I Have Some Questions For You

October 3, 2007 · 12 comments

I’ve now spent two months thinking more about being healthy than I ever have in my life.  Sure, I’ve been on diets longer than this, but the combination of this blog and the fact I am throwing a serious exercise program into the mix has caused me to spend a lot of time thinking about fitness.  And I see that as a good thing.

But as I go along I come up with questions.  Some can be answered on Google.  Heck, most probably could be.  Some just need to be asked.  Here are a few for you:

Should I take a week off now and again?
In this case I am talking specifically about my strength training.  I lift 6 days a week, alternating upper and lower body.  I had believed that a day of rest in between sets was appropriate.  But an interesting thing happen to me last week.  The week before last I missed a few days in my program and I really thought last Monday that it was going to be a tough week getting back into the swing of it.  But I actually found the opposite. I felt stronger, enough so that I raised the weights in a bunch of my exercises.  Maybe that means I am not getting enough rest.  I like the 6 day rotation, it’s easier for me to stick with the program when I know I am scheduled to do it every day.  So I want to keep that.  But maybe I should think about taking a week or a half-week off every now and then.  What do you think?

Should I be worried about loose skin?
Shauna says no, but I can’t help it.  I’m really getting ahead of myself since my skin is still quite stretched out and if I actually do lose enough weight to worry about loose skin I may be too happy to care.  But I still think about it.  Mostly I think about how my stomach could look after I lose all my belly fat and I have horrific visions, frankly.  Like me needing to wear a girdle just to keep it all from flapping loosely about.  Maybe that’s how I lose those final 10 pounds, to have a tummy tuck to snip off that final excess baggage?  I don’t even want to be thinking about surgery since this should be all about me and hard work, but I still think about it.  I’ve never been big on walking about with no shirt on even when I was in shape, but boy how cool would that be to get fit and be proud to take your shirt off at the pool?  I’m not now because of my fat and I would hate to lose the fat and still not want to take my shirt off because of ugly loose skin.  I am on a slow and steady plan, so maybe I am worrying about nothing.  Thoughts?

Should I be doing sit-ups and push-ups?
Or more specifically, should these be part of my strength training routine or can they be done separately, and without worrying about days of rest?  I already do ab exercises every other day, but I’m thinking of starting a sit-up/crunch routine first thing when I get out of bed every morning.  Wondering the same about push-ups.  If I am already doing arms every other day should I just do push-ups as part of that workout or can I do a set every morning?  What say you?

These are just a few things on my mind lately.

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GroovyBabe October 3, 2007 at 10:38 am

Q1 - I am not qualified to answer this, if you want a good answer then ask your fitness instructor or find a professional on a fitness forum… but if you want to know what I think… 6 days is quite a lot to be strength training. My instructor doesnt like me doing it more than 3 days per week and makes me alternate those 3 days with upper and lower… however I do a full body strength training 3 days a week as her way is not enough for me… someone told me what I do (full body 3x a week) is okay but I MUST have a complete rest day in between strength training programmes, so I tend to go to the gym mon, wed, fri and have the weekend off.

Q2 - I’d say no, at least not at this stage. This is something I raised with my weightloss nurse very early on in my weightloss. She told me I have everything going for me - I am young and am exercising - so it is unlikely to be a problem. She said although you do hear stories about horrific hanging skin problems it usually only affects old people. (And I am 32 so I think shes refering to people in their 50′s+) I think as long as you moisterise, drink plenty of water, exercise and lose it at a slow rate you wont have much to worry about. I had the same worries as you but your skin is more elastic than you think. I’ve been surprised how much mine has tightened up. And if you need surgery eventually then deal with that as an when you need to…

Q3 - You can do but don’t over do it. It sounds to me like you’re doing plenty already.

Lem October 3, 2007 at 10:54 am

Good for you that you are doing this. First time reading your blog and I am impressed. I went from 265 down to 188 a few years ago. Diet and exercise is what its all about.

Digging your dedication to the gym. Six days a week max is the right mix. Don’t stop and take a week off until you’ve hit major milestones (ones that impress only you). Just be acutely aware of your body and back off if you feel you are hurting yourself. This is not about punishment for previous sins, but rather returning your body to fitness.

To hell with loose skin! Would you rather have the fat that fills it out? I have some stretch marks from carrying too much weight in my midsection. When I first lost the weight I looked like I lost a fight with a wolverine. Now the scars have receded and are not noticeable. I have a great relationship with a woman who is 15 years younger and I really enjoy my life.

Keep going! You deserve this and you are taking charge and rebuilding your own body and your own life. Not many people have that kind of courage. Remember, no one else can do this for you-you are on your own path to fitness but we all support you.

Best regards,


Fit Club Scott October 3, 2007 at 11:25 am

#1. 6 days of strength training is a whole lot even if the intensity is quite low. Improvements happen while you rest, not while you are training, as you saw when you were forced to take a few days off. If you feel you MUST do something every day during that time, try taking a walk instead on alternating days.

