Fat Noob needs starting advice

Rowing for weight loss or weight control? Start here.

Re: Fat Noob needs starting advice

Postby jeremycfr » February 21st, 2013, 4:41 pm

MrBill wrote:I am a 405 pound asthmatic and I put my first 1000 meters on the erg tonight. I just want to thank you for posting out here and I encourage you to keep going. Any pace you can bring yourself to sustain for a period of time is a good pace when you are getting started.


I have asthma also and typically use my inhaler before a long row. It opens me up and allows me to breathe, thus controling my heartrate.

Keep it up, you will get there. It takes time!
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Re: Fat Noob needs starting advice

Postby jeremycfr » February 21st, 2013, 4:46 pm

fatRower wrote:Well, I'm keeping at it. I am rowing 4-5 days per week, and my progress is slow but continual. I am doing 1500 meter sessions now. I have completed my wide stance foot board 2 sessions ago, and have some new hip muscles, and my pace has slowed. If I could keep it up and do 5000 meters in 40 minutes, that would be a huge goal for me. I'll get there, and I'm keeping at it. I'm gonna go try and do 2000 meters right now.

My main limitations seem to be my aerobic conditioning right now. I am working with a heart rate monitor, and as a, out of shape 44 year old going for a target heart rate of 118 - 134. I have a hard time keeping it under 134. This machine is a workout for me. If I were rowing slower, I could probably go longer. I am going to try really hard to do a slower pace, keep closer to 126 bpm, and seeing if I can go longer.

Any of you helpful folks want to chime in on getting me to a 40 minute 10k more optimally?

Also, I am just newly cleared for moderate exercise. I have been suffering form adrenal fatigue for years, and am just barely recovered enough to get my doctor to sign off on this. I'm open to intervals, or what not, but really, I just want to get to the point where I am doing enough to start losing weight from my efforts.

My diet is fairly strong. I have most of my meals prepared by a personal chef and designed by my naturopath. The lifestyle pieces of sleep and diet are in place, the weightloss should follow.


A gradual but methodical increase in intensity and time will get you there. Set a goal for yourself or develop a plan. I am currently rowing x number of meters in x minutes but would like to increase it, so I will add x number of meters/time each day until I get it. When spread out over an entire row, it means decreasing your split time. It becomes second nature to calculating that stuff in your head, the longer you do it.
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Re: Fat Noob needs starting advice

Postby amcvay » February 22nd, 2013, 2:56 pm

I saw your comments about "wasting your time." An increase in exercise is not a waste of time. It may be that after a couple hours of rowing, more that day will add little. But going from zero to 10, or 20, and so on, benefits. A mix of long, slow and more intense is probably the best and combats some of the metabolic factors.

My record on rowing weight loss is dismal. I started in January, and row almost every day, totaling about 250k so far this year (in 7 weeks). My speed has increased, but certainly isn't yet average for my age. My 2k is under 10 minutes now. Really long rows are quite tedious, so I split them up, with 30 second to 2 minute rests. A marathon seems out of the question. I do other exercises, such as martial arts and flexibility. So far, I have probably gained a couple pounds rather than lose the pound a week I would like.

I haven't given up. Maybe it will take six months to show some obvious results.
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Getting to 40 minute

Postby amcvay » February 22nd, 2013, 3:07 pm

I use a heart rate monitor and keep an eye on the relationship of stroke rate and watts to the HR. Certainly at 28 SPM and under 2:15 split, my heart is at 90 per cent.

My advice is to row longer workouts at 20 to 22 SPM, and increase watts (push more with legs and get fuller recovery on the stroke). Flexibility and strength work should payoff in watts. With good form, that is more sustainable for 10k. Intervals can be at higher rates. Daily workouts short rows often have slope or pyramid, increasing rate every interval.
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Re: Fat Noob needs starting advice

Postby TheGreatFatsby » March 4th, 2013, 1:53 pm

fatrower, I hope you haven't abandoned this topic for good. In the off chance that you come back and see this I just wanted to let you know that you and a couple of the other posters here helped motivate me to get a rower and start getting in shape.

