Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

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Topic Author
new2bogle
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Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by new2bogle » Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:32 am

I've been doing the following exercise routine for about 9 months now with only minor progress (i.e., loss of belly). Specifically, I am not looking for weighing less on the scale but the "pants test" - my pants should feel looser.

Day 1 - 40 mins of cardio (some combo of treadmill/elliptical, but 40 mins of elevated heart rate)
Day 2 - 40 mins of cardio
Day 3 - 45-60 mins of free weights
Day 4 - rest
Then repeat.

DW thinks that since I've crossed over the hill it is going to be exponentially harder to lose weight. My ideal is to lose 10 lbs (or go from a size 36 pants to 34), which is almost entirely in my middle section.

It could be that I am over/under exercising, not doing enough of one thing or the other, etc. My diet is pretty good and tend to eat around 2000 calories a day, plenty of water, some sugary snacks, no sodas. I've cut out what minimal alcohol I used to drink (used to be one drink a month).

Not sure what else to do, but seems like my exercising needs to be better tailored.

Any suggestions on what works?

BlueCable
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Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by BlueCable » Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:34 am

Describe your lifting routine. How many sets, reps, and which lifts?

CoastalWinds
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Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by CoastalWinds » Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:36 am

I’d switch day 2 and day 3.

Supurdueper
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Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by Supurdueper » Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:39 am

Not to put a plug in, but do you have an Orangetheory fitness or something similar near you? You might need a new routine to shock the system, the body can get used to the same old routing, especially if you like pina colodas I joined OTF back in Jan and have noticed a great change.

Dottie57
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Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by Dottie57 » Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:41 am

My suggestion

Weights 3 times a week. Every other day.

Protein over Carbs - builds muscle.

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Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by bloom2708 » Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:42 am

What is your diet like?

Many work out, their metabolism increases and they eat more. Offsetting any gains from working out.

You have a 2 phase problem:

1. Get to your goal weight (hard)
2. Stay at your goal weight (not as hard)

I would tinker with your eating/diet to see what works to assist with #1.

It might help to do less weights and a shorter cardio on day 3.
“People don’t want advice, they want confirmation.” Unknown

HomeStretch
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Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by HomeStretch » Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:45 am

Try adding some core exercises to your routine.

crazygrow
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Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by crazygrow » Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:47 am

Similar to the poster above, weight loss is 90% diet IMO. Track everything you eat for a week in something like MyFitnessPal - track it exactly. Most people think they are eating XXXX calories and realize they are hundreds/thousands above that when they actually weigh/track their food. You can't out exercise a bad diet (or you rarely can).

TNWoods
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Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by TNWoods » Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:47 am

The typical marathon runner expends enough energy to burn only about a pound of fat, give or take.

The key to losing weight is NOT exercise.

The key to losing weight is to reduce your caloric intake. It is much easier to reduce your consumption of calories in the first place than it is to burn off calories after the fact.

The exercise will make your body work better and feel better, and it will have a minor effect on reducing your appetite and increasing your metabolism, but weight loss comes through reducing caloric intake.

A relative of mine recently complained that the massive amount of exercise being done was having no effect on the scales, and I pointed her to the idea of intermittent fasting. (She had already adopted a very healthy diet in conjunction with a daily vigorous exercise routine.) Only after the IF plan was in place did she start losing weight again. Eating normally every day of the week except one will instantly reduce your caloric intake by 14%. (There are many different ways to implement IF, skipping a day is just one of them.)

TNWoods

TBillT
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Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by TBillT » Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:50 am

I cut out sugar for the most part and maybe my BP meds diuretic helps.
Of course you are building muscle and losing fat so sometimes hard to see.
Perosnally I jog and bike heavily.

H-Town
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Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by H-Town » Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:50 am

new2bogle wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:32 am
I've been doing the following exercise routine for about 9 months now with only minor progress (i.e., loss of belly). Specifically, I am not looking for weighing less on the scale but the "pants test" - my pants should feel looser.

Day 1 - 40 mins of cardio (some combo of treadmill/elliptical, but 40 mins of elevated heart rate)
Day 2 - 40 mins of cardio
Day 3 - 45-60 mins of free weights
Day 4 - rest
Then repeat.

DW thinks that since I've crossed over the hill it is going to be exponentially harder to lose weight. My ideal is to lose 10 lbs (or go from a size 36 pants to 34), which is almost entirely in my middle section.

It could be that I am over/under exercising, not doing enough of one thing or the other, etc. My diet is pretty good and tend to eat around 2000 calories a day, plenty of water, some sugary snacks, no sodas. I've cut out what minimal alcohol I used to drink (used to be one drink a month).

Not sure what else to do, but seems like my exercising needs to be better tailored.

