Goal • 53YO Requesting Advice • Compete nationally and internationally

randzman

Rookie
Hi, this is Randy, from Philly.

I’m 52, 5’8”, 335 lbs. (lost 70 so far; ≈ 100 to go)

I’d like to hear some advice and experiences from other players who went from very heavy to not (so very) heavy.

I’d also like to hear about the options to compete both nationally and internationally - the goals being (which I’ve completely taking a guess at… hence the request for feedback):

1) Lose the rest of my weight over the next 12-18 months (8-10 per month), continue playing and practicing and improve to a 4.0 (I’d say I’m a 2.0-2.5 … serve is weakest), and start competing locally in two years (age 55, Spring 2017).

2) Increase to a 4.5 (relatively speaking?…not completely clear about ratings and rankings) by age 57 (Spring 2017) and play and travel competitively even in my 70’s, even 80’s (which I think is realistic given I’m very athletic, despite my weight, for a 53 year old and most everyone in my family is pretty lucky enough to age well).

I’ve joined a club, Idle Hour in (just outside) Philly, clay courts!, and they have a ball machine (and hard courts) for practice (which, given my present level, seems far more effective than playing I think).

Thanks!
 

beernutz

Hall of Fame
Hey randzman, welcome to the forum!

First and foremost these are just my own opinions as a 55--almost 56 *groan*--year old newly 4.0 computer rated USTA player who has played tennis my entire life but never anything official except USTA and local doubles league tennis starting about 10 years ago.

If your first goal is to lose weight by playing tennis then in my opinion tennis even singles is not that great of a way to lose weight. I think you can keep weight off playing singles but to me it isn't/hasn't been that effective as a weight loss technique even when I was playing 4 singles matches a week and maybe practicing with a ball machine one additional time per week. However, everyone is different I will grant you and you'll probably hear differing opinions on this which I respect.

However, I do think that tennis, particularly singles, can provide a good motivation to lose weight through other means, such as dieting, weight training, and aerobics. Every pound you lose makes it that much easier to play long singles matches against those retrievers who seem to get everything back and whose primary goal seems to be to win through attrition.

Even if you are a natural athlete, I think moving from a 2.5 to a 4.5 level of play in 4 or 5 years (the subject line says you're 53 but the body of your post says 52) when you turn 57 will be very difficult. It is not impossible and I wouldn't let that discourage you because I think just getting to 4.0 in that time given you are trying to lose 100 pounds too will be tough. I know many of my former teammates at 3.5 who have been at that level for decades and will never make it to 4.0 so getting to 4.5 is a really big step.

You didn't mention it but getting lessons from a qualified tennis instructor is in my opinion going to be required for you to make it to 4.5 and will be very helpful no matter what level you aspire to. Most of the 4.5's I know are former junior players with years of instruction behind them or even former college players. I know a few players who played other sports in college such as my friend who played shortstop on scholarship at an SEC school, took up tennis as an adult and made it to 4.5 but stories like his are pretty rare.

Again, I don't want to discourage you from your goals and it is good to set high ones for long term because you can always revise them once you've played some league tennis and see how hard (or easy) it is going to be for you to win at each successive level.
 
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randzman

Rookie
Thanks beernutz!

Beernutz, if that is even your real name! :) ... I'll not be using tennis to lose weight... if I'm lucky I'll be able to play in the Fall.

Can you show me videos of a 50's 4.0? 4.5? ... as I noted I'm really semi- guessing about the levels. (Congratulations on 4.0! .. )
 

maggmaster

Hall of Fame
Just as a bit of perspective and not to reduce your drive here is my experience thus far with competitive tennis. I played as a lazy junior from 8-15, I learned the basics of the game but little else. I quit to play soccer in college and took a 10 year break from the game. In my 20s I picked it back up as a way to compete in something. It was like starting over. Like you, I decided to set a high goal for myself so I told myself that I wanted to win a national tournament in the 35s age group. I am 32 now, I have hit basically every day barring injury, I train with a coach once every other week and have a regular rotation of high level hitting partners. I hit on the ball machine for 5+ hours per week and spend hours a week in the gym as well. Last year was my first year with a winning record at 4.0. I actually still have the same goal, I am hoping that if I keep working, keep trying hard, I will get there. Set a goal and drive towards it the worst possibility is that you end up better than you were at the beginning.
 
