Gym Advice

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    Hi
    I've gone to the gym for about a year now, and I've been running about 21 miles a week for about 2-3 years. Sadly, for the past 5 months, my back has been giving me grief (Im 17, this should not be happening!) and after running a half marathon on the 9th, it has completely quit on me - i.e. can only sit and stand perfectly straight - so I can't run
    This has made me really evaluate my body and I've realised, I still hate it. As in, I hate every part of my body. I don't think Im fat, but I carry weight in a horrific way so my hips and thighs are massive and my stomach isn't toned at all.

    So, given that I can't run, I wanted to up my gym game, but I don't really know how? The guys from my school dominate the weights and I don't want to embarrass myself by trying to use the weights when I don't know how to properly, and I want to do proper exercises that will actually help, rather than stuff glamour magazines suggest for women that don't do anything. So any advice/tips? Doesn't have to specify a certain body area, I need to tone up everywhere
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    Why don't you just cycle instead if you still want to lose the weight?

    Yeah you can use weights and stuff alongside cardio but if you're carrying weight that you don't want then do less strenous cardio for your back. So either swim or cycle.
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    Before you do anymore exercise, you should be consulting a GP or physio about your back

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    What Angry cucumber said. Any worthwhile time spent on the weights (and it WOULD be worth your while) would involve your back. You need to get it sorted.
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    Hi Rachel,
    First of all, you must understand that losing weight is 80% diet and 20% exercise. You can literally lose weight without doing exercise at all. It's different if you want to tone your body however.
    Second of all, you must contact a GP before trying any new exercise regiments as your injury might deteriorate.

    Now, what seems to be the best form of cardio for you (in my opinion) would be swimming, it burns an incredible amount of calories and is generally calming.

    If you're able to use weights, justified by your GP, don't worry about what people think of you at all!! I've been ging to the gym for quite a while and everyone will be more than happy to help you with your form.

    NO ONE will laugh at a person who's trying their hardest. And even if for some absurd reason they did it would make a pretty good story once you succeed, don't you think? Something along the lines of "They used to laugh at me, now they look up to me"
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    Thanks for all your advice

    I do know I need the check my back out, but Im sick of the typical NHS response of "wait a week and come back" when its been uncomfortable since June - I've just come to accept that it's getting worse and now it's just the norm for me?

    Regarding diet, I eat the bare minimum (i.e. bowl of cereal, sandwich and a small as possible dinner) and I've never lost even a pound. A quarter of the time I have to skip lunch as well just because my school's quality of food is just so poor. So, I'm kinda getting annoyed that I see girls who are tiny, whereas I struggle to stay consistently average weight. Plus, the weight isn't even in the slightest - all my ribs are visible but my thighs are just awful, I hate them so much.

    Due to past injuries with my knees, I can't cycle and even after years and years of swimming lessons, I can't swim? Running was perfect for me

    But I will take all of your advice to take a break - my back is more important than my weight and I will go to the doctors ASAP
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    (Original post by Rachel58)
    Thanks for all your advice

    I do know I need the check my back out, but Im sick of the typical NHS response of "wait a week and come back" when its been uncomfortable since June - I've just come to accept that it's getting worse and now it's just the norm for me?

    Regarding diet, I eat the bare minimum (i.e. bowl of cereal, sandwich and a small as possible dinner) and I've never lost even a pound. A quarter of the time I have to skip lunch as well just because my school's quality of food is just so poor. So, I'm kinda getting annoyed that I see girls who are tiny, whereas I struggle to stay consistently average weight. Plus, the weight isn't even in the slightest - all my ribs are visible but my thighs are just awful, I hate them so much.

