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Old 05-05-2012, 02:24 PM   #1
Jeff7181
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Default Need help changing my lifestyle

I guess the best way to describe my lifestyle is sedentary. I'm changing roles at work and moving from more of a general administrator to storage administration. Unfortunately that involves a lot more sitting at my desk and a lot less lifting 40-80 pound servers in and out of racks and running 40 foot lengths of cable across the data center.

I get home, I make & eat dinner and spend the rest of the evening on the couch in front of the TV or on the computer.

It seems like the answer to my question is very obvious, but how can I make the transition from a sedentary lifestyle to a more active lifestyle? My problem with just getting up and doing something is that I'm tired. I know my diet is partially to blame for that, and already have a good idea how to improve that. It's the physical activity part that I'm having a hard time with. I just don't want to even go for a walk when I get home from work.

My girlfriend and I have tossed around the idea of getting rid of our TV service and using Netflix or Hulu to catch up on a few series we like a couple times a week.

Any suggestions to get past this point where I feel like I'm just too tired to be active?
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Old 05-05-2012, 05:00 PM   #2
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Jeff, honestly, sometimes you have to exercise, even when you feel tired. I almost never feel well rested when I begin my routine for the day.

For example, I get up at 5am and go to work. I get home at about 5pm. I eat and do some chores. And then, at 7:30pm I have time to work out. And at that point I'm ready for bed, seriously. It's not optimal, for sure, but it's the best I can do. Real life and responsibility and all.

So my advice is to just "suck it up" and do something. Ride your bike. Jog. Do some calisthenics. Walk. Good luck.
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Old 05-05-2012, 07:16 PM   #3
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Jeff, honestly, sometimes you have to exercise, even when you feel tired. I almost never feel well rested when I begin my routine for the day.

For example, I get up at 5am and go to work. I get home at about 5pm. I eat and do some chores. And then, at 7:30pm I have time to work out. And at that point I'm ready for bed, seriously. It's not optimal, for sure, but it's the best I can do. Real life and responsibility and all.

So my advice is to just "suck it up" and do something. Ride your bike. Jog. Do some calisthenics. Walk. Good luck.
This would be my advice, too, pretty much, and I was doing the same thing as you: work all day, come home, spend my nights on the computer. I work rotating shifts every couple of weeks, too, and switching from one to the other was hell. By the time I reached 245 pounds I'd had enough. I did what Megatomic did, and just sucked it up. Started eating properly. Started doing push-ups when I came home from work. Then I eventually started doing some more body weight exercises, and after that I got my hands on a bench and some dumbbells and started doing some presses. Finally, on Thursday, I sucked it up again, and went to join a gym. I got up at 3:00am to do my first 5x5 workout on Friday morning. I'm about to go to bed now, and get up tomorrow morning at 3:00am to do it again.

You mentioned you already have an idea on how to improve your diet, so start with that. It's the most important part anyway. After that just start adding little bits of activity here and there to replace the sedentary things you do. Ultimately you need to prioritize your after work activities. What's more important to you? Becoming more active, or watching TV and playing computer games (notice I didn't ask which was easier for you, or which you have the energy for)? When you answer that question, stop thinking and start doing.
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Old 05-05-2012, 08:31 PM   #4
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I'll agree with the other two posters. Start lifting and doing whatever other activities you enjoy. At first you'll have to suck it up and work out while you're tired, but eventually you'll start to look forward to it.
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Old 05-05-2012, 08:36 PM   #5
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I found once I started exercising regularly that it gave me the energy to continue to exercise. Convincing yourself to start is the hard part. After awhile your body will start to crave that exercise and the energy you get from it and it will be hard to stop.

What worked for me was having someone to hold me accountable. I started going to the gym with a friend. Some days I went only because I knew she was expecting me to be there. Some days she didn't want to go, but went because I was going. Of course, once you get there and get started you always are glad you made the effort. Just getting off the couch and started is the hard part.

Also, have a goal. I don't mean a weight goal, or a weightlifting goal, but a dream goal. Something that will make you push yourself. My first goal was to climb Kilimanjaro. when I started I wasn't in shape enough to be able to do it, but I've wanted to for a long time. When I didn't want to go to the gym/running/etc I thought of that goal and it got me up and out the door. (Climbing Kili September 8 this year btw) My current goal that drives me to get out the door and push myself further is Tough Mudder... because I don't want to let my team down and I want to complete the course.

