A Big Decision
I’ve had a break of more than two years. I think I needed that break. Stopping was a difficult decision to make especially because of the length of time weight training had been a part of my life.
My dad introduced me to proper old school weight training in the very early 80’s. He came from a physical education background and he passed on a desire for physical fitness that has never left me. With my daughter’s request yesterday to join me for a workout (she’s 12) the circle is complete!
I’ve watched the growth of the world of training and bodybuilding and I’ve seen it develop and evolve over the years. I’ve trained in some great gyms and I’ve trained in the garage at home; I’ve trained with inspirational people and I’ve trained alone. I’ve trained in the evenings and I’ve trained before the sun came up. Training has been a huge part of my life for so long.
In the early days we idolised Schwarzenegger in his prime. We saw those incredible pioneering physiques, just enough chemical help to push the boundaries of human development whilst avoiding the bloated freaky (just my opinion, right!) looks the top bodybuilders achieve these days. Lots of those originals are no longer with us sadly…(maybe those steroids weren’t quite as safe long term as we’re taught – but that’s a conversation for another day!) but they set us a goal to aspire to. We collected the magazines, we read every article and we nearly killed ourselves trying to copy those workouts!
Time for a change.
So, weight training, diet, fitness and sports of all kinds have been part of my daily existence until two years ago I stopped. It was as much a decision related to my mental state as it was to just taking a break. If all you do is think about training and food, your body composition and fit your life around that it can be a bit counter-productive to say the least. So the decision to stop wasn’t easy but it felt right.
What happens when you stop?
Well I knew theoretically what happens to other people when they stop, but what would happen to me? Physically, as it turns out, just the same as the next man. As soon as you’re not training your muscles and feeding them with abundant protein your body quickly lets non-essential muscle waste, and your hard earned muscle just disappears. With the drop in muscle mass you are less strong. You lose weight, all that muscle was heavy! Three times heavier than fat… and clothes which used to be tight in all the right places are, all of a sudden, loose and actually just too big.
No one else mentioned any change. Which just shows how little attention people were paying in the first place (that’s a topic for another blog, surely – was the effort worth it if no-one noticed?).
And mentally it was tough. Really tough. Me and training….like fish and chips, it’s not me unless you have the two…but now it was.
A New Hope
(where did that title come from?)
Two years and I need some iron back in my life.
This blog is all about self-improvement, not you, me! And a return to physical fitness is a big part of that. James Altucher, in his book “Choose Yourself” talks about four areas of focus which serve as a foundation to enable you to grow and work towards a successful life: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. I need to get all my ducks in a row if I’m to succeed and physical well being is a good place to start.
Interestingly, it hasn’t been easy to get back into training. I’ve worked hard mentally to get myself back to a place where I’m up for the effort again…but I’m there now. It isn’t easy because it has to be part of your routine, you have to make time and you have to be consistent, and you have to fit training into to your already busy schedule.
Getting back into it.
So I’m at the end of Part II, Week 1.
When I started first time, I was 11. I’m now 46. And, jeez, am I sore! Yes I know to take it easy and get back into it slowly, but that HURTS! Three workouts in…
So what’s the routine?
My plan is to stick to that old school style of training:
Two body parts per session:
Chest and triceps
Back and biceps
Legs and shoulders
3 exercises per body part.
Four/five sets per exercise.
12, 10, 8, 6, 4 reps per exercise, increasing the weight with each set.
No squats combined with shoulder press, no box jump bicep curls, no lunges combined with trciep extensions! Just simple and heavy.
Training in the evenings (until the dog dies, and then I can train in the mornings instead of having to walk him round the fields in the dark!).
And more protein. Lots more protein.
And I can say, I’m loving it. As sore as I undoubtedly am, it feels like I’m back!