I need some exercise guidance

Hey everyone! I've debated back and forth about making this post and I realize I have delayed long enough. My health and fitness is in Turmoil and I need to do something about it ASAP. I once lost 60lbs here on MFP, and was in a really good place, but then stress came in, I got unhappy and a lot has changed in my life where I lost sight of my goals and ended up gaining it all back and then some. At this present moment I'm the heaviest I've ever been, and this is not acceptable.

I know my eating habit has to change, and for me, that's not where I'm currently struggling on. I need to be more active, I need to get up and move and start working out, but I don't know where to start.

I've done some walks where I walk/jog/walk, and that's fine, I can set my own pace and progress from there, but when it comes to actual exercises, I'm lost. I go to the gym and I'm immediately overwhelmed by machines, weights, and I've no idea what I'm doing. I just pick up some weights and move, but I don't know how many sets, and reps I should be doing.

I realize that for me, I work BEST when I have guidance, or a plan, or something that can give me a formula to work with. I had a friend who would make work out plans for me because she had been working out for a long time and knew what to do, but she'd never explain to me how she knew how many sets, what exercises to do, or anything like that. When I'd ask her for more info so I can start my own, she never answered back, and then stopped helping me. I turned to the internet to try and get some ideas, but again, I was completely overwhelmed with "Don't do these, do these!" and "Do 20 reps of this one exercise every day!"

Here's what I do know. I know I need some cardio mixed in with weight/resistance training. Cardio isn't the issue, almost anything I do can give me good cardio. I understand that after a while, you're body will get used to the workout, so changing reps/weight/targeted muscle will help push through plateaus!

What I would like to know is if anyone has found a good guide or program (preferably on the inexpensive side) that has worked for them? Is there a certain formula to know how many reps, sets, and exercises to do? Any form of information is helpful at this point, if there is an app that helps you, or some online sheet, anything! All insight is appreciated! I'm desperate because I need to do something to get myself out of this funk and my anxiety about not knowing what to do when it comes to working out is holding me back.

Thanks for any input!
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Replies

  • StellaRose227
    StellaRose227 Posts: 42 Member
    I really like The New Rules of Lifting for Women. It's a great book with weekly lifting plans.
  • CricketClover
    CricketClover Posts: 387 Member
    I have found that the best thing that works for me is group training classes. It can be a bit more expensive that a traditional gym experience but it has been the only thing to keep me motivated and feel a bit accountable as well. When it was up to just me to go lift weights I wouldn't go and I would feel like I was just wandering around, even when I had a plan. I would also talk myself out of doing some of the lifts or skip the cardio session, etc.

    In a group training atmosphere I just show up and do the WOD that is already planned out. I am also a lot less likely to stop halfway and go home (pretty much zero chance of that happening unless I get sick or hurt)!

    So if it is within your budget, I would give it a try!
  • Geekyfatgirl
    Geekyfatgirl Posts: 164 Member
    Honesty, thank you all for your insight! There's a lot of good and helpful info that might help me put a regimen together and keep track of things. At the moment I'm trying to avoid groups and do things solo, but I definitely see the benefit to being kept accountable! I'll try and make some sheets myself!
  • goal06082021
    goal06082021 Posts: 2,122 Member
    Best of luck to you! I hope you hit on a routine that works for you and that makes you feel good. I f***ing LOVE being strong and getting stronger - I still definitely have excess body fat that I'm working to lose (and that work is mostly being done in the kitchen), but I also know that under that excess fat is some very good and functional muscle that I'm proud of even if no one can see it yet. But some of it you can see already! Of course one can't spot-reduce, but a combo of all-over fat loss and lower-body-focused resistance training last year has given me some incredible legs. From the hips down I look good as hell, LMAO. I'm shifting focus to incorporate more upper-body and ab work this year, but still doing a little something to maintain what I've got going on legs-wise.
  • yirara
    yirara Posts: 7,358 Member
    I like bodyweight workouts. There are a few nice progressive ones out there where you don't really need any stuff other than some creativity. The Reddit Recommended Routine is a bit more reading but very flexible, convict conditioning or aworkoutroutine are other options.

