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I've been trying to dig around the forums for info, and there's certainly a lot of good advice, but most of it is very specific, so I suppose I'll start my first thread with all kinds of general stuff. Maybe this is too general for a running forum, but I'll ask anyway.

I'm 27, 6'0" exactly, and I weigh 190 lbs. I'm not an overweight guy, but I've got a few extra pounds in the middle that just won't go away.

I run 5 miles about 4 times a week. I suppose I'm not that consistant. It's been raining so much lately, and then when it's not raining it seems like it's 90-degrees out within an hour of the sun coming up, but I try to run about 20 miles a week. Where I live, there are a bunch of beautiful bike paths, and I generally stretch out, run 2.5 miles on the path to a water fountain, get a little drink, stretch out again, and run 2.5 miles back.

Every week or two in the summer, I also ride my bike about 50 miles.

I've been trying to eat better lately. I haven't really been having any fat, and I'm trying to have several small meals a day, one or two being a protein shake.

I also do about 100 crunches in the morning. I lift a couple times a week, but not so much in the summer because it seems like a waste being inside.

To quote Lester Burnham, I wanna look good naked! It's just not working. I don't need to be any smaller, but what do I have to do to get abs?

As far as running, I'm just not getting any better. If I don't run for a week, the first time I have trouble, but after that I can manage the 5 miles without walking any, but it still takes some effort and I still have to go pretty slow sometimes. I'm just not getting any faster. I have asthma, but it's not serious. I just feel uncomfortable because I can't get a good deep breath a lot of times, but that's nothing that I shouldn't be able to work through.

In changing my diet, it really makes things tougher because I just don't have as much energy. I have to have a pretty big breakfast, or I'm really tired as soon as I start to run. Is it too much to try to eat less and run more at the same time? I don't think any amount of sit-ups is going to help me if I've got fat covering my abs, but there's no fat anywhere else on me, and I don't want to go on some kind of excessive diet and lose muscle.

I guess my question is: what am I doing wrong? I just don't see much change at all. My pants started fitting a little better, but I've fluctuated between 190-195 for the past several years, and most of that can be attributed to gaining muscle in the winter when I lift. I completely change my diet, and I've gotta say I don't really notice any difference from when I was eating fast food constantly.

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Wow, that's alot of stuff. oh, and WELCOME ABOARD!!!

Just a couple suggestions and I'll let everyone else have their chance.

-How much do you eat at nights? You may want to rearrange your diet so that you eat more during the day and less at night...(make your night-time snack something healthy! like an orange).

-You're hitting good mileage but I think you need to rearrange it some. Instead of 4 runs of 5 miles, I'd opt for trimming down some runs to fit a long run in there...

ex.

three 4 mile runs and one 8 mile run?

-And try to thrown in some weights at least twice a week as well! It works wonders for your endurance (and your body).

Good luck!
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Number 1. Get your asthma checked by an allergist.
I have asthma, but it's not serious. I just feel uncomfortable because I can't get a good deep breath a lot of times, but that's nothing that I shouldn't be able to work through.
Shouldn't have to 'work through' getting a breath. Besides, it never hurts to ask. And of course, drugs are a wonderful thing.

OK food. Make sure that every time you eat, no portion is larger than your fist. And the several smaller meals per day is a good thing. The object for weight loss is to turn your metabolism up, and eating more often will help do that. Just make sure that all those meals are nutritious and 'proper' stuff, instead of gut rot (my favorite).
And having a proper amount of carbs in your diet should help with the lack of energy thing.

You've got it right about the abs. No amount of crunches will give you a wash-board look if your abdomen is surrounded by a layer of fat. But keep in mind, that you can't 'spot reduce'. The fat weight will be reduced through out your entire body.

For instance, I gain my weight in my hips and thighs (typical female). If I want to lose the fat weight accululated there I have to do 3 things:
Decrease my caloric input.
Increase my aerobic output.
Engage in weight resistance training. The more dense your muscles are, the more calories you'll burn at rest.

And running. Shelfie had a great idea of adding a long run to your routine. You also might want to add some faster paced running; tempo runs, fartlek, speedwork on a track, hill work, etc.

Changing things tempo-wise will do two things:
Help with improving your overall speed
Burn calories faster.

