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OceansAndrew
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Burpees look easy, but I'm concerned if I go max intensity I'll be flailing around instead of doing the form correctly. Is that something I should be worried about or should I just go for it? (still feeling noobish but I'm learning a lot from you guys!)

Form is crucial, but there's no need to be absolutely perfect. Go as fast as possible without risking injury. It'll take a while to figure out where that compromise is, so go somewhat slower than "as fast as possible without risking injury" at first. This goes for running sprints, too.

For what it's worth, Tabata workouts can be done doing anything, but sprinting is the most common way to implement the method, and most studies are either done on subjects doing running sprints or exercise bike sprints (easier to study physiology on a subject on an exercise bike). They're also only done 2x/week in most studies. So if you're counting, that's 8 minutes of cardio per week, and that's really all you need. It's been shown to be more effective as decreasing resting heart rate and increasing VO2 max (the best direct measure of your cardiovascular health) than 5 45 minutes sessions of traditional jogging each week -- that's 235 minutes. I'll take 8 intense minutes over 235 miserable, injury-prone minutes any day.

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Yeah I hate running unless I'm on an elliptical. There's something about my stride that puts a lot of feedback or stress into my lower back and it kills me even after like 10 minutes of running.

Thanks for the advice!

Maybe try wearing minimal shoes like Vibram Fivefingers. Big, puffy, modern shoes are pretty biomechanically unstable, and our joints certainly didn't evolve to handle the altered stress distribution they confer to our legs. In fact, before those types of shoes were invented in the 1960s or so, the standard running gait was to land on the ball of the foot first, then fall back to the heel, almost like a prance. It put no undue stress on the ankle, knee, hamstring, gluteal, or lower back regions. Just think about it as a controlled fall.

You've heard running described as such before, I'm sure, but a controlled fall would be an inaccurate way to describe running in standard, thick-heeled tennis shoes. Instead, when you wear shoes like that, you tend to strike heel first because the brain tends towards the path of least resistance, so it adjusts your gait to take advantage of the bounce you get from the thick rubber heel. The flipside of that is that if you slam your leg into the ground heel first (doesn't sound like a controlled fall, does it? Sounds more like a "stroke"-based gait), you have a tendency to hyperextend many, many joints and muscles along the back of your leg, hip, and back. It ain't natural. So perhaps it's not your gait or some anatomical issue you have that makes running painful, but instead it could be that you wear shoes which aren't suited to your anatomy or natural gait, and THAT is what is making running painful.

If you do go down the minimal shoe route, you'll also need to retrain your gait which doesn't take all that long. Just watch some youtube vids about barefoot running and practice a bit to get it all figured out. It feels amazing to run with a barefoot gait :D Very effortless compared to a heel-first, forceful gait. Lots more gravity, lots less of Newton's 2nd law.

edit: The fact that you only feel comfortable "running" on an elliptical is the smoking gun :P Get yourself a pair of minimal shoes (or go barefoot on grass!) and run 4 real!

Edited by ectogemia
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Maybe try wearing minimal shoes like Vibram Fivefingers. Big, puffy, modern shoes are pretty biomechanically unstable, and our joints certainly didn't evolve to handle the altered stress distribution they confer to our legs. In fact, before those types of shoes were invented in the 1960s or so, the standard running gait was to land on the ball of the foot first, then fall back to the heel, almost like a prance. It put no undue stress on the ankle, knee, hamstring, gluteal, or lower back regions. Just think about it as a controlled fall.

You've heard running described as such before, I'm sure, but a controlled fall would be an inaccurate way to describe running in standard, thick-heeled tennis shoes. Instead, when you wear shoes like that, you tend to strike heel first because the brain tends towards the path of least resistance, so it adjusts your gait to take advantage of the bounce you get from the thick rubber heel. The flipside of that is that if you slam your leg into the ground heel first (doesn't sound like a controlled fall, does it? Sounds more like a "stroke"-based gait), you have a tendency to hyperextend many, many joints and muscles along the back of your leg, hip, and back. It ain't natural. So perhaps it's not your gait or some anatomical issue you have that makes running painful, but instead it could be that you wear shoes which aren't suited to your anatomy or natural gait, and THAT is what is making running painful.