Any suggestions on what works?
My advice is to focus on weight training and build muscle so that your body can be efficient at burning calorie. This is for the long run for your overall health. I'd suggest 60-90 min resistance training with full body workouts for 4-5 days a week. One rest day and one cardio day.

It might go against your preconceived notion on working out. But the most efficient way to lose weight and feel better is resistance training.

Focus on those compound lifting exercises:
1) Squat
2) Deadlift
3) Bench press
4) Shoulder press
5) Lunges
6) Barbell row

Then combine with those exercises in between:
7) Triceps pull-down
8) Biceps curl
9) Flys using cable and free weights
10) Box jump
11) Pull-ups
12) Push-ups
13) Sit-ups
14) Stretching
15) Running up the hill

Don't step on the scale in the first month. Try to build muscle and strength. The rest will take care of itself, i.e. lose weight and fat loss.

jello_nailer
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Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by jello_nailer » Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:55 am

90% is what you put in your mouth, the other 10% is either - a cubic ton of cardio, a medium amount of HIT/cardio, or a small amount of heavy lifting. Pick one or mix them. My weapon of choice is HIT/Heavy.
Just my experience.

dcabler
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Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by dcabler » Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:57 am

crazygrow wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:47 am
Similar to the poster above, weight loss is 90% diet IMO. Track everything you eat for a week in something like MyFitnessPal - track it exactly. Most people think they are eating XXXX calories and realize they are hundreds/thousands above that when they actually weigh/track their food. You can't out exercise a bad diet (or you rarely can).
+1 on this. I've been doing a regular routine for well over a year and until I also adjusted my diet, nothing really started to change on the weight front. I'm still working and weekends are the real challenge for me. I now have a 6 day routine where I alternate between cardio (by riding my bike to/from work 10 miles each way) and the gym for weight/strength training. Sunday is the rest day. Not counting calories, but am weighing food. For you engineers who understand feedback theory, check out "the math diet" or what I would call "regulated portion control". https://weightctrlblog.wordpress.com/the-math-diet/

Key is to find what works for you - it might not be what works for anybody else.

Cheers.

petulant
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Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by petulant » Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:00 pm

Also agree on diet being key.

skinsfan
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Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by skinsfan » Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:04 pm

I agree with others, in my experience weight loss is 90% diet, 10% exercise. Two thoughts: 1. You may be underestimating how many calories you're actually consuming. This is very common unless you're tracking every thing you eat and drink with precision. 2. If you actually are consuming 2000 calories, you may need to consume less to lose weight.

For exercise I also agree with others, weight lifting will give you better bang for your buck than cardio. If your primary goal is weight lose and looking good, just do weights and don't worry about doing any cardio (cardio obviously has other health benefits though).

Topic Author
new2bogle
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Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by new2bogle » Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:07 pm

BlueCable wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:34 am
Describe your lifting routine. How many sets, reps, and which lifts?
Goal is to do 5 sets, 8 reps per set for each exercise. I will move on to the next exercise if I get too tired to finish all the sets/reps so as not to injure myself. I try to minimize rest time between sets (around 1 minute) but longer rests between exercises.

Here's what I do:
- Single arm row
- dumbbell chest press
- seated bicep curls
- goblet squat
- farmers walk (focusing on side at a time)
- bent over row
- one arm swing
- cross body hammer curl
- scaption
- two arm tricep extension
- standing calf raise (weighted)

I have definitely gotten stronger.

livesoft
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Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by livesoft » Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:09 pm

With that exercise regime I would gain weight eating 2000 calories a day. Sorry, but that's a fact for me.

As already noted, one is going to have to eat differently.

I do specific abdomen exercises every day possible and in addition ride my bike 20 miles (80 minutes nowadays) or run (50 minutes) at least 6 days a week. I can't lose weight doing that.

I'm totally amazed at how little one can eat and still maintain weight. The body is quite efficient.
Last edited by livesoft on Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Katietsu
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Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by Katietsu » Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:13 pm

And decreasing your waist can be about what you eat not just the calories. How comfortable are you with your understanding of nutrition? Most Americans have very little nutrition training. I have seen people make intentional choices towards a healthier diet where they would have been better off with a fast food hamburger.

Topic Author
new2bogle
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Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by new2bogle » Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:13 pm

Thanks to all the posts about diet and caloric intake.

I actually did use MyFitnessPal for 2 weeks just before starting this new work out routine. (Previous workout routine was 2 days running, one day off, no weights - for 15+ years).

According to MyFitnessPal I was UNDERconsuming calories. Some days it was just 800 calories, other days up to 1200 calories of food consumed. Since then I had to make a concerted effort to eat more as I think that many calories was just not enough to be healthy. I did not really gain any weight from eating more food since I was also exercising at the same time.