Let me start off by saying i have considerably more weight than you to lose. When I first saw your thread in January I started my annual "lose weight" new years resolution at 6'1" 6I3 lbs and 34 years of age. I had been curious about rowing after seeing the fancy Waterrower machines on The Biggest Loser and after finding out that they could actually support my weight I started to look into it more seriously.

I followed your thread and saw the small but steady improvements in your ability, and especially took notice and cheered you on after you continued to improve despite a few people who had come in and shat on your thread and your progress.

When jeremycfr posted how he started off with poor performance but slowly improved and after hearing others chime in with stories of how they did the same I decided to go for it and I received my rower on February 20th.

My first day went a lot like yours. I was absolutely blasted by the rower and could not do more than 2 or 3 minutes, But, remembering your struggles, I came back the next day, better rested and more determined and finished a painstaking 6 min on the rower, after which i felt like I had been hit by a Mack truck. Still, i made it! and Since then I have worked on improving as best as I could.

I'm really happy with my progress so far. Here is a screenshot showing my small but definite improvement:

Image

I didn't bother recording any stats after my disastrous first day (now i wish i had!) so my progress starts with day 2.

jeremycfr, I've really got to thank you for posting your regimen in how you improved your performance and stamina, as I've made this progress in modeling my routine after what you posted. I started off at 6 minutes every morning, and i'm adding 1 minute every 3 days, and rowing 5 days a week. After only a short time, as you can see i've shaved 35 seconds off my 500m, and am comparable in your starting performance!

I felt so great after my row this morning that Ive decided to further follow jerermy's regimen of rowing for time in the morning and distance in the evening, so i'm planning on rowing my fastest 1k time when I get home today and slowly adding distance in the PM as I add time in the AM.

So while doing a low carb/keto diet and rowing, i've lost 28lbs (since jan 9) and am down to 585 as of this morning. When I started rowing I also picked up a heart rate monitor and was shocked to see my resting heart rate was around 109-115. I'm happy to report that after only a short time with the rower that it's down dramatically and currently sits at around 85-89. I can really feel that change as now when I walk to and from my truck every morning at work I am not winded by the time I reach my desk.

This turned out to be a very long post, so I'll close it now and just say thank you and I hope you keep posting here. Also, thanks to everyone who posted in support of fatrower. I know it's still early for me and i've got a long way to go, but all in all you really motivated me to get started rowing and on my way to a healthier lifestyle.
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Re: Fat Noob needs starting advice

Postby Bob S. » March 4th, 2013, 3:35 pm

Great post, TGF! Like you, I hope that the OP of this thread has not given up on this forum. I was very disappointed that two of the usually reliable posters were so negative in their responses. I have been at rock bottom condition myself and know how pathetic those first efforts appear. In my case, it was major heart surgery rather than a weight problem, but the principles are the same. Starting with baby steps and gradually increasing time, distance, and intensity will do the job if a person has the patience and persistence.

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Re: Fat Noob needs starting advice

Postby TheGreatFatsby » March 5th, 2013, 9:33 am

Bob S. wrote:Great post, TGF! Like you, I hope that the OP of this thread has not given up on this forum. I was very disappointed that two of the usually reliable posters were so negative in their responses. I have been at rock bottom condition myself and know how pathetic those first efforts appear. In my case, it was major heart surgery rather than a weight problem, but the principles are the same. Starting with baby steps and gradually increasing time, distance, and intensity will do the job if a person has the patience and persistence.

Bob S.

Bob, thank you for the kind words. That is certainly what I am going for, slow and steady improvements and so far it was worked out well. I certainly appreciate reading the support from you and others here who have overcome surgery or asthma or other medical conditions besides obesity, since, as you said, we all start off with seemingly abhorrent starting times.