    For running I also like regular programmes. My Garmin watch has the choice of three coaches, and I'm currently doing an untimed 10k programme, but there are also 5k programmes. And with or without fitness watch, a C25K programme is always a possibility for getting into running.
  • Geekyfatgirl
    Geekyfatgirl Posts: 164 Member
    Best of luck to you! I hope you hit on a routine that works for you and that makes you feel good. I f***ing LOVE being strong and getting stronger - I still definitely have excess body fat that I'm working to lose (and that work is mostly being done in the kitchen), but I also know that under that excess fat is some very good and functional muscle that I'm proud of even if no one can see it yet. But some of it you can see already! Of course one can't spot-reduce, but a combo of all-over fat loss and lower-body-focused resistance training last year has given me some incredible legs. From the hips down I look good as hell, LMAO. I'm shifting focus to incorporate more upper-body and ab work this year, but still doing a little something to maintain what I've got going on legs-wise.

    excellent!! That sounds amazing to hear! I know my body is stronger than I give it credit for, so being able to see gains in just feeling better and stronger is something I truly look forward to. I'm excited to hear that it's been working out well for you and it sounds like you've made some incredible milestones! Thank you so much for the inspiration and knowledge. I hope your journey continues on strong!
  • Geekyfatgirl
    Geekyfatgirl Posts: 164 Member
    yirara wrote: »
    I like bodyweight workouts. There are a few nice progressive ones out there where you don't really need any stuff other than some creativity. The Reddit Recommended Routine is a bit more reading but very flexible, convict conditioning or aworkoutroutine are other options.

    For running I also like regular programmes. My Garmin watch has the choice of three coaches, and I'm currently doing an untimed 10k programme, but there are also 5k programmes. And with or without fitness watch, a C25K programme is always a possibility for getting into running.

    awesome! I Need to practice running some more. This time 2 years ago I ran my second half marathon and I've always been proud of that. I didn't do it for time, just completion. I'd love to get into running a bit more regularly because I feel really good when I'm out there. I've got a couple of running coaches that are helping me get by.

    At the moment, I'm trying to focus on getting myself into a steady work out routine that incorporates both body weight and resistance/strength training. I've just always been so overwhelmed every time I look at the weights without knowing where or how to start. Other than "Pick it up and move it around." lol!
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 24,845 Member
    This thread lists a bunch of strength programs that others here have found helpful:

    http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10332083/which-lifting-program-is-the-best-for-you/p1

    Despite the title, it does include some bodyweight programs that require minimal or no equipment, not just lifting as such.
  • DancingMoosie
    DancingMoosie Posts: 8,523 Member
    If you like working out solo, and like guidance, what about following someone on YouTube? I can give you a couple trainers that all you have to do is whatever they post each day or follow their schedule/calendar and do the workouts in their channel.
    Sydney Cummings
    Cdornerfitness
    Growingannanas
    Pahla B (not a real schedule, but totally fine for beginners)
  • briscogun
    briscogun Posts: 1,077 Member
    Does your gym offer a "welcome session" with a trainer to help get you started? A lot of gyms, especially when you first join, will give you a tour and even show you how to use all the machines. Some will even help you create a routine based upon your goals and what type of equipment you prefer. Might be worth looking into since you are already a member? They might have a fee for one "session" with a trainer to get you started, but then you can go it alone from there.

    Just a thought... Good luck!
  • ecjim
    ecjim Posts: 959 Member
    You lost 80lbs before - What did you do then?
  • mikemangovski76
    mikemangovski76 Posts: 2 Member
    I'm going to suggest something I should have done when I first started going to the gym. I did exactly what you did, then spent months researching online, trying to learn before finally getting somewhere. At this point I was over a year in and still didn't feel like I know how to use half the equipment in the gym properly.

