06/09/2010 - bob

Get in Shape Lifting Weights… Again

It has been a long time coming… I had not exercised for several months (life got in the way) and it was “high time” to get back in shape…

So, despite the progress I wrote about in other posts in this blog, a couple of months ago I found myself in the same boat as a lot of people starting a new weight lifting or exercise program: out of shape and dreading the effort to get back in shape.

Get In Shape Lifting Weights?

It worked a year ago, so as I approach… ugh… 49, I thought I should prove the point again that it is entirely possible… If it works for me, it can work for you. Now that it’s June, I’m going to be 49 this month… Where has the time gone? Well, rather than becoming one with my couch or comfy chair, and rationalizing an eventual 40 extra pounds hanging over my belt sometime in the future, I decided to prove a point… To whom, I’m not quite sure. At least to me.

I started lifting weights again in early to mid-April, using very light weights and starting with only one super-set of this free weightlifting routine Vince DelMonte emailed once. It took me until the last Friday in May to have the capacity to get through three super-sets. I did not increase weights on any exercise since I started, looking only to build the stamina and work capacity in my muscles without hurting myself.

Getting Back in Shape

Consistency is key. Lift weights that are too heavy, and you wind up too sore to even move for a week, let alone work out. Been there. Done that. I had to temper my enthusiasm for getting back in shape with realistic expectations of muscle recovery time.

Workout Schedule

I rationalized using the much lighter weights by absolutely sticking to Monday, Wednesday, Friday workouts. To begin, one super-set only requires 15 to 20 minutes. Surely, I can squeeze that in at some point each day…

One Super-Set still kicked my butt

I managed to stick with the schedule… The light weight, limiting my early workouts to one set of each exercise, all contributed to avoiding the feeling that there was no way I could muster the energy to do a workout. More than once I started a workout at 9PM, after putting my two little guys to bed. But, I knew I’d be done in 15 minutes… it was completely do-able. No, I don’t recommend working out at 9PM, but during this ramp-up, it was essential I stuck to the schedule.

Increasing Workout Intensity

With each workout, however “light,” I tried to ratchet the intensity up a notch. The first couple left me dragging the next day. I was sore, not too sore to move, just lacked energy and felt pretty tired.
When I noticed that I felt better going in to the next workout, knowing I was sticking with one set, I forced myself to minimize the time between exercises.

I felt like I was getting back in shape fairly quickly, so I added the second set gradually. How did I do that? To be honest, I dreaded the second set of squats especially… So to ease my apprehension, I again rationalized with myself that I wouldn’t push too, too hard and only did five reps for the second set instead of 15. I did that twice, for two workouts, and then dove into full second sets.

With each workout, I tried increasing the intensity just a little.

I did two sets for two weeks, and then added the third. I was going to continue the gradual ramp up, and only do 5 reps, but absent-mindedly did 15 deadlifts to start the third set… The gauntlet was thrown! So I gave it a shot, and surprised myself by finishing. yes, I felt pretty tired for a couple of days, but had done that on a Friday, and had two days off…

Can you build muscle with light weights?

Yes! Next question? lol
It’s all in the intensity. If there’s one thing I learned from all the Vince Del Monte material, it’s that our bodies respond to intense workouts by releasing growth hormone… I haven’t been building muscle as fast as I was last July, but intend to get there once again. Intensity is a function of the stress our bodies are used to, and the new stresses our bodies experience…

I’ve had to extend the time I’m taking to “ramp up” to high intensity. That is, I’m gradually increasing the stress I routinely experience. Even though it’s slower than I’d like, I am making progress every workout.

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