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  1. #1
    Registered User jeffgraves's Avatar
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    46yo overweight newb, intro and looking for critique of plan (long)

    I'm a 46 year old male who has been heavy to overweight since childhood. I participated in sports and worked physical jobs until late university but was never athletic and worked a desk job for the last 25 years. I've gained a pound or 2 each year since university with no real thought given to diet or health and no formal exercise. I hadn't seen a doctor for 15 years until February when I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and slightly high cholesterol. At the time I was around 223 lbs.

    I'm currently on meds for both which has my BP within a normal range. My ultimate goal is long term health which to me means BP and cholesterol within a normal / health range w/o meds, and I think 165 to 180 pounds at 15-20% body fat.

    14 weeks later I'm 202 lbs at 5'7" and by several measures around 28-30% BF (BMI, Navy, impedance on home scale, etc). During that 14 weeks I've been rowing 20 to 30 minutes (reported 700 kcal/hr) or walking 60 to 80 minutes several times per week and eating a fairly clean 1800 to 2100 kcal (and 5mg creatine as I had reduced muscle fatigue with it during university). I've noticed my clothing fits looser and cardio endurance improved but also noted my %BF hasn't dropped much and became concerned I am on a path to 25%+ BF regardless of how much weight I drop.

    During the past week I've maintained 1900 to 2200 kcal, started tracking protein intake (100 to 180g), adding a protein shake with supper if I can fit it under 2100 kcal, upped my rowing to 45 minutes and did a couple sessions with weights at home. My weight sessions have been more feeling out appropriate weights and exercises I'm comfortable with actual training with intent to grow.

    I'm going on a week long vacation / motorcycle trip at the end of the week which will be the end of this diet / weight loss phase. I won't be tracking food, weight or exercise during the vacation. I hope to stabilize around 205 lbs after the trip. I'm also intending to benchmark my BF with a DEXA scan shortly after returning.

    My plan for at least the summer months (following 12-14 weeks) is to introduce weight training (at home), continue with cardio, eat mostly clean and hold my weight below 205 (track food and allow weight to drop but only limit calories if weight climbs). I need to keep some flexibility on my exercise routine, I prefer rowing before breakfast, can only sustain rowing 2 days on, 1 day off (limit of knee), prefer weights after supper and walking either a noon with co-workers or in evening. I'm intending to exercise at home, have a barbell, several dumbbells and a basic/old angle adjustable bench. Preventing injury is a priority and am uncomfortable with being under a barbell (bench press, squat) when training alone. I consider dumbbells safer (easy to drop if a lift goes wrong) and I'm a bit tight on space for a barbell other where it is for the dead lift.

    What are your thoughts on the following routine and schedule?

    M - row 45 min am
    T - row 45 min am
    W - walk 30 min noon, weights pm
    T - walk 75 min pm
    F - row 45 min am
    S - weights pm
    S - walk 75 min pm

    Rowing never occurs more than 2 consecutive days, never on the same day as weights and never the day after weights.

    weight routine (weight used this week, per dumbbell and taken close to technical failure unless noted)
    4x 10 concentration curl (25 lbs)
    3x 12 side lateral raise (15 lbs)
    3x 12 reverse fly (10 lbs)
    3x 12 seated military press (25 lbs)
    4x 12 bench press (30 lbs, about the limit that I can get into position with, could maybe do 35 lbs for 8-10)
    3x 12 straight leg dead lift (145 lbs barbell)
    3x 15 squats (30 lbs, too light, purchased more plates)

    I think rowing 3x week addresses my back adequately, at the moment upper body exercises don't appear to interfere with my lower body exercises, not much thought was given to order of upper body exercises, number of sets lead to performance degradation in each exercise and mild soreness for a couple days. The entire routine takes 80 to 90 minutes with lower body rest being around 3x longer than upper body and about the limit of how long I'm willing to dedicate to exercise per day, I'd prefer to be within an hour.

    Are there any major holes in my plan, considering my objective and equipment limitations? By end of summer I'm hoping to be ready for another round of dieting.

