3 Grueling Weeks in One Long Post!

Posted: May 2, 2012 in About me, LifeTime Fitness, Planning, Weight loss
Tags: , ,

Image courtesy of The Stock Exchange

OK, so the last 3 weeks have been tough. I restarted our family gym membership to LifeTime Fitness after a long hiatus. I’ve always loved it, unlike most gyms it has a really good family atmosphere, a severe lack of those muscle-bound meatheads, and an awesome child care facility which is included in our dues. Plus, the steam room and sauna are the icing on the cake after a workout.

We had to put a hold on our account while my wife was pregnant with our son. But during the first week of April (just before my 38th birthday…coincidence, or mid-life crisis?) I drove down to the gym with the grit and determination of something very gritty and determined.

However, before my first workout in a long, long time (maybe a year or more) I wanted to be more prepared for the road ahead. In the past, my time at the gym has been sporadic and “all over the place.” No plan, no idea which weights to use, which muscles to work, I just chose machines randomly and put on an amount of weight on that made me feel like I was doing something.

And diet, it was always a guess too. As I have found out, calories hide in the most unexpected places. I recently discovered the dressing on a Chipotle salad is over 250 calories! That’s more than an extra helping of grilled chicken, and I know I’d rather be full on good food than less full on tasty, but empty, calories.

To combat these two former issues, I downloaded the MyFitnessPal and  JeFit apps for my Android phone and iPad. MyFitnessPal is a fantastic free app that helps you set goals, track calories and chart your progress. It’s often as simple as scanning a barcode of a product, or searching the vast database, to input the exact caloric and nutritional info for your meals.

JeFit is the same kind of thing, but for exercise. It helped me create a daily exercise routine for different parts of my body. Chest and triceps on Mondays, other muscle groups on others. It also records the weight and reps for each exercise, so you can see what you’re lifting, and when to up the weight or reps.

My First Workout Sucked!

Big time. Awful. I went on the Elliptical and did 20 minutes on a moderate setting, a 7. I was sweating, breathing heavy, legs were like jelly, it was pathetic. And then I did 20 mins in the weight room, on my chest and triceps. The weights were very small, the reps between 10-12, and I was just as pathetic there. When it was all over, I wobbled, almost drunk, to the locker room, collapsed and took a 10 minute shower to recover.

The next day, I was sore. Really sore. Like “beaten with clubs” sore. And I was stiff as a board. This made me think I did soemthing right, but maybe I did it all wrong! I have no idea.

I didn’t go back to the gym until after my birthday. It would have been impossible, I was walking like I’d had a pole inserted into my arse. So I left it for about four days, and returned. This time, I was determined to do a full week at the gym. It was tough, but I did it. And the plan was as follows:

  • Monday – 30 mins cardio, workout chest and triceps
  • Tuesday – 35 mins cardio, work on abs
  • Wednesday – 30 mins cardio, workout biceps, back and forearms
  • Thursday – 35 mins cardio, work on abs
  • Friday – 30 mins cardio, workout shoulders and legs
  • Eat 1600 calories a day, plus whatever calories I burn at the gym (optional)

That was the plan, and is the plan to this day. I take the weekends off, usually because I’m too busy with home life and freelance work. But what’s great is that I’m seeing great progress in several areas. I am down 13 pounds from 3 weeks ago, but that’s easy enough to do. Everyone loses weight when they first start dieting.

With the weights, in just 3 weeks I have seen great improvements. My machine fly has gone from 70lbs to 120lbs. My barbell shrug has gone from 60 to 90 lbs. And my cardio, I ca now do 35 minutes on the hardest level on the elliptical, level 20, without dying on the machine. In fact, I’m at a strange place where I feel elevated after.

I stopped losing weight about a week ago. So I’m stuck at 207, but I am looking leaner and fitter I think. I know, at some point, I will need to change up my routines and do some kind of muscle confusion. But right now, I think I’m doing ok. Of course, if anyone out there reads this and has advice, please chime in. I am a beginner surrounded by fitness experts.

More to come.


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