.
 - Your body is really good at making sure it gets enough nutrients... when you increase cardio, your desire to eat increases, too. "You can't outrun a bad diet!" But it's really cool to see what happens when you add strength training to the mix. It's like investing... you put something in and it keeps paying dividends over time. Cardio is more like paying your bills each month. You should do it, and it's good to do it, but you're going to keep having to do it forever...

wageslave23

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Re: Trying to get in shape - Recommendations?
« Reply #21 on: June 22, 2018, 02:36:36 PM »
Usually when people want to be more "toned" what they really mean is that they want to lose weight.  Whenever I lose that extra 5 lbs of fat, people think I must be lifting weights.  But really the muscle is already there, you just cant see it as good under the extra layer of fat.  "Toned" women like "Claire" on Modern Family or Kelly Ripa aren't more muscular than average women, they just don't have any fat.  You get enough strength training from body weight exercises, even running uses a lot of core strength.  Unless you are going more for the Serena Williams look, stick with the activities that you like and maybe throw in side lateral raises for your shoulders with a small weight.  Belly toning is all about fat loss - exercise, whole foods, calorie restriction.  No alcohol.  You are on the right track, keep it up.
I agree with a lot of the things you said, about what "tone" means, alcohol, fat loss. I certainly agree that if you find you enjoy something, you'll stick with i

However, I'd argue a few things (to a degree)
 - Serena Williams is a rather muscular female. She trains VERY HARD to achieve this. There's no fighting the biology behind needing (at least some) testosterone and really hard work to achieve what she's done. She may or may not be predisposed to produce more testosterone than other women, but either way, she definitely didn't get her body by merely adding 10lbs to her squats. She practices her craft for hours and spends hours at the gym. If you are a female, do not expect (or fear) you'll get a "muscular" look by doing anything less than double digits of progressive strength-training each week for a long time!
 - Adding core strength, as already mentioned, will increase your metabolism (more muscle means more calorie burning.) You really need progressive workouts to continue to increase muscle density.
 - Body weight exercises quickly become a little harder to make progressive - sure you can just do them for longer, but that's a quick path towards getting bored rather than enjoying what you're doing.
 - Your body is really good at making sure it gets enough nutrients... when you increase cardio, your desire to eat increases, too. "You can't outrun a bad diet!" But it's really cool to see what happens when you add strength training to the mix. It's like investing... you put something in and it keeps paying dividends over time. Cardio is more like paying your bills each month. You should do it, and it's good to do it, but you're going to keep having to do it forever...

I agree most women aren't going to look like Serena without taking extreme measures like steroids or something.  I just meant to look like most women's ideals you need surprisingly little weight training.  Mostly just be active and healthy and not overweight.  If weight training helps you lose weight then great, but the muscle is really just an ends to a mean in burning more calories.  The quicker way, especially with 3 weeks to a wedding is calorie restriction and overall exercise.   You can maybe add 2-3 lbs of muscle in that time, but you can lose 10 lbs of fat in that time.

But yep agree with everything you said.

Bird In Hand

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Re: Trying to get in shape - Recommendations?
« Reply #22 on: June 22, 2018, 02:51:37 PM »
Agreed with everyone that healthy eating is going to make the biggest visual difference in body composition, even with a very modest fitness routine.

And while I don't have any argument against weight training, I think a bodyweight routine is a better place to start.  Especially for beginners, and especially for women (when it comes to upper body training).  Basically all you need is a $20 door frame pull-up bar -- or you might be able to use a bar at a local park or playground.

I disagree with anyone who says that it's hard to progressively add resistance to bodyweight exercises.  For push-ups you can do declines, put one hand on a stack of books, do archers, work up toward 1-handed pushups, wear a weighted backpack, etc.  How about hand-stand pushups?  How about a one-handed handstand pushup?  :D  It's probably going to take a novice female a couple years to get up to 10 pull-ups.  After that you can wear a weighted backpack.  Squats?  You can get plenty of benefit from ~20 or so bodyweight squats per set, and if that's too easy then wear a weighted backpack and hold onto some jugs of water to balance it out.  Bodyweight dips are very challenging and can be done with chairs or (if you're a glutton for punishment, with $20 gymnastics rings).

The best workout routine is one you'll actually do, and I'd argue that bodyweight training has the lowest barrier to entry and shouldn't be discounted.  Of course you can easily hurt yourself using poor form with bodyweight exercises, just as you can with lifting iron.  No matter what you do, focus on learning good form to get the most out of the exercise and avoid injury.

Sun Hat

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Re: Trying to get in shape - Recommendations?
« Reply #23 on: June 22, 2018, 03:09:37 PM »
Since you already like working out in front of your TV, have a look at the videos at http://hasfit.com/ They're free and some may even be short enough for you to do at work when it's slow at the hotel.

To scale up bodyweight exercises, try plyometrics. Squat jumps, alternating lunge jumps, push-ups where your hands leave the ground, and of course, burpees. In a spare moment at work, try a set of ten squat jumps - you'll feel it.

I've found that getting a toned core is mostly an issue of fat loss, since your abs are already under there :(
However, if you want to look more toned for your wedding, try front and lateral shoulder raises - I find that it doesn't take much effort to get shapelier shoulders. If you keep a couple of light handweights behind the counter, you should be able to get a few sets done over the course of a shift.