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Gear advice for an overweight beginner

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Old
12-17-2011, 10:55 AM
  #1
bubbafat
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Gear advice for an overweight beginner

I've read the beginner's gear thread and searched the forum for tips specific to purchasing gear for overweight people but haven't had a lot of success (probably just using the wrong terms).

Here's the deal ...

I'm 5'11", 290lbs (down from 340 a year ago - and still making good headway). I wear a size 44 waist pants, 11 shoes (I no longer need wides) and I haven't skated in 20 years.

I grew up in Minnesota and skated a few times a week at local parks or on lakes - but let's be honest ... after 20 years and another 100 lbs ... well ... it's going to be ugly.

So my plan is ...

On 1/9 my "Learn to Skate" classes start. They last 8 weeks. After that I'll probably hit the open ice 2-3 times a week until March when the "Adult Intro to Hockey Skills" class starts. That lasts another 10 weeks followed by the level-2 version of that class.

So this puts me out into July. I should be around 265lbs by now. Then I'd like to start doing stick-and-puck to continue to develop my skating - maybe some pick-up games ... and in about a year maybe I'm ready (physically and technically) to start playing on an entry level team (which I think they call C2 around here [Raleigh]).

Hopefully by this point I'm at about 240 lbs - so I'll probably have a much easier time finding gear.

So off the bat I know I want skates, a helmet, elbow pads and knee pads. I'm going to fall a lot and I'd rather not have it hurt.

Question 1: Are there specific things I need to be aware of as a fat guy to make sure I don't just tip through a pair of skates in a few days? A pair of cheap skates won't cut it - I'm thinking of trying to pick up a used pair of top of the line skates from two years ago but maybe I can find last year's model on clearance.

In 10-16 weeks I need to start picking up the rest of the gear - sticks and pads.

Question 2: Am I going to have trouble finding gear that will fit me? I've seen compression jocks for 40-44" waists. I'm wearing 44 pants now - are the sizes realistic? Are there key words I should be looking for (like when I buy pants I look for boot or relaxed cut - not skinny, slims, etc)?

Question 3: Any thoughts on how my weight will affect my stick selection?

And last question(s) ...

Can anyone suggest a small place in the Raleigh/Durham area (or the Triad area - I don't mind driving a little) for hockey gear? Are the shops in the rinks the best places to start or are there other locations worth hitting? I'm sure Dicks Sporting Goods is just great - but I would prefer to find a place that specializes in skating/hockey equipment to make sure I'm getting the right fit for things.

Any other advice for the fat beginner?

Thanks,

Robert

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12-17-2011, 11:06 AM
  #2
Jarick
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Welcome!

Congrats on the hard work and weight loss. It's a bear, I know. I've talked to a lot of guys though who've lost 50-100 pounds and kept it off playing hockey 1-2 times a week. It keeps you active and motivated and is a blast.

I think so long as you keep eating right and slowly losing weight you'll be fine. I've played with lots of guys who are 50-75 pounds overweight and while they can't push it as hard, they still can play. Hell, I'm probably 30 pounds overweight and I lead my division in scoring

Quote:
Question 1: Are there specific things I need to be aware of as a fat guy to make sure I don't just tip through a pair of skates in a few days? A pair of cheap skates won't cut it - I'm thinking of trying to pick up a used pair of top of the line skates from two years ago but maybe I can find last year's model on clearance.
Is money an issue? If not, get a pair of skates in the $200-300 range. You may end up dropping 1/2 to 1 size in your feet as you lose weight. But considering how serious you are about skating, investing in quality off the bat is not a bad idea.

Personally, I feel any skates under $150 are garbage and should not be purchased by anyone. They have flexible outsoles, soft boot material, and subpar holders and steel. If you can get used skates that are still stiff and have steel, great! But fit is key.

Quote:
In 10-16 weeks I need to start picking up the rest of the gear - sticks and pads.

Question 2: Am I going to have trouble finding gear that will fit me? I've seen compression jocks for 40-44" waists. I'm wearing 44 pants now - are the sizes realistic? Are there key words I should be looking for (like when I buy pants I look for boot or relaxed cut - not skinny, slims, etc)?
You may have to get custom pants but otherwise you should be fine. I have a 36-38" waist and I normally fit into medium pants even though technically I should be in larges (large always feel too big because I'm short and have a narrow waist even though I've got a bit of belly). I'm guessing you can probably use XL pants and suspenders to keep them up. Jocks have different fits and if it's an issue just go with the old style ones or get ones that have a looser fit.