That being said, you all are right and I should do a check again on MyFitnessPal and see how much I eat now. It will also help in seeing what kinds of food I eat. Even though I do eat cookies and other snacks, it could be I am eating sugar/empty calories more than I think I am.

dustinst22
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Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by dustinst22 » Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:13 pm

95% of weight loss is diet. If your diet isn't in check you aren't going to see much progress.

Next, you should have at a min 3 sets of weight workouts a week. It's better for trimming fat and obv building muscle which in turn burns more calories. Cardio should mainly be to keep your lungs in shape. I suggest starting with 20 min of cardio and straight to 30-40 min of weights 3 times a week.

Where most mess up with weights is that they don't focus on lower body. Lower body is where you can get the most overall fitness progress because the muscles are much larger and will burn far more calories. Plus, it's been shown that keeping your lower body strong is the key to living well as you age.
Last edited by dustinst22 on Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:20 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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CAsage
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Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by CAsage » Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:14 pm

Building muscle helps bump up your core metabolic rate, so you burn more calories at rest. Consider doing the cardio 5 days a week, and doing some weights every day as well. You can alternate, but I found that you don't actually build muscle if you are doing weights 2~3 times or less per week - and you are doing them maybe twice a week? Every time is still Day 1. Need to push that harder to build muscle, which will displace fat overall. Same weight, leaner body. Note that you could also see a personal trainer? But - need more weight-days.
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rbaldini
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Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by rbaldini » Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:15 pm

Everyone knows the answer: workout more and harder, and/or eat less. How much more/less? Hard to say: you might really have to grind hard to get those last few pounds. Will it be sustainable, or worth the effort? The answer is different for everyone. Size 34 may not be worth being miserable and tired all day.

MichCPA
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Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by MichCPA » Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:15 pm

TNWoods wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:47 am
The typical marathon runner expends enough energy to burn only about a pound of fat, give or take.

The key to losing weight is NOT exercise.

TNWoods
+1 I am a cyclist and its incredibly disappointing that about 60 miles of riding can be undone by two desserts. If you aren't tracking food you can't effectively lose weight even with athlete level activity. Exercise while losing weight is to maintain some amount of muscle, not to drive the weight loss itself. Number 1 tip is to stop eating out, number 2 is to stop drinking alcohol and soda.

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new2bogle
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Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by new2bogle » Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:16 pm

livesoft wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:09 pm
With that exercise regime I would gain weight eating 2000 calories a day. Sorry, but that's a fact for me.

As already noted, one is going to have to eat differently.

I do specific abdomen exercises every day possible and in addition ride my bike 20 miles (80 minutes nowadays) or run (50 minutes) at least 6 days a week. I can't lose weight doing that.
I am not gaining any weight, but rather my pants are not loosening. The 2000 calories might be too much for me for losing my waist line, I don't know. I will need to tinker around with food intake I suppose to figure out what works for weight loss.

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new2bogle
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Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by new2bogle » Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:18 pm

rbaldini wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:15 pm
Everyone knows the answer: workout more and harder, and/or eat less. How much more/less? Hard to say: you might really have to grind hard to get those last few pounds. Will it be sustainable, or worth the effort? The answer is different for everyone. Size 34 may not be worth being miserable and tired all day.
You must have spoken to my wife :D She thinks as long as I've got healthy numbers from the doctor keep doing what I'm doing.

GT99
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Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by GT99 » Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:19 pm

new2bogle wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:32 am
I've been doing the following exercise routine for about 9 months now with only minor progress (i.e., loss of belly). Specifically, I am not looking for weighing less on the scale but the "pants test" - my pants should feel looser.

Day 1 - 40 mins of cardio (some combo of treadmill/elliptical, but 40 mins of elevated heart rate)
Day 2 - 40 mins of cardio
Day 3 - 45-60 mins of free weights
Day 4 - rest
Then repeat.

DW thinks that since I've crossed over the hill it is going to be exponentially harder to lose weight. My ideal is to lose 10 lbs (or go from a size 36 pants to 34), which is almost entirely in my middle section.

It could be that I am over/under exercising, not doing enough of one thing or the other, etc. My diet is pretty good and tend to eat around 2000 calories a day, plenty of water, some sugary snacks, no sodas. I've cut out what minimal alcohol I used to drink (used to be one drink a month).

Not sure what else to do, but seems like my exercising needs to be better tailored.

Any suggestions on what works?
I truly don't mean this disrespectfully, but just the way you wrote out what you're doing tells me you probably need a lot of specific help on your routine. In younger years when I didn't really know any better, I had a similar routine to yours, except I was spending ~90 minutes in the gym 4 or 5 days a week, generally doing 20-30 minutes of cardio, and the rest weights and stretching. Then I realized I could get a much more effective workout in half the time.

