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fitbyforty

Prog. Rec. (no bb access, past injury, starting over) lots of info given. please help :)

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Thanks in advance to anyone who makes it through this. I copy pasted this template and if anyone has any questions or needs more info I'm all in.  The issue for me is I fell in love with Starting Strength when I started lifting.  For a couple years I did a bb based program and as I progressed I added weight, sets, and accessory exercises.  I used almost exclusively free weights, always bb big lifts first.  I was squatting a little over 200 lbs as my work out weight when I got in a car wreck.  At that time I was about 180 lbs and I had lost down from 245 lbs.  After being cleared to exercise again I had a bad bout with planter fasciitis and then I kind of gave up and I ended up gaining back up to 260 lbs where I am now.  I don't have access to the same gym I used to and I am looking for a good program that isn't centered around the bb.  I do have access to a smiths machine, but have never used it.  Below is more info and my battle log is here https://rebellion.nerdfitness.com/index.php?/topic/113681-gonna-be-fitbyforty/

Fitness Goals :

 

To be fit and a healthy  weight by age 40 (2 and a half years).

To run a spartan race by age 40. 

Other things I'd like to do : powerlifting comp, rock climbing, surfing, skateboarding. 

 

exercise Preference

  • Body weight - some body weight is cool, but I don't want exclusively body weight.
  • Power lifts - I love lifting weights, as stated above I like barbell lifts and free weights, but that is limited now due to being at a different gym. 
  • GPP
  • Since I'm so heavy, running does a number on my shins and feet, so I plan to add more of that in once I get some weight off.  The treadmill and walking tighten my back up pretty fast.  

 

Current Physical Stats

  • Gender - female
  • Age - 37
  • Height - 5ft
  • Weight - 260 lbs

 

Previous Training History

  • Past Programs - Starting strength to start, then I added in more sets, more weight, and additional lifts and accessory work as needed. Always did a barbell central program. 
  • How long - 2 years of lifting  until a wreck and I had to rehab. After back healed I had issues with plantar fasciitis and gave up basically.  I just started back after being out for a few years.  (estimating times the best I can)

 

Current Training

  • Present Program - No program, looking for one.
  • How long - I have done 2 days in the gym since starting back.  
  • Last two workouts: 
  • Day one

     (lbs) (short rests)

    Leg press (with free weight leg press, not band) - 180x12, 180x10, 180x 8

    Adduction- 100x9, 100x5, 100x5

    Abduction - 115x12, 115x10, 115x8

    Back extension (cable machine)  - 100x10, 100x10, 100x6

    Hydromassage bed 10 mins

  • Day 2:  (didn't bring notebook so no weights, but 3 sets of each as heavy as I could to have the first set in 10-12 rep range.)

    Chest press (oh man did I miss free weight bench press so I might use dumbells next time instead of the machine) 

    lat pull down

    shoulder press (machine) note: the angle and range of motion for this did not seem just so for me (I'm really short), so I will switch to dumbells next time

    stability ball transfer crunch 

    full body stretching

 

Current Diet

  • Just starting my journey again so mostly for the first month I'm cutting out drinks with calories, added sugars, unhealthy foods.  I'm trying to make healthier choices. Leaning toward mostly vegan diet with plenty of beans. I will probably eat meat on occasion but not routinely.  I am eating no oils and no sugar. I am shooting for mostly whole foods.  For the most part I'm trying to follow the Forks over knives/engine 2 diet. (My dad has had a lot of success on this eating plan over the last 3 years health wise and I feel good when following it)
  • Daily Calories - I am not tracking right now, after the first month in my second challenge, that will be my focus. 
  • Daily Macros - I am not tracking right now, after the first month in my second challenge, this will be my focus. 

 

Current Resources/Limitations

  • Gym Access - Planet fitness.  No barbell.  There is a smith machine but I've never used it.  There are tons of band weights/weight machines, dumbbells,  a free weight style leg press, cable towers, multiple cardio machines, a 30 minute full body circuit, assisted pull up machines, stability balls, medicine balls, maybe kettlebells.
  • Work/School Schedule - I work a lot of hours but I work from home. 
  • Time Allowed - mon-Friday (some Saturdays) gym access, weekends at home with only adjustable barbells, an ab wheel, and my body.