Coincidentally, I read your post 3 hours ago while waking up after a lovely nap on the couch with my pup, snowing outside, snuggled under a blanket, considering whether I wanted to get up and go to hot yoga class or not because I was tired and cozy and it's cold outside. I started to write this response, but had to stop writing and go follow my own advice.

Hot yoga is a fantastic cure for a cold snowy day in May btw. Thanks for your thread
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Old 05-06-2012, 12:31 AM   #6
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Set goals! Find a physical activity that you enjoy and set a realistic challenging goal for you to achieve. It is alot easier to be motivated if you are working towards something.
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Old 05-06-2012, 06:33 AM   #7
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Get your gf into it with you. If she is supporting you by working out with you it will make things easier because when one person doesnt want to go or is too tired the other can give you that little extra 'push' when you need it.
Not to mention its quality time with each other.

Plus if you motivate each other to workout(gf and you) then it will be easier to make the diet changes, that way she isnt cooking bad things(diet wise) or vice versa while you are trying to change your diet, or buying things at the store to counter your efforts. Easier as a team.
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Old 05-06-2012, 06:35 AM   #8
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Coincidentally, I read your post 3 hours ago while waking up after a lovely nap on the couch with my pup, snowing outside, snuggled under a blanket, considering whether I wanted to get up and go to hot yoga class or not because I was tired and cozy and it's cold outside. I started to write this response, but had to stop writing and go follow my own advice.

Hot yoga is a fantastic cure for a cold snowy day in May btw. Thanks for your thread
Snow in May? No thanks lol Where do you live?
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Old 05-06-2012, 12:47 PM   #9
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I found once I started exercising regularly that it gave me the energy to continue to exercise. Convincing yourself to start is the hard part.
This is so true. Once you start, you'll wonder why you were dreading it in the first place. Also your body is extremely good at conjuring up energy from seemingly nothing. Even if I feel tired when I start a workout, after a few minutes I will usually feel great, and I'll feel great until the end. Once I get home, it'll hit me and I'll get tired again, but the workout itself isn't so unpleasant. This has happened even after double all nighters and similar abuses of my body.
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Old 05-06-2012, 05:14 PM   #10
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Snow in May? No thanks lol Where do you live?
Just a freak storm. It happens. I'm in Calgary. It's warm today, and the snow was all melted by the time I woke up, and supposed to be hot tomorrow.
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Old 05-06-2012, 10:27 PM   #11
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Tommorrow is Monday,

Go buy some running shoes and just do it (no pun intended).

It:
http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml

Of course, we don't know your weight, age or anything else. If you are 5' 6" and 250 pounds you might want to just get on a diet first and start with long walks.
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Old 05-07-2012, 08:58 AM   #12
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Tommorrow is Monday,

Go buy some running shoes and just do it (no pun intended).

It:
http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml

Of course, we don't know your weight, age or anything else. If you are 5' 6" and 250 pounds you might want to just get on a diet first and start with long walks.
Running isn't going to work for me. I have a bad knee and high impact workouts make me regret working out, especially in my current condition.

I'm 6 feet tall and 225 pounds. If I dropped 50 pounds, maybe running wouldn't be so bad.
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Old 05-07-2012, 12:42 PM   #13
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Running isn't going to work for me. I have a bad knee and high impact workouts make me regret working out, especially in my current condition.

I'm 6 feet tall and 225 pounds. If I dropped 50 pounds, maybe running wouldn't be so bad.
The Couch to 5K program holds your hand the entire way. It doesn't have to be high impact. Run at a pace that is comfortable for you.
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Old 05-07-2012, 02:04 PM   #14
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The Couch to 5K program holds your hand the entire way. It doesn't have to be high impact. Run at a pace that is comfortable for you.
Sprinting... jogging... my meniscus doesn't care. It's still 225 pounds basically crashing down on the joint.
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Old 05-07-2012, 04:14 PM   #15
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Sprinting... jogging... my meniscus doesn't care. It's still 225 pounds basically crashing down on the joint.
How about a bike? You can increase the resistance and take some of the pressure off your knee.
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Old 05-07-2012, 04:30 PM   #16
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How about a bike? You can increase the resistance and take some of the pressure off your knee.
Yep, my girlfriend and I plan on getting bikes when tax refunds come in.
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Old 05-08-2012, 02:25 PM   #17
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A bike is a great low impact start IMO.
I know this is redundant. But, doing squats could help with your knee depending on the injury I suppose. It helped with mine when it started to hurt 5 years after a small tear on the right side of the knee (which I did not kow I had) that it hurt to walk upstairs. I did some research and ended up finding Medhi 5x5 and I got into squats (specifically the starting streangth 5x5 and I went from back/knee pain to no pain at all.
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Old 05-08-2012, 03:09 PM   #18
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Any suggestions to get past this point where I feel like I'm just too tired to be active?
I could write a book on this.