    Thanks,
    Jeff
    Last edited by jeffgraves; 06-12-2022 at 05:27 PM.
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  2. #2
    Registered User air2fakie's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jeffgraves View Post
    I think rowing 3x week addresses my back adequately, at the moment upper body exercises don't appear to interfere with my lower body exercises, not much thought was given to order of upper body exercises, number of sets lead to performance degradation in each exercise and mild soreness for a couple days. The entire routine takes 80 to 90 minutes with lower body rest being around 3x longer than upper body and about the limit of how long I'm willing to dedicate to exercise per day, I'd prefer to be within an hour.

    Are there any major holes in my plan, considering my objective and equipment limitations? By end of summer I'm hoping to be ready for another round of dieting.
    From looking at your plan for lifting, you're doing yourself a disservice by designing your own program. Doing that routine 2x/week isn't going to get you anywhere near your goals. Thinking that cardio-style rowing covers your back development adequately & spending the summer trying to maintain your weight @ about 5-7, 205 lbs is also a waste of time IMO.

    If you're willing to put a mild level of consistency & discipline into both your exercises & nutrition under a proper novice lifting program, you'll be well on your way to achieving your goals. If you only feel comfortable with dbs right now, try following something like the Fierce 5 novice db program at the start: https://igoodies.000webhostapp.com/?viagra=showt...post1266579671

    Good luck!
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  3. #3
    Registered User jeffgraves's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input air2fakie (Is that a snowboarding reference?).

    I've programmed the Fierce 5 Dumbbell program into my tracking spreadsheet to try this week although only 1 of each workout. It's less reps and sets than my original plan and split squats / lunges should be quicker to recover from (in workout) then the dumbbell squats I was doing so it may get me close to my hour goal.

    I'm assuming from your comment that you suggest I continue to drop weight through the summer. At least at the moment I am ready to be done with the 500 kcal deficit. I willing to reassess after a week of vacation and a few weeks at 2300 - 2500 kcal. If I resume at 1 lb / week that puts me at 185ish by Christmas and within upper end of my target range by February. I would be ecstatic with that outcome (reversing 25 years of weight gain in 1 year). To be honest, I'm hugely impressed with the weight I've lost and increase in rowing distance / intensity over the past 14 weeks. I'm less impressed that I appear to have lost 10 lbs of muscle during that period (and likely another 5 to 10 with during the preceding 2 years of inactivity while working from home).

    Jeff
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  4. #4
    Registered User air2fakie's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jeffgraves View Post
    Thanks for the input air2fakie (Is that a snowboarding reference?).
    Yup.

    Originally Posted by jeffgraves View Post
    I've programmed the Fierce 5 Dumbbell program into my tracking spreadsheet to try this week although only 1 of each workout. It's less reps and sets than my original plan and split squats / lunges should be quicker to recover from (in workout) then the dumbbell squats I was doing so it may get me close to my hour goal.

    I'm assuming from your comment that you suggest I continue to drop weight through the summer. At least at the moment I am ready to be done with the 500 kcal deficit. I willing to reassess after a week of vacation and a few weeks at 2300 - 2500 kcal. If I resume at 1 lb / week that puts me at 185ish by Christmas and within upper end of my target range by February. I would be ecstatic with that outcome (reversing 25 years of weight gain in 1 year). To be honest, I'm hugely impressed with the weight I've lost and increase in rowing distance / intensity over the past 14 weeks. I'm less impressed that I appear to have lost 10 lbs of muscle during that period (and likely another 5 to 10 with during the preceding 2 years of inactivity while working from home).
    Yes, given your stats & goals you should continue to lose weight - otherwise you'll continue to be disappointed with visual muscle progress (or loss) if you decide to maintain or even continue to lose weight without doing proper lifting. You have plenty of fat & are at a beginner stage where you can both lose weight & gain some muscle, or at least not lose any.

    You can always play with the amount of your cal deficit since the faster you lose weight, the harder it'll be to progress on lifts, but you should be fine at the start & weight loss should be your priority anyway. As long as you're losing weight & maintaining or gaining on your lifts, you'll eventually get to where you want to be. Don't worry about an end date as much as the trend over time, and building habits that you can continue for the long run.