 

I'm willing to give any more information that helps.  I'm willing to do pretty much anything I can physically do.  I need to keep back extensions as part of my program because I feel that will strengthen the weakest part of my back.  Crunches are out because I carry most of my weight in my stomach and I can't physically crunch far enough in to work my abs.  Stability ball transfer crunches really do target my core better than crunches, crunch machines, cable crunches or anything like that.  So, can anyone recommend something to try?  I don't want to just be wasting my time with accessory work.  I am in this to build a different body.  Thank you to anyone who made it this far.

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You should probably work with a trainer experienced with physio (or a physio experienced with weight training) to help you program in what exercises & prehab work will be useful to prevent injury.

 

Apart from that (I'm getting lazy these day, copying my old stuff), most folks can design their own workout based on their goals - see below.

 

Spoiler

In addition to working out, you REALLY NEED TO* also pay attention to both nutrition and recovery, to speed things along and keep yourself healthy:

 

I'd probably be aiming for 1,800-2,200kcal / day for total intake (eg. less on slower days, more on days where you're working out balls to the wall); if your tummy starts to get softer, eat less - if you start to see abs, keep on keeping on! Or, alternatively, try cyclic restriction with a week or two at a significant deficit and then 5-7 days at your maintenance intake as a 'break' - this strategy may help to prevent your metabolism from slowing down as much, and avoid dieting fatigue too.

And a minimum of 140-170g of protein/day (wouldn't hurt to get more than that, but that should be the base level that you must hit every day).

Ideally you'll get some veg in there too.

This may require you to create something of a meal plan (either for 2-3 days that you repeat, or for the whole week so you can do one big day of meal prep). Lots of resources online about this, but feel free to ask around the forums if you need ideas!

 

You also want to be sleeping AT LEAST 8-10hrs/night (the recommendation is typically a minimum of 8)

 

For the workout:

 

To help you understand how to select exercises, I generally like to think of them as pulling and pushing for upper body (both vertical ie. overhead and horizontal ie. arms in front of you), and knee dominant or hip dominant for your lower body (the two major joints for your lower body, AKA squat v deadlift), and some folks also like to add some isolation exercises for areas that need some extra attention. Note: you could waste time on bicep curls, or you could use a bigger multi-joint movement like rowing to hit more body parts at once - even with time to spare, there's no sense in being inefficient with your workout design (and yes, I'm biased ;)). But that's pretty much it! Find some safe/fun lifts, work out consistently, and you're away to the races. Some more info: https://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/how-to-build-your-own-workout-routine/ 

 

The other movement I'd add to the list would be loaded carries - which is to say, picking up something heavy and walking a distance with it - mostly because that mimics the most common day-to-day strength we need in real life! Plenty of folks also like to add core work as a specific category, which is cool - but your core will also be used to stabilise lots of the movements detailed below. Up to you, but here are a few more ideas if you want!

 

For beginners, full body workouts (rather than focusing on different body parts on different days) give you the chance to exercise each muscle group 3-4 times a week, which helps you to improve movement patterns and optimise initial strength gains. Essentially, beginners aren't strong enough to stress out their muscles to the point that they need to split things up, at least to start with. I also like to err on the side of less technical movements, especially when you're working out alone at home - the fewer things that can be done incorrectly, the better!

 

To that end, here are my favourite beginner movements: For each workout, pick one from each 'column' of movements (horiz push, horiz pull, vert push, vert pull, knee dominant, hip dominant, core, loaded carry) - you can vary these from day to day if you'd like to stave off boredom, or keep with the same couple of movements to make your progress easier to track. The order you do them in doesn't REALLY matter, so you can pick whichever out of convenience/gym availability, or prioritise the muscles you care more about by doing them at the beginning of the workout when you're freshest.