I struggled with fatigue for most of my life. Turns out I have food allergies, acid reflux, hypoglycemia, and the horrible habits of eating junk food & staying up late. Once I overcame the first three, it was just a matter of changing my habits...which is extremely difficult to do So first of all, I totally understand your struggles with fatigue and the trap that you fall in of just not being able to pull yourself out of it - it's really hard!

One of the biggest things that helped me was structuring my environment. Basically you have to make it easier for you to do what you want, than not. Sort of like a see-saw...you have to tilt the odds in your favor, instead of against them.

For example, with food - most people keep junk food lying around, so it's really convenient to reach for a cookie. So then you hide the cookies and put out an apple. Well who wants to eat an apple, when you could eat a cookie? So instead, make a delicious snack ahead of time and leave that out, so that when you need to "cave", you go for something tasty yet healthy.

The biggest thing that causes fatigue is not getting enough sleep. That's pretty obvious, but not when you're tired...and there's a lot of factors involved. What time do you usually go to bed? How many hours of sleep do you get? Do you have a TV in your bedroom keeping you up? How long do you lay in bed before you actually fall asleep? Once you start to get an idea of how you are living now and what you want, then you can start to close the gap and figure out what needs to change...such as taking a TV out of the bedroom so that you're not tempted to watch it all night in bed. Stuff like that.

That whole "structured environment" thing is pretty powerful. Look at celebrities...they are no different or less lazy than anyone else, but they have better bodies than most because they pay people to handle their food, make them exercise, etc. They more or less create an environment where they are forced to do what they want, even when they don't feel like it. So yes, willpower & motivation is one aspect of exercising and eating healthy, but I think it's mostly about setting up your workspaces so that you get funneled into your goals more easily (unless you are naturally self-motivated, like a select few humans are ).

Some things that have helped me:

1. No TV/laptop in the bedroom - bed is for sleeping only, not entertainment. I do keep my smartphone next to the bed, but only for emergency nighttime calls and for my morning alarm - no playing on it in bed.

2. Make tasty meals ahead of time - I cook all my meals in the morning or the night before, so that I always have delicious (and healthy) food handy throughout the day in my giant lunchbox w/ icepacks.

Because I'm hypoglycemic, I need to eat protein every few hours or I get pretty tired. Those snacks mid-morning & mid-afternoon really curb the energy fade I usually get, and because they are available I don't have to hunt for them or go in search of junk food.

3. Putting a TV in front of my elliptical machine with Netflix - I get really bored doing cardio, but if I have a fun TV show to watch, then I actually look forward to it. You should pick a few shows ahead of time that you want to watch, and only watch them while you exercise, so that you always have something to look forward to - just like food.

Anyway, this post is getting too long The first thing you need to do is figure out what you want - what your goals are, specifically. It sounds like what you are really struggling with isn't a lack of motivation for exercise, it's a lack of energy from being tired. So tell us what your typical day is like in terms of what you eat and what time you go to bed & wake up.

Once you get over that energy speedbump of being tired all the time, physical activities like exercise actually become fun. I struggled with food allergies most of my life until the last couple of years, which gave me asthma, fatigue, constant headaches, etc., and never understood why anyone did sports or went hiking or anything like that, because I always became exhausted quickly and felt like crap. Once I started getting enough sleep and eating healthy (but tasty!) foods, I felt so much better and really started enjoying physical activities like going out on my bicycle.
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Old 05-08-2012, 03:25 PM   #19
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A bike is a great low impact start IMO.
I know this is redundant. But, doing squats could help with your knee depending on the injury I suppose. It helped with mine when it started to hurt 5 years after a small tear on the right side of the knee (which I did not kow I had) that it hurt to walk upstairs. I did some research and ended up finding Medhi 5x5 and I got into squats (specifically the starting streangth 5x5 and I went from back/knee pain to no pain at all.
I ruptured my ACL, chipped the bone and tore the medial meniscus. The ACL was reconstructed, bone chips removed and meniscus repaired as well as possible. The surgeon told me I'll probably get 15-25 years out of it before I need a total knee replacement depending on how I treat it.
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Old 05-08-2012, 03:55 PM   #20
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I'm not an authority on the subject so take my advice however you want...

