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Losing weight: questions about running, nutrition, and working out at home

20th April 2009

Questions for Health/Fitness experts:

First, I had bet $100 with a friend that I could lose 18 pounds in 19 days. After a week now, I realised it was a foolish bet and paid him off.
What started this bet was my cholesterol was at a extremely high level of 270 and I’m only 30 years old. In the process of this bet, I have lost 6 pounds over the last 7 days and want to continue to lose those last 12 pounds in a healthy way.

My first question is, I’ve been jogging/running 2-3 miles per day five times a week. I want to slowly bring that up to 5 miles per day. Problem is, after my runs my shin’s start to act up and become sore for a few hours. I’ve only been doing this for a week, so I’m not sure if this is a normal feeling after a running a few miles. Or is it my body trying to tell me I’m doing too much too soon. Should I cut back a little on my running to maybe 4 times a week?

Second question, is my diet and nutrition. I’ve cut out all sweets and junk food from my diet. But I wanted to know if anyone had a link to a good diet/nutrition web site? Basically looking for a healthy diet that would help me lose the most stored up extra fat on my body in the quickest time. (FYI, I’m 182 pounds now and looking to drop to 165-170 range).

Final question, with two small kids at home I don’t have time to hit the gym. Outside of jogging/running, I’ve also been doing 100 situps and 40 pushups per day. Does anyone have any other exercises I could do at home to help lose weight in my waist and mid section? Thanks for any help, it’s much appricated.

Answer 1: You’ve got a case of shin splints – don’t run on a hard surface…. get new running shoes. I always thought running or walking backwards helped shin splints, but that might be just an old wives tale.

Also don’t do too much running. Combine aerobic training with some weight training other days (even just dumbells at home). There are no specific exercises to reduce waist really, just have to increase your metabolism and decrease intake.

You can’t spot reduce so no excercise will help you lose inches of your midsection(despite what the commercials say). Your midsection gets smaller from overall weightloss, not sit ups, crunches or any other core training exercise.

Answer 2: According to my doctor running intervals will burn more calories in the long run than jogging. Also, I used to get shin splints, and a buddy of mine showed me a trick he used. After running, run an ice cube up and down each shin until the cube melts. Sounds simple, but it worked for me. It also might be your shoes. Go to a real running store (Fleet Feet, Road Runners, etc), and have them identify your gait. They can then show you which shoes are best for your running style. Good luck, and keep it up!

Answer 3: If I were you I would not jump right in and run that frequently. That is probably the reason you are getting shin splints. also, running on a track or grass is much better than pavement in that regard. As far as waistline reduction, you need to just reduce calories so you burn fat. As other posters have said, you can’t spot reduce.

One great way to incorporate more exercises into your aerobic activity is with conjugate training. One circuit might be, sprint 50 yards, drop do 20 pushups, sprint another 50, do some bodyweight squats, sprint 50 do some situps.

That will work you more efficiently than running for distance and is actually more effective at burning fat. Good luck and good health.

P.S. You could also purchase a doorway pull-up bar and some dumbbells for variety.

Answer 4: Your diet is good so far – eliminate sugars and simple carbs. Be mindful that you get alot of that with what you drink, even gatorade. Try drinking only water for 2 or more weeks (no alcohol, no juice). Take a B-complex and Calcium supps to aid your metabolism and lost nutrients from working out. Consume lots of high fiber foods (mainly green veggies) and take probiotics to help your digestion.

For your cholesterol, garlic as a supplement is highly recommended. Add it to your food too. Use only regular butter or extra virgin olive oil for cooking (no margarine or substitutes). If you want to eat eggs only eat the white. Other than that, read labels and watch your calories and you could lose the weight pretty fast.

Answer 5: I do Cross fit. I started with Body for Life, then went through several iterations of sports related workouts (Hockey player, so I did hockey related workouts) Now I’m doing crossfit (see link) It’s advanced, so you have to be very careful with how you do it, but it is an intense workout. BFL will give you a good idea about how to deal with diet, and is probably one of the best diet/exorcize combo’s I’ve seen because it preaches balance, which is key to long-term results. Shin-splits: Ice them down post run. run every other day rather than stacking one day on top of another. In between days do some wieght training, or resistance training (pushups, pull ups, body-weight squats, sit ups to start) your body will adjust, but also be sure you have good shoes- watch for arch support- key to avoiding shin splits…

Also, you can help get rid of shin splints by strengthening the muscles in the front of your lower leg. The exercise movement would be the same as hanging a bucket filled with sand off of your toes and moving your foot slowly up and down. This is an easy exercise to do just by creating resistance with your other foot or using an object.

Answer 6: Running first thing in the morning is a plan, but be advised if you have any possibility of cardiac problems this can have a fatal outcome. I forget each and every physiologic reason but something to the effect of the tendency of clots to form and spread to the heart is significantly increased in exerciseing on a empty stomech in the morning. A running guru of the eighties Jim Fixx was thought to have this as a contributory factor in his death of cardiac arrest during a early morning no breakfast run.

Answer 7: To maximize caloric burn relative to what your body can handle use a form of circuit training. I know this because, as a type II diabetic, my goal is often to burn as many carbs as I can in a given time period, in order to drop my blood sugar. I test before and after, so I know what works.

The way to do this is to 1)get your heartbeat up to your target range and keep it there; 2) use as many different sets of muscles as you can; and 3) minimize the risk that you will suffer an overuse injury relative to what your body can handle, as you obviously just did.

So, do a broad series of exercizes, without too severe pressure on your body, and no more than 30 seconds of rest in between. This can include intervals on the treadmill, pushups, abs/gluts on the exercize ball, no weight squats agains a wall, light dumbells, Therabands, etc. Several days a week, you can add somewhat heavier weights as well.

Stretch before and after. Since you aren’t straining any specific body segments, this type of routine can be done more than once a day. A half hour of this twice a day can work wonders. A link below to one example. (Btw, when you first posted and talked about what you intended to do with jogging to win your bet, my first response was: tendonitus. No one can go from zero to that much training overnight.)

One Response to “Losing weight: questions about running, nutrition, and working out at home”

  1. Dean Armstrong Says:

    I personally found that the best training plan to introduce somebody to running is the Couch to 5K plan by Cool Runnings that delivers what it promises: turns you from a couch potato to a runner who can run 5k easily. The trick is in alternating runs and walks in the same workout in a very progressive way so that you build up at the same time your stamina, your leg/foot muscles and tendons.

    A second note, about injuries that can happen while running, first of all start progressively and let your body adapt to the changes. Maybe your lungs are ready to run 5k, but your knees aren’t and so on. Second, the right running shoe can prevent many injuries. But first you have to find out what kind of runner you are. On our website Running Shoes Guru you can find an easy test to find out what are the best running shoes for you.

    Running is great to lose weight !