The Long Road Back: Day One Again

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Yeah, I know. I’ve been here before. I last posted about lifting nine days ago. The last time I was at the gym was nine days ago. Motivation, that is, trying to get it back, has turned out to be one mother bear.

Actually, Sunday before last, I really over did it. I had the time, so not only did I do my two main lifts, but I did two assistance lifts. Bad mistake. Grievous error.

The DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) hung around forever. I had planned to lift the following Thursday, but my quads, hams, and lumbar region were still really sore. Not “tweak” sore, but “I’ve overdone it” sore.

First day back at lifting after a month off and I got cocky, even through I’d reduced the weights for my main lifts by 25%.

It wasn’t just the soreness, though. I was finding it really hard to get up at 4 a.m. I could do 5 a.m. much better, but that’s too late in the morning, especially since last week our son had his two kids, which means my wife and I have them, too.

She goes to work at 5:30 and he goes to work (Saturday through Wednesday) at 6 a.m. I figured if I went to the gym at five, I might not get back before my son had to go to work. Sure, my other son would be at home, but he sleeps late and there’s no promise that if my granddaughter started crying in her crib, he’d hear her.

Besides, I have to get them ready Monday through Wednesday to go to daycare.

Anyway, those are my excuses and I’m sticking to them.

Last night, I made sure I got to bed early, by 8:30 in this case. Sure, I woke up at 2:30 or 3 and dozed off and on until nearly 4, but I felt rested enough to get up and get ready to work out.

I decided not to push it at all. Keep the weights (relatively) light, and no assistance lifts.

I got out of the house just a tad late and the gym was already open when I got there. Didn’t look like there were too many cars present, so I was hoping the squat rack would be free.

The receptionist gal knows me and knows my member number, so no delay at the front desk.

Just a few people on cardio machines, Chase’s class was warming up, and the weight room was totally empty.

I had to straighten out the squat rack just a bit but then I was ready to roll.

Here’s how my reboot of my reboot went this morning.

5/5/5+ week after illness – 25% reduction of weights from previous levels

squat rack
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Back Squat in Squat Rack (raw)

10x 45lbs/20.4117kg (warm up)
10x 65lbs/29.4835kg (warm up)
5x 95lbs/43.0913kg
5x 105lbs/47.6272kg
6x 110lbs/49.8952kg
3x 115lbs/52.1631kg (joker)
3x 120lbs/54.4311kg (joker)
3x 125lbs/56.699kg (joker)

Overhead Press in Squat Rack

10x 45lbs/20.4117kg (warm up)
5x 50lbs/22.6796kg
5x 55lbs/24.9476kg
6x 60lbs/27.2155kg
5x 65lbs/29.4835kg (joker)
3x 75lbs/34.0194kg (joker)
3x 80lbs/36.2874kg (joker)

Mobility Work

Hamstring stretch #1 30 seconds x2
Hamstring stretch #2 30 seconds x2

Quad stretch 30 seconds x2

I squatted raw, which means no dragging a bench into the rack with me. I just make sure to hit parallel or a little lower if I can tolerate it. That’s one of the reasons for the lighter weights besides the need to knock them down 25% because I’m lost muscle and stamina.

I know the weights look light, but by the time I’d gotten into my working sets, I was sweating and breathing heavy. It’s coming up from the bottom of the hole that challenges my quads and sucks a bunch of oxygenated blood into my legs.

I rested about two minutes between sets which seemed adequate.

I had intended to make my 5+ set five or more reps using 115 pounds, but based on how I felt in the first two sets, I decided to do 110 instead, and save 115 for a joker set.

I might have made 5 reps using a 115 pound barbell, but based on my experience the last time I lifted and the aftermath, I didn’t want to push myself too far.

Jokers went OK, and the fact that I could do 3 reps with a 125 pound barbell means I probably could have gone heavier…but again, I’m playing it safe this early in the game.

I should say that while I’m doing all this, Chase brings his little class into the weight room to do deadlifts and bench presses. They’re doing lighter weights and more reps per set than I would, so I mainly watched their form. Chase is a good trainer and he was on top of them in terms of achieving a neural spine.

Chase’s class members were the only ones who came into the weight room for my entire stay at the gym. A couple of guys, including Joe, came in to use the ab crunch machine, but that’s it. It was paradise.

I ended my squats with the third joker and moved on to the overhead press.

Only one warm up set since my first working set was using a mere 50 pounds. I tolerated the working sets well and even the first joker, so I increased the weight by 10 pounds to 75 for the second. It felt kind of difficult but I was able to do 3 reps, and then for the final joker, another 3 at 80 pounds.

Maybe I could have gone heavier, but I decided to just get used to the activity first.

Yeah, I was sweating and tired, but I had more in the tank.

overhead press

I called it after that, did my stretches, and left the gym 45 minutes after I first walked in.

I had sucked down a cup of coffee, a glass of water, and a banana before lifting and had my protein shake afterward. I need to get back to reasonable eating as well as lifting and cardio work. I don’t even want to know how much I weigh right now.

My delts and biceps feel sore and tired, and I’m sure when I get up from my seat, my quads will let me know they’re tired, too.

I hope I challenged myself without overly stressing my body. I plan to lift again Thursday, repeating my 5/5/5+ week performance doing bench presses and deadlifts, then switch up to 3/3/3+ week on Sunday. In the meantime, I need to factor in some cardio sessions to build up my endurance again.

I really hope this time is it. That I’ve returned to the gym. That nothing will stop me this time, including myself.

Oh, and I turn 62 on Saturday. I was hoping to be further a long in my training by now. Let’s see what I can do with the coming year.

When life gives you limits, push them.

Aaron Fotheringham


2 thoughts on “The Long Road Back: Day One Again

  1. Your WO seems to be what many of the older guys on SS are doing. I recently wrote in my log on SS that the weights I’m using are embarrassing. One of the othe guys said that might be true but many guys our age have a hard time just walking around the mall. If you are putting a bar on your back and squatting don’t complain about the weight.


    1. I think I’m still experiencing the dissonance between what my brain says I can do and what my body is capable of. Interestingly enough neither my back nor my legs as complaining at me because of the squats. I’m a little surprised.


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