Randzman, if you're athletic at all you are probably a 3.0/3.5 now or soon can be. Given that I've never seen you play, 4.0 would be a realistic goal for you. The jump to 4.5 is an exponential one. I've seen ex-pro athletes like footballers or basketball players make it but they worked at it very hard. You can play national tournaments, all you have to do is pay your money and you'll have a match. I would encourage you to do it to gage your progress and get a real lesson for how the game is really played, and then stick around to watch some real players compete. Work on your serve, it's the most important shot in tennis, if you can get the ball in the box they have to play you. Find a pro who knows how to teach sound fundamentals of stroke technique and stick with him for about 10 years or as much as you can afford.

G'luck!
 

randzman

Rookie
maggmaster
I identify with you - yours is the routine I'm looking forward to doing. The worst possibility is that I'll have a lifetime of joyful playing and health (which actually is my life's desire - to go outside and play).

tennis tom
Yep, I'm athletic at all (to make a interesting word play). I think if I was 100 lbs lighter I could be a 3.0/3.5 because when I'm with the ball machine I can make ok shots. To me it seems that having the ability to manage the court (get in good position) and have endurance (to consistently get in good position) is 80-90%? of the game. For me I think vision may become a problem because I can't really see the instance where the ball connects to the racket. It seems to me that I had to actually re-focus my eyes around the time the ball hit the ground on my site to be able to track it well - and I can't really see the ball 'sit' on the racket when I hit it (can anyone? ... looking at the pros photos it seems they can see the ball 'ON' the racket just like I might picking up up a pencil.)

You did answer a question I had which was 'linear or exponential with skill building'? (because I see pros are a 6 but is the jump from 4 to 6 the same as 2 to 4?... seems not!)

I do NOT know how the game is really played... I am for the moment just plain bashing and trying to keep it in play. Serve is my worst part but I do think that's largely weight related as I can't manage the body well enough. And I have started weight training as well because I see, through playing golf, that forearm and core strength is critical.

Finding a coach will come later but no question I can't teach myself.

"...the human emotional system was not designed to endure the mental rigors of a tennis match." (tennis is FAR harder than golf ... it's golf with running).
 

J_R_B

Hall of Fame
1. Lose 150 lbs
2. Join Radley Run Country Club
3. Pay for lessons from Nathan Healey
4. Prosper
 

kevrol

Hall of Fame
At 53 and currently a 2.0-2.5 I think 4.5 is probably a pipe dream. 4.0 would be a lofty but achievable goal.

I played casually during my college years. Picked the game up again at 39. Am 43 now and have gone from 2.5 to 3.5. Realistically I don't see myself going past 4.0.

Perhaps your situation is different and you can devote more time and money to the game than I can. Still I play a couple times a week in the winter, 4-5 times a week in spring, summer and fall. Play in 2 leagues at a time, mix in 4-5 tournaments throughout the year and maybe take 1-2 lessons a year.

It would take a big shift for me away from playing and more towards practicing to focus on getting to 4.5. Given the time I have to play I'd rather spend it playing matches than practicing. If that means not advancing past 3.5 or 4.0 then so be it. I can live with that.
 

maggmaster

Hall of Fame
The only way to become competitive with 4.5/5.0 players is by doing a ridiculous amount of drills and work to correct technical issues with your game.
 

beernutz

Hall of Fame
Beernutz, if that is even your real name! :) ... I'll not be using tennis to lose weight... if I'm lucky I'll be able to play in the Fall.

Can you show me videos of a 50's 4.0? 4.5? ... as I noted I'm really semi- guessing about the levels. (Congratulations on 4.0! .. )
Beernutz is not my real name but would have been if my parents had given me any say in the matter. :)

Thanks. I worked pretty hard to get that bump including taking lessons, working on a ball machine to groove troublesome strokes, and many hours by myself on a court practicing serves. That is in addition to typically playing two league and one social match each week and running every day that I don't play tennis.

There are lots of computer rated forum members who have posted video of themselves. Do a search in the Tennis Tips forum and you'll find more than you need but be aware that a lot of players who don't have an actual USTA rating will post that they have one. You get a rating as a result of playing matches, not because your strokes look a particular way.
 