Quote:
Question 3: Any thoughts on how my weight will affect my stick selection?
99% of people will tell you to use 1/2 your weight but I think it's more height dependent. If you're 5'9 I'd go 75 flex to start with, unless you're strong as a bear and then go to 85.

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12-17-2011, 12:02 PM
  #3
bubbafat
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Thanks for the reply - lots of good info.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarick View Post
Is money an issue? If not, get a pair of skates in the $200-300 range. You may end up dropping 1/2 to 1 size in your feet as you lose weight. But considering how serious you are about skating, investing in quality off the bat is not a bad idea.
Money is always an issue ... but it's not a big deal.

Since I'll probably be paying $500-800 for lessons and ice time in the next year I think $200-300 for quality skates isn't unreasonable.

If I drop size and need another pair I'll see what I can get on Craigslist and consider it a rental fee.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarick View Post
If you can get used skates that are still stiff and have steel, great! But fit is key.
Without necessarily meaning to, I think you talked me out of buying used skates as my first pair. I don't know how to properly evaluate a pair of used skates. I'm probably better of getting fitted for skates and buying new a local rink shop - somewhere that I plan to build up a longer term shopping relationship with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarick View Post
You may have to get custom pants but otherwise you should be fine.
That's good to hear. I don't think I'll need pants for about 16 weeks - but if I need to buy custom I'll need to plan some lead time into the purchase.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarick View Post
99% of people will tell you to use 1/2 your weight but I think it's more height dependent. If you're 5'9 I'd go 75 flex to start with, unless you're strong as a bear and then go to 85.
To be totally honest - I'm not 100% sure what "75 flex" means - but I'm sure it's well documented here (and perhaps on your blog) and certainly something the staff at wherever I buy my skates will be more than happy to explain.

But I get your point - there is a generally accepted formula for sticks that should help me as a starting point from which I can find the right one.

Thanks again.

Robert.

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12-17-2011, 12:22 PM
  #4
thedonger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bubbafat View Post
I've read the beginner's gear thread and searched the forum for tips specific to purchasing gear for overweight people but haven't had a lot of success (probably just using the wrong terms).

Here's the deal ...

I'm 5'11", 290lbs (down from 340 a year ago - and still making good headway). I wear a size 44 waist pants, 11 shoes (I no longer need wides) and I haven't skated in 20 years.

I grew up in Minnesota and skated a few times a week at local parks or on lakes - but let's be honest ... after 20 years and another 100 lbs ... well ... it's going to be ugly.

So my plan is ...

On 1/9 my "Learn to Skate" classes start. They last 8 weeks. After that I'll probably hit the open ice 2-3 times a week until March when the "Adult Intro to Hockey Skills" class starts. That lasts another 10 weeks followed by the level-2 version of that class.

So this puts me out into July. I should be around 265lbs by now. Then I'd like to start doing stick-and-puck to continue to develop my skating - maybe some pick-up games ... and in about a year maybe I'm ready (physically and technically) to start playing on an entry level team (which I think they call C2 around here [Raleigh]).

Hopefully by this point I'm at about 240 lbs - so I'll probably have a much easier time finding gear.

So off the bat I know I want skates, a helmet, elbow pads and knee pads. I'm going to fall a lot and I'd rather not have it hurt.

Question 1: Are there specific things I need to be aware of as a fat guy to make sure I don't just tip through a pair of skates in a few days? A pair of cheap skates won't cut it - I'm thinking of trying to pick up a used pair of top of the line skates from two years ago but maybe I can find last year's model on clearance.

In 10-16 weeks I need to start picking up the rest of the gear - sticks and pads.

Question 2: Am I going to have trouble finding gear that will fit me? I've seen compression jocks for 40-44" waists. I'm wearing 44 pants now - are the sizes realistic? Are there key words I should be looking for (like when I buy pants I look for boot or relaxed cut - not skinny, slims, etc)?

Question 3: Any thoughts on how my weight will affect my stick selection?

And last question(s) ...

Can anyone suggest a small place in the Raleigh/Durham area (or the Triad area - I don't mind driving a little) for hockey gear? Are the shops in the rinks the best places to start or are there other locations worth hitting? I'm sure Dicks Sporting Goods is just great - but I would prefer to find a place that specializes in skating/hockey equipment to make sure I'm getting the right fit for things.

Any other advice for the fat beginner?