 

WARM UP: 5-10min of skip rope, burpees, rowing, or jumping jacks AND 2 sets of Sun Salutation for EACH SIDE (4 total, lots of variations around, I prefer the ones that include a lunge movement/stretch for your hips)

 

OR the NF Warmup if you prefer that over my yoga tomfoolery suggestion ;) 

 

Then:

  • Goblet squat or Split Squat (lower body; knee dominant) - kettlebells are NOT essential, you can start with just bodyweight or use dumbbells (or even just hold a weight plate)
  • Hip Thrust or Practice the Hinge (lower body; hip dominant) - add weight when you can do at least 15 bodyweight reps in a row; don't deadlift until you have a good hinge. This is a bit alarmist on my part - lots of people really enjoy deadlifting, and see fast progress on it when they start out; personally, I prefer to build the base movement patterns first, but if you're curious about DLs there are plenty of experienced lifters (which I am NOT) available on the forum to help you out.
  • Inverted Row or Dumbbell Row (upper horizontal pull; pick one per workout) - keep your back straight, don't let your shoulders cave in! Seated cable rows are also great.
  • Pull Downs with bands or cable weights (upper vertical pull; pick one per workout) - lighter weights to start with, you should focus on feeling it in your back, not your arms (this movement will eventually progress to pull-ups, but those are really hard for most of us to star out with). If you can do pull-ups, do those instead!
  • Pushups or Dumbbell Bench Press (upper horizontal push; pick one per workout) - regress as needed to keep good form
  • Headstand Pushups (upper vertical push) - elevated pike push-ups are a good regression for beginners, and DB presses are another option, but DON'T do any overhead pressing with weights if you have poor thoracic (upper back) mobility or shoulder stability. Another great option would be landmine presses, which can help you add weight while keeping your shoulders/back safe & happy. Or incline DB bench presses, if you prefer.
  • RKC Plank or Auxillary Core Movements (core) - time and reps don't matter if you're not doing them properly; slow & good form for 15sec is better than bad form for 60s
  • Farmer's Walk or Similar Variations (loaded carries) - also acts as a 'metabolic finisher' for the workout

 

COOL DOWN: Brisk Walk for 15min, 2 more Sun Salutations (one per side) OR do some foam rolling if that's your jam

 

RE: Rep & set schemes - I prefer the rep goal system

Aim for a minimum of at least 25 reps per movement, starting at a weight that you can just lift for 5 reps, and then every set is as many reps as possible. The progression would be increasing how many reps I can do in a row, but ALWAYS needing to finish at least 25. Once you can hit at least 3 sets of 8 reps, it's back to the beginning. 

 

eg. goblet squat with 40lbs

workouts 1-3: 5-5-5-4-3

workouts 4-5: 6-5-5-4-4-3

workout 6: 6-6-5-5-4

workouts 7-8: 7-7-5-4-4

workouts 9-10: 8-7-6-5

workout 11: 8-8-7-6

workouts 12: 9-8-8

Increase weight to new 5 rep max next workout!

 

I prefer this kind of periodisation because A: it's easier to remember what weight you're lifting because it doesn't change as often (eg. it's the same weight for 2-3 weeks in the example above, but you're still practicing progressive overloading), B: it simulates a natural progression from strength to endurance, which also helps connective tissue catch up to the muscle, and C: it ensures that volume is consistent, regardless of the rep range you're using. It's ALSO pretty handy because it takes less time when you're first starting out to figure out how much weight is appropriate for each lift

 

Your first week with weights will likely see your workouts taking longer, just because you're still learning the movements and figuring out the weights. Once you're in a groove though, ideally your workout (including warmup) will take you less than an hour to finish. Any longer than that and you'll start to fatigue.

 

WRITE DOWN YOUR WORKOUT, so it's easy to remember/follow along, as well to track your progress. You may feel like a dweeb, but tracking your workouts is the best way to ensure regular and consistent progress.

 

You can also ignore all of the above, and try a pre-existing beginner program like Starting Strength or something similar. Personally, I prefer being able to customise to my own needs & preferences, but I also understand the appeal of a simple 'do that, this way, for that long' routine. :D

 

TL:DR - eat enough protein, get some veggies in, sleep lots, lift heavy stuff, be safe, have fun!

 

Don't do stuff you don't enjoy (eg. running), and there's likely not much need to program in lots of crunches or core-specific work at the moment, unless an expert tells you otherwise! I'm most definitely NOT an expert, health professional, or otherwise credible source beyond being a random stranger on the internet who reads too much. ;)

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1 hour ago, Defining said:

You should probably work with a trainer experienced with physio (or a physio experienced with weight training) to help you program in what exercises & prehab work will be useful to prevent injury.