    Due to past injuries with my knees, I can't cycle and even after years and years of swimming lessons, I can't swim? Running was perfect for me

    But I will take all of your advice to take a break - my back is more important than my weight and I will go to the doctors ASAP
    That's a lame ass response. Go to your GP, noone should be recommending anything until you've seen a doctor and investigated the cause

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    (Original post by Angry cucumber)
    That's a lame ass response. Go to your GP, noone should be recommending anything until you've seen a doctor and investigated the cause

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    How was my response lame? Like, I get that Im super not athletically inclined but???
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    (Original post by Rachel58)
    How was my response lame? Like, I get that Im super not athletically inclined but???
    Your response regarding the NHS. If your back is bad enough to stop you doing what you want to, you should be going there and asking for referral or further help.

    It's impossible from the other side of a computer screen to advise you in any other way than go to your GP

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    (Original post by Rachel58)
    Thanks for all your advice

    I do know I need the check my back out, but Im sick of the typical NHS response of "wait a week and come back" when its been uncomfortable since June - I've just come to accept that it's getting worse and now it's just the norm for me?

    Regarding diet, I eat the bare minimum (i.e. bowl of cereal, sandwich and a small as possible dinner) and I've never lost even a pound. A quarter of the time I have to skip lunch as well just because my school's quality of food is just so poor. So, I'm kinda getting annoyed that I see girls who are tiny, whereas I struggle to stay consistently average weight. Plus, the weight isn't even in the slightest - all my ribs are visible but my thighs are just awful, I hate them so much.

    Due to past injuries with my knees, I can't cycle and even after years and years of swimming lessons, I can't swim? Running was perfect for me

    But I will take all of your advice to take a break - my back is more important than my weight and I will go to the doctors ASAP
    Losing weight through diet isn't acheived by simply eating the least amount of food. It's about eating the right types of food, which will require a little bit of research and knowledge of your body. I ,for once, can loose weight while eating as much food as I like while resticting my carbs (I only eat carbs at dinner when cutting).
    It seems to me that you're not overweight at all, what's bothering you is the fat distrubution in your body. That means that the problem isn't your body , it's your mindset and self-confidence. A female with a body type such as the one you describe is actually ridiculously attractive. I know numrous females that do everything they possibly can simply to get thicker thighs. We are attracted to curves, not stick figures. It is ludicrous to hate something you're born with that others would do anything to get.
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    (Original post by Dominator1)
    Losing weight through diet isn't acheived by simply eating the least amount of food. It's about eating the right types of food, which will require a little bit of research and knowledge of your body. I ,for once, can loose weight while eating as much food as I like while resticting my carbs (I only eat carbs at dinner when cutting).
    It seems to me that you're not overweight at all, what's bothering you is the fat distrubution in your body. That means that the problem isn't your body , it's your mindset and self-confidence. A female with a body type such as the one you describe is actually ridiculously attractive. I know numrous females that do everything they possibly can simply to get thicker thighs. We are attracted to curves, not stick figures. It is ludicrous to hate something you're born with that others would do anything to get.
    Thanks for your response, seems like you know a lot more than me

    I don't really get that much choice in regards to food but when I go to uni, I hope to cut carbs as you said, so that's something I'll really get into researching when I start cooking for myself, thank you
    I don't really care about what's attractive - I care about what I can be happy about when I look in the mirror :sigh:
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    (Original post by Rachel58)
    Thanks for your response, seems like you know a lot more than me