If you can breathe and stand-up you are already a 3.0. I don't know anyone playing at a club who says they are a 2.0/2.5. Club/rec tennis is 3.5/4.0. From where you're coming from you won't be breathing the same air as a 4.5 or above unless you get a ranking by playing tournaments.

If you can afford it get a teaching pro now before you get too many bad habits that will be impossible to break or you'll have to pay 10 times more to a pro to undo.

The serve is still the most important shot in tennis and you can practice it on your own with a basket of balls. The return of serve is the second most important shot, if you see someone practicing their serve, politely ask them if you can return them. Be as unobtrusive as you can, it's their practice court and they are doing you a favor by letting you return their serves, although a breathing body on the other side of the net does change the dynamics and you may be doing them a slight favor. Afterwards offer them to buy a beer.
 

Jamesm182

Semi-Pro
Playing matches in a tournament setting will provide you with a good tool to measure your progress, im from the uk , but through the forum i am familiar with the ratings process over there.
If you dont play tournaments or matches that *count* for something you wont have any idea how your strokes that you work and develop will hold up under any sort of pressure ( a match) , match play is a very different environment from practicing and training, and is something that can take years to master.

If you dont give yourself the opportunity to work on your mental game you are really limiting your future progress.

Regarding the wgith loss, massive congrats to make the decision to change your life and enjoy exercise and taking part in sports.
If , over time you still have the same drive and determination you do now, then progress could be good
 

TennisCJC

Legend
Hi Randy, sounds like you have gotten the tennis bug and set some good goals.

My advice is more toward learning tennis skills. I suggest developing a lesson plan. You might want to consider taking 4-6 lessons with a good pro to cover the basics of good technique, footwork, positioning and tactics. Then work on what you have learned for 6 months and then take another series of 4-6 lessons to monitor progress and ramp up more. I would take the lessons every week or every other week. I stress lesson because developing good stroke patterns on all the shots is critical early in the process. If you are going to work hard, you want to be sure you are working on the right things.

Also, once you feel comfortable with your game, join a team. This is a great way to meet other players and get some good competition.

As far as losing weight, I would suggest you compliment your tennis workout with gym work for cardio, strengthening and flexibility. I am in late 50s and workout 4+ times per week to keep the body fit enough to handle the demands of tennis.

Best of luck and remember to have fun along the way.
 

randzman

Rookie
(I've not been getting notifications about new messages. So I'll reply briefly and hope no one feels alienated... I'll reply more later. Now that I'm getting this very generous support I'm now thinking about making a once-a-month video hitting with the ball machine or something...both for me and for feedback...should not be tough as I have the equipment... even my iphone on a tiny tripod would get it done.)

Clintspin - on the 4.5 match, thank you for that. I think they both have similar skill but the gentleman in white's footwork isn't as good... his left foot gets stuck, feet too wide, and then his forehand 'blocks' (like in golf when your feel are too wide...it's a slice).. and it's low, right, and in the net. His serve is also different... is that a good or bad way to do that?

Based on that video I'm now think I'm 3.5-4.0. If I could serve (and was 100lbs lighter!) I could play with them.

TennisCJC
Tennis isn't part of my weight loss plan ... only an occasional supplement. Walking and cross-training are my focus .... I need some strength too.
 

randzman

Rookie
maggmaster
I will indeed be doing footwork drills. (I actually look forward to that ... I've seen some YouTube drills like the spider and such.)

?(Is 5.0 that much better than 4.5?)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_j7Tuq-5I0

"if you see someone practicing their serve, politely ask them if you can return them."

LOL! ... that is so simple and utterly effective ... be a tennis sparing partner... I bet I could get some time on indoor courts doing that... wouldn't have to join another club.
 

Chelsie1

Rookie
Hi Randy, sounds like you have gotten the tennis bug and set some good goals.

My advice is more toward learning tennis skills. I suggest developing a lesson plan. You might want to consider taking 4-6 lessons with a good pro to cover the basics of good technique, footwork, positioning and tactics. Then work on what you have learned for 6 months and then take another series of 4-6 lessons to monitor progress and ramp up more. I would take the lessons every week or every other week. I stress lesson because developing good stroke patterns on all the shots is critical early in the process. If you are going to work hard, you want to be sure you are working on the right things.