Thanks,

Robert
jarick, as usual, has given you some great advice, so i'll just add onto that being another shorter, heavier player (5'8", just under 2 bills).
imo, skates and pants will be the biggest issues for you. as jarick said, i wouldn't look for anything less than in the $2-300 range. as a matter of fact, i'd take it even further and say no less than $3-400 range(if buying new). anything less than that and your skates at your weight will fold like lawn chairs(no offense). the important think is to make sure you get fitted properly.

as far as pants, unlike jarick who i remembered reading has longer legs for his height to go along with a "slimmer" waist for his size, length for most of us heftier fellows is an issue. unlike jarick, i just barely don't fit into mediums so i have to go to larges, even though they do fit a bit on the loose side, which is remedied by suspenders.
the bigger problem for me is that they're an inch or so longer than i'd like, but something i don't notice too much while i'm playing.

you being 5'11", it may be a touch less of an issue though. but like jarick said, you may need to go with custom pants at that waist size. another option though may be to look at the warrior hustler, franchise or current model bonafide pants in xl as these particular models in the warrior line seem to fit one size bigger than actual stated size. also, if they fit but are a bit long, i'm told that some repair shops can shorten pants, haven't tried it myself yet though.
another option for pants would be to look into tackla's hefty line, but like customs, that can get pretty pricey as well.

as far as your shin and elbow pads, at your size and sort of "relearning" to skate, again, you're gonna want something higher end as we both know, the bigger you are...etc. i'd suggest nothing less than 2nd to top of the line pads, and you're also gonna want to look into models that run a bit wider. ccm/reebok along with bauer pro series would be a good starting point for shins, elbows you're simply gonna have to try on. gloves are obviously gonna be personal preference.

helmet again is gonna be just find the best helmet that fits...but be aware, with the amount of weight you said you're expecting to lose, you may end up changing helmet sizes on the way down as well.

as for the jocks, do yourself and your locker room mates a favor and stay away from anything that says "compression"...again no offense intended
stick to loose jocks or even separate jock and garters.

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Old
12-17-2011, 04:20 PM
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I think you can get some great skates used. I bought a pair of Vapor skates that retailed for $300 that had been used for one season for $25 off Craigslist. They were beat up pretty bad but still super stiff. Problem was I don't have the right foot. You need to get the heel lock and depth correct, and then find the right width up front and/or stretch.

I'm 200 pounds now at 5'8 (ugh) and the mediums are smaller on me but I just tried to buy some large Warriors last week and they literally wouldn't stay up on me even tightened all the way. So Warriors might be a good option. Or if you've got the cash, Tacklas are phenomenal. They run big. Which is probably why the size 50 ("medium") fit me okay. Would fit a lot better if I were 175 though.

For flex, check out the big thread up top on beginner stick advice, but 75 flex is a whippy senior flex. Once you cut it down 6-8" it will feel right.

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Old
12-17-2011, 08:29 PM
  #6
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If I were you dude, I'd try and pick up some of the gear second hand, simply because you're not going to be 290 for much longer, and you will get smaller. You lost 50 pounds in a year, so I highly doubt you'll stop losing weight. You'll probably need new pants and shoulder pads next year.

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12-17-2011, 09:10 PM
  #7
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Good post Jarick. I'm going to chip in here about the skates and say that your original plan of finding a proper fitting pair of old clearance top-end skate is an excellent one. A heavier set person will put more pressure and strain on the boot/holder of a skate than a lighter person would. That accelerates the breakdown of the skate.

Regarding sticks, it sort of depends on how good your shot is at the moment. If you can't shoot yet, then it doesn't matter too much what flex you use. However I'm going to disagree with Jarick and say that an 85-90 flex is a good starting point.

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12-19-2011, 01:22 AM
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OP, congrats on losing alot of weight already and good luck on continuing to lose. You'll be healthier and faster on the ice.

As to the equipment I would minimize cost until you get to your final destination weight while still getting stuff that's going to protect you.

Good Luck.

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12-20-2011, 06:05 PM
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Good for you, hockey is a great way to have fun, and the weight comes off fast.
I'd get elbow pads, shin pads and hockey pants right off the bat. You are likely to do a lot of falling at first, and a crack on the elbow or the knee caps is exceedingly painful. Tail bone and hip point injuries are no fun either. Helmet should be a must have as well. Elbow pads and and shins don't need to be too high end, but cheap pants don't offer much protection. There is lots of good used stuff out there, you just need to know what is the good stuff before you buy.
Good luck!

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12-20-2011, 11:26 PM
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bubbafat
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A quick thanks for all the advice and encouragement. I took to the ice today for a few hours at an open skate session. Last time I skated, the elder Bush was still in office.