Last night I did my first 1K speed run. I'm not sure if that's what it's supposed to be called or not, but I basically tried to complete 1K as fast as I could. It also marked the first day for me rowing twice a day, and this morning I increased my timed rowing to 9 minutes. Here's what what looks like for anyone who's interested:
Image
I'm really happy with my 1k speed run time. I know i'm not going to set the world on fire with that kind of speed but I think for my size and for only rowing for a short time that it is something to be proud of, and I was NOT expecting a speed run to be so tough. My timed routines are slower, more evenly paced so I don't feel run over after the first few minutes, but when giving it my all to get that 1k speed time it really kicked my butt, but I felt GREAT afterwards when seeing my time and just for the simple fact that I rowed twice in one day.

Also with my first 9 min session this morning I was able to shave off another another 1.5 seconds from my 500m split time despite adding another minute to the workout. Really happy about that, and really excited to keep rowing overall. I'm going to keep going with doing distance in the morning and speed in the evenings for 5 days a week. However, i think once I reach 10 minutes, which would be this Friday, I think i am going to stay there for 1 week to get better at being consistent on the rower. Right now I can row straight without slowing or stopping for about 3 of the 9 minutes but after that I have to stop and catch my breath or let my muscles cool for 5-10 seconds every min or so after that, and each minute is pretty slow going with a steadily decreasing amount of strokes per minute.

I'd like to reach 10 min by Friday and then take the next week working on being able to row the entire 10 min without stopping in the morning, then continuing my speed runs in the evening. After that, the following week I will go back to adding 1 minute on every 3 days as I have been until i can reach 15 minutes, and then repeat.

I'd appreciate anyone's thoughts on this, I'm not sure if this is wise or not, or if I should just plow ahead with adding the 1 min every 3 days regardless.
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Re: Fat Noob needs starting advice

Postby Bob S. » March 5th, 2013, 12:55 pm

The handiest term for forum use is "time trial."

Bob S.

edit:

I just sent this on another thread and realized that it might be appropriate here as well:

To start with, it helps to know some of the jargon. This is a bit out-dated, but still useful:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=38

Next, learn about the damper setting and the drag factor:

http://concept2.co.uk/training/guide/damper_lever
(Note that there is one error there. The lowest damper setting is not 1, it can be moved to one mark below that to an unlabelled zero.)

Finally, work on technique and keep at it indefinitely. There are many good videos around and this is one of the best:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqVmMd7FdAA

Even better is to get advice from a competent rowing coach (not a fitness center instructor, although there are some out there that know about rowing). Failing that, have a side view video made of yourself on the erg and send it to this forum for a critique.

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Re: Fat Noob needs starting advice

Postby jeremycfr » March 5th, 2013, 5:36 pm

TheGreatFatsby wrote:fatrower, I hope you haven't abandoned this topic for good. In the off chance that you come back and see this I just wanted to let you know that you and a couple of the other posters here helped motivate me to get a rower and start getting in shape.

Let me start off by saying i have considerably more weight than you to lose. When I first saw your thread in January I started my annual "lose weight" new years resolution at 6'1" 6I3 lbs and 34 years of age. I had been curious about rowing after seeing the fancy Waterrower machines on The Biggest Loser and after finding out that they could actually support my weight I started to look into it more seriously.

I followed your thread and saw the small but steady improvements in your ability, and especially took notice and cheered you on after you continued to improve despite a few people who had come in and shat on your thread and your progress.

When jeremycfr posted how he started off with poor performance but slowly improved and after hearing others chime in with stories of how they did the same I decided to go for it and I received my rower on February 20th.

My first day went a lot like yours. I was absolutely blasted by the rower and could not do more than 2 or 3 minutes, But, remembering your struggles, I came back the next day, better rested and more determined and finished a painstaking 6 min on the rower, after which i felt like I had been hit by a Mack truck. Still, i made it! and Since then I have worked on improving as best as I could.

