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#387697 - 03/20/08 12:39 PM weights and tai chi
trevek Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/15/05
Posts: 3337
Loc: Poland
OK, the situation is I'm fat, overweight and unfit due to a lapse (ok, a long lapse) in serious training. As I can only train sporadically, my TC hasn't got very far. I have, however, found a local fitness gym where I can attempt to get back to something resembling "slightly fitter".

Never having done a weights regime I decided to take both the cardio and weights option. Now I'm not pumping huge mounts, just a basic hours work out... 20 mins cardio, several sets of reps on the machines (curls, lifts, etc... between 20-30kgs) and another 30 mins cardio (OK, it can be more but that's the basic).

The thing is my Sifu commented that weights, curls, crunches etc are not really the most beneficial type of training for the TC.

Any comments?
See how well I block your punches with my jaw!!

Supporting everyone saying "nuts to cancer"

#387698 - 03/20/08 01:01 PM Re: weights and tai chi [Re: trevek]
ttruscott Offline
Annoying ex-Member who tries to advertise on every post

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 31
Loc: BC Canada
Weight training for strength is counter to real tai chi methods of producing power but whether you care or not would depend on your reason for training tai chi.

If your tai chi is for flexibility and general fitness and health then weight training won't matter. But if you are really trying to understand the dynamics of how to produce internal (joint based) power rather than external (muscle based) power, it will slow you down.
"Fear, not compassion, restrains the wicked."

#387699 - 03/20/08 05:37 PM Re: weights and tai chi [Re: ttruscott]
trevek Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/15/05
Posts: 3337
Loc: Poland
So even minimal weight training, crunches etc aren't a good idea? My puzzlement is that if I was doing a heavy lifting job (like I used to) would that affect it too?

Edited by trevek (03/20/08 05:38 PM)
See how well I block your punches with my jaw!!

Supporting everyone saying "nuts to cancer"

#387700 - 03/20/08 07:45 PM Re: weights and tai chi [Re: trevek]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Definitely not... at least not initially. A weight training regime that focuses on muscle group isolation is the worst thing you can do. The mechanics are diametrically opposed to internal training.

There are many ways to get fit and develop overall body strength without using weights. Check out "bodyweight culture" and "Paul Zaichek".

#387701 - 03/20/08 08:19 PM Re: weights and tai chi [Re: trevek]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
weights themselves aren't counter-productive, it's what you do with the weights that determines where the gains are.

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#387702 - 03/20/08 08:29 PM Re: weights and tai chi [Re: trevek]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
sorry to be blunt, but simply "working out" isn't going to solve your problem. You need some lifestyle changes and diet if you're overweight. That's how you got that way in the first place, and simply working out with weights and then going to the food trough for a fill-up won't change your weight or body structure very much.

I don't know how old you are, but when I was in my 40's, I lost about 30 pounds by a combination of dieting and exercise. I went on the "diabetes association" exchange diet, and worked out in karate, judo and jujutsu for 3 hours 4 nights a week... and got back down to my "fighting weight".

If all you do is diet, you'll lose weight for a while, but you'll have "creep" where you wander off the reservation a bit and those calories will add up again. If all you do is exercise, you'll get "in shape", but you'll be replacing all the calories you burn getting that way and nothing much will change... except you'll get irritated that you don't seem to be gaining any ground.... been there, done that.

Seriously, you need some help in more than one area of life, and it takes both dedication and discipline to make it work. My poor wife dieted all her life, and occasionally, I could get her to exercise... and she would make gains toward losing weight, and then the "creep" would start... where she "fell off the wagon" and started snacking on cookies, etc. that brought the weight back. It takes more than one solution to make it work... and you have to learn to schedule your "binges" so you work off the extra calories.

My wife read and tried almost every diet on the planet earth, but she never committed to the other side of the equation. That's why she was never successful at losing weight.

I'm in the process of changing my workout schedule to a more intense level, and checking the cabinets and freezer to see what I need to change there to get into better shape myself, so I'm not just bloviating at you about this. I know what it takes, and I've done it before, so while I know the formula, it's a matter of how much deprivation you're willing to endure to "have the body you want".

Good luck at it... if you need encouragement, send us emails and we'll pump you back up to keep you on the right path.

What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

#387703 - 03/21/08 01:14 AM Re: weights and tai chi [Re: wristtwister]
ButterflyPalm Offline

Registered: 08/26/04
Posts: 2637
Loc: Malaysia
Moderate weight training would not do any damage to your TC, but whether it will get the blubber off is another matter; in fact many TC masters have done some hard MA before coming to TC and in my own experience once your chi begins to flow, all the old hardness just dissolves away and my movements actually look "feminine"

The danger of heavy weight training is that once you stop, you get more blubber than what you started with.