Strides were weak, crossovers (forward) were unstable, hockey stops were pathetic ... But I stayed off my butt and the wall, and had a great time.

That said ... I wore rental skates. I am totally sold on spending some extra money to get the right fit. Man, are my arches sore!

So thanks again for the advice, I look forward to putting it into action ASAP and spending more time on the ice.

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12-21-2011, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bubbafat View Post
A quick thanks for all the advice and encouragement. I took to the ice today for a few hours at an open skate session. Last time I skated, the elder Bush was still in office.

Strides were weak, crossovers (forward) were unstable, hockey stops were pathetic ... But I stayed off my butt and the wall, and had a great time.

That said ... I wore rental skates. I am totally sold on spending some extra money to get the right fit. Man, are my arches sore!

So thanks again for the advice, I look forward to putting it into action ASAP and spending more time on the ice.
Hey Robert,

If I can make one recommendation, as someone mentioned above, be prepared to invest a few hundred dollars into a pair of skates with great support (stiffness doesn't hurt either). In regards to equipment, as someone who is larger, go to the store and try everything on and see what feels most comfortable. All of the equipment from different brands comes in a large variety of sizes (I have bigger shoulders and bought some Warrior shoulder pads that fit me like a dream, whereas the X:60s from Bauer were severely uncomfortable).

Congrats on the weight loss and keep at it.

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Old
12-21-2011, 02:26 PM
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If you are in Raleigh, go to Five Hole Sports off of Buck Jones near Crossroads in Cary. They have a pretty good selection of stuff and will take the time to make sure you are fitted properly with everything.

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12-21-2011, 04:24 PM
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Good luck man. Can't say much more than has already been said here. Also I think I'm the only guy who gained weight when I started to play hockey. Although I used to run at least a few miles every other day before I started playing and now I almost never run anymore due to hockey.

Edit: I have one tip if you are trying to lose weight while in classes and/or rec league. Skip the beers afterwards. I never do and that is another thing that has contributed to my weight gain.

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12-21-2011, 10:36 PM
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overweight beginner here as well. I'll shoot you a message tomorrow with what fits and what didn't for me. Keep on the lookout man because its hard to find bargains in the husky sizes

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04-26-2012, 05:58 PM
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How are you progressing a few months in? I think I'm about where you were when you were starting out, although I do need to weigh myself!

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04-26-2012, 08:31 PM
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If you can get your hands on Tackla pants Air 9000Z or I believe just about all models of Tackla you can get your size in a normal style pant. You would want a size 58, which equates to 44"-46" you could try a 56 which will bring you closer to a 40-42" so that they will fit you better once you shed even more weight (little tight to start).
Heres a link to Hockeymonkey with there offerings to Tackla Pants. They make a solid pant, that protects well and is wider in its cut in nature (which is perfect for you)
http://www.hockeymonkey.com/tackla-pants-sr.html

As for everything else you should be able to find gear that fits you accordingly (except for maybe elbow guards, which in this case you might want to go with a soft shell traditional type vs. a 2 or 3 piece) from helmet, shins, skates (your right on the cusp of what most places stop carrying) Chest Protector, gloves.

Good luck on your venture in loosing more weight, glad to see people coming back to hockey. I've learned one thing about this game, no matter how long you've been away, or what reasons kept you from playing, eventually everyone comes back. Its that addictive, and life for those who have played it.

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04-27-2012, 12:23 AM
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The Tackla Airs posted above are pretty good, I have the same ones in size 56 and I'm about the same weight (but 3 inches taller) as the OP. the fit is decent but my belly gets in the way such that I can't use the ties, bot a big deal as theyre still comfortable.

Take a look at Graf pants too if you can, I found a pair of Grafs (don't know the model) after I got the Tacklas in size 56 that fit better, I wish I'd had the cash to just pick them up...

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04-27-2012, 08:48 AM
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I lost quite a bit of weight by eat more (but eating right) then burning it off at the gym via cardio and weights. This way your body will build a better metabolism!

good luck!

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04-27-2012, 08:53 AM
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I don't think the gear will be too much of a problem...one guy I played with looked like a little butterball.

That said, you can always replace the pant laces with something larger(hockey skate laces) and suspenders if you can't quite close the pants or just want to go with a smaller size because you think you'll lose more weight.

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04-27-2012, 09:23 AM
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Hey dude, I was almost exactly your weight when I started playing Ice (only I'm 6'1"). I've since lost a ton of weight, I was 350 now I'm 275 (and still dropping)

Based on what you've said and the experiences I've went through here are a few things I suggest...