I've spent a lot of time studying this, and there are many ways to go about it - Crossfit, OrangeTheory, etc - most anything that adds variety to your workout with high intensity (HIIT style workouts are extremely effective). And you don't have to pay $150+ per month. There are plenty of video series out there that are great - P90X and Insanity are a couple of "classic" ones now - there are many others.

Most people don't workout with enough intensity. An intense 20 minute HIIT workout is going to do a lot more than a 40 minute cardio workout where you're heart rate never gets above say 60% of max.

As others have mentioned, food intake is huge. It's not just about calories - what you eat (and when) impacts what you burn.

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new2bogle
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Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by new2bogle » Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:21 pm

dustinst22 wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:13 pm
95% of weight loss is diet. If your diet isn't in check you aren't going to see much progress.

Next, you should have at a min 3 sets of weight workouts a week. It's better for trimming fat and obv building muscle which in turn burns more calories. Cardio should mainly be to keep your lungs in shape. I suggest starting with 20 min of cardio and straight to 30-40 min of weights 3 times a week.
Thanks. Your point about more weights and less cardio seems to be inline with what I have read. However I found that doing more weights and less cardio almost instantly led to an increased waistline (within 2 weeks). Only when I re-upped the cardio did the waistline decrease again.

livesoft
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Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by livesoft » Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:22 pm

What worked for my abs and especially all around the waist was Russian twists. One has to work up to a decent amount of weight though. Be sure to change up these abs/core exercises so that you don't get bored.
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Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by Bronko » Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:23 pm

Good info overall here, much of it the same. I would suggest you seek a local coach and sports nutrition professional. Let them know your goals and what you've done. Then try the program for 90 days straight. As we age the body takes more to change and adjust. Under consuming calories can put your body in "starvation mode" which makes it think there is no more food coming so it resists burning anything. Check out Mark Sisson and Robb Wolf.

Don't give up.
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tesuzuki2002
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Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by tesuzuki2002 » Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:23 pm

How intense are your workout? Hitting max heart rest ? Working above 85% for 20 minutes 3x a week.

Exercise is only 20% of the equation.

Intake and diet are 80%.

I’m highly active minimum for 1 hour a day. Sometimes 4-6 hours.

dustinst22
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Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by dustinst22 » Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:25 pm

new2bogle wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:21 pm

Thanks. Your point about more weights and less cardio seems to be inline with what I have read. However I found that doing more weights and less cardio almost instantly led to an increased waistline (within 2 weeks). Only when I re-upped the cardio did the waistline decrease again.
This tells me you probably need a PT for awhile to get the right weight program. As mentioend, lower body is where you'll really get the major progress. Most neglect it, and it should be the primary focus if weight loss is your goal. I've been going through an ACL reconstruction program with a personal trainer and am now doing almost 100% lower body strength training. It's insane how many calories it burns and how much weight I've lost. Of course, my diet is also majorly in check.
Last edited by dustinst22 on Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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new2bogle
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Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by new2bogle » Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:25 pm

Bronko wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:23 pm
Good info overall here, much of it the same. I would suggest you seek a local coach and sports nutrition professional. Let them know your goals and what you've done. Then try the program for 90 days straight. As we age the body takes more to change and adjust. Under consuming calories can put your body in "starvation mode" which makes it think there is no more food coming so it resists burning anything. Check out Mark Sisson and Robb Wolf.

Don't give up.
Thanks.

minimalistmarc
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Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by minimalistmarc » Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:27 pm

Cardio is good for you but won’t help much with weight loss. 5 - 10 mins of high intensity training will have more of an effect.

The only way to lose weight is calorie restriction.

If you are over 40 make sure you eat enough protein as depressingly we lose a little muscle mass every year

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Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:29 pm

Make it less boring.

Walk in the woods. Bike. Throw a kayak in the lake. Chop some firewood (Rocky in Russia training).

Basically mix it up.
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marti038
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Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by marti038 » Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:46 pm

If you want to lose weight you need to focus on what you eat. Working out helps, but really only in that it gives you more room to eat. Use myfitnesspal (or a similar tool) and keep up with what you eat accurately.

If you want to eat more, work out more. Cardio is more efficient for calorie burn than weights, but either one is good for you.

I work out about 6 days a week, sometimes twice in a day. I generally ride 60 miles on the bike and run about 20 each week. I lift weights 2 days a week for strength, not weight loss. If I get lazy tracking my calories I start to gain weight. The only times in my life I've ever been able to eat anything I want and not gain weight were up to my 24th birthday and when I'm training for a marathon (35+ miles of running per week).

Best of luck.

