Ah, January. When everyone decides that they really need to get in shape, and do it at a gym. I am all in favor of this, so long as they go to someone else’s gym. 😛
I made the mistake of going to the gym Monday morning, mid-morning. Usually, this is between rushes, because the early-birds are all at work (they get there between 0530 – 0630) and the lunch cardio crowd. Alas, everyone else who was off of work apparently went to the gym. I had to walk a whole quarter block from a parking spot to the door!
And the weight section was literally standing-room-only. Happily for me, I’d planned on doing shoulders and low back. These do not require the use of a bench, just space for me to stand. And the free-weights were mostly available. Interestingly, I was able to do a lot more reps with the free weights than with the bar at the same weight. The difference is leverage. With the free-weights, I hold them over the center of my shoulders. The bar has to be held in front of my shoulders. You’d think that inch or so would not have such a large effect, but it really does. I need to drop a little poundage on the bar and focus on that for a while, while keeping the free-weight poundage the same.
I managed to get in a few dead-lifts. I have just started doing these and the shoulder-press with the bar. The weights are lighter than recommended, because of my knees and back. I’d rather go very slowly and maintain strict, proper form than to add pounds quickly and hurt something. I don’t have a spotter.
I do what is called a split routine. One day, I focus on chest, quads, and low back. Three or four days later, I do shoulders, upper back, abds, and wrists. Wrists? Yes, I have very small wrists for my frame, and need to work on grip and forearm strength. I gain muscle easily provided I only do weights twice a week. It takes me that long to recover properly. I do cardio five days a week or more, or at least try to.
Alas, I am developing a much better cardio system. When I started really doing heavy cardio last fall, at 15 degrees of incline and 2.5 mph, I was getting a steady heart rate of 160 beats-per-minute. Alack and well-a-day, now I have to do 15 degrees and 3.2 miles per hour to keep that same target heart rate. That’s work! I don’t like sweating, panting, and feeling tired! My goal is to be able to do 15 degrees of incline and 3.5 miles per hour with a heart rate of no more than 150 bpm. The up side is that you burn lots and lots of calories that way. The down side is that it takes work to burn lots and lots of calories.
I want to lose about ten pounds over the course of this year. I’ve put on twenty pounds since 2009, and I don’t like it. Granted, a chunk of that is muscle as I’ve been building my core back up after my back problem manifested itself in a rather dramatic fashion. The rest is not muscle. Muscle does not jiggle when one trots down stairs.