I'm really happy with my progress so far. Here is a screenshot showing my small but definite improvement:

Image

I didn't bother recording any stats after my disastrous first day (now i wish i had!) so my progress starts with day 2.

jeremycfr, I've really got to thank you for posting your regimen in how you improved your performance and stamina, as I've made this progress in modeling my routine after what you posted. I started off at 6 minutes every morning, and i'm adding 1 minute every 3 days, and rowing 5 days a week. After only a short time, as you can see i've shaved 35 seconds off my 500m, and am comparable in your starting performance!

I felt so great after my row this morning that Ive decided to further follow jerermy's regimen of rowing for time in the morning and distance in the evening, so i'm planning on rowing my fastest 1k time when I get home today and slowly adding distance in the PM as I add time in the AM.

So while doing a low carb/keto diet and rowing, i've lost 28lbs (since jan 9) and am down to 585 as of this morning. When I started rowing I also picked up a heart rate monitor and was shocked to see my resting heart rate was around 109-115. I'm happy to report that after only a short time with the rower that it's down dramatically and currently sits at around 85-89. I can really feel that change as now when I walk to and from my truck every morning at work I am not winded by the time I reach my desk.

This turned out to be a very long post, so I'll close it now and just say thank you and I hope you keep posting here. Also, thanks to everyone who posted in support of fatrower. I know it's still early for me and i've got a long way to go, but all in all you really motivated me to get started rowing and on my way to a healthier lifestyle.


Wow! Great work!! I am glad I my sharing was able to motivate you. I am finally down to a weight I can live with (5ft10in, 162 lbs down from 267 and a 29 in waist down from 47). I still keep challenging myself. Last night I rowed a 6k in 24:15.8 (2:01.3/500), but last may my best was 6k in over 31 minutes (2:39.4/500). I remember I would almost fall off of the machine afterwards, but I just kept plugging away.

It is exciting to see others on here (and we each have our own method) support each other and improve ourselves. Keep in touch and keep up the good work. It gets hard at times, but just keep plugging away.
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Re: Fat Noob needs starting advice

Postby TheGreatFatsby » March 5th, 2013, 11:23 pm

Bob S. wrote:The handiest term for forum use is "time trial."
I just sent this on another thread and realized that it might be appropriate here as well:
To start with, it helps to know some of the jargon. This is a bit out-dated, but still useful:
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=38

Next, learn about the damper setting and the drag factor:

http://concept2.co.uk/training/guide/damper_lever
(Note that there is one error there. The lowest damper setting is not 1, it can be moved to one mark below that to an unlabelled zero.)

Ahh, Time Trial! Got it.. makes sense when you think about it.

Also thank you for the other links. A lot of it doesn't apply to me since I purchased a Waterrower. The Concept 2 did seem very attractive but, with my size, my options were limited and the Concept 2 machines I found had only a 500lb user capacity, which i handily exceed, compared to Waterrowers 1000lbs.

Like the OP, however, the same principles seem to apply regardless of platform, I just can't run the same workout programs that the Concept 2. But, ive found myself here in the C2 forums because there doesn'tn seem to be a similar community dedicated to Waterrower, which is disappointing after spending so much money.
Bob S. wrote:Finally, work on technique and keep at it indefinitely. There are many good videos around and this is one of the best:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqVmMd7FdAA

Even better is to get advice from a competent rowing coach (not a fitness center instructor, although there are some out there that know about rowing). Failing that, have a side view video made of yourself on the erg and send it to this forum for a critique.

Bob S.

Thanks, I had actually seen that very video and studied it many times before I got my rower. It is not easy to maintain as usually i'm just struggling to get through it and then i remember that my form is incorrect and I make that correction, even if it costs me speed and strokes/min. But I am trying my very best to keep my form, and I am getting better at it. Also, like OP, the footrests are too narrow for me so i've been rowing with my feet on the floor until I can build a base board extension to rest my feet on.