Also, once you feel comfortable with your game, join a team. This is a great way to meet other players and get some good competition.

As far as losing weight, I would suggest you compliment your tennis workout with gym work for cardio, strengthening and flexibility. I am in late 50s and workout 4+ times per week to keep the body fit enough to handle the demands of tennis.

Best of luck and remember to have fun along the way.
Hurray for you! Welcome to our world! I wouldn't worry too much about being 4.5, 4.0, or any number. Take lessons because that is how you catch up fast, improve your skills, keep learning and practicing, play matches and you'll get better. I hope you have fun on your tennis adventure!!!
 

Chelsie1

Rookie
On Youtube check out--
Secrets to Success with Roz King. She's nationally ranked and started playing tennis at 50. I played doubles against her several years ago.
 

J_R_B

Hall of Fame
maggmaster
I will indeed be doing footwork drills. (I actually look forward to that ... I've seen some YouTube drills like the spider and such.)

?(Is 5.0 that much better than 4.5?)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_j7Tuq-5I0

"if you see someone practicing their serve, politely ask them if you can return them."

LOL! ... that is so simple and utterly effective ... be a tennis sparing partner... I bet I could get some time on indoor courts doing that... wouldn't have to join another club.
Are you in the city or the burbs? I live in Bucks and work in Center City. If you want, we can get together sometime in the Spring when it's not 20 degrees out. I'm a low 4.5. I'll let you know where exactly you stand, and where you need to get to. Email me through my profile if you want.
 

Bionic slice

Semi-Pro
randzman congrats on having goals and keep it up. Tennis is wonderful chess match, with the more added skills you possess, the increased deception and challenges, brings on that hunger that drives you to grow, to mature and to mold or emulate ones peers or pros.
If you really want to progress like others have mentioned you need a solid base, get into some drill sessions with at your current level
( consider getting rated by a pro and ask their advice) and above competition, most tennis places/clubs/facilities have weekly drills or clinics. It's a good way to pulse how you compete with like or up/down competition and you can meet and maybe find some hitting partners or friends or even a way to get on a usta team if you want to go that route vs a flex league ( ultimatetennis, leaguetennis or local club or city leagues. It's important to play matches and get court time with a coach, ball machine, hitting partner, ask people for advice too. But be prepared as some are like Kramer and will not sugarcoat it.
I recommend doing some hitt drills on bike, treadmill if you can, or road. You need to get use to moving as tennis requires movement with coordination so find some cardio tennis clinics too.
Good luck and stay with it. Time is your best friend and enemy with tennis.
 

stapletonj

Professional
keep it up bruddah!

however, you don't play tennis to stay (or get) in shape, you stay (or get) in shape to play tennis.

cardio tennis sessions are fun (also sometimes called fast feed drills) it will get you working on a lot of movement and variety of shots. Since it is not (as) competitive as a match and the pro just keeps feeding balls if you miss, I would use that a lot.

just some thoughts. thinks of tennis as you reward for continuing to work out lose weight eat right etc.
 

randzman

Rookie
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RSy4AOCqYs

... in the comments someone says these guys are 5.0 and possibly 5.5... is that accurate?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKu5ffuVoH8

Go Roz!

JRB... Thanks so very much!
Would you like to come be a guest at Idle Hour? ... Delco/Springfield.

I know where I stand in tennis... the baseline... too damn fat to move anywhere else! (candidate for a profile signature?)

Today's Progress (2/7/2014):
• Walked 3.25 miles am (outside...very nice)
• Ate ≈1600 cals (that's 400 too much)
• Walked 2.0 miles pm (inside)
 

asimple

Semi-Pro
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RSy4AOCqYs

... in the comments someone says these guys are 5.0 and possibly 5.5... is that accurate?
One of those guys had a really nice game. Every shot was under control and extremely well placed and unlike other videos posted here most shots were deep and in the corners. One thing you may want to note from almost all singles players over 60 is that they are very skinny.

I also dropped quite a bit of weight from playing tennis with similar goals. I am a bit younger (44 now) and went from about 265 (peak) to 180 (valley). I probably need to drop another 20 to be in real playing shape but I am playing pretty well now. Unfortunately now my age is a bigger factor than my weight and I really feel that I have lost a step (or three) recently. I don't have the time to play nationally but will probably attempt to play some local 45's this year to give it a try. Even without the real competitive tournaments though, local leagues and general play is a good way to get exercise and will hopefully help me stay fit through my 60s and 70s.