    I don't really get that much choice in regards to food but when I go to uni, I hope to cut carbs as you said, so that's something I'll really get into researching when I start cooking for myself, thank you
    I don't really care about what's attractive - I care about what I can be happy about when I look in the mirror :sigh:
    Well that's the thing. Almost everyone is never satisfied at what they look at in the mirror. I have Gym buddies who if you see you'd be astonished, they take about 50 photos a day to post them on social media... NONE of them are satisfied with their bodies, often claiming they're too small or not ripped enough. It is good to always be trying to improve and not be an arrogant narcissit, but it becomes unhealthy when you hate yourself every single time you look in the mirror. Here's something that I found helpful when I was in a similar situation: write a list of the things you like about your body (e.g. I love how my shoulders are broad). The list should consist of at least ten qualities you're proud of. Read it every night before you go to sleep. This sounds so corny but it worked for me, so give it a try
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    (Original post by Dominator1)
    Well that's the thing. Almost everyone is never satisfied at what they look at in the mirror. I have Gym buddies who if you see you'd be astonished, they take about 50 photos a day to post them on social media... NONE of them are satisfied with their bodies, often claiming they're too small or not ripped enough. It is good to always be trying to improve and not be an arrogant narcissit, but it becomes unhealthy when you hate yourself every single time you look in the mirror. Here's something that I found helpful when I was in a similar situation: write a list of the things you like about your body (e.g. I love how my shoulders are broad). The list should consist of at least ten qualities you're proud of. Read it every night before you go to sleep. This sounds so corny but it worked for me, so give it a try
    That makes me feel better, thanks - the guys at the gym are always posing in front of mirrors and stuff and complimenting each other, so I guess I assumed I was the odd one out

    Very nice idea, sadly I don't think I could manage one thing, let alone ten - I've even had people insult my toes before so now I'm too insecure to even wear sandals! I'm a little bit pathetic in that way, so I'll try and think of one and see if I can build from there
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    (Original post by Rachel58)
    That makes me feel better, thanks - the guys at the gym are always posing in front of mirrors and stuff and complimenting each other, so I guess I assumed I was the odd one out

    Very nice idea, sadly I don't think I could manage one thing, let alone ten - I've even had people insult my toes before so now I'm too insecure to even wear sandals! I'm a little bit pathetic in that way, so I'll try and think of one and see if I can build from there
    Terrific!! Glad I could help.
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    Was in very similar position to you. When I was 14/15 my back gave up. I was in too much pain to play my favourite sports, and had to drop out almost all my schools sports teams. Furthermore for 1 week every month I was in agony, stuck in bed and not being able to go to lessons.

    I visited the doctor and hospital I found out I had a disc out of place in an MRI scan. Being so young (like you said, it's usually a problem for those older), i was quite shocked. I was given physiotherapist assistance but honestly I'm not sure it helped much if it all. I was given the clear by the doctor to go to gym though and work slowly into weights/more impact exercises, and for the last 3/4 years worked towards strengthening my core to support my back - nowadays I rarely get any back pain which is great.

    From my experience I would say first of all go to the doctor and try get a referral for a scan to see what's going on. Really push for it as I know when I went they didn't want me to have scan but it turned out to be so helpful. Then get advice onto what you can/can't do.

    In terms of body image, honestly rather than look at the gym perhaps look at your diet as well. Ensure you have suitable macros (daily nutrition) for what your trying to achieve. To lose fat you need to work a calorie deficit, each pound lost roughly equates to 3000 calories. I assume you're trying to decrease body fat %, so you can appear 'toned' so I would honestly really look into that. In conjunction with nutrition make sure you have a suitable workout plan, so I would probably advise you to follow a plan online (bodybuilding.com is great for that), or alternatively book a session with a personal trainer to show you what to do and how to achieve your goals. It is honestly extremely hard work to lose body fat, especially to the point of being toned - so anticipate it to be a anywhere from 4-8 month process rather than overnight.

    Hope that somewhat helps. I could somewhat relate to your problems having had back pain and issues as you described in gym.
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    Have you considered swimming as an alternative? Running can be very brutal on your body- particularly your joints. Swimming is one way you can keep active while allowing your body to recuperate. You should not be having back issues at your age...
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    Your back should not be sore.

    In my experience, the NHS are actually half decent.
    GP referrs you to physio and he/she will be very good at ruling out things and diagnosing you.
    They will take action from there.
    That is your first step.


    Then, once healed you can read the FAQ on the fitness section and get on a routine that will, over time, give you a great physique and not manly at all.

    You can also run on some rest days. Personally i do not love running but do it 1/2 a week. Any more and joints and ankles can get dodgy for me.

