08/15/2009 - bob
Bodybuilding Over 40: Biggest Obstacles
Time and Obligations
I have to confess: Once I posted pictures of my progress bodybuilding over 40, I took a few days off at the ten week mark, as we had several family things planned. The timing was right. I felt a little guilty, but that passed quickly. Starting back up has been difficult, and like when I started, my workouts have been preempted by life.
My wife has had to travel more, as a few projects came due in her job, and the two little guys, a.k.a. Captain and Kid Chaos, have had some great days… if by “great” you normally assume whining, fighting, time-outs and crying…. Also, while I wait for the next consulting contract to kick in, I’ve been doing the Daddy Day Care thing, and teaching Kid Chaos to use the potty, and that it is not ok to wear a portable bathroom to nursery school. It’s a perfect storm of a little separation anxiety from their mom, the big change of potty training, leading to their requiring more attention and my finishing a large, drawn out masonry project in the family room (fireproofing the new wood stove hearth and the wall).
Taking that hour to hour and 15 minutes for working out, a little recovery, and shower just has been tough. Either the window came too late in the day, when the boys had to eat, or altogether impossible. As a result, I have not been able to keep the three workouts per week schedule for a couple of weeks.
That’s starting to really annoy me. I can tell how bad it’s annoying me by looking at how I hit the last workout, on Wednesday (“today” is Saturday.. I hope I finish this post today.). I haven’t focused enough to revise my routine. I figured I’d do the five by five workout routine a few more weeks. Frustrated by my lack of consistency, I increased my weights in nearly every exercise.
Duh. I had only increased the weight on only one or two exercises at a time previously, and felt the additional intensity.
That made for a difficult workout. The only thing I hadn’t increased was plate choppers. If you don’t know what the plate chopper is, check out the free workout routine video. The hardest part about increasing weight on this odd-looking, but brutally effective exercise is holding the weights. Adding five pounds to the fifty I’ve been doing holding two 25-pound plates requires a different grip on the plates. I tried Olympic plates, as the sizes were closer, but their edges were sharper. I tried moving my grip from the widest grip on the plates, but barely held the five pounder with my thumbs as I reached the top of the motion. As light as five pounds may be, a five pound plate hitting your head from any height would hurt like… well, a five pound piece of steel hitting your head. It’s a distracting thought. I’ll obviously have to work out some solution as I stay at 50 pounds.
Meanwhile, I had increased my squats and deadlifts. Assuming my Olympic bar is 40 pounds (I have yet to verify this one… is it 50?), my weight for these two is up to 170. Is powerlifting in my future? No. But when I started, I struggled with two 25 pound plates on the bar, for a total of 90.
My bench is up to 160. Bent over rows with palms up is up to 120 (I think… again, how much does that other bar and collars weigh?). Overhead press (seated) I’m finally using fixed 50 pound dumbbells I bought 15 years ago thinking I’d get huge after recovering from my broken collarbone (an obviously unrealized goal I had then). They might be too heavy, as I feel near failure on the third, fourth and fifth superset, but I’m not going backwards. My pulldowns are up to the 16th plate on the stack. I have no idea how much they weigh. 15? 20 each? It doesn’t matter, in that it’s one more plate than I did the previous workout.
Dips and incline bent leg raises have stayed at 10 reps each, since I’ve been raising all my other weights.
I got through it. I had to dig deep for the motivation during the last set. But I lived to write about it.
Coming completely full circle on one of the theories we set out to test, the one about burning fat lifting weights, I have to tell you I still have not paid enough attention to my diet. When my little guys ask me to have ice cream with them, I don’t think I’ve refused yet. … Ok, I’m busted. I use their dessert as my excuse. They don’t have to ask. And I haven’t ditched pizza night either. Yes, I pay attention to how much… three or four slices of pizza instead of six, two scoops of ice cream. Despite this, I am still getting leaner. It’s crazy.
The other crazy thing about this new-to-me compound exercise theory is that my biceps have never been larger, ever, and I have not done a single bicep curl. Yet, I’m building my biceps.
Even though I started this post complaining about time and obligations interfering with my “bodybuilding” effort, the compound exercise approach is amazingly efficient at building muscle and burning fat.
I have to set a new goal for myself. Maybe more pictures in another 10 week period. I’ll have to think about this one.
I’m pretty sure I’ll have to pay attention to diet to keep this kind of progress going. We’ll see.