Good luck with your weight loss though. Life is much better when your not carrying a lot of extra weight.
 

J_R_B

Hall of Fame
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RSy4AOCqYs

... in the comments someone says these guys are 5.0 and possibly 5.5... is that accurate?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKu5ffuVoH8

Go Roz!

JRB... Thanks so very much!
Would you like to come be a guest at Idle Hour? ... Delco/Springfield.

I know where I stand in tennis... the baseline... too damn fat to move anywhere else! (candidate for a profile signature?)

Today's Progress (2/7/2014):
• Walked 3.25 miles am (outside...very nice)
• Ate ≈1600 cals (that's 400 too much)
• Walked 2.0 miles pm (inside)
Not enough power for 5.5 in that vid, but I think they're better than you think. I'd love to play at Idle Hour sometime when it's warmer.
 

asimple

Semi-Pro
Not enough power for 5.5 in that vid, but I think they're better than you think. I'd love to play at Idle Hour sometime when it's warmer.
I think they're much closer to the 4.5-5.0 boundary than the 5.0-5.5 boundary. I liked the way they played but with the limited mobility and pace they are going to get blown off the court by some of the younger guys.
 

randzman

Rookie
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKu5ffuVoH8
(The guy on the near court is much better... better footwork. Oh, I think they're *GOOD* ... I was asking if they were a 5.0/5.5 only to verify that's what that looks like, not in doubt.)
Lets play in May ... I don't think I'll really be able to until then - assuming I stay on track with weight.
 

Orange

Rookie
Today's Progress (2/7/2014):
• Walked 3.25 miles am (outside...very nice)
• Ate ≈1600 cals (that's 400 too much)
• Walked 2.0 miles pm (inside)

I have been silently following your progress with interest, in part because I lost 1/4 of my body weight over a 3-year period in my early 50s when I took up tennis after a long absence and changed my eating habits dramatically. My BMI went from 27 to 20, my muscle tone improved dramatically, and I have been able to keep the weight off. I am having fun playing tennis, while most other forms of exercise bore me stiff!

I was interested to read that you have already lost 70 pounds and you seem very dedicated!

However, I feel compelled to write now because of your recent quote. I recognize that you are asking about tennis, not your approach--but as one who has tried to lose weight for years and has studied this a lot, please let me encourage you to reconsider your approach to calories. For a person of your current weight, 1600 calories might be 400 too few, not 400 too much. In part because you have stepped up your exercising, you might need to be consuming 1800 to 2000 or so at a minimum to meet your current needs for nutrition. Please don't rely on me, but ask your doctor. Losing weight and improving at tennis are long-term endeavors, and it would be a shame to stall your great progress by collapsing on the court, being rushed to the hospital, and having to spend the money you could have spent on tennis lessons on medical bills instead! I know from experience that it is hard to motivate myself to exercise when I am dragging from hunger (and then I just want to stop exercising, go home, and eat a lot of chocolate).

Now that I have given totally unsolicited advice, I will answer the tennis aspects. Here are some thoughts:
1. I agree with previous posters that lessons are extremely helpful to start so you avoid getting into bad patterns with your strokes. If you cannot afford to take many lessons, a clinic is second best. A good pro will keep everyone moving, even in a large clinic.
2. One way to get some matches in is to join a tennis ladder. It is an opportunity to test your skills in regular match play, and even if you lose badly to a better player, you have gotten some great exercise and experience, and he goes home with lots of points and a new can of balls.
3. If you could find someone in a similar situation as yours (working very hard to improve and to become more fit), it would be great to set up regular singles matches. I have two friends (one met at my club and one met through a ladder) with whom I play singles frequently. It is more than twice as much exercise as doubles!

Good luck to you!
 

LuckyR

Legend
?(Is 5.0 that much better than 4.5?)
You seem focused on attaining levels, which is natural since they are numerical and thus easy to be distracted by.

My advice would be to keep your tennis drills interesting by playing matches. Soon you will find that winning at matchplay (which is the definition of level, ie if you win against half of 3.5's you are a 3.5), is where it's at, not how strokes look on YouTube.