FI4LIFE
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Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by FI4LIFE » Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:47 pm

Good for you for making your health a priority. I won't echo what others have already covered, but I would say to tailor your workout to meet your goals while doing something you ENJOY. If you enjoy cardio, it's fine, but you will also have to reduce calories. My co-worker looks like a fitness model, runs no less than 10 miles a day, and does so on no more than 1400 calories per day at 155 lbs. I think American caloric recommendations are too high. Eat less.


If you have access to a barbell, I cannot stress enough the benefits of the barbell squat for leg and core strength and for cutting belly fat. Fantastic exercise that will make a man (or woman) out of you if you push yourself.

alfaspider
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Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by alfaspider » Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:03 pm

new2bogle wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:07 pm
BlueCable wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:34 am
Describe your lifting routine. How many sets, reps, and which lifts?
Goal is to do 5 sets, 8 reps per set for each exercise. I will move on to the next exercise if I get too tired to finish all the sets/reps so as not to injure myself. I try to minimize rest time between sets (around 1 minute) but longer rests between exercises.

Here's what I do:
- Single arm row
- dumbbell chest press
- seated bicep curls
- goblet squat
- farmers walk (focusing on side at a time)
- bent over row
- one arm swing
- cross body hammer curl
- scaption
- two arm tricep extension
- standing calf raise (weighted)

I have definitely gotten stronger.
8x5 isn't terrible by itself, but this doesn't seem like the greatest routine. Lots of isolation exercises, and not much foundation. The core of any lifting routine should be the following:

Squat
Deadlift
Bench Press
Overhead Press
Row
Pullup

Curls, tricep extention, calf raises and the like are isolation exercises that may be important for bodybuilders looking to sculpt their physique for competition, but have little utility for someone just wanting to be fit. The big compound exercises are what you need to build overall muscle mass, which is what will increase your basal metabolic rate so the calories you eat go more to sustain muscle than build fat.

You also should be focusing more on weight training, and doing at least 3x a week. Find a good beginners program that has you slowly increase loads according to a schedule.

Other posters are also right that diet is key to losing weight. It is sort-of possible to out-exercise a bad diet, but the training volume is extreme (we are talking multiple strenuous work outs per day and hours long cardio sessions). Most people can't sustain that sort of volume without getting injured. If you are just going to the gym for an hour 6x a week, you aren't creating the calorie deficit you need to lose much weight.

Cardio is very important for your cardiovascular health (don't stop doing it!), but it's not a great method of weight loss- especially steady state endurance cardio. The number of net calories burned is less than you think (and almost certainly less than the machines at the gym that typically generously estimate gross rather than net calories burned).

Finally, you have to be both persistent and patient. There are crash diets that will let you shed 20lbs in a month, but that sort of weight loss is not sustainable and leads to yo-yoing, and can even set you up for serious weight gain from the baseline on the snap-back. A good calorie reduction will get you about a pound a week of weight loss. If you have 30-40lbs to lose, you probably won't even notice much for the first couple of months of doing everything right. However, 6 months of running a 1lb/wk calorie deficit and lifting regularly should result in a very obvious transformation if the baseline was eating whatever and minimal exercise.
Last edited by alfaspider on Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

onourway
Posts: 2016
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2016 3:39 pm

Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by onourway » Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:04 pm

When you were counting calories, how were you measuring your food? If you weren't weighing it, it's probably not accurate enough and you could easily be 25+% off.

What does the rest of your day look like outside of exercise time? How many steps do you average daily?

Topic Author
new2bogle
Posts: 1471
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 2:05 pm

Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by new2bogle » Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:06 pm

alfaspider wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:03 pm
new2bogle wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:07 pm
BlueCable wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:34 am
Describe your lifting routine. How many sets, reps, and which lifts?
Goal is to do 5 sets, 8 reps per set for each exercise. I will move on to the next exercise if I get too tired to finish all the sets/reps so as not to injure myself. I try to minimize rest time between sets (around 1 minute) but longer rests between exercises.

Here's what I do:
- Single arm row
- dumbbell chest press
- seated bicep curls
- goblet squat
- farmers walk (focusing on side at a time)
- bent over row
- one arm swing
- cross body hammer curl
- scaption
- two arm tricep extension
- standing calf raise (weighted)

I have definitely gotten stronger.
8x5 isn't terrible by itself, but this doesn't seem like the greatest routine. Lots of isolation exercises, and not much foundation. The core of any lifting routine should be the following:

Squat
Deadlift
Bench Press
Overhead Press
Row
Pullup

Curls, tricep extention, calf raises and the like are isolation exercises that may be important for bodybuilders looking to sculpt their physique for competition, but have little utility for someone just wanting to be fit. The big compound exercises are what you need to build overall muscle mass, which is what will increase your basal metabolic rate so the calories you eat go more to sustain muscle than build fat.


