In August of last year, I blogged about being diagnosed with arthritis in my right knee. I was limping so badly that wife kitteh took to calling me Stumpy after Walter Brennan's character in Rio Bravo.
Figuring I had reached my last chance in life at weightlifting, I started to hit the gym in earnest. I'm at month five now, so I thought I'd share a summary of the results.
If you're on the fence about doing this sort of thing, I hope I can encourage you to give it a try.
Benefits: I've noticed some serious gains. Many shirts that used to be loose are now tight around my arms. Middle son kitteh, who used to row and lift weights, said he can really notice the definition in my muscles. Most importantly, wife kitteh likes the results.
The Knee: I no longer limp. I have no pain at all in the knee. I had not anticipated that. I began this workout regimen as a lost cause sort of thing, doing it just to defy aging. Instead, it's been total success, particularly knee-wise.
Schedule: Currently, I'm going to the gym 5-6 days a week. I lift for an hour a day and do about 20 minutes of cardio on the treadmill. I do abs every day, roughly 300 crunches. The end result is that my abs are constantly painful. Doing some research today, I discovered I'm totally overworking them and maybe the rest of my body as well.
Muscle Grouping: I'm using a 3-day cycle. I start every day with an ab workout of 3 exercises, 4 sets each, 20-40 reps, depending on the machine. That is complete overkill. I haven't been deliberately resting at all. Instead, it works out that there are usually 1-2 days per week that I can't make it to the gym.
Here's the day grouping. Working out 6 days a week would mean I hit each of these twice.
- Back and biceps. 5 exercises, 4 sets, ~12 reps per set for the back. 4 exercises, same plan for the biceps.
- Legs and shoulders. 4 exercises for the legs, 3 for the shoulders. I know the legs are hugely important, but as I have to use machines to provide my older body with stability, I run out of machines in the gym after 4 exercises. Shoulders are such a small muscle group that only doing 3 exercises doesn't bother me.
- Chest and triceps. 5 exercises for the chest, 4 for the triceps.
Weight Loss: I wanted to lose 20#, dropping from 227 to 205. I'm around 216 now and pretty happy with the results. I've discovered that I've lost my taste for almost all sweets and fried food. For example, after about 6 French fries, I've had enough. Potato chips are out of the question. Thick coatings on fried chicken or fish are out of the question.
Supplements: I drink a whey protein shake, the one from Costco, every day. I also do a Danani yogurt each morning in addition to my normal meals. Those add about 30g of protein to my diet. It's not enough, from what I've read. I'm not very disciplined taking vitamins, but we eat a lot of fresh food, so that's probably not a big deal. I'm going to look into recovery supplements, but I'm skeptical of their utility.
6-Pack Abs: One of the sites I read today said that everyone has abs, it's just that almost all of us have a layer of fat hiding them. As far as the abs are concerned, weight loss will be more important going forward than an insane workout regimen for them.
Changes Coming: I've got to give the abs a rest. I'm going to skip the next three days and then only do the abs on leg day. The rest seem to be working out just fine. Yesterday was back and biceps and today my back is pretty sore. I know from experience that in two more days it will be fine and ready for another workout.
Success Metric: In a month, my goal is to be down around 212# and be working out 5-6 days a week without prolonged soreness like I've got right now. Looking at myself in the mirror, it's the weight loss, particularly around the abs, that will make the most difference.
Anywho, I didn't mean this post as a self-congratulatory piece, but more as encouragement for you. I was fat and flabby when I started and really disliked the way I looked. It's taken a bit of self-denial to do this, but it's all been worth it. There are still days when I really, really, really don't want to go to the gym, but when I get there, I enjoy it.