Winning tennis matches includes strokes, but is not defined by them. That's what makes tennis interesting.
 

maggmaster

Hall of Fame
It is amazingly like clockwork, every single time someone posts a video of rated players someone says that they don't look like that rating. Every time!
 

tenniscan

New User
senior tournament tennis

OK, I am going to address your goal to play tennis all over the world. There are senior tournaments (age 35-85) all over the world sanctioned by the ITF, the same organization that governs Davis and Fed Cup etc.

There are levels for the tournaments...anyone can enter one if old enough, but the lowest grade is a 5 (then 4,3,2,1) and the highest is the world championships (currently Grade A).

The top players in men's 55 are at least a 5.5; but players as low as 4.0 can win matches there. However, the top players generally don't play anything below a Grade 2; and a Grade 5 in Germany would be stronger than say a Grade 5 in Greece, Germany is the hotbed of senior tennis.

If you are interested in playing international senior events, go to itftennis.com/seniors and look at the calendar. It's a nice way to travel and play tennis.

As for getting from a 3.0 to a 4.0, I say practice, take weekly lessons and start playing matches as soon as you can. Then enter a flex league or join a USTA team and play NTRP tournaments. There's no way to really get better without playing matches.

Re the videos...I've seen myself on video and I probably look like a 4.0 but the USTA keeps bumping me to a 5.5...I'd say I'm a 5.0. Video makes everything look slower. Senior and NTRP tennis is all about errors...the players who don't make them win, at least up through the 4.5 level. There's a pretty big bump between 4.5 and 5.0 or used to be.
 

maggmaster

Hall of Fame
I want to see the 5.5 that looks like a 4.0! I know some 5.5s and they are pretty awesome. I think people just view video wrong.
 

randzman

Rookie
"It is amazingly like clockwork, every single time someone posts a video of rated players someone says that they don't look like that rating. Every time!"

Right... so why doesn't the USTA have explanations with videos "4.0, age 55."

Maybe I'll start a website... "What's my rating?" (Tennis Warehouse, are you listening? ... hint... post a YouTube video and let people choose a rating from a pop-down list and comment.)
 

mikeler

Moderator
I want to see the 5.5 that looks like a 4.0! I know some 5.5s and they are pretty awesome. I think people just view video wrong.
I think the point was, a 4.0 might be able to win a match in the tournament. Obviously, they are not going to make it to the final and beat a 5.5.
 

randzman

Rookie
Orange, your advice is very sage and welcome but it's frankly just not my experience when it comes to losing weight. When I eat 1500 a day and don't exercise I simply don't lose weight ... only when I put my body into some level of stress (it could just be walking, but vigorous) do I lose the weight.

My experience has been that eating the bulk of calories earlier in the day ... 6-700 for breakfast, and then trailing off with a few 2-300 cal meals, the latest at 3-4 pm, reduces the evening hunger and leaves plenty of energy - when I am hungry I eat without delay... same for cravings but I found some of what you typically crave for breakfast and then hitting it with a workout works out very well. There's never any 'dragging from hunger' (and after working out my hunger is always reduced). This seems to be the method that presently worked for me and once it starts warming up again I'll be in progress again. (I find I simply cannot exercise with the same level of intensity in winter. When it's 30 I get very tired after walking 2 miles ... at 55 I can go 3.5+ miles, and sometimes twice a day.)
 

randzman

Rookie
1. lessons are extremely helpful
2. join a tennis ladder.
3. find someone in a similar situation as yours
I'm all in on all three.

(But need to lose the weight to do that. I do have a pretty ok forehand and backhand (terrible serve) from playing lots in my teens. When I started picking it up again last year I was at a local court and a lady next to me told me I was graceful.)
 

randzman

Rookie
March 10, 2015
≈1400 cals; one large meal at 1 pm, 3 fruits, 2 coffee's; 30 min x-train, 1.5 eve. walk, no eating after 5 pm, minimal evening hunger - well done.
 

randzman

Rookie
March 11, 2015
≈1500 cals; good eating in am, bad in evening ... never schedule afternoon meetings, it leads to potential upsets later in the day which is not good for eating.
March 12, 2015
≈1500 cals; three walks today, 1.75, 1.85, 1.5 ... last one was easiest (after a one hour nap). Stopped by the courts today ... snow's not gone but people are out there!
 

randzman

Rookie
March 13, 2015
≈1500 cals; good overall eating (a little less for breakfast Sir.); toughed out a workout in the mid-pm but a little tired from the two days previous. Keep going.
 

okdude1992

Hall of Fame
I have been silently following your progress with interest, in part because I lost 1/4 of my body weight over a 3-year period in my early 50s when I took up tennis after a long absence and changed my eating habits dramatically. My BMI went from 27 to 20, my muscle tone improved dramatically, and I have been able to keep the weight off. I am having fun playing tennis, while most other forms of exercise bore me stiff!