PANTS
Your pants will change. Buy a cheap pair to start. You're not in a checking league so you dont need anything crazy. Go with a mid-low range pant because you WILL replace it once your waist size drops. I made the mistake of buying a pair of top-of-the-line TotalOne pants for full price...they now hang off my butt and are huge on me. I have to wear suspenders...even with them, they're still too big.

(I have a used pair of Tackla pants that I can sell you super cheap that will definitely fit you. PM me if interested)

GLOVES
Invest in a good, high quality pair. Cheap pairs, the palms will wear out and after a year or so, you'll be left with holes and will have to replace them.

SKATES
Heres another area I wish I had went in a different direction...before buying my current skates (Reebok 9K) I was wearing a pair of really crappy Tour BlueMax skates (these are essentially Inline skates that Tour slapped an Ice Hockey holder+runner on and sold as Ice Hockey skates). I didn't do much research on the 9K's when I got them. After two years of skating on them, they are torn up!

Invest in a GOOD pair of skates. This doesn't mean you have to go with the Bauer APX, RBK 20K or whatever the best skates out right now are but I do suggest you go with a durable, mid to high range skate that will last you some time. You're a big guy even at 230, you're still a big guy and you need a skate that will stand up to the weight/power you put out.

(My next skates are going to be very stiff. Possibly TotalOne NXG's).


SHINS
If you have big legs like me...look for a pair of older REEBOK/JOFA pads. You can find them on Ebay or maybe in some stores. They fit pretty wide.

STICKS
You can find super cheap One Piece Composite sticks on Clearance at sites like TotalHockey.net, HockeyMonkey.com or HockeyGiant.com

I saw a few on there the other day for under $40. You'll pay $30-40 for a wooden stick at some places so I suggest you look for deals on the Composites. Despite what anyone says, there is a big difference between Wood sticks and Composites...every single time I've seen a player switch from wooden to OPS, they've almost instantly improved their shot/pass/puck handling. Happened the other night in fact.




Anyway, good luck man. As a fellow "big man" I'm excited to see your progress. Keep it up.

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04-27-2012, 12:36 PM
  #21
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I was in your shoes (skates) about 2 years ago, and my biggest suggestion is to get as much as you can at a Play it Again Sports or other used store as soon as possible.

The big thing about learning is getting over the fear of falling. Even when I would go to an open skate, or an adult learn to skate lesson, I'd wear shin/knee pads and elbow pads.

When you have 300+ crashing into the ice because you messed up a hockey stop, you WANT to have something on those joints keeping you out of the ER. (speaking from experience here)

I'm suggesting used because I bought new, and replaced most of it within the first year when my body changed and I learned what I liked/didn't like in each piece of equipment.

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04-27-2012, 02:00 PM
  #22
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Good advice so far....

my .02 cents - find a source/supplier where there is a large and good variety of equipment - different suppliers of same product are different in feel and fit. So it's important to get an idea early on how and what fits now. Shouldn't matter if it's new or used, if the weight loss continues, you have a better idea of what to transition to as you lose weight in terms of feel, fit and safety.

As an example, what I tell parents, a pair of pants size 34 made in china will fit and feel different from a pair of pants also size 34 but made in taiwan.

I still use a pair of gloves from mid 80's, I've had them re-palmed 4 times. All about comfort and fit.

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Old
04-27-2012, 02:52 PM
  #23
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Keep in mind the OP had three posts, all in this thread, and none in the last four months.

But good advice still.

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Old
04-27-2012, 03:19 PM
  #24
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Good to see it's not just me who was skating a little overweight. Thanks to a consulting job where I lived out of a hotel for months at a time, I got fat and lazy and went up to 232 this past February. Started skating 2x a week and running, got myself back down to 195, where I've pretty much leveled off.

ChiTownHawks is right about the post-game beers. I ran into something like this a few years ago where I was putting on more weight than expected. I would stay pretty strict to the diet, cut out all the junk food, run 3-4 mi/day after work, but for all the work I was doing, the post-game beverages ruined the work that I was putting in. I don't know if this is the case with the OP, but it's something worth thinking about.

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Old
04-27-2012, 03:24 PM
  #25
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Canada
Country: Canada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jorbjorb View Post
I lost quite a bit of weight by eat more (but eating right) then burning it off at the gym via cardio and weights. This way your body will build a better metabolism!

good luck!
Exactly you should never feel hungry when you change your diet, eating right is 80% of losing weight, people don't know that.

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