However you can try to kill two birds by tensing your whole body slightly on all out-ward/out-breath
movements, and since you are doing Chen style, this will in time increase your jin power as well.
I'll rather be happy than right, anytime.

#387704 - 03/21/08 06:36 AM Re: weights and tai chi [Re: ButterflyPalm]
trevek Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/15/05
Posts: 3337
Loc: Poland
Ah, some excellent words. Thanks guys... I knew I was right to ask.

So, the main problems is isolation of muscles... I see. That makes sense. Thanks eyrie.

wristtwister: Never worry about being blunt with me; blunt is good. I understand and agree about the lifestyle chganges. It was, as you say, that which got me in this situation. Before getting married and moving here to work as a teacher I was involved in theatre and was moving and singing a lot, which gives a lot of exercise. I was also walking everywhere... and eating like a horse (at least a horse that eats a lot of meat and cheese). Fine while I was active, but the lifestyle change meant I was training less and sitting more. It got worse when we got a car (at least I was walking to the bus-stop).

Lonliness of the long-distance trainer and the clash of club times with work led/lead to me suddenly realising I have done nothing physical for a while. Binges in exercise and binges in eating are/have been common, especially with Polish religious holidays.

Anyway, I was talking with some of the girls at the school and they do aerobics etc. They asked me why i didn't do anything like that and I said it was due to the times i worked. One of the girls mentioned that there was a new gym near where I lived and, having a few hours in the morning, it seemed a better way to spend the morning than sitting infront of the internet (like I'm doing now!).

So, 3-4 times a week I'm doing cardio (bicycles, treadmill etc) and basic weights. Also returning to my stretching (naughty boy that I am!). The main thing about it all is that it is a start at re-establishing some kind of physical discipline in my life/routine.The food situation is gradual, declaring a diet doesn't work... so, fruit at work instead of bars of chocolate (sob sob!), more cereal or breakfast instead of cheese salad rolls etc. Less Coke, beer, etc.

MA-wise, I've been trying to train as regulary as i can but it doesn't help having a job/boss which disregards my needs timewise. Hence I might start a club and then my hours change... or, as happened last year, I started training in TKD again (and capoeirra) and then developed back/neck problems and was advised against it. Age (I'm 41) and neglect means I've had to reassess what it is adviseable to do and to train in.

Intense isn't a good idea with my character anymore, as "intense" tends to translate into "binge".

Main problem with the Chen is that I have to have individual classes with my Sifu and we haven't been able to make them regular, due to our own timetables and me working in UK during the summer. As it is, I'm still learning the old-form and haven't done any application in any great amount.

I'm little more than an aging hippy, these days, but plodding on with the TC (and using is the last thread I have with MA at the moment and stops me just throwing my hands up in the air and saying "To hell with it! Install the cable TV and open the fridge".

It just seems that whenever I mange to start doing something then something else pops up to negate it. (Oh no, I'm heading into Rikki Lake territory with this post!).

Butterfly, feminine is good. I aimed at a lot of that with my theatre work. I also have contact with dancers, and it is interesting to watch how much power some of these kids have.

Thanks again guys, hope I haven't bored you all.
See how well I block your punches with my jaw!!

Supporting everyone saying "nuts to cancer"

#387705 - 03/21/08 06:37 AM Re: weights and tai chi [Re: trevek]
trevek Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/15/05
Posts: 3337
Loc: Poland
Funny thing, my Sifu had a knee injury last year and when he resumed training he had put on some weight. He commented that at last he was the right shape for doing TC.

Hmmm, just looked at Ed's link and recall my wife's uncle has a medicine ball in the garage...

Butterfly; thanks for the advice. I have just had a startling idea (for a teacher, I amaze myself)... maybe I could ask my Sifu about such exercises (duh!).

Thanks guys.

Edited by trevek (03/21/08 06:52 AM)
See how well I block your punches with my jaw!!

Supporting everyone saying "nuts to cancer"

#387706 - 03/21/08 02:54 PM Re: weights and tai chi [Re: trevek]
JAMJTX Offline

Registered: 12/01/02
Posts: 585
Loc: Fort Wayne, IN
I'm sure someone better qualified will be answering most of your "weight training" questions.

I will tell you that Taichi will not really help you lose weight, gain muscular strength or really get in shape at all. You will reap many benefits but you do need to do some weight training and perhaps even an aerobic exercise.

If you want the weight training to benefit your taichi and martial arts in general, train for strength and endurance - not for bulking up. You don't want to lose flexibility and range of motion.

Talk about these goals and how to achieve them with your weight trainer. I've seen some good responses from CORD with regards to weight training. If he does not chime in here, PM him and ask him to join in.

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