I was interested to read that you have already lost 70 pounds and you seem very dedicated!

However, I feel compelled to write now because of your recent quote. I recognize that you are asking about tennis, not your approach--but as one who has tried to lose weight for years and has studied this a lot, please let me encourage you to reconsider your approach to calories. For a person of your current weight, 1600 calories might be 400 too few, not 400 too much. In part because you have stepped up your exercising, you might need to be consuming 1800 to 2000 or so at a minimum to meet your current needs for nutrition. Please don't rely on me, but ask your doctor. Losing weight and improving at tennis are long-term endeavors, and it would be a shame to stall your great progress by collapsing on the court, being rushed to the hospital, and having to spend the money you could have spent on tennis lessons on medical bills instead! I know from experience that it is hard to motivate myself to exercise when I am dragging from hunger (and then I just want to stop exercising, go home, and eat a lot of chocolate).

Now that I have given totally unsolicited advice, I will answer the tennis aspects. Here are some thoughts:
1. I agree with previous posters that lessons are extremely helpful to start so you avoid getting into bad patterns with your strokes. If you cannot afford to take many lessons, a clinic is second best. A good pro will keep everyone moving, even in a large clinic.
2. One way to get some matches in is to join a tennis ladder. It is an opportunity to test your skills in regular match play, and even if you lose badly to a better player, you have gotten some great exercise and experience, and he goes home with lots of points and a new can of balls.
3. If you could find someone in a similar situation as yours (working very hard to improve and to become more fit), it would be great to set up regular singles matches. I have two friends (one met at my club and one met through a ladder) with whom I play singles frequently. It is more than twice as much exercise as doubles!

Good luck to you!
This is very good advice. If your calories are too low, you will feel like cr@p and have no energy to excercise. Your metabolism will slow down as your body tries to maintain any extra weight and not starve. This can lead to plateaus in weight loss! Then what are you gunna do? cut down to 1000 cal? In my experience training, at your size, you should be at 2200ish cal minimum. Even that is fairly reckless. Just make sure your diet is primarily protein centric. Keep carbs relatively low, like maybe 20-30% max of your total cal. If you don't believe me, see a doctor or personal trainer in your area.
Just look to make continuous progress rather than rushing. Same principle applies to improving your tennis game
 
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okdude1992

Hall of Fame
Oh yea... they look like they're moving slow (compared to Novak!) but they are really pushing hard.

I could absolutely crush this guy...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIIgs4qQNvo

LOL! ... but not in tennis! (maybe he's a very bad web designer).

Amazing video.
Yea that guy is good he played d1 college. So probably like 5.5 ish level I'm guessing. My last piece of advice is to get with a good coach and invest money in some lessons. Solid fundamentals will take you a long way. 4.5 is not impossible although very unlikely at this point. But you will go far if you keep improving and don't compete at first.
 
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randzman

Rookie
Update:
I've lost 5 lbs in the last two weeks... on target, and I've started hitting with a ball machine, perhaps a half-dozen times.

It's like golf ... I'm not bad on the range but against someone where the balls aren't coming in at the same height, speed, etc., it's another (expected) story ... I clearly just can't get to the ball fast enough given my weight.

However, I did receive some very nice compliments about my strokes, being 'lots of spin!...tough!' with a 3.5 I played with (I'm going to say I'm a 3-3.5 at this point) and 'I really enjoyed watching your backhand...not too many people can do that' which came from a man who competed from his 20's through 60's - he was once #1 in the mid-states he said (and often in the top-10) (... but he won't give me lessons!)

I think I have an ok stroke... I'm going to hold off on lessons until perhaps the Fall when I plan that my body will be in a better state to be trainable!

Or is that a mistake?
 
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