    The solution was a personal trainer. I asked the gym manager to recommend a trainer that can help me work out a program and show me how to do it. It only took me 3 sessions with the trainer. After that, I felt far more confident and could understand the terminology I was reading online.

    I kick myself thinking that I could have saved myself a year of lost productivity, but it was the path I went through to get me where I am now.

    So that's my suggestion. Get a trainer to work out a program for you. Make sure you tell them that you aren't looking for ongoing training, just help to get you started so you feel more confident using the equipment and you're using it the right way.
  • tamekahend
    tamekahend Posts: 18 Member
    Hi, I agree with the above post, a personal trainer is exactly what I needed, but it does get expensive. I downloaded an app called Full Fitness, it has different workouts (arms, legs, etc.) and illustrations of how to do each exercise w/equipment , tells you how many reps to do, etc, has stretching exercises too. It’s easy to follow and only like $5.
  • dvdiamond11
    dvdiamond11 Posts: 10 Member
    edited January 18
    I agree as well with hiring a trainer. You only need a session or two. Explain to them your goals. They can map out a routine for you while showing you proper form. Proper form is the most important thing to know. It is easy to hurt yourself if you do not know how to do an exercise correctly and that can be a very simple move.
    I hired a trainer when I first started working out and it was the best money I have spent. That was over ten years ago. Every now and then I will hire a trainer to introduce me to a new routine. I have so many exercises in my tool box now and that makes working out all the better because I have variety.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 40,892 Member
    There are a ton of good off the shelf programs out there...none of them are perfect as they have to be catered to the masses rather than individualized like you would get with a trainer, but there are a lot of good programs out there to choose from.

    Reps, sets, different splits, etc are all going to be variable depending on what your purpose is. A powerlifter for example is going to have a completely different kind of program than a bodybuilder who is going to have a completely different kind of programming than someone just looking to be fit and obtain a fitness type of physique.

    I lift primarily for fitness and my health as I age to preserve muscle mass and bone density, but also for reasonably good aesthetics. I am partial to full body splits that focus largely on compound movements with little in the way of isolation movements. I don't like spending a ton of time in the gym or being there daily as also have other fitness interests. My program looks like this and usually take me around 45 minutes:

    Workout A:
    Squat - 4 sets x 5-8 reps
    Flat Bench - 4 sets x 5-8 reps
    Lat pulldown - 4 sets x 10-12 reps
    Romanian Deadlift - 4 sets x 10-12 reps
    Dumbbell Shoulder Press - 3 sets x 8-10 reps
    Face Pull - 3 sets x 10-15 reps

    Workout B:
    Deadlift - 3 sets x 5-8 reps
    Incline Bench - 4 sets x 10-12 reps
    Cable Rows - 4 sets 10-12 reps
    Hack Squat - 4 sets 10-12 reps
    Lateral Raise - 3 sets 10-15 reps
    Face Pull - 3 sets x 10-15 reps

    I do this 3x per week on non-consecutive days in an A, B, A then B, A, B and so on fashion week to week. I also like this because if I have a busy week and can only make it twice that week, it doesn't really set me back too much. When I am able to do the full number of sets at the highest number of reps I increase the weight which brings me back down to the lower rep range for a particular movement until I work back up to the top again and add more weight, rinse and repeat. This keeps me lifting in different rep ranges and from living in one particular rep range for any movement as I have no reason to specialize.

    Typically, lower rep ranges (5-6 reps) triggers more CNS adaptation and strength gains. Middle reps (8-10) are a good combination of strength and hypertrophy. Higher reps (12+) are good for muscular endurance. In regards to general fitness I think they are all important and it is beneficial for the general population to lift in various rep ranges.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 24,845 Member
    In some places, group classes exist: I took one through the local adult ed from the school system, but it wasn't the only one available here then.

    I'm not talking about a group workout, where there's a room full of people all doing the same thing at the same time. I'm talking about an actual class. Instructor was a competitive power lifter, but the class was more general strength training than just those lifts.