    At some point, consider upping the F5 novice db program to the prescribed 3 days/week as it'll be most effective that way. And after that, at some point when you get your lifts up & are more comfortable with weights, consider adding in the barbell and move on to a program with an intermediate style progression (slower increases).
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  5. #5
    Crawling back under rock OldFartTom's Avatar
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    Nothing to add except follow air2fakie, he's giving you solid advice
    Faith in Jesus first and faith in squats second.
    Then other details will start to slot themselves into place.
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  6. #6
    Registered User jeffgraves's Avatar
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    I tried the Fierce 5 Dumbbell workout A Monday evening. Combined with the additional plates I now have, it is a definitely a more time efficient workout than I originally had. Under an hour as written, 1h05 with my addition of lat side raises.

    Planning to try Workout B Wednesday evening. I may intentionally go light as I want to be fully recovered before spending 12-13h on the motorcycle Friday. Today stairs were uncomfortable and I was certainly aware of back and triceps.

    3x 8 Split Squats 2x 35 lbs (L, R, Rest, Repeat, much more difficult than DB squats with 2x 30 lbs)
    3x 8 Dumbbell Press 30, 35, 35 lbs (Could still do more, will try 40's next time, developing technique for getting in/out of position)
    3x 8 Dumbbell Rows 30, 35, 35 lbs (Press, R Row, L Row, Rest, Repeat)
    3x 10 Reverse Flies 15, 12, 12 lbs (couldn't achieve full ROM with 15's)
    2x 15 Calf Raises (body weight only so I could stabilize against a wall, will have to find a way to weight)
    2x 10 Skull Crushers 15 lbs (Calf, Skull, Calf, Skull, no rest, 15 lbs was very challenging, paused for 15-20s after 8 reps of second set)
    3x 10 Lat Side Raises 15 lbs (more difficult than doing in earlier in my original workout)

    Jeff
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  7. #7
    Registered User jeffgraves's Avatar
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    Update: The Monday pre-vacation workout left me sore for the remainder of the week so other than some walking, I did no dedicated exercise for 2 weeks and for a week, tracked nothing, eat what I wanted (mostly at restaurants) and rode 3600 km of mostly secondary roads on the motorcycle. My post vacation weight is a pound below of my pre-vacation weight and calories are in the 2000 - 2300 range without really trying (other than being mindfully of what I eat).

    Last night (Monday, 2 weeks after workout A) I tried the Fierce 5 Dumbbell workout B, intentionally going lighter than I had on similar movements over the past month. I feel it today but nothing is really uncomfortable so I think I'm on a path to doing this 2 or 3 times per week. I also rowed 30 min Monday am and walked 40 min today at lunch.

    3x 8 Lunge 50 lb (no space for walking lunges)
    3x 8 Military Press 25 lb
    3x 8 Deadlift 130 lb
    3x 6 Pull/Chin ups (purple + black bands, under foot)
    2x 15 Crunches
    2x 10 Curls 25 lb

    The 20 pounds I've lost over 4 months is noticeable. All the family I visited on vacation commented, coworkers have commented, I've noticed how my clothes fit and in the mirror. I've also noticed a difference in my endurance, such as climbing stairs without breathing hard.
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  8. #8
    πŸ…ΎπŸ…ΌπŸ…΄πŸ…ΆπŸ…° πŸ††πŸ…΄πŸ…°πŸ…ΏπŸ…ΎπŸ…½ EjnarKolinkar's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jeffgraves View Post
    I'm less impressed that I appear to have lost 10 lbs of muscle during that period.

    Jeff
    Everybody feels that way. Usually when we are overweight its mostly fat but we feel much smaller. Just push that 'muscle up in smoke' thought away when it comes up and stay consistent with training.

    Consistency and building a strong habit is really the key with lifting and diet. If you are sick of a 500 deficit try a 300 or try to hold steady for a few months. Learning to maintain weight lost is more important than losing it. Way more important long term! 46 years of habits leaves a very strong imprint.

    I wish you the best of luck for continued success.
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  9. #9
    Old Man Lifting PhDPepper1111's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by air2fakie View Post
    Yup.