#3. Depends on the intensity. If you are doing pushups and situps to absolute failure, then it can be overtaxing. If you are doing a set number like a warm-up that doesn’t approach failure then they are probably OK.

Good luck. It sounds like you are really doing the things that work for you.

JanB October 3, 2007 at 1:59 pm

I think that doing strength training every other or even every third day is great, but I wouldn’t skip six days.

Here is a link to a site that reassured me about loose skin. I mean, it’s not like we can do much about it until we lose the weight anyway, but a lot of people who have before and after pics of abdominoplasty and body lifts still have a LOT of fat left that they are having cut off. http://www.bodyfatguide.com/LooseSkin.htm

Crunches and push ups are really great for overall conditioning. I would add them in unless you think it might make your workout harder to keep motivated on. I used to do the strength training on one day and then the crunches/pushups on the alternating day.

You’re doing great by the way, keep it up!

GeorgieGirl October 3, 2007 at 6:43 pm

Loose skin is something I’ve been worried about for awhile too. I’m glad you asked! I’ve been drinking a lot of water and using plenty of heavy duty moisturizers in hopes it won’t be an issue. I’m not in my 30′s… so it could be.

I figure I’d rather have loose skin than the extra fat.

Angela October 3, 2007 at 7:29 pm

Question 1: I just started lifting weights myself, and it was killing me in the beginning. I wasn’t just sore, I was exhausted. And I was only doing 3 days a week of that, so you are doing an awful lot, John. On Phit and Phat, I read an entry about taking a recovery week at the end of an intense cycle. So, I decided to do at the end of 6 weeks of lifting, before I was ready to add another set. I can’t tell you how much this helped me. I came backc at it feeling much stronger, and I haven’t been tired since.
Question 2-No, you should not worry about loose skin. Just do your best to avoid it, like you are, and try not to obsess over it. I will keep you in my prayers : )
Question 3-I have no clue. I’m still not sure that what I’m doing is right. I do the whole shebang-a full body workout, including planks for abs and pushups for arms every other day.

john - from fat to fit October 4, 2007 at 12:23 am

Thanks for your feedback! Lots of things to mull over. I sort of know that lifting 6 days a week is too much but on the other hand if I did a full body and then did just 3 days that would be about 90 minutes per day and since I am doing this EARLY in the morning already that’s a lot of extra time to find. Plus it really is too easy for me to skip when I am already skipping days - a total mind thing. I’m feeling less concerned about loose skin. And I think I am going to throw in some crunches.

Thanks for helping!

Sarah October 4, 2007 at 10:13 am

1) 6 days is a lot to keep up with but since you’re not working the same muscle groups all six days (giving eaach group a day of rest inbetween) then I think it’s good. I used to lift 3/4 days a week full body which is basiclaly the same thing you’re doing only I had full days off. I don’t think you need to take a week off “every once in a while” but maybe lift 4 days one week and 6 days the next if you think you’re doing too much or are feeling overwhelmed by it all. That’s a lot of time in the gym. If you’re feeling you need a full week off then it’s probably your body telling you that you’re pushing yourself too hard. Don’t get in such a rush to lose the weight that you burn yourself out.

2) I have similar questions about lose skin and I really don’t have a good answer for you. I have read many people say if you lose it slowly then you don’t have to worry but I just don’t believe them. LOL

3)you should only do push ups and sit ups if you’re not already working out those muscle groups when you lift. Otherwise you’re doing more damage than good.

Dave October 5, 2007 at 12:52 pm

Six days a week is probably too much for a regular guy, and even pros don’t keep it up year-round. If you’re a beginner, I would start with 3 days a week and work up to 5 days. Fill in the rest with cardio. It’s ok to take a couple weeks off a year, maybe around Christmas or in the summer if you’re on vacation. Your body will thank you for it. Just stick with the diet!

Israel October 6, 2007 at 10:29 am

John,I think 6 days a week of weights it too much. I do 3 and have gotten great results in the past and even now as I start back up. I combine my workouts so I do 2 major body parts a day, 3 times a week. I only work a body part once a week, I bust my but and then give it a week to recoup.

As far as push ups. Those things are golden, eventually try to incorporate dips and pull ups into your routine. What I used to do was on my weight lifting days I would warm up with a set of push ups, pull up and dips. Then I would lift. Calisthenics are crucial for me. I am already back up to 30 pushups per set. What I sometimes do is on my cardio only days I may do some pushups if I worked out my chest earlier in the week, just one set to get some blood pumping.

Loose skin, I dont know how you look but I know that I am afraid of it too man. being 350 lbs is pound to leave me with some loose skin and definitely stretchmarks, but i try not to worry about it.

Karl April 20, 2008 at 12:01 pm

I saw this woman, Mina Hobbi. She’s a body for life champion. She lost over 100 lbs. of weight…and now she’s got six packs??? I don’t think she has loose skin. She’s been on the Oprah show. Anyway, her website’s at http://www.minahobbi.com. i can’t believe she did that?

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