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So I have a few questions about my workout routine and exercise pain and all that...

1. I seem to have very weak lower back muscles. Whenever I do crunches or pilates, or even push ups/planks, my lower back gets more sore afterwards than do my abs or my arms. So, what are some good lower back muscle strengthening exercises I could do to help this?

2. I've been holding up a pretty good routine (I'll describe it below) and I'm building muscles in my legs (and arms, which I've never had any in my life), especially the areas right above my knee, BUT they are still pretty thick. Should I just keep up with my cardio and eventually maybe they'll become more slender?

3. Also, what are some easy posture exercises or stretches other than the exercises I already do? I'll admit I have horrible, horrible posture (I slouch, my shoulders naturally slouch forward and pushing them back feels awkward, etc), so I would like to fix it gradually. Which muscles would I need to build to fix this and make it easier and not feel so awkward and weak whenever I do try to stand up straight and push my shoulders back?

4. I also would like to lose a few pounds. Nothing drastic, but maybe just 5-10. In the last year or so I've been pretty lazy and I feel like I just would like a few pounds off and a few inches off my waistline.
Here's a picture of me if anyone is interested. I'm not fat, but I definitely would like to tone up my tummy/hips and maybe lose just a few pounds.

5. Also, does anyone workout in the evenings? It's not ideal, but I'm pretty busy these days that it's hard to work out at any time. Mornings I usually don't have time. Then I'm at work until 5. So the only time I am at home (other than maybe one hour total in the mornings) is 5-bed time. So there is only a maybe 5 hour total I am at home. And workout takes at least one of those hours, and then there's resting time, and cooking and eating, and getting ready for bed, etc, so we don't have a lot of hours in our day. Does anyone else do their workouts in the evenings?

So, here's my workout routine:

I have a turbo jam collection, so I do mostly those routines these days. I've been doing it for
maybe 2-3 months now.

Every other day (let's say days 1, 3, and 5), I do the pure cardio workout (cardio party, mix 2, mix 3, or punch kick and jam). Most of these cardio videos are about 40-50 minutes long. After cardio, I do some pushups. (Usually 30 is what I can push out)

And then, every other day from the previous days (days 2, 4, and 6), I do a strength training workout from turbo jam, such as turbo sculpt, 3t, etc. These are usually lots of arm exercises with small weights, lunges, squats, some floor/ab work, usually around half an hour or so. Because I do arm stuff in the routine, I usually skip pushups on these days.

In addition, I have to walk to the bus stop from/to home and from/to work, so that is altogether at least 20 minutes of walking a day from that, and on weekends if I go somewhere I may walk more.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 2nd, 2009 12:57 pm (UTC)
1. There are core exercises that work all the muscles, whereas traditional crunches/sit-ups only work the front ones. You may also be stressing your back. Do you do sit-ups/crunches from a prone position? For abs I like my medicine ball--I do jackknife pikes, knee tucks, etc. Pilates is great for your entire core, including your lower back.

2. If you continue to do exercises that build muscle, you will build muscle. Building muscle means you are taking in enough calories and protein for your body to build these muscles. If you create a calorie deficit through exercise AND diet, you will drop body mass from everywhere. While you can continue to focus on muscle in your legs, you can't choose where you drop body mass from.

3. Personally I think good posture is a matter of training, not weak muscles. People say yoga and Pilates have helped. Try writing "posture" on your hand or wearing a bracelet with a P on it--every time you see it, it will remind you to straighten your back until that becomes normal for you.

4. I will remind you again that there's no such thing as toning. You can cut body mass/fat and build muscle. Often, building muscle will result in less fat. If you want to lose 5-10 pounds you have to create a calorie deficit where you are losing 1-2 pounds a week. Websites like Fitday.com are helpful in tracking what you're eating and how many calories you're consuming versus burning. If it's just 5-10 pounds, I would look at what you're consuming and see what can be cut out easily. I would not go on an intense diet. Those almost never work. Replace soda and juice, with water or tea. Are you eating fatty cuts of meat? Replace ground beef in your diet with ground bison, which is delicious and is leaner than chicken breast. Eat fish. Replace a few carb-heavy meals with non-carby meals. I thought I loved salsa and chips, and buffalo chicken, but I realized what I really loved was the salsa and hot sauce, and they taste just as delicious with lettuce, cucumbers, celery, green peppers as a snack. Etc. However, a body's fat distribution is set by their genetics, so there's no way to lose inches just from your waistline.

5. I do almost all my working out in the evening. I can be up early, way before work, with lots of energy, and I just don't have the motivation in the morning. I wish I did, I think it's a great way to start your day. I don't really understand your question. Generally I come home from work between 4:30 and 5:30, relax a bit, change out of my nice clothes, cook a quick dinner if I ate a small or early lunch, and either go for a run, or bicycle ride, or if it's cold, rainy, I'm being whiny or I really want to watch TV, I set up the bike trainer. I have plenty of time to eat, relax, clean my perennially-messy apartment, etc.

I can't really pass judgment on your workout routine because I have no idea about turbo jam, but a workout routine needs to climb in intensity. The more you do something, the easier it is to do, the less benefit you get from it. Personally I think the best form of exercise ever is cycling, but I may be biased and it is not the cheapest form of exercise to take up. Running is pretty cheap (all you need is shoes, though you can also do it barefoot) and the runners community on LJ is great, though filled with people who are sometimes scarily obsessed. Couch to 5K is one of the best start to run plans out there.

Dec. 2nd, 2009 02:23 pm (UTC)
Clicking on the picture after you described your legs as "thick:" you are not thick. This coming from someone who actually is thick in the thighs...trust me. You're closer to the the average/athletic range in terms of musculature and thigh size. It's better for bone and joint health to be that size than to be very slender anyhow.

You don't mention your diet at all, which is the most important factor for losing weight.

Also the weight workout from turbo jam sounds like it will quickly lose effectiveness if the weights are light. It is better (for strength, joint and bone health, and metabolism boost) to lift heavier weights with less reps.
Dec. 3rd, 2009 07:40 am (UTC)
I don't think I'm thick compared to most people, just what I used to be, so it's just thicker than what I was a few years ago, and I just want to get closer to that time.

My diet is, well, I try, but right now I live in Korea so there's definitely pros and cons in the food here.

The pros - Korean food has very little fat, lots of brothy soups, it's not hamburgers and pizza here all the time (although they do have it)

The cons - lots of carbs. It's very very hard to find a meal that isn't carb based. And meat is expensive, fruits are expensive. Even beans are rare. So I end up eating a lot of rice and noodles here because, well, that's what they have here. It's not my ideal diet but it's either eat rice or go hungry. It's very hard to get ample protein here. I've been eating hard boiled eggs for breakfast because it's one of the easiest ways to get protein here.

If you want to know my ideal diet, back in the states I ate a lot of oatmeal (very expensive here), a lot of fish, a lot of spinach and tomatoes and peppers and other veggies, lots of grains (quinoa and barley and stuff - impossible to find here), egg whites. I don't drink juice or soda either there or here.
Dec. 3rd, 2009 07:43 am (UTC)
So a typical day is:

Breakfast: cereal (been eating my expensive exported Kashi cereal from costco lately) with skim milk, hard boiled egg

Lunch: whatever the school serves. Usually rice, soup, kimchi, and 2 side dishes which may be meat or vegetables

Dinner: a bowl of rice with canned meat and veg or seaweed, a bowl of noodles soup, dumplings, or something similar

Snacks: usually some fruits - apple or oranges usually, sometimes persimmons, Sometimes at night I make a cup soup with a soup mix packet.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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