Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Time to Step up the Weights

Photo Courtesy Government Press Office, licensed CC-BY-NC-SA
Well, my body did not go into shock last week when I started incorporating free weights into my workout routine.  I did not have an aneurism, and I did not pull a muscle lifting those massive 4 pound dumbbells. 

Now that I can see that I can do it, it is time to step up the effort.  Today I effectively doubled my weight routine by doing 2 sets of 12 reps at 4 pounds.  I did the sets in a circuit, so that my muscles would have time to recover, and it seemed to work well.

I say that it worked well in that I was certainly feeling the second set of exercises whilst I was doing them, and I am more aware of my muscles now, in the afternoon.  I can definitely feel that I did a workout with weights, which I could not really feel last week after doing a single set of each exercise.

So it appears that the first week of working out with weights was doing very little, but I am still very glad to have eased myself into this routine.  I have such a tendency to overdo things, to jump in with both feet and go 110% from the get-go, and then to horribly injure myself.

This time, I am trying to be more methodical and pragmatic about each step of my workout and nutrition plan, to build from a better base than last time.

The last time I worked out and reached my target weight of 165 pounds I could not keep the weight off because I only made it to my target weight by cruel deprivation and ridiculous workouts.  Nothing I was doing was sustainable, and as a result, as soon as I hit my target weight, I stopped working out altogether.  And I started eating normal food again.  In vast quantities.  It's no surprise that I had put on more than 80 pounds a mere two years later, and 168 pounds several years after that.  I had developed no good habits during my path to goal weight - - workouts were a trial to be endured, and food was a treat to be hoarded.  "Nothing in moderation" is a terrible way to live if you plan to keep weight off. 

This time is already different.  I am eating full, balanced meals every day and am not depriving myself.  I am working out 6 days a week, but I am doing things that are, if not enjoyable, per se, then acceptable.   My routine feels sustainable, which I can see by the fact that I haven't missed a workout in more than 20 weeks.  This is already a huge improvement over last time.

And so it goes with the weights.  I am trying a beginner weight program with 9 exercises targeting various muscle groups for a full body workout.  I am starting with free weights for convenience, and for control - - the dumbbells weigh what they weigh, and I can't be tempted to get all crazy and try pyramiding again.  I am keeping the weights, reps and sets low for now, to allow my body a chance to get used to the new demands I am placing on it. 

So far it's going well.  Aside from discovering that the entire left side of my body is much weaker than the right side of my body (despite being left-handed), there have been no bad surprises.  So far. 

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