And one last thing. Give yourself some time for the noticeable changes to take place. It didn't take you a day (or a week) to get into the shape you're in right now, so it won't take that long to get into the shape you want to be.
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Welcome!!! Everyone has given you some great ideas. Make sure you aren't eating more than you think. I have that problem....my 1/2 cup of cereal gets larger, and larger...

Unfortunetly these things just take time. I'm currently having a showdown with my spare tire also. I've lost from everywhere but there, and it doesn't seem to be budging. I'm confident it will though. (or at least I keep telling myself that)

My other suggestion is make sure you're eating enough! You mention a lack of energy, and if you aren't giving yourself enough fuel, you're going to have less energy, as well as slow your metabolism which won't do anything for your weight loss. It seems strange, but once I began to eat more, I began to lose weight. I currently eat about 2000-2200 to lose a pound a week. As a guy, you may need more than that.

Glad you're here!

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and I just read today that doing a long run will cause your body to tap into fat stores instead of glycogen stores to fuel your run. that may be just the thing you're looking for
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I've got nothing to say about diet and working for abs. But with the running... they're right when they say mix it up. If you want to notice some good improvement, run quarters at a good fast pace and a long run at a slower pace. I haven't been doing it lately, but I try to do 3 or 4 normal runs, 1 "speed work" (quarters), and 1 long run each week. And push yourself! If I don't try to run farther and faster, I don't make very much progress.
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Thanks for the replies! shelflifers: I've been trying not to eat much at nights. I eat a pretty decent amount for breakfast, but I've been trying to follow the guideline of having half my calories before noon and not eating anything right before I go to sleep. I don't follow this very well on Friday night and Saturday, though. I'll start fitting the weights in the summer, too. I've seen people talking about long runs, but I thought that only applied to people in better shape than me... I've just been trying to put in more miles and hopefully magically be able to go farther. I have been making progress. For several years, I've only been running 3 miles 3-4 times a week over the summer, but I ran some on an indoor track this winter, and this summer I'm doing the 5-mile run about 4x a week. Now, if I start putting in a long run every week, what guidlines should I have for that? For example, where I am right now, if I take a day off, have a good breakfast, etc, I could do a little over 6 miles at an OK pace (for me that's probably barely under 50 minutes), or I could do 8 miles if I stop for 3-4 minutes in the middle, or if I turn it into an interval-type thing where I break into a slow jog a couple times. flarunner: I was on Ventolin in highschool, but it really didn't make much of a difference. Doctors used to think I had asthma, but I actually don't (or else it's very mild). I hesitate to get into it, because it's nothing to worry about, though to the uninformed it sounds like I'm critically ill. I have slight lung damage (CLD) from being born 10 weeks premature, and I have a mitral heart valve prolapse (MVP), which both cause some asthma-like symptoms. I've been to specialists about this. It doesn't get worse over time, your heart still works fine, and it's not dangerous -- aerobic exercise is actually the best treatment for it. The doctor who gave me a chest ultrasound said almost every person he ever checked for MVP had it. It is speculated that up to 20% of the population (mostly women) have it. There's a lot of good info about it on . I really do have to do more fast running. I just make this mental connection that goes from "get in shape" to "go run" to "get as many miles as you can." I'm sure a lot of people have the problem of just associating running with keeping up the same pace for an hour. Distance was never my strong point. In high school, I won the conference in the 400m every year in track, but I wasn't very good in cross-country. I only ever started cross-country because my mom wouldn't let me play football, and it was more of a social thing. Still, I'd really like to get better at the long runs. I have trouble knowing how much carbs I should be getting. I can make a good connection between not eating and not having any energy, but some days I eat just a little and have plenty energy, and other days I'll have a ton of carbs and I'll just feel a complete lack of energy even though my legs aren't actually tired. My shins are starting to hurt a little, so I think I probably also need new shoes. It always takes awhile for it to occur to me that I need new shoes, because I don't use the shoes for anything besides running, and they always look new. A couple years ago I thought I was just turning into an old man, because I would ice my shins, take some ibeuprofin, and my shins and back would still kill me even after I'd taken a day or two off. My Sauconys looked brand new, but they were 3 years old. I got new shoes and felt like I could run forever. I really like the Adidas Torsions I'm using now -- very light with a lot of inner support, but I think they lost some bounce after I ran in the rain a couple weeks ago. I mostly just see people talking about New Balance, Brooks, Saucony and Asics. I don't like a big clunky shoe, but I need a decent amount of support to keep my right foot from rolling in. I kind of kick my right foot out to the side a little and have to pay attention or I'll land a little pidgeon-toed, which causes big pronation. kattzoo: Half a cup of cereal??? You're calling that a meal? I know what you mean about eating more and losing weight. Maybe I should just give up trying to eat less. I'm not really an overweight guy, and most of the time that I lose weight I've actually lost muscle and sometimes even gained a little fat. I've lost 5 lbs. since the winter, but sometimes I think that was all lost in my pecs. Trying to eat less and run more may be a bit much, so I'll try to focus more on eating better things (not necessarily less) and getting more endurance. keltic63: Yeah, I really need to work on this long run thing, but the sad part is that 5 miles seems kind of long already... MechEngDropout: I definitely need to fit in a day of quarters. That's my race! But what kind of schedule is a good starting point? Maybe 1 day with 10 all-out quarters, 3 days with a 4-mile run, 1 day with an 8-mile run, and 2 days off a week?