You also should be focusing more on weight training, and doing at least 3x a week. Find a good beginners program that has you slowly increase loads according to a schedule.

Other posters are also right that diet is key to losing weight. It is sort-of possible to out-exercise a bad diet, but the training volume is extreme (we are talking multiple strenuous work outs per day and hours long cardio sessions). Most people can't sustain that sort of volume without getting injured. If you are just going to the gym for an hour 6x a week, you aren't creating the calorie deficit you need to lose much weight.

Cardio is very important for your cardiovascular health (don't stop doing it!), but it's not a great method of weight loss- especially steady state endurance cardio. The number of net calories burned is less than you think (and almost certainly less than the machines at the gym that typically generously estimate gross rather than net calories burned).

Finally, you have to be both persistent and patient. There are crash diets that will let you shed 20lbs in a month, but that sort of weight loss is not sustainable and leads to yo-yoing, and can even set you up for serious weight gain from the baseline on the snap-back. A good calorie reduction will get you about a pound a week of weight loss. If you have 30-40lbs to lose, you probably won't even notice much for the first couple of months of doing everything right. However, 6 months of running a 1lb/wk calorie deficit and lifting regularly should result in a very obvious transformation if the baseline was eating whatever and minimal exercise.
Thanks - will look into this.

randomguy
Posts: 8216
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2014 9:00 am

Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by randomguy » Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:09 pm

TNWoods wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:47 am
The typical marathon runner expends enough energy to burn only about a pound of fat, give or take.

The key to losing weight is NOT exercise.

The key to losing weight is to reduce your caloric intake. It is much easier to reduce your consumption of calories in the first place than it is to burn off calories after the fact.

The exercise will make your body work better and feel better, and it will have a minor effect on reducing your appetite and increasing your metabolism, but weight loss comes through reducing caloric intake.

A relative of mine recently complained that the massive amount of exercise being done was having no effect on the scales, and I pointed her to the idea of intermittent fasting. (She had already adopted a very healthy diet in conjunction with a daily vigorous exercise routine.) Only after the IF plan was in place did she start losing weight again. Eating normally every day of the week except one will instantly reduce your caloric intake by 14%. (There are many different ways to implement IF, skipping a day is just one of them.)

TNWoods
And how many sub 2:45 marathoners have you seen that are fat? Your math is right but the conclusion is questionable. How many people do you know who burn off 1.5k/day of calories( massive exercise ) with exercise for like 6 months are fat? Exercise doesn't help as much when you are doing low/moderate amounts (300-500/day) like the OP is finding out.

If the OP is really eating 2000 calories, then the diet is in the range of reasonable (not knowing height and general activity level and specific protein/fat/carb ratios). It might be a lot easier to burn off 500 calories than to cut the food consumption by 20%+. Now that is a big if. A lot of people track food consumption and are shocked to learn they are eating 3000/day instead of 2000 which gets you back to the massive versus moderate exercise discussion:)

After the OP calorie counts for a month and confirms that yeah they really are doing 2k and you decide to attack it from from the exercise point of view, you have two basic approach
a) do more. Do 60 mins instead of 40. Do an extra day/week.
b) go harder. Either by making those continuous workouts harder (run at 7:45 instead of 8:00) or by doing HIIT. HIIT tends to be the better option but some people really hate it. And a lot of people go way too slow when doing aerobic exercise. They read somewhere that 50% HR burn more fat than 70% so exercise at the lower rate while to lose weight you are better of maximizing calorie burn and not worrying about if you are burning fat or carbs.

And in reality there is
C) do both

And obviously option
D) cut 200 calories. Burn 200 calories.

The issue with diets versus exercise tends to be one of sustainability. The OP could obviously cut down to 1500/day instead of 2k and lose the weight in about 10 weeks. The problem come when they try and transition off that. As a lot of people have found, regaining weigh is really easy. With the exercise routine, there is no change. You keep on doing what you have been doing. Eventually your calorie deficit drops (you weight less, get more efficient) and you reach a new equilibrium. Granted exercise works better when you see it as a highlight of the day and not a chore.

alfaspider
Posts: 2115
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2015 4:44 pm

Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by alfaspider » Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:15 pm

randomguy wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:09 pm
TNWoods wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:47 am
The typical marathon runner expends enough energy to burn only about a pound of fat, give or take.

The key to losing weight is NOT exercise.

The key to losing weight is to reduce your caloric intake. It is much easier to reduce your consumption of calories in the first place than it is to burn off calories after the fact.