But again, thank you for the info and for the support, it really is great to connect with others who struggled with their fitness in one way or another.
jeremycfr wrote:Wow! Great work!! I am glad I my sharing was able to motivate you. I am finally down to a weight I can live with (5ft10in, 162 lbs down from 267 and a 29 in waist down from 47). I still keep challenging myself. Last night I rowed a 6k in 24:15.8 (2:01.3/500), but last may my best was 6k in over 31 minutes (2:39.4/500). I remember I would almost fall off of the machine afterwards, but I just kept plugging away.

It is exciting to see others on here (and we each have our own method) support each other and improve ourselves. Keep in touch and keep up the good work. It gets hard at times, but just keep plugging away.

Hey, I'm glad you found your way back here!

Thanks again for the support and for posting your story. Your workout routine and how you struggled at first really helped get me dedicated. In fact, it helped to ground me after I had ordered my rower and was waiting for it to arrive. Before reading your post I thought to myself, "I'll start off easy and only go for about 12 minutes at a time." HA! But when i read where you started off and seeing that you were, literally, half my size I lowered my expectations considerably and helped soften the blow after the disastrous first day on the rower. After that, my first goal was to slowly match your starting split time because I felt like if I could, at my size, match your worst, even after some work, that rowing would work for me. I was really excited to catch up with your starting times after less than a week and it really helped motivate me to start rowing for time trials in the evenings as you had.

Saying that you almost fell off the machine is hilarious to me because my first time on the rower I fell off it before AND after my first row. The first time i didn't sit right on the seat and it slid out from under me, and down I went. Then, after my grueling first 3 minutes on the machine, I fell off again just trying to get up off of the machine! haha.. glad to see i'm not the only one that had such a tough time my first go 'round.

So thanks again for posting your story, after fatrower got me seriously interested in rowing, your story gave me a solid starting goal to shoot for and a simple method to follow for getting better. Honestly, I was hesitant to post my story because I was still so new to it and because after many past failures at losing weight (sometimes even after losing hundreds of pounds) I didn't want to, once again, put my foot in my mouth. But I saw that both you and fatrower had stopped posting so I wanted to say something before you and the rest of the participants in this thread were gone for good.

I feel like this time around will be different for me because this is the first time in all my attempts to lose weight that I am following a fitness program at the same time. I lost weight solely by dieting in the past as I just could not find the motivation or muster up the courage to get out there and get moving. So while fatrower got me going initially and helped me decide to buy the rower, I found something you said really resonated with me, and that was "I row first and then everything else happens afterwards."

I've taken that on as a mantra of sorts and it has helped me, so far, do my best to make rowing a habit. That alarm goes off and I tell myself immediately that rowing has to come first, and add that it's ONLY 8 or 9 minutes, and it HAS to come first so just get it over with and you can get on with your day. This past weekend after having rowed 5 days straight I sat in my living room and glanced over at my rower and actually wanted to get on it and row. I was very sore and knew that I needed the time off to let my muscles recover so that I could improve, but it was the first time in my life that I can ever remember actually, genuinely wanting to work out. Your words were a big part of that, so for that I thank you, and if you're ever in the south texas area, the beers are on me. Same goes for you, bob!
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Re: Fat Noob needs starting advice

Postby Bob S. » March 6th, 2013, 12:35 am

TheGreatFatsby wrote:Your words were a big part of that, so for that I thank you, and if you're ever in the south texas area, the beers are on me. Same goes for you, bob!


That was familiar territory to me at one time. From March '44 to May '45 I was stationed at the Army Air Forces base at Moore Field. The nearest town was Mission. The others I remember were Pharr, McAllen, Edinburgh, Hidalgo, and Reynosa on the other side of the bridge.