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First off, chin up buckeroo. You can do all of what you want to but just give yourself some time. And don't be so hard on yourself. OK, back to food. Try out this website for finding out your basal metabolic rate. Once you know that, then you'll know how many calories you'll need per day to survive, etc. If you want, do a search for BMR and try a couple of different sites because there are two different methods of determining it. Or, you could PM me and I can give you those formulas. Give yourself a goal which you will want to achieve. For example: lose 10 lbs. Something that you can evaluate and measure. As opposed to just "lose weight". Once you know what you're working towards, then setting about getting there becomes easier. So, if you're goal is to lose the love handles, you might want to change that to: Lose 10 lbs of fat weight, or maybe decrease BF% by 2-3% (see? measurable). Then of course, you'll need to give yourself a timeframe in which to achieve this goal. And the timeframe needs to be realistic. So, then your goal could be: Lose 10 lbs of fat weight by Sept. 1st. Once you have the goal, then you just need to set up the plan to achieve that goal. How many calories do you need per day as evidenced by your BMR? How many calories would you burn per run based on your estimated VO2? Got a formula to figure that out if you want it. Long run. If 5 miles seems like a long run to you, then great! Start with that being your long run, then work your way up longer. If that's what your goals are. Everybody has to start somewhere. And that sounds like a great place for you to start. And now shoes. It's been my experience having worked in a running specialty store for 5 years, that most individuals get about 500 miles on a pair of running shoes. Your mileage may vary. Every shoe company (yes, every shoe company) makes good running shoes. It just depends on which shoe feels the best on your foot, AND which shoe works the best with your running biomechanics. So get thee to a running speciality store and pick the brain of the friendly and helpful running shoe sales associate. You'll know it's a good store if they want to watch you run in the shoes.

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One thing I forgot to add is that I think cardio is definitely my biggest problem. I'm pretty strong, and I can go ride my bike 40 miles in the Spring without even building up to it, but where I'm really hurting is after the first couple miles of a run, when I'm really tired even though my legs aren't actually hurting. flarunner: Well, my shoes barely have 200 miles on them. My shins are probably just hurting from running so many consecutive days on asphalt. Thanks for the advice, and I'll check out that site and all the metabolic stuff, but it's a beautiful 75-degree day with a cool breeze, so I'm leaving for now :)

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hi and welcome :wavey:

no way i can add anything to the good advice you've received. good luck getting back into motion on a continuing and increasing level.

thanks for the MVP link. i've got one too
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Well, I haven't been running quite as much as I should lately, but I seem to be doing a lot better. I've been changing where I run, and trying to fit in one long run a week. I tried to run 15 miles a month ago, but that was a little crazy and I had to walk quite a bit once the sun came out and it got up to 90. Last week I dropped my bike off 8 miles away, then ran out to it and rode my bike back. The 1-way run was pretty fun, and even though I was running pretty slow, that was the farthest I'd gone without any sort of break.

Today I ran another 8 miles in 70 minutes, which probably seems pretty pathetic, but keeping up an 8:45 pace is really good for me. In high school, I think the best time I ever got in the 5K was just under 22 min.

Thanks again for all the advice, everybody.
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