I've never had an issue making dietary changes, but exercise is another matter. I hate the gym. Most of the time I don't feel well (stomach issues) which makes it even more challenging to want to go. But I know I have to get over this hurdle if I ever hope to get fit and strong and healthy.
So here are my stats: 35, 5'1, 98 lbs, 22% BF. I'm pretty much a skinny-fat. I starved away a lot of my muscle mass during an eating disorder, would love to put on 5-10 pounds of mostly muscle.
I bike to work which totals around an hour a day, at varying intensity but not super hard core - it's city biking on mostly flat terrain. At work I'm at a desk job. I'd like to join the Crossfit gym near my place but it's way outta my price range, so for now I'm relegated to a regular gym.
What's a reasonable schedule of weight training for me to commit to? In other words what's the minimum I can do to see some results? Both in terms of times per week and length of each workout? And what's a reasonable expectation of muscle gain, i.e. a pound a month?
And if you have any other tips and words of motivation, I would love to hear them. My ass is slowly molding into the shape of my desk chair.
Start using a standing desk. Being sedentary all day is slowly killing you, and I think you will notice a change in your energy levels. I've never had a dask/sitting job, and I'm always on my feet, and I love the gym.
I didn't used to love the gym, but once you get used to that amount of work, your body adapts and it becomes a challenge that you can handle, and feel motivated by.
YOU are your own worst enemy, with feelings of "OMG why are those people looking at me, are they judging me? Am I doing this wrong?" People in the gym tend to stare without knowing it because there's really nowhere else to look between sets.
Stop thinking in terms of a minimum. You'll never make any progress that way. Instead think of it in terms of a commitment. Say to yourself, "Alright...this week I can commit 4 hours to the gym." Really that's not too much, if you break it up into 3 or 4 workouts per week, and if it's close by, change at home, bike there, chain up your bike and get in and get out quick. That way you can bike straight home and eat/shower/relax/whatever. Before you know it, you're seeing results, and all it took was a little willpower. Change the way you think to change your body.
EDITED in response to Loilo:
Look I agree that hacking is a useful tool, but sometimes you just have to put in the work. Good for you Loilo that you can stay as fit as you are without going to the gym. I on the other hand have to deal with a set of circumstances, including being a hardgainer, and low motivation, that means I won't exercise unless I have to. If I don't get out of the house and to the gym, my session for that day is out the window.
I also agree that you should definitely cut out the things that don't work, or are just extra work with no results, but again, doing the minimum out of the gate, is not a good philosophy. I think it's much more efficient to start at a certain level, say 3-4hrs/wk and then scale back after seeing what works. That's how I started out, and I now only go 2-3x/wk, sometimes only once.
If you work out at home, I would suggest having a specific area (if you have the space, I do not, thanks NYC studio apt!) to set aside for working out. I find it easier to adjust my mental state if I "go somwhere else" to engage in exercises. Check this guy's home gym out:
Walking as much as possible on top of your cycling is a good start.
Regarding resistance training, you ought to just buy some used dumbbells off of craigslist or something and do workouts in your home.
The minimum you could do that would still probably yield results would be to hit each muscle group once per week with a single exercise with a few sets to failure.
So, you have lower body sorted out with the cycling, so no need to do anything there.
For one day you could just do a few sets of curls with whatever weight puts the reps somewhere around 10.
Next day do a few sets of pushups to failure, which should hit chest, the front of your shoulders and triceps.
Next day do a few sets of (assisted?) pullups (palms away from you) if you can find a chinup bar at a park or school nearby. You could also buy one of those doorway ones. If you can't do one, just jump up to the bar and try to slow down your descent. Eventually you'll be able to do proper ones. This will hit lats, forearms and back.
Next day do shoulder presses, which is just pushing dumbbells above your head. Make sure you arms are in a position where your shoulder joints feel comfortable and don't use a heavy weight. You'll seriously want 5 pounds or so max when you start.
It'd be better if you could do some rows as well, where you lay on your stomach on a bench and pull some dumbbells toward you. The pullups sorta hit some of the same muscles, so it's fine if you don't do this.
That would pretty much take care of most things and result in improved strength and muscle mass (provided that you are not currently zinc deficient, however I suspect that you are given what you've said). To address that deficiency, you're going to want to be eating a lot of meals that consist wholly of meat and/or organs with no phytate-bearing foods comingling in the intestines. You could eat oysters 1-2 times a week to spike the zinc, but too much at once will displace copper, so a supplement may be unwise. Meat and liver have a lot of it though, so just pursuing those will get you there eventually.
lol. I HATE the gym, all of them. And also spend most of my days sitting in front of a pc. i guess im doomed. Also doing the bare minimum is not a bad philosophy at all as long as you make the right choice... Focus on the things that work and ditch the rest? works for me.
I concur with Futureboy's comments -- and encourage you to check out your local CrossFit gym anyway. Most boxes have tiered memberships, or even drop-in rates (though a membership is likely to be more cost effective). Commit to 3x/wk at least at first. Think you'll find that it's well worth the price -- it's an investment, and one of the best investments in yourself you can make.
You have to get past thinking of it as a gym/place to work out, and think of it more as what it is -- high-end physical training, that comes with skilled trainers who you have access to every session, and a supportive and motivated community of athletes most of whom very likely started out in the same place as you, if not worse off. Just do it! Consider the current typical rates charged by physical trainers for 30-60 mins of their time, and you'll find that CF is a screaming deal. (Also, prices vary across gyms -- find one that works for you and that will work with you.) Good luck!
I also don't want to go to the gym because of my tummy issues and I don't want to pay for a gym either. What has really worked for me is:
walking dogs (But it sounds like your biking is more of a workout)! Or you could do that for money..if that's not motivation I don't know what is.
Yoga -Get a few dvds and once you know the moves you can do them on your own while watching movies. This is an awesome way to distract from the workout. I also lift weights while watching movies.
Mall Walking -ya I know, but walking the mall over and over while window shopping is a free and great way to keep in shape in the winter. I am motivated because I get to "shop" (usually don't buy anything).
Geocaching. Finds treasures with a GPS. You need a GPS for this but its so much fun to explore you city and the wild areas around your city -when you find the caches -you leave a prize and get to take one. People from all over the world do this for fun. No sweat flying in your face either.
I totally agree with Future boy about the standing desk. I converted my workdesk with a large box wrapped in brown paper. It was as simple as that.
Paleo - how to gain weight? 3 Answers
Higher carb paleo for weight gain? 5 Answers