6 months ago I started on the same journey. I used to sit and watch TV 3-6 hours per day sometimes upwards of 12+ on a weekend day. I was overweight (5'11" 257 top), tired all the time, and generally dissatisfied with life. I ate crap and felt like crap. Input/Output or however that saying goes.

I picked a day, joined a gym and started working out slowly. By slowly, I mean I could barely finish a mile walking on a treadmill. Currently I'm up to 2 hours a day at the gym and wish I could be there more. I get maybe an hour of TV in per day, usually news and a single sitcom. My house is as clean as it can be on a day to day basis when you have a 2 year old boy tearin' it up. Now that it is summer my weekends are spent outdoors instead of sitting there moping around rewatching crap that I've seen several times over on TV.

So you are too tired to go after work... Ever think about going before? I hammer out 5 miles and two sessions of strength training before breakfast. It really gets me going for the day. Sure I'm dragging ass and ready for bed at 9pm, but it's worth it and I'm an adult now who doesn't need to hang out all hours of the night anyway.

I also have a horrible knee (right knee) that's been poked prodded and scoped to help fill the pockets of various "Doctors". Right now I live with it and do workouts that my knee can handle, and I push it to the point where I know that is my limit. Sometimes I go too far. Stick to low impact workouts, elliptical, biking, or if you join a gym something like the Precor AMT which absolutely rocks my world and is low impact on the knees.

Exercise helps a lot! Eating good is also a big boost. Set goals and hold yourself to them. Use a tool such as MyFitnessPal to figure out your eating and goals. I'm not going to lie, I crave shitty food still to this day. But I look in the mirror, see what I've done, and ask myself if that McDonald's CrapBurger and FatFries is worth the 5 miles I did that morning? Is the donuts that my co-worker brought in worth wasting 30 minutes I did on the elliptical this morning? HELL NO! is my answer every time.

Anyway, you just need to ask yourself if YOU want it. Do you?

Reporting in at 184 pounds -73 in less than 6 months and 7 pounds from my goal weight. Trust me, if I can do it, ANYONE can do it!

Enough rambling, go kick some ass.
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Old 05-11-2012, 01:06 PM   #21
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Op, do you have a follow up? Has anything changed in the last week?
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Old 05-12-2012, 06:35 AM   #22
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I found swimming to be good for my injured meniscus (although I have to avoid butterfly & breaststroke).
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Old 05-12-2012, 05:17 PM   #23
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Tommorrow is Monday,

Go buy some running shoes and just do it (no pun intended).

It:
http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml

Of course, we don't know your weight, age or anything else. If you are 5' 6" and 250 pounds you might want to just get on a diet first and start with long walks.
i tried this today at your recommendation and couldn't get past 7 set
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Old 05-12-2012, 08:10 PM   #24
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When I was 18 years old, I weighed 245lbs. By the time I was 19, I had lost 70lbs. Like you, I was terribly out of shape, exhausted, and sick a lot. Eventually, I finally decided to do something about it. I took up running, completely changed my diet, and changed my environment.

Now, 10 years later, I'm at 208lbs of solid muscle, still run like a madman, and still getting jokes from my co-workers that I eat nothing but rabbit food. The end goal is worth it, my friend. You're at the hardest part, but once you start, you'll be so glad you did.
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Old 05-13-2012, 09:45 AM   #25
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I ruptured my ACL, chipped the bone and tore the medial meniscus. The ACL was reconstructed, bone chips removed and meniscus repaired as well as possible. The surgeon told me I'll probably get 15-25 years out of it before I need a total knee replacement depending on how I treat it.
I had ACL and medial meniscus done when I was 16(31 now). It hurts on occasion, but nothing horrible. I'd tell ya to do squats to strengthen everything around it but I know that's not for everyone. Even bodyweight lunges(can do literally anywhere) would help a lot with the durability over time.

You won't lose weight and change your lifestyle unless you truly want to. Hate to say it, but nobody can give you the 1 piece of advice that will work.

I'd suggest walking your ass off daily. You don't need much rest between walks, and it's a good way to be outside, be alive, and get some endorphins moving which you will want to reward yourself again with another walk.

Eat less. This takes an actual decision to stop eating before you are full to the brim. You will have hunger the first week or two perhaps, but it will go away and you will be used to this pattern.

To be honest, it's the first 2-3 weeks that are the hardest, past that hill routine and reward take over for many people. Setbacks are normal, "cheat meals" are normal. Long term goals are not affected by this unless it's habitual again.

Just move. For the love of god, move.
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