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Re: Fat Noob needs starting advice

Postby TheGreatFatsby » March 6th, 2013, 7:52 am

Bob S. wrote:
TheGreatFatsby wrote:Your words were a big part of that, so for that I thank you, and if you're ever in the south texas area, the beers are on me. Same goes for you, bob!


That was familiar territory to me at one time. From March '44 to May '45 I was stationed at the Army Air Forces base at Moore Field. The nearest town was Mission. The others I remember were Pharr, McAllen, Edinburgh, Hidalgo, and Reynosa on the other side of the bridge.

Bob S.


You're kidding! I grew up in Pharr, currently reside in McAllen, and work in Mission.

Wow, small world!
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Re: Fat Noob needs starting advice

Postby jeremycfr » March 6th, 2013, 2:06 pm

TheGreatFatsby wrote:You're kidding! I grew up in Pharr, currently reside in McAllen, and work in Mission.

Wow, small world!


I live in East Texas. I have not been that far south in years. The closest I came was San Antonio last week for a conference. I felt lost without my rower for the 4 days I was there, but it was nice to get back to it when I returned (I just found other workouts to do at the hotel gym).

Again, Keep up the good work!
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Re: Fat Noob needs starting advice

Postby j1huegel » March 7th, 2013, 10:48 pm

TGF, your 1k time trial is impressive! As are your improvement in fitness overall.

Stick with it and you will go far. Actually you will go nowhere, but that is the fate of indoor rowers!

Seriously, once you get accustomed to rowing, you can back off a bit and row for longer on those days when you don't want to push the envelope. I'll put on a movie or a video and pull away, and before I know it, 1/2 hour or more has gone by. You can alternate "hard days" where you work on specific things, and "easy days" where you chill on the erg and just pull at a moderate (UT2, UT1 in C2 language) pace, and build that aerobic base.
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Re: Fat Noob needs starting advice

Postby TheGreatFatsby » March 11th, 2013, 3:30 pm

j1huegel wrote:TGF, your 1k time trial is impressive! As are your improvement in fitness overall.

Stick with it and you will go far. Actually you will go nowhere, but that is the fate of indoor rowers!

Seriously, once you get accustomed to rowing, you can back off a bit and row for longer on those days when you don't want to push the envelope. I'll put on a movie or a video and pull away, and before I know it, 1/2 hour or more has gone by. You can alternate "hard days" where you work on specific things, and "easy days" where you chill on the erg and just pull at a moderate (UT2, UT1 in C2 language) pace, and build that aerobic base.

Hey, thanks for the encouragement and the advice. I'm happy with my times overall especially since they improved quickly after the first day.

I'd like to get to that point eventually, where I can casually row and enjoy some TV or something but it's hard to relax when you are my size and pushing yourself back and forth on this thing. Right now i'm trying to get my aerobic conditioning in a good place so I can do longer workouts but I hope some day to be able to casually row for extended periods of time as you've said.

Thanks again.
____________________________________

So for anyone who happens to see this thread I figure I'll keep checking in week to week. Maybe fatrower wont ever see it but maybe someone else who is in my predicament will, and besides, I love to report that i'm getting better on this.

Today was my first day at 10 min:
Image

SO close to making 2k in the 10 minutes! A lousy 7 meters! Oh well.. I still managed to take another 5 seconds off of my 500m split, and almost a 1min total improvement since I started on Feb 21st. Very happy with these results and still very motivated, and i'm looking forward to tomorrow morning where i'm confident I will complete my first ever 2k row.

I've decided to stay at 10 min morning sessions for the week and start adding more time next week. I think with the time trials every evening plus adding 1 minute every 3 days I was just trying to do too much too fast. After doing the time trials 2 days in a row I was just completely wiped out and I think my timed morning routine suffered because of it. So im switching to doing time trials in the evenings on Mon, Wed, and Fri only and adding 1-2 minutes to my morning routine every week to get my conditioning up.

Anyhow, thats my progress for the week, best of luck to everyone in their rowing!
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