    Rowing machine? (Once your back is better) is maybe a good form of cardio to do as well as running.


    Get Myfitnesspal. Track calories and you will easily have control of your weight.

    Calories in vs out.
    Food groups is wayyyy too advanced for what counts here but yes, using carbs as a way of losing weight isn't bad ie reducing them but keeping fats and protein etc reasonably high.
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    (Original post by blinin7)
    Was in very similar position to you. When I was 14/15 my back gave up. I was in too much pain to play my favourite sports, and had to drop out almost all my schools sports teams. Furthermore for 1 week every month I was in agony, stuck in bed and not being able to go to lessons.

    I visited the doctor and hospital I found out I had a disc out of place in an MRI scan. Being so young (like you said, it's usually a problem for those older), i was quite shocked. I was given physiotherapist assistance but honestly I'm not sure it helped much if it all. I was given the clear by the doctor to go to gym though and work slowly into weights/more impact exercises, and for the last 3/4 years worked towards strengthening my core to support my back - nowadays I rarely get any back pain which is great.

    From my experience I would say first of all go to the doctor and try get a referral for a scan to see what's going on. Really push for it as I know when I went they didn't want me to have scan but it turned out to be so helpful. Then get advice onto what you can/can't do.

    In terms of body image, honestly rather than look at the gym perhaps look at your diet as well. Ensure you have suitable macros (daily nutrition) for what your trying to achieve. To lose fat you need to work a calorie deficit, each pound lost roughly equates to 3000 calories. I assume you're trying to decrease body fat %, so you can appear 'toned' so I would honestly really look into that. In conjunction with nutrition make sure you have a suitable workout plan, so I would probably advise you to follow a plan online (bodybuilding.com is great for that), or alternatively book a session with a personal trainer to show you what to do and how to achieve your goals. It is honestly extremely hard work to lose body fat, especially to the point of being toned - so anticipate it to be a anywhere from 4-8 month process rather than overnight.

    Hope that somewhat helps. I could somewhat relate to your problems having had back pain and issues as you described in gym.
    Oh, I'm so sorry! I don't think my backs that bad, but it took a turn for the worse today Going to get referred to a specialist tomorrow hopefully!

    I understand it's not overnight, but years of running religiously haven't made any impact at all! Guess I just need to work harder - my body clings on to fat like it's starving.
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    (Original post by MasterJack)
    Have you considered swimming as an alternative? Running can be very brutal on your body- particularly your joints. Swimming is one way you can keep active while allowing your body to recuperate. You should not be having back issues at your age...
    Many years of swimming lessons through my life and I still sink like a brick, sadly
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    (Original post by Unistudent77)
    Your back should not be sore.

    In my experience, the NHS are actually half decent.
    GP referrs you to physio and he/she will be very good at ruling out things and diagnosing you.
    They will take action from there.
    That is your first step.


    Then, once healed you can read the FAQ on the fitness section and get on a routine that will, over time, give you a great physique and not manly at all.

    You can also run on some rest days. Personally i do not love running but do it 1/2 a week. Any more and joints and ankles can get dodgy for me.

    Rowing machine? (Once your back is better) is maybe a good form of cardio to do as well as running.


    Get Myfitnesspal. Track calories and you will easily have control of your weight.

    Calories in vs out.
    Food groups is wayyyy too advanced for what counts here but yes, using carbs as a way of losing weight isn't bad ie reducing them but keeping fats and protein etc reasonably high.
    Well, I walked around on a torn ligament thanks to the NHS, and my aunt who works there does nothing but insult it, so I'm skeptical.

    I love running - my parents have now given me the good to go running next weekkkkkkkkk - but because of knee problems, 21 miles is my maximum without a limp.

    I do use the rowing machine a lot, I even went on one yesterday!

    I do understand calories in and out, but if I can't change my diet drastically atm without missing meals.

    Thanks for your advice, I'll check out the FAQ soon!
 
 
 
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