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DesktopWeb FormText   brawn : the workout diaryFri, 09 Sep 2005 18:02:05 GMT # 

last 3 months of getting back into shape :

6/16 the first week of workouts was mainly to get my energy up. i would workout on weights until body failure, then i would drag myself over to the cardio equipment and go a little longer. pretty pitiful. was also judging what weight i could lift on core exercises (bench max ~ 250, squat max ~ 300), familiarizing myself with this gyms particular equipment, and strengthening the joints. the lifts i was doing were core lifts, such as bench, squat, incline press, and lunges, and lat pulls. also, i was taking basic vitamins : multi, calcium, glucosamine, C

6/20 the second week was much better. was actually starting to feel like i had some strength on random sets. joints and muscle movements were feeling more natural, and i was getting some muscle awareness back. energy was up enough to get me through hour long workouts. core lifts was still key, but i started adding some secondary lifts : biceps, triceps, leg curl, leg extension. bodyweight was also going up. i was taking the muscle mass route, put on muscle to burn calories all day long, instead of doing tons of cardio. by the end of this week, my weight had shot up from 235 to 245. and this was my goal for this week, to just gain muscle.

6/27 the third week was even better. weight stayed at 245, but i was starting to sweat at the drop of a hat. this means that my metabolism was up, so i was adding muscle while losing fat. my frame was starting to look better in the mirror too, like i could actually lift some weight. and i could, my strength was going up quick. bench went up to about 325 and squat was now at 400. strength was going up so quick that i had to start working on hand strength, to be able to hold heavier weights. since my lifts were now respectable, i started concentrating on dropping fat. the first technique was to do add bodyweight exercises : dips, pull ups, chin ups. the logic here is that you have to add muscle to move your own bodyweight, but you'll also lose fat to make yourself easier to move. dips went from 10 to 20. chin ups from 3 to 6. pull ups from 3 to 7.

my strength was coming back so quickly from my past lifestyle. before taking a year off, i had been lifting weights non stop for over 10 years. my average weights (for reps) during that time would be 365 on bench and 475 on squat. personal best on both are 395 bench and 595 squat. so its easy to regain strength, but its hard to gain new strength. for bodyweight, my frame can handle 225 to 240 pounds as long as its mostly muscle mass.

7/4 fourth week was a short week because i had some vacation time. went heavy because i would have time to heal. on bench, i maxed out at 345 and got 315 for 3 reps. my standard goal is to do 315 for a couple sets of 5. should be there in just a couple weeks. legs are coming around slowly. squat max is probably just under 400. not too bad, but not coming back as quickly as bench. form is mostly there. i can get low and dont lean forward too badly. the real weakness right now is my hip flexors. they are screaming after each set.

7/11 fifth week was more of the same. leg strength is still struggling to come back. i did max out the leg extension machine, so thats cool. was able to do a set of 25 dips, around 8 chin ups, and about 8 pull ups too. started in on more ab work too. the ab work i've been doing up to now has been pitiful ... because the belly is getting in the way. also my breathing has been hard to control. this week was the turning point where i could get a full range of motion, could breathe comfortably, and can start actually contracting the muscles. really need to build up some muscle here to help out with squat, because my low back has been taking too much of the strain so far. the push muscles (chest and triceps) are doing the best. even got a set of 315 on bench out of the way. but pull (back and bicep) are lagging. was able to curl 60 pound dumbbells with some form, so that was good, but i just didnt feel strong and the peak is loose. i did add some shoulder exercises into the mix because my traps are looking weak. started more supplements around here : creatine before workout, protein after, and ZMA at night.

7/18 sixth and seventh weeks weren't great. bench going up slightly, but back isn't. this is compounded by the lack of good back equipment at my gym. was able to shoulder press 90 pound dumbbells for over 5 reps, so that was good. also got my 1st good bicep workout in. legs are slowly going up to, but joints are fighting back. cardio and ab work is lagging behind. the eighth week was pretty shitty. energy was down and i was pretty sore. decided to make it through this week and then switch it up next week. whats odd is my body weight is going up. weighing in close to 250 now. so i'm gaining muscle mass faster than i'm losing fat. not too happy about the weight, but its secondary, because i'm looking better and my waist size actually is going down. metabolism is definitely kicking into gear too, because anytime i start to do anything, i start sweating immediately. so the increased muscle mass is starting to do its job, but critical mass still has not been reached.

8/1 this week is cardio and ab week. the only lifting i'll do is some bodyweight dips, pullups and such to keep my joints aware. at the beginning of the week it was taking a little effort to get through cardio. wasn't huffing and puffing, it just felt awkward? but after the 1st couple workout things got into synch to where i could crank out 30 minutes on the elliptical without any problem. abs started to get some strength back too, but are still lagging

8/8 ninth week. the week of cardio worked, because i felt strong again lifting. did a set of 6 reps on bench of 315. pullups are feeling stronger, but still below 10. this is still pretty good because my body weight is still staying high. biceps are finally starting to show some size. but my arms are real inflexible right now. i can barely do curls with the barbells because my arms dont want to bend in parallel paths. triceps are still getting stronger too. legs are getting strong on the machines. i can now max out all the leg machines. doing better on squat, but not ready to jump to 4 plates on each side yet. legs seem to be there, but my core (abs and low back) aren't. also, my flexibility came back immediately. started stretching this week, and after the 4th day of stretching i was able to do the splits again. not bad for pushing 250, now if i could just get rid of the belly.

8/15 tenth. chest is basically done. started out this week doing 4 sets of 5 to 6 reps at 315. that should put my max somewhere between 350 and 375. back will be upper body priority now. arms strength is mostly back, curled 70 lb dumbbells for 5 reps each arm. ab strength is coming in too, only 5 more plates to max out the machine. squats are getting a little better, but still lagging behind everything else. bodyweight is still hanging around 250. shape is getting better, but belly is still there. regardless, i'm adding muscle almost as fast as i'm burning off fat. the problem is i'm starting to be hungry all the time. getting from breakfast to lunch is killer. plus i'm getting too big for my shirts, might have to upgrade to XXL. did switch to protein drinks instead of bars, so i could get more protein with less fat, and to spread protein consumption out through the day.

8/22 eleventh week. doh! hurt my elbow last week. upper body is now secondary ... with light weights. so the taking time off to heal did not work ... i'll ultimately have to get surgery to fix this recurring energy. still was able to put up 225 lbs on bench for 20 reps. but the minor injury makes legs primary. managed to do a set of 400 on squat for 5 reps and then followed up with a set of 365 for 10 reps. my whole body was screaming after that and i was extremely sore the next day. the 2nd day of soreness was even worse. arms are starting to show some size. managed a set curling 65 lb dumbbells with pretty good form. triceps are getting a little bit of that horseshoe shape too. finished the week with a leg press of over 800 lbs for 5 reps.

8/29 twelfth. doh! going heavy on legs last week has demolished my low back. been walking around like an old man this week. this has happened before, years ago when i started going heavy on legs again, so i think its just hurt, and not a full on injury. regardless, i still managed to get some lifting in with decent weights. also i added in morning cardio. not sure you can even call it cardio, because its really just light walking. the good news is that my increased muscle mass is helping out and the light walking shed about 5 pounds, so now my weights is hovering just over 245, while i'd been weighing in over 250 for the last month or so.

9/5 thirteenth week. the main change for this week is i started light jogging. that pretty much sucked because my joints didn't want to have it. on upper body i cranked out 3 reps of 315 lbs on incline bench. too bad this gym doesn't have a decline bench. low back is mostly healed, just a little tender, but i was able to do 2 sets of squat at 400 lbs for 5 reps.