The exercise will make your body work better and feel better, and it will have a minor effect on reducing your appetite and increasing your metabolism, but weight loss comes through reducing caloric intake.

A relative of mine recently complained that the massive amount of exercise being done was having no effect on the scales, and I pointed her to the idea of intermittent fasting. (She had already adopted a very healthy diet in conjunction with a daily vigorous exercise routine.) Only after the IF plan was in place did she start losing weight again. Eating normally every day of the week except one will instantly reduce your caloric intake by 14%. (There are many different ways to implement IF, skipping a day is just one of them.)

TNWoods
And how many sub 2:45 marathoners have you seen that are fat? Your math is right but the conclusion is questionable. How many people do you know who burn off 1.5k/day of calories( massive exercise ) with exercise for like 6 months are fat? Exercise doesn't help as much when you are doing low/moderate amounts (300-500/day) like the OP is finding out.

I don't know any Sub 2:45 marathoners who are fat, but I do know plenty of avid recreational marathoners who have a little extra around the mid-section. A relative of mine runs several half-ironman triathlons and marathons a year but is ~50lbs overweight.

That goes back to the sustainability of out-exercising bad diet. Generally, it's only top athletes that can manage the training volume necessary to pig out without gaining weight. For ordinary recreational folks, even those who work out every day, the exercise alone won't cut it.

ltlurker
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2019 9:38 am

Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by ltlurker » Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:24 pm

Another thing to consider is if you're a "non-responder". Some people don't get much benefit from traditional exercise. It's along a continuum for people and some are at the very low end - this could be you.

An excerpt from a 2017 New York Times article, "Is your workout getting you nowhere?
Research and lived experience indicate that many people who begin a new exercise program see little if any improvement in their health and fitness even after weeks of studiously sticking with their new routine."

"Among fitness scientists, these people are known as “nonresponders.” Their bodies simply don’t respond to the exercise they are doing. And once discouraged, they often return to being nonexercisers."

The link is at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/03/well ... onder.html

The good news in the link is that there are alternatives. Good luck.

dustinst22
Posts: 318
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:09 pm
Location: Huntington Beach, CA

Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by dustinst22 » Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:28 pm

randomguy wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:09 pm


And how many sub 2:45 marathoners have you seen that are fat? Your math is right but the conclusion is questionable.
Couple things. First, correlation does not equal causation -- it could simply be that elite (sub 2 45) marathoners tend to eat a lot more healthy than most. Second, a pound of fat burned is quite a bit -- but that's a LOT of running to burn 3500 calories. Sure, if you're regularly burning that kind of caloric mass and spending hours a day with exercise, you will definitely make a dent with exercise alone. Most can't sustain something like that so diet is how to move the needle.

chevca
Posts: 2746
Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:22 am

Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by chevca » Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:43 pm

new2bogle wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:07 pm
BlueCable wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:34 am
Describe your lifting routine. How many sets, reps, and which lifts?
Goal is to do 5 sets, 8 reps per set for each exercise. I will move on to the next exercise if I get too tired to finish all the sets/reps so as not to injure myself. I try to minimize rest time between sets (around 1 minute) but longer rests between exercises.

Here's what I do:
- Single arm row
- dumbbell chest press
- seated bicep curls
- goblet squat
- farmers walk (focusing on side at a time)
- bent over row
- one arm swing
- cross body hammer curl
- scaption
- two arm tricep extension
- standing calf raise (weighted)

I have definitely gotten stronger.
What do you call this.... 'the tank top and shorts workout'? :wink:

You can scrap about 3/4 of those exercises and just stick to the basics. What the heck is a scaption? Throw some push ups, pull ups, and lunges in there too. Body weight exercises are great... especially as we get older.

As mentioned, do HIIT or interval training over long slow cardio. Or, at least mix up the two. Long slow cardio actually trains the body to hang onto fat to have something to burn during the long training sessions. No, the real good marathoners aren't fat people. But, they're usually tiny or skinny people to start with. Body type comes into play for all of us and any activity, of course.

And, I wear 36 waist pants. Is that bad? :happy

Andyrunner
Posts: 750
Joined: Thu May 03, 2012 9:14 am

Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by Andyrunner » Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:50 pm

As others said diet is key, most weight loss comes from diet not exercise. Secondly, I'd up the cardio time and manage the effort on the cardio. You should be doing 130-150 beats per minute on your heart rate. Finally, I'd recommend getting off the treadmill/elliptical and get outside on a bike or run.

randomguy
Posts: 8216
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2014 9:00 am

Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by randomguy » Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:53 pm

alfaspider wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:15 pm


I don't know any Sub 2:45 marathoners who are fat, but I do know plenty of avid recreational marathoners who have a little extra around the mid-section. A relative of mine runs several half-ironman triathlons and marathons a year but is ~50lbs overweight.

