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April 23, 2007 6:40 PM   Subscribe

Bodybuilding and Weight-losing filter: I’m planning to lose some weight around the hips, and at the same time work on my upperbody. The only catch is that I can’t afford to go to the gym right now, and was wondering if there are any exercises that I can do at home.

Someone suggested that I try Push-ups, and skipping. Would that work? I’m interested to know what exactly I should be doing, and how much of it should I do.

Thanks a lot to anyone who can help!
posted by hadjiboy to Health & Fitness (19 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
You can't do targetted fat reduction with anything except liposuction, so it doesn't matter what exercises you do in terms of losing "weight around the hips" as long as you are losing weight in general.

Can you get some dumbbells? Just some standard upper body work combined with cardio for weight loss is about the best you can do.
posted by Justinian at 6:43 PM on April 23, 2007

Also, I'm taking medication right now for a Mental illness which causes me to pack on the pounds (eat more). Just as an aside to the question at hand.
posted by hadjiboy at 6:46 PM on April 23, 2007

it doesn't matter what exercises you do in terms of losing "weight around the hips" as long as you are losing weight in general.

I didn't know that; I was under the impression that there are different exercises concentrated for different regions of the body?
posted by hadjiboy at 6:49 PM on April 23, 2007

You can do certain exercises to target certain muscle groups, which will contribute to a leaner look as you lose weight through cardio. Also, the more muscle mass you build, the higher your metabolism.
Were it me, I would do lots of lunges with free weights in order to both build quad (upper thighs) and arm muscles, while keeping up a good heart rate. It would probably be best to do 30 minutes of straight cardio (i.e. go for a powerwalk, get on a treadmill, bike) and then move to the muscle building exercises for the maximum benefit.
posted by messylissa at 6:58 PM on April 23, 2007

different exercises can tone parts of your body--develop the muscle, build it and make it more defined--but there's nothing you can do that will only take the fat off your hips and nowhere else.

i imagine the standard advice you will get is to eat right, do some cardio (running, fast walking, swimming, dancing, anything that gets you breathing hard and breaking a sweat) and use dumbbells to develop your upper body. here are some exercises you can try.
posted by thinkingwoman at 7:01 PM on April 23, 2007

hadjiboy - thinkingwoman answered you but I'll chime in again to agree. You can target muscles with different exercises, but not fat. So, for example, crunches would help build your abdominal muscles but wouldn't get rid of abdominal fat except in the sense that they burn calories and if you lose weight in general some of that weight will come from your abdomen.
posted by Justinian at 7:23 PM on April 23, 2007

Muscles can be targeted, fat cannot.
posted by rhizome at 7:23 PM on April 23, 2007

I just saw this Sports Hoop that looks totally fun and seems to target the mid-section.

Also, see Shovelglove for a great workout!

And you can't beat the inexpensive jump rope for a great workout either. Best of luck in your fitness endeavors!
posted by Sassyfras at 7:24 PM on April 23, 2007

SimpleFit.. like CrossFit, but simplier.

Running, push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, skipping rope, pull-ups.. pretty much the basics, done consistently, are what you need.
posted by hobbes at 7:36 PM on April 23, 2007

Check out the web for discussions of "spot reduction", which is the weightlifting community's main term for the idea that you can selectively burn fat. As you might have guessed from the previous responses, it is mostly considered a myth.
posted by galaksit at 7:53 PM on April 23, 2007

If you want to drop pounds relatively quickly, you've got to change your diet, period. Easy stuff: more water, more vegetables, stop eating fast food, stop drinking pop (soda, cola, whatever people not from Western New York call it). Eat healthy snacks and smaller meals, don't let yourself get hungry. Olive oil instead of butter.

Harder stuff: make sure to eat breakfast daily, less sugar, more complex carbs, blah blah blah.

Easy exercise: cf. above, plus...take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever you can, walk/bike to work instead of driving/subway. And so forth.

Best of luck!
posted by waxbanks at 8:09 PM on April 23, 2007

It's all about running for me... just start easy, find ways to have fun with it, and it can be fun enough to do just for itself (I've always found that exercise 'just' for any cosmetic reason doesn't stick for a lot of people, including myself.)
posted by tmcw at 8:33 PM on April 23, 2007

Some bodyweight exercise links I've collected -
Building an Olympic Body through Bodyweight Conditioning
Combat Fitness
Balance Training (don't underestimate the workout you'll get from these)
Back Exercises

Bodyweight exercises are good for people who can't go to the gym or afford equipment, so try googling "bodyweight exercise," and you'll get a lot of results. Mostly you'll find that the exercises are variations on ones you know already; situps, pushups, etc.
posted by lekvar at 9:18 PM on April 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

exercises that emphasize flexiblity such as yoga or my favorite, pilates can sometimes give you better posture and tone, which I found very encouraging in terms of visual effect. it's most helpful if you can take 3-5 sessions to learn technique, but after that you can do it at home for a long time (took pilates class 3 years ago and still do some mat exercises from it with an audio cd). audio cd for me is better since it doesn't involve trying to watch a screen.
posted by ejaned8 at 11:24 PM on April 23, 2007

I’m planning to lose some weight around the hips, and at the same time work on my upperbody.

Just in case you've reached this far and are still maintaining some distant hope, I'm here to quash your spot-reduction fantasies for good.

You can't target weight loss. It's simply not the way the body works. The body will put fat wherever it deems fit: for men, this tends to be around the midsection. For women, the legs and buttocks. In order to take it off in one place, you have to take it off in every place. You have to deprive your body of its energy storage (fat), basically working backwards from how your body put it on. Because fat is one of the last things the body will look to for energy (damned ice ages), this will probably take a while.

Low-intensity, high duration. That's the key to fat loss from an exercise standpoint. You'll have to fix your diet up as well.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:00 AM on April 24, 2007

You can do a lot with a couple dumbbells at home. I personally don't like yoga tapes, but some people may find them helpful.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 6:45 AM on April 24, 2007

You might want to look at the Men's Health Home Workout Bible. You'll need weights for most of the exercises.

Like people have said above, you can do plenty with just your bodyweight. You'll need to throw in some cardio as well - which is easy enough - run, or bike, or jump rope, or do whatever interests you and gets the heart going. A chin up/ pull up bar will really work the upper body as well.

For losing weight, the big factor is eating well. It's a lot easier to eat/drink calories than it is to burn them off with exercise. I hit my body with exercise (full body workout using weights, and my bodyweight, plus cardio [look into HIIT] and yoga) and went from 3 (too) large meals, to 5-6 smaller meals a day and lost about 30lbs. But don't neglect the exercise. The fitter you are, the more efficiently you'll burn calories.
posted by backwards guitar at 8:03 AM on April 24, 2007

buy some dumbbells and put together a dumbbell workout program ... add some cardio ... and you are there. Cheap and cheerful
posted by jannw at 10:17 AM on April 24, 2007

At the community colleges in my area, you can enroll in an open 'fitness' class, that allows you access to the gym and equipment any time it's open (fairly broad hours). The fees for community college here are about 10 bucks a unit. So, for ten bucks a semester, you can join a gym and as a plus, there is zero attitude problem.
posted by serazin at 11:00 AM on April 24, 2007

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