If you do go down the minimal shoe route, you'll also need to retrain your gait which doesn't take all that long. Just watch some youtube vids about barefoot running and practice a bit to get it all figured out. It feels amazing to run with a barefoot gait :D Very effortless compared to a heel-first, forceful gait. Lots more gravity, lots less of Newton's 2nd law.

edit: The fact that you only feel comfortable "running" on an elliptical is the smoking gun :P Get yourself a pair of minimal shoes (or go barefoot on grass!) and run 4 real!

This is seriously the post I've been looking forward to reading for about...6 years now? My girlfriend in college kept trying to get me to exercise and run with her but I hated running and I asked her if she had tips for reducing or eliminating the pain and she just shrugged at me and went running by herself. Anyone else I asked just said I was running the wrong way and didn't offer any help. -_-

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Try burpees, I'm not sure if it's actually proper cardio, but 5 minutes of them and you'll feel like you ran a marathon. Nice thing about burpees is you can make your own variations, like adding push ups.

My favorite variation is to throw myself at the ground, literally take my feet off the ground for the entire descent. It's probably not good for my shoulders or wrists.

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This is seriously the post I've been looking forward to reading for about...6 years now? My girlfriend in college kept trying to get me to exercise and run with her but I hated running and I asked her if she had tips for reducing or eliminating the pain and she just shrugged at me and went running by herself. Anyone else I asked just said I was running the wrong way and didn't offer any help. -_-

Glad I could help! Taking that sort of evolutionary mindset with most physical and even mental issues will very often lead to great results.

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Would you recommend that for a super beginner or should I work towards being able to do that at some point in the future?

for bodyweight stuff, you can work through it and do it daily; if you are working with heavier weights you'll want some rest time. As a beginner you'll be fine doing things daily or every other day. :-)

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So I'm building muscle rather quickly and/or gaining fat back because I've gained 4 lbs. in a week. Though it might also be because I have a highly irregular schedule of waking up so things aren't as consistent as I'd like them to be when I weigh myself right after I wake up.

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So I'm building muscle rather quickly and/or gaining fat back because I've gained 4 lbs. in a week. Though it might also be because I have a highly irregular schedule of waking up so things aren't as consistent as I'd like them to be when I weigh myself right after I wake up.

I feel like any weight change under 5-7 pounds is negligible; it's almost impossible to replicate the same circumstances under which you weighed yourself. You might have just had to poop or something.

As a wrestler, I used to weigh myself every day around the same time, so you can trust me when I say that weight fluctuations happen daily and somewhat randomly within a given range.

So I wouldn't worry too much.

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So the soreness doesn't even happen anymore. Should I be looking at adding more reps/intensifying my routine? How can I tell when I should be making things harder or when I should push myself to go past my typical routine?

yep! your body will adapt incredibly fast at the early stages. if you are doing sets of 10 pushups, add 5 to each set and do sets of 15, etc. :-)

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yep! your body will adapt incredibly fast at the early stages. if you are doing sets of 10 pushups, add 5 to each set and do sets of 15, etc. :-)

Soreness is also about variation as well as weight. Doing different KINDS Of pushups, etc, will also help you keep working different parts of muscles. I've heard it said that soreness really just indicates doing something you're not used to.

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If I do modest workouts 3 times a week rather than soul-draining ones, should I up the number of days? I know the common advice is to work out 3 times a week. But they don't specify the intensity of the workout.

It used to be that I worked out 5-6 times a week, but the key is to keep it varied. You don't want to lift heavy every day. Mark Sisson of the Primal Blueprint says that every week should be:

3x Move Slowly, Rest or Play

2x Lift Heavy Things (weights)

1x Sprint

1x High Intensity Interval Training

I've found that to be a really nice schedule, because it changes things so they don't get boring and makes you work different places on different day.

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