That goes back to the sustainability of out-exercising bad diet. Generally, it's only top athletes that can manage the training volume necessary to pig out without gaining weight. For ordinary recreational folks, even those who work out every day, the exercise alone won't cut it.
The performance bar is a rough proxy for training time. Take your avid relative. Do you think they are doing moderate amounts of training (7-10+ hours/week) or are they down in the low training amounts (3-4 hours/week). In my experience it is the latter. A lot of people just have no frame of reference to what a massive amount of exercise is. Running 60 mpw isn't massive. Running a 120 mpw is massive.

And no I don't expect anyone to control weight with massive amounts of exercise. But when the diet is in the reasonable range (2k for a guy is pretty reasonable.) trying to a 300-500 calorie deficit from exercise versus diet is something to think about.

User avatar
LonePrairie
Posts: 251
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Location: Northern California

Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by LonePrairie » Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:59 pm

In addition to what you're doing, work bits of exercise into your daily routine: walk whenever possible - if you take public transit, get off the bus a few blocks before your stop. If you drive, don't park right next to your office. Take a short walk at lunchtime. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Take longer walks on the weekend. Every bit counts.

randomguy
Posts: 8216
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2014 9:00 am

Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by randomguy » Fri Aug 09, 2019 2:06 pm

chevca wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:43 pm


What do you call this.... 'the tank top and shorts workout'? :wink:

You can scrap about 3/4 of those exercises and just stick to the basics. What the heck is a scaption? Throw some push ups, pull ups, and lunges in there too. Body weight exercises are great... especially as we get older.

You know if he just wrote his workout as

- Single arm row
- dumbbell chest press
- goblet squat
- farmers walk (focusing on side at a time)
- bent over row
- one arm swing

I would go that isn't too bad:) I am assuming the swing is some kettleball variation.

But through in the bicep work and it looks a total bro workout:)

Topic Author
new2bogle
Posts: 1471
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 2:05 pm

Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by new2bogle » Fri Aug 09, 2019 2:12 pm

chevca wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:43 pm
new2bogle wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:07 pm
BlueCable wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:34 am
Describe your lifting routine. How many sets, reps, and which lifts?
Goal is to do 5 sets, 8 reps per set for each exercise. I will move on to the next exercise if I get too tired to finish all the sets/reps so as not to injure myself. I try to minimize rest time between sets (around 1 minute) but longer rests between exercises.

Here's what I do:
- Single arm row
- dumbbell chest press
- seated bicep curls
- goblet squat
- farmers walk (focusing on side at a time)
- bent over row
- one arm swing
- cross body hammer curl
- scaption
- two arm tricep extension
- standing calf raise (weighted)

I have definitely gotten stronger.
What do you call this.... 'the tank top and shorts workout'? :wink:

You can scrap about 3/4 of those exercises and just stick to the basics. What the heck is a scaption? Throw some push ups, pull ups, and lunges in there too. Body weight exercises are great... especially as we get older.

As mentioned, do HIIT or interval training over long slow cardio. Or, at least mix up the two. Long slow cardio actually trains the body to hang onto fat to have something to burn during the long training sessions. No, the real good marathoners aren't fat people. But, they're usually tiny or skinny people to start with. Body type comes into play for all of us and any activity, of course.

And, I wear 36 waist pants. Is that bad? :happy
Yes, another poster also mentioned I'm doing the wrong exercises.

Looks like so far the action list is:
1) Diet - make sure I am not over consuming calories
2) HIIT - this will work better than long marathon types of cardio
3) Weights - add more days of better weight training

H-Town
Posts: 2016
Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2017 2:08 pm

Re: Critique my exercise routine because it's not working for me

Post by H-Town » Fri Aug 09, 2019 2:13 pm

new2bogle wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:07 pm
BlueCable wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:34 am
Describe your lifting routine. How many sets, reps, and which lifts?
Goal is to do 5 sets, 8 reps per set for each exercise. I will move on to the next exercise if I get too tired to finish all the sets/reps so as not to injure myself. I try to minimize rest time between sets (around 1 minute) but longer rests between exercises.

Here's what I do:
- Single arm row
- dumbbell chest press
- seated bicep curls
- goblet squat
- farmers walk (focusing on side at a time)
- bent over row
- one arm swing
- cross body hammer curl
- scaption
- two arm tricep extension
- standing calf raise (weighted)

I have definitely gotten stronger.
Time to re-do your program. Focus on those compound lifting:
Barbell squat
Deadlift
Bench press
Overhead press
Rear delt row

Those will save you a lot of time in the gym and getting better result.

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