    It started with instructions on how to do a small number of basic lifts or machines, with personal attention. We could each do a mini-circuit of those exercises quite soon, with the instructor going around to provide individual corrections while all of us were doing varied exercises. He gave us a basic progression pattern to use, showed us how to keep notes.

    After that start, each class session would start with him introducing one or two new exercises we could add to our circuit. Then he'd circulate, answering questions and offering suggestions individually. If there was something he thought would help the whole class, he'd call our attention and talk to the group briefly.

    Later in the multi-week session, the lecture part included some information about different types of progressions for different goals, how to vary routines over time, how to benchmark progress, etc. In the individual supervised workout time, he'd help people with their individual questions about their routines or anything they wanted to ask, really.

    It was way less expensive than a personal trainer, but IMO nearly as helpful. Form was taught, form was corrected individually, etc. There was not as much individual attention as a one-on-one trainer, of course, but he was good about giving individual attention. It seemed like he'd keep a broad eye on the whole group as he was walking around, go to people who were using worrisome form, struggling, or whatever; if none of that happening, he'd just visit us in turns. One could keep signing up for new sessions of that class to learn more, or sign up for times when he'd be in the gym to supervise/answer questions, but not actively teaching a structured syllabus.

    Maybe there's something like that in your area?
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 25,626 Member
    I'm going to suggest something I should have done when I first started going to the gym. I did exactly what you did, then spent months researching online, trying to learn before finally getting somewhere. At this point I was over a year in and still didn't feel like I know how to use half the equipment in the gym properly.

    The solution was a personal trainer. I asked the gym manager to recommend a trainer that can help me work out a program and show me how to do it. It only took me 3 sessions with the trainer. After that, I felt far more confident and could understand the terminology I was reading online.

    I kick myself thinking that I could have saved myself a year of lost productivity, but it was the path I went through to get me where I am now.

    So that's my suggestion. Get a trainer to work out a program for you. Make sure you tell them that you aren't looking for ongoing training, just help to get you started so you feel more confident using the equipment and you're using it the right way.

    Cosigning the suggestion to get a personal trainer. Every gym I've ever joined (and there have been many, as I used to move a lot) offered 1-3 sessions for free upon joining. If your gym had this but you never took advantage of it, perhaps it is not too late.

    A more economical option is small group workshops with a trainer. As another poster said, this are instructional, not group workouts. My gyms have offered this for free or super cheap. I've found them to be a great investment.

    I hear that you don't want to be around a lot of people. I get this - I haven't even been in a gym for the duration. You could find out how sparsely attended trainer classes are these days.
  • Jthanmyfitnesspal
    Jthanmyfitnesspal Posts: 3,103 Member
    @ecjim asked an important question: what did you do when you last lost weight?

    I would expand to point out that you are the best expert on you that will ever exist (not that you can't get even better). Assess your goals, your strengths, your weaknesses. What resources can you afford? Choices are doctors, nutritionists, personal trainers, exercise class leaders (small and big group trainers, at home training, like Peloton), life coaches, and psychologists. Who are you willing to listen to? Who are you willing to pay out of pocket? How much are you willing to pay?

    For people that don't go to the gym currently: you don't have to. Certainly not to lose weight, but also not to keep reasonably fit. As you point out, walking and running are great. There are lots of home workouts on YouTube plus a huge range of home exercise equipment with at-home training (e.g., Peloton and the like).

    Best of luck!
  • Geekyfatgirl
    Geekyfatgirl Posts: 164 Member
    ecjim wrote: »
    You lost 80lbs before - What did you do then?

    I actually played a game on the Xbox 360 called “Your shape fitness” which had work out programs and such, along with playing the Zumba games. I never wrote down the exercises I did, because it was just a fun game that had me moving and losing weight. I no longer have my 360 anymore, otherwise, I’d probably would have tried getting back into that.