    Yes, given your stats & goals you should continue to lose weight - otherwise you'll continue to be disappointed with visual muscle progress (or loss) if you decide to maintain or even continue to lose weight without doing proper lifting. You have plenty of fat & are at a beginner stage where you can both lose weight & gain some muscle, or at least not lose any.

    You can always play with the amount of your cal deficit since the faster you lose weight, the harder it'll be to progress on lifts, but you should be fine at the start & weight loss should be your priority anyway. As long as you're losing weight & maintaining or gaining on your lifts, you'll eventually get to where you want to be. Don't worry about an end date as much as the trend over time, and building habits that you can continue for the long run.

    At some point, consider upping the F5 novice db program to the prescribed 3 days/week as it'll be most effective that way. And after that, at some point when you get your lifts up & are more comfortable with weights, consider adding in the barbell and move on to a program with an intermediate style progression (slower increases).
    Originally Posted by jeffgraves View Post
    Update: The Monday pre-vacation workout left me sore for the remainder of the week so other than some walking, I did no dedicated exercise for 2 weeks and for a week, tracked nothing, eat what I wanted (mostly at restaurants) and rode 3600 km of mostly secondary roads on the motorcycle. My post vacation weight is a pound below of my pre-vacation weight and calories are in the 2000 - 2300 range without really trying (other than being mindfully of what I eat).

    Last night (Monday, 2 weeks after workout A) I tried the Fierce 5 Dumbbell workout B, intentionally going lighter than I had on similar movements over the past month. I feel it today but nothing is really uncomfortable so I think I'm on a path to doing this 2 or 3 times per week. I also rowed 30 min Monday am and walked 40 min today at lunch.

    3x 8 Lunge 50 lb (no space for walking lunges)
    3x 8 Military Press 25 lb
    3x 8 Deadlift 130 lb
    3x 6 Pull/Chin ups (purple + black bands, under foot)
    2x 15 Crunches
    2x 10 Curls 25 lb

    The 20 pounds I've lost over 4 months is noticeable. All the family I visited on vacation commented, coworkers have commented, I've noticed how my clothes fit and in the mirror. I've also noticed a difference in my endurance, such as climbing stairs without breathing hard.
    You have a good start - keeping at it is the MOST important. air2fakie has given good advice - find a good program, stick with it for at least 12-16 weeks and from there you can find a program more tailored to goals.
    It's never too late!

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  10. #10
    Registered User jeffgraves's Avatar
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    Thanks for the words of encouragement EjnarKolinkar and PhDPepper1111.

    Since returning from vacation I've been fluctuating between 200 and 203 pounds with no real trend so averaging maintenance calories (2350). My typical daily intake is 1950-2150 but I've had a couple days well over that, partially due to consuming food that's been in the freezer since before starting the diet.

    My grew tired of my first couple months of dieting for 2 reasons, 1800 to 1900 calories left me hungry at the end of the day too often and I restricted calories every day with the exception of 4 gatherings with family or friends. Aside from those gatherings, I hadn't ate out at all for 3.5 months. At least coming off vacation, I'm not often hungry after consuming 2100 to 2200 calories in a day and I'm intending to continue eating out every couple weeks. Probably not grab a drive-thru burger and fries when I'm late coming home from the office but at least restaurants or a sub when I'm away from home.

    Sustainability of dedicated exercise will be a challenge as it competes for time with other activities.
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  11. #11
    Registered User jeffgraves's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by EjnarKolinkar View Post
    Everybody feels that way. Usually when we are overweight its mostly fat but we feel much smaller. Just push that 'muscle up in smoke' thought away when it comes up and stay consistent with training.
    My muscle loss comment was relative to the cardio only phase of my weight loss. I'm reasonably confident it is accurate (at least in a macro context, not necessarily the 10 pounds) as every tape measure based bf% calculator and the impedance based scale agreed my bf% remained the same while dropping 20 pounds and my strength dropped over that period (judged by losing 5 reps on pushups).

    These observations lead me to weight training with a goal of maintaining or slightly increasing my lean muscle mass while dropping to a healthy bf%. I don't expect much difference in health and longevity of a 223 pound / 31%bf version of myself vs a 173 pound / 31%bf version of me with a corresponding drop in strength.
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