Of Lamb Dinner and Weightlifting

traeger grill
Photo credit: costco.com, and no, this isn’t my backyard

I got my combination Father’s Day and birthday gift early. On Saturday, my wife and my son David appeared unexpectedly with a Traeger Grill. Fortunately, my other son Michael showed up not too long afterward to put it together. The instruction manual was so poorly written, that I couldn’t make heads or tails of the thing (and since I write instructions for a living, I ought to know).

We tried it out that evening by making hamburgers, but the Traeger didn’t get its real test until the following afternoon when I grilled a lamb roast for Sunday dinner.

We had the whole family over for the feast (although only the guys actually like lamb…the women had chicken) which included an Almond Strawberry cake for dessert. I ate well and the bathroom scale reflected that this morning. I’m not chagrined. I expected this and will drive my weight down even further in the coming week.

With all that protein for dinner, I was looking forward to my Monday workout at the gym. It was also another progressive overload day involving weight increases across the board. Here’s what happened. As usual, I rested ~60-90 seconds between sets.

Barbell Hack Squat 5×5

6x 135lbs/61.23kg (warm up)
5x 180lbs/81.64kg
5x 180lbs/81.64kg
5x 180lbs/81.64kg
5x 180lbs/81.64kg
5x 180lbs/81.64kg

Barbell Bench Press 5×5

6x 135lbs/61.23kg (warm up)
5x 150lbs/68.03kg
5x 150lbs/68.03kg
5x 150lbs/68.03kg
5x 150lbs/68.03kg
5x 150lbs/68.03kg

Barbell Bent Over Rows 5×5

Image credit: njuskalo.hr

6x 135lbs/61.23kg (warm up)
5x 150lbs/68.03kg
5x 150lbs/68.03kg
5x 150lbs/68.03kg
5x 150lbs/68.03kg
5x 150lbs/68.03kg

Overhead Cable Triceps Extension w/rope 3×8

12x 60lbs/27.21kg (warm up)
8x 90lbs/40.82kg
8x 90lbs/40.82kg
8x 90lbs/40.82kg

Pull ups (bodyweight) 3×5-8

4x (barely)

Hanging Exercise with Shoulders Engaged (bodyweight)

30 seconds

Since I do hack squats on every weightlifting day, I increased the weight for the working sets 5 pounds from Friday. The last time I did “plan A” was last Wednesday, and my hack squat weight for working sets is 15 pounds heavier today. Wow! I guess that means progressive overload is working and I am getting at least a little stronger.

Wednesday was also the last time I did bench presses and I successfully increased the weight for all working sets by 5 pounds. I can’t say it was particularly easy and I’m glad I won’t be increasing weights for these lifts anymore this week.

I looked back to June 1st and saw I was benching 135lbs for my working sets. Today, my warm up weight was 135lbs, up from 115lbs. So in 15 days, I’ve increased my bench weight 15 pounds as well.

small SuperboyI made an identical increase for my bent over rows, including increasing the warm up weight. I really felt the increase with the rows, struggling to pull the bar all the way up to get full range of motion.

By comparison, the 5 pound increase for cable triceps extensions almost (but not quite) seemed easy, but then again, I only had to do 8 reps for 3 sets each. It was just a matter of powering through them.

Before making the attempt, I took a moment to envision myself powerfully and completely performing 5 reps of pull ups for each of the 3 sets. As you can see above, I actually completed a full 5 reps for the first set using full range of motion. I tried very hard to at least complete 4 reps for the second set, just barely making that 4th rep pulling as hard as I could. For the third and final set, I could only manage 3 reps, but I was still proud of myself for the improvement in performance.

Overall, I’d have to say that I am getting stronger and it seems to be progressing at a pretty good clip given how quickly I am increasing the weight. I only hope I can keep it up.

I finished my workout with 30 seconds just hanging around, but I still had enough in me to engage my shoulders rather than hanging completely limp.

Several hours later, I can feel some soreness in my quads and traps and interestingly enough, biceps (must be the pull ups). After last night’s splendorous dinner, I’m feeling a little thick around the middle, but then again, I’m wearing my “skinny jeans” today.

I know you may think I’m being narcissistic or self-absorbed always reporting on what I’m doing and how much I’m lifting, but here’s some perspective. In a little over five weeks, I turn 61 years old. I’ve already mentioned how the weight loss part of my program has been going. I’m trying to inspire, motivate, and promote a more active lifestyle, not just for seniors, although they are my main audience, but for everybody, and especially anybody who for any reason thinks they can’t do it.

bench press
Photo credit: goldsgymsaipan.blogspot.com

It doesn’t matter if you think you can’t attain your health goals because you’ve been told you’re too out of shape, too heavy, a woman, too old, or any other reason. Adjusting for common sense, anyone can lift and lift heavy. Sure, you’ve got to start somewhere, but I’m a living example that significant progress toward goals can be achieved.

If I can do it, so can you. losing unwanted weight is all a matter of doing cardio, some sort of resistance work, and controlling the amount and type of calories that enter your body. The rest is just details and how much you’re willing to invest in yourself in feeling better, having more energy, living longer, and having better quality of life.

Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.

Pablo Picasso


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