 

Apart from that (I'm getting lazy these day, copying my old stuff), most folks can design their own workout based on their goals - see below.

 

  Reveal hidden contents

In addition to working out, you REALLY NEED TO* also pay attention to both nutrition and recovery, to speed things along and keep yourself healthy:

 

I'd probably be aiming for 1,800-2,200kcal / day for total intake (eg. less on slower days, more on days where you're working out balls to the wall); if your tummy starts to get softer, eat less - if you start to see abs, keep on keeping on! Or, alternatively, try cyclic restriction with a week or two at a significant deficit and then 5-7 days at your maintenance intake as a 'break' - this strategy may help to prevent your metabolism from slowing down as much, and avoid dieting fatigue too.

And a minimum of 140-170g of protein/day (wouldn't hurt to get more than that, but that should be the base level that you must hit every day).

Ideally you'll get some veg in there too.

This may require you to create something of a meal plan (either for 2-3 days that you repeat, or for the whole week so you can do one big day of meal prep). Lots of resources online about this, but feel free to ask around the forums if you need ideas!

 

You also want to be sleeping AT LEAST 8-10hrs/night (the recommendation is typically a minimum of 8)

 

For the workout:

 

To help you understand how to select exercises, I generally like to think of them as pulling and pushing for upper body (both vertical ie. overhead and horizontal ie. arms in front of you), and knee dominant or hip dominant for your lower body (the two major joints for your lower body, AKA squat v deadlift), and some folks also like to add some isolation exercises for areas that need some extra attention. Note: you could waste time on bicep curls, or you could use a bigger multi-joint movement like rowing to hit more body parts at once - even with time to spare, there's no sense in being inefficient with your workout design (and yes, I'm biased ;)). But that's pretty much it! Find some safe/fun lifts, work out consistently, and you're away to the races. Some more info: https://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/how-to-build-your-own-workout-routine/ 

 

The other movement I'd add to the list would be loaded carries - which is to say, picking up something heavy and walking a distance with it - mostly because that mimics the most common day-to-day strength we need in real life! Plenty of folks also like to add core work as a specific category, which is cool - but your core will also be used to stabilise lots of the movements detailed below. Up to you, but here are a few more ideas if you want!

 

For beginners, full body workouts (rather than focusing on different body parts on different days) give you the chance to exercise each muscle group 3-4 times a week, which helps you to improve movement patterns and optimise initial strength gains. Essentially, beginners aren't strong enough to stress out their muscles to the point that they need to split things up, at least to start with. I also like to err on the side of less technical movements, especially when you're working out alone at home - the fewer things that can be done incorrectly, the better!

 

To that end, here are my favourite beginner movements: For each workout, pick one from each 'column' of movements (horiz push, horiz pull, vert push, vert pull, knee dominant, hip dominant, core, loaded carry) - you can vary these from day to day if you'd like to stave off boredom, or keep with the same couple of movements to make your progress easier to track. The order you do them in doesn't REALLY matter, so you can pick whichever out of convenience/gym availability, or prioritise the muscles you care more about by doing them at the beginning of the workout when you're freshest.

 

WARM UP: 5-10min of skip rope, burpees, rowing, or jumping jacks AND 2 sets of Sun Salutation for EACH SIDE (4 total, lots of variations around, I prefer the ones that include a lunge movement/stretch for your hips)

 

OR the NF Warmup if you prefer that over my yoga tomfoolery suggestion ;) 

 

Then:

  • Goblet squat or Split Squat (lower body; knee dominant) - kettlebells are NOT essential, you can start with just bodyweight or use dumbbells (or even just hold a weight plate)
  • Hip Thrust or Practice the Hinge (lower body; hip dominant) - add weight when you can do at least 15 bodyweight reps in a row; don't deadlift until you have a good hinge. This is a bit alarmist on my part - lots of people really enjoy deadlifting, and see fast progress on it when they start out; personally, I prefer to build the base movement patterns first, but if you're curious about DLs there are plenty of experienced lifters (which I am NOT) available on the forum to help you out.
  • Inverted Row or Dumbbell Row (upper horizontal pull; pick one per workout) - keep your back straight, don't let your shoulders cave in! Seated cable rows are also great.
  • Pull Downs with bands or cable weights (upper vertical pull; pick one per workout) - lighter weights to start with, you should focus on feeling it in your back, not your arms (this movement will eventually progress to pull-ups, but those are really hard for most of us to star out with). If you can do pull-ups, do those instead!
  • Pushups or Dumbbell Bench Press (upper horizontal push; pick one per workout) - regress as needed to keep good form
  • Headstand Pushups (upper vertical push) - elevated pike push-ups are a good regression for beginners, and DB presses are another option, but DON'T do any overhead pressing with weights if you have poor thoracic (upper back) mobility or shoulder stability. Another great option would be landmine presses, which can help you add weight while keeping your shoulders/back safe & happy. Or incline DB bench presses, if you prefer.
  • RKC Plank or Auxillary Core Movements (core) - time and reps don't matter if you're not doing them properly; slow & good form for 15sec is better than bad form for 60s
  • Farmer's Walk or Similar Variations (loaded carries) - also acts as a 'metabolic finisher' for the workout

 

COOL DOWN: Brisk Walk for 15min, 2 more Sun Salutations (one per side) OR do some foam rolling if that's your jam

 

RE: Rep & set schemes - I prefer the rep goal system

Aim for a minimum of at least 25 reps per movement, starting at a weight that you can just lift for 5 reps, and then every set is as many reps as possible. The progression would be increasing how many reps I can do in a row, but ALWAYS needing to finish at least 25. Once you can hit at least 3 sets of 8 reps, it's back to the beginning. 

 

eg. goblet squat with 40lbs

workouts 1-3: 5-5-5-4-3

workouts 4-5: 6-5-5-4-4-3

workout 6: 6-6-5-5-4

workouts 7-8: 7-7-5-4-4

workouts 9-10: 8-7-6-5

workout 11: 8-8-7-6

workouts 12: 9-8-8

Increase weight to new 5 rep max next workout!

 

I prefer this kind of periodisation because A: it's easier to remember what weight you're lifting because it doesn't change as often (eg. it's the same weight for 2-3 weeks in the example above, but you're still practicing progressive overloading), B: it simulates a natural progression from strength to endurance, which also helps connective tissue catch up to the muscle, and C: it ensures that volume is consistent, regardless of the rep range you're using. It's ALSO pretty handy because it takes less time when you're first starting out to figure out how much weight is appropriate for each lift

 

Your first week with weights will likely see your workouts taking longer, just because you're still learning the movements and figuring out the weights. Once you're in a groove though, ideally your workout (including warmup) will take you less than an hour to finish. Any longer than that and you'll start to fatigue.

 

WRITE DOWN YOUR WORKOUT, so it's easy to remember/follow along, as well to track your progress. You may feel like a dweeb, but tracking your workouts is the best way to ensure regular and consistent progress.

 

You can also ignore all of the above, and try a pre-existing beginner program like Starting Strength or something similar. Personally, I prefer being able to customise to my own needs & preferences, but I also understand the appeal of a simple 'do that, this way, for that long' routine. :D

 

TL:DR - eat enough protein, get some veggies in, sleep lots, lift heavy stuff, be safe, have fun!

 

Don't do stuff you don't enjoy (eg. running), and there's likely not much need to program in lots of crunches or core-specific work at the moment, unless an expert tells you otherwise! I'm most definitely NOT an expert, health professional, or otherwise credible source beyond being a random stranger on the internet who reads too much. ;)

Ok this was flippin' amazing and exactly what I needed to figure out a good starter program without a barbell available to me.  This had every bit of info I needed to deal with all of my problems physical and in what was available.  :)  

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21 hours ago, fitbyforty said:

Ok this was flippin' amazing and exactly what I needed to figure out a good starter program without a barbell available to me.  This had every bit of info I needed to deal with all of my problems physical and in what was available.  :)  

 

Sweet, glad it helped! Don't forget to do your own research too though, us strangers on the internet are only marginally trustworthy. ;) 

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12 minutes ago, Defining said:

 

Sweet, glad it helped! Don't forget to do your own research too though, us strangers on the internet are only marginally trustworthy. ;) 

For sure  :P  lol  my main block was figuring out how to replace my beloved barbell  lol  

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