T Nation

Regaining Fitness

How do you take someone from being TOTALLY unfit (as in no sporting / exercise activity for a long time) to start making them fit?!

Preferably without causing too much muscle wastage etc…

Or is this something that I should just answer by searching the archives?! (wasn’t too sure as it’s not your typical style t - nation post).

Thanks

What muscle wasteage?

Start slow and easy. Depending on age and circumstance a medical exam and baseline info could be garnered.

Pretty basic stuff here.

walk…jog…run

bodyweight…light weights…heavier weights

assess food…program food…tinker with the program

Try using spell check and then do a search on this site.

And yeah, what’s muscle wastage?

[quote]sasquatch wrote:
What muscle wasteage?

Start slow and easy. Depending on age and circumstance a medical exam and baseline info could be garnered.

Pretty basic stuff here.

walk…jog…run

bodyweight…light weights…heavier weights

assess food…program food…tinker with the program[/quote]

Yes, SLOW and EASY at first then you have to get a feel for the individual and building up the intensity at a level that stimulates positive change, but not enough to break em down.

D

Just get a tattoo across your back that says “witness the fitness.” It’ll never go away.

Do something – anything. Walk, jog, run, bike, lift weights, swim, chop wood… Start small, start slow.

However – the most important thing is that it takes time – a long time. Most people give up and quit after a few months (or weeks, or days) because they don’t look like the fitness model on the cover of Men’s Health.

I also think having your diet in order is probably more important for long term success. The old addage “you can’t out train your diet applies” – meaning you can workout for 2 hours every day – but if you spend the next 3 hours eating Kispy Kremes, waffles (mmm waffles), ice cream, and oreos – forget it.

Bottom line – 1) you need to figure out what you can currently do physically – and then set an attainable goal. If a walk around the block leaves you gasping for air – then you should do it every day until you can do 2 blocks. If you can run a mile in 9 minutes – you should try to run 2 miles in 18, etc. If you can bench press 100 lbs, shoot for 150 lbs.

  1. you need to figure out nutrition – read the archives.

Do NOT worry about muscle “wastage” until you have some muscle to worry about.

[quote]millasur wrote:
How do you take someone from being TOTALLY unfit (as in no sporting / exercise activity for a long time) to start making them fit?!

Preferably without causing too much muscle wastage etc…

Or is this something that I should just answer by searching the archives?! (wasn’t too sure as it’s not your typical style t - nation post).

Thanks[/quote]

thanks for the comments.

Obviously wasn’t clear enough, by way of muscle wastage as in not loosing already previously gained muscle (despite being unfit) - eg I’ve read a lot on HIIT to strip away fat without losing muscle, but I know you need a proper fitness base before you can just undertake stuff like that - hence the question.

[quote]millasur wrote:
thanks for the comments.

Obviously wasn’t clear enough, by way of muscle wastage as in not loosing already previously gained muscle (despite being unfit) - eg I’ve read a lot on HIIT to strip away fat without losing muscle, but I know you need a proper fitness base before you can just undertake stuff like that - hence the question.[/quote]

A sedentary person like you desribed is going to lose fat for a while if they simply eat anything vaguely resembling a decent diet and train with weights just hard enough to learn how. As the guy above said too about cardio, push just hard enough to be mildly uncomfortable at first to avoid assuming a permanant horizontal position by overexertion too quickly. Depending on age, overall health and what the expectations are, I disagree that it has to take a very long time to see satisfactory results. Done correctly, a few to several months can be enough to show anyone with a sense of self preservation the definite worth and plain good sense of the decision they made to improve. A person with a good predispositiom to these things and not in danger of imminent death can make startling improvements in half a year of dedication. That is, compared to where they were. The expectations and goals to have to be realistic though for anyone. ANYBODY can be better than where they are, starting from a totally unfit state.

–Tiribulus->

thanks for the replies - I can see I need to be more specific.

I’m talking just about training - how should I tell someone to train basically.

They’re not fat, overweight, dumb, bald, old, anyting lol, they actually have a bit of muscle, in that they’ve still been weight training (a bit lol) but not doing any kind of other sport / aerobic activity for ages, hence the bein unfit bit and hence the comment about “HIIT is good at stripping away fat” lol. but that won’t help them ghet their Overall fitness up right?!

A random comment I haven’t ever forgotten (no idea why) from an old (slave driving) PE teacher lol.

= “Even someone totally unfit can get a good level of fitness in 6 weeks…”

I’m just asking for more specific ways of doing it, hope this post helped a little. :slight_smile:

Thanks

I think the best way to train for fitness is with a heart monitor. Use the old “220 minus your age” formula to calculate your maximum heart rate (MHR) and exercise at a heart rate in the 50-60% of MHR when you’re just starting out. Once you can maintain a 60% MHR for an hour, you can move up to the 70-80% range which is the endurance training range. When you can comfortably stay in the 80% range for an hour, then add time and/or intensity.

I like intensity interval training where you go at 70% for 90 seconds and then go all out for 30 seconds. Then back to 70% for another minute and a half and then back to all out for 30 seconds. If you can keep this up for an hour, you’re in great shape!

bumping this one -

So can you build from scratch a good level of fitness without losing muscle?!

^as everyone says the way to get fit is to work relatively hard for long periods - however, everyone also says that if you do this, you’ll lose muscle, and to do HIIT if you’re trying to strip away fat.

you see the problem… ^

[quote]millasur wrote:
bumping this one -

So can you build from scratch a good level of fitness without losing muscle?!

^as everyone says the way to get fit is to work relatively hard for long periods - however, everyone also says that if you do this, you’ll lose muscle, and to do HIIT if you’re trying to strip away fat.

you see the problem… ^[/quote]

What are you using as a definition for ‘fitness?’

Why so hard to comprehend that by combining proper diet with weights and cardio, that you could improve fitness with, not only no muscle loss, but probably improve muscle/body comp.

If your definition is to drop a bunch of weight fairly quickly, then some muscle will probably go.