Saturday, November 17, 2012

The body feels worked

I've survived my first week of intense exercise. Whew!

I think I mentioned once that I was tired of Curves, wanted more. Last week I surprised some long-unused muscles with a couple of very light workouts, just to wake things up, start off slowly. Then, I devised a particularly masochistic plan. Nine or ten years ago when I lived in Corvallis I joined a local private health club and began working out daily, following the plan offered by the trainer employed by the club. Eventually, I wanted to do more, and eventually made friends with a weightlifter who tended to follow the same schedule I did, daily. Greg was 50-something then, had been into weight lifting and body building most of his life, plus he was a fount of information on nutrition and had garnered plenty of physiology from various scientists at OSU who were clients of his. He'd also recently acquired a personal trainer license. He liked to help people who were interested, and I learned everything I know on the subject from him. At some point I asked and he wrote up a workout program for me, quite different from what you'll get from the basic gym or health club.

Weight lifters don't follow one set of exercises over and over, day after day, the way most gyms tell you to do. Instead of trying to work all muscles every day, or several times a week, they focus on one or two muscle groups during every workout. He set me up with a good schedule of that type, meant to be done 3 times per week. It's a tough schedule. In fact, when I moved to Eugene and joined Gold's Gym, the trainer there took a look at it and exclaimed "You're doing all that?". I was, and I've stayed with that same basic set over the years, even when I was a member at the fancy DAC in Eugene, with really good equipment and trainers. Machines and specifics have varied, but the concept has stayed the same. Day 1, chest and triceps; day 2, back and biceps, day 3, legs and shoulders. I do some abs every day. 

What makes it different this time is that instead of doing it on a 3-times-per-week basis, I decided to do it 6 times per week. And I had to adjust to what I have available to use: my 5# and 12# dumbbells, and an exercise band. I can do a decent job of working all muscles with that. I'm using the 5 pounders a tad more than I used to, and the 12 pounders a tad less, but that'll change with time. Greg used to tell me 'weight doesn't matter'. He just wanted me to 'finish pretty', which meant finishing the sets in good form, not struggling with too much weight. So, I do a lot more reps with the smaller weights, for now. The muscles still get three days of rest between workouts, which should be enough. Now, I know Greg would tell me to focus on only one muscle group in each of those 6 days, instead of doing it this way, but since I'm limited by equipment, this will work. And trust me, the difference in age between 61 and 70 matters!

After a week, I feel good. The body feels worked,  but not sore. Those Curves workouts did help, they were just limited and rather inconvenient. My appetite has definitely increased! I guess that's not surprising, since those stressed muscles want plenty of protein to rebuild and grow. I expect that'll taper off, as time goes by and the body adjusts. And I'm definitely looking forward to a day 'off' tomorrow.

Other than that, and trying to stay warm, not much is happening around here. And that's not all bad.

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