Re-Entry to Gym

My life has been kind of like a country and western song for the past few months. I was laid off my job in April, a few weeks later, my Dad died suddenly, getting medical insurance through the local “Obamacare” exchange as been a nightmare, and I have absolutely no benefits at my current temp/contract job, at least not until sometime next month.

dad's memorial
© James Pyles

I used all that as an excuse to not go to the gym, until today that is.

Two things got me back, well three (maybe more). The first is that a friend of mine who suffers from ALS. He’s pretty much wasting away, but he’s always enjoyed my relative success in strength training. Since I stopped lifting, he periodically asks if I’ve gone back. He’s not trying to make me feel guilty but after all, I’m still capable of lifting. He’s not.

The second is that a guy I currently work with says he’s now officially fat. He comes with a long back story, but basically he’s a guy in his 40s who switched careers from being an iron worker to a technical writer due to injuries he incurred in his former career. He’s just now started going to the gym with his fourteen year old son.

The third thing is because we had our credit card number stolen for the second time this year (gee thanks, criminals) and had to switch cards again, we were late in paying our gym membership and got a nastygram from them.

Another motivation, now that I think of it, is that one of my sons bought a house and had a bunch of stuff he needed moved into it. As we were lifting and carrying, he mentioned more than once that I’ve lost a lot of my strength.

He’s right.

Put it all together and I decided to get my butt back to the gym at eight this morning. Surprise, surprise, Bryce is still the Sunday morning guy. We straightened out the silly “late fee” thing and then I got back to work.

I was surprised to see that no one was in the squat rack. I figured that by the time I concluded my business with Bryce, someone would have grabbed it. I was firmly convinced I’d be doing machine work today, but the squat rack was empty and I was there.

Noticed a few regulars including the thin woman who may work in the medical industry. I’ve already forgotten her name.

Mr. “Curls in Squat Rack” was there but it must have been a cardio day for him.

I’d prepared some numbers for my re-entry program. I knew I’d better go light. The last time I stepped inside the gym was back in April just a few days before Dad died.

When I got home after working out, I looked back in my calendar. Before April 16th, I’d lifted only twice in February and three times in January. The last time I was a gym regular was last December. Over half of 2017 is over, and I’ve been slacking.

Anyway, I walked into the squat rack and my memory and experience took over. I’m starting really light. I remember last April doing squats and overhead presses and I was sore for a week. I’ll probably be sore this time too, but I’ve got to start somewhere.

Main Lifts

box squat
Photo: bonvecstrength.com

Back squats in squat rack (Raw)

5x 45lbs/20.4117kg (warm up)
5x 45lbs/20.4117kg (warm up)
5x 85lbs/38.5554kg
5x 95lbs/43.0913kg
5x 105lbs/47.6272kg
3x 115lbs/52.1631kg (joker)
2x 125lbs/56.699kg (joker)

Overhead press in squat rack

5x 45lbs/20.4117kg (warm up)
5x 50lbs/22.6796kg
5x 55lbs/24.9476kg
5x 60lbs/27.2155kg
3x 65lbs/29.4835kg (joker)
3x 70lbs/31.7515kg (joker)

Core work

Bodyweight Back Ext in Roman Chair
x10, x10

Bodyweight Mat Leg Lifts
x10, x10

Mobility Work

Leg Ext on Box: 30 sec x2
Bend over stretch leg ext 30 sec x2
Standing quad stretch 30 sec x2

I'll be back
Image: gymaholic

I noticed my lower back was starting to ache as I was doing back squats, but it’s been aching for a while anyway, I figure just to losing strength. That’s why I did some Roman Chair work today, too. I’m going to have to slowly build it back up if I’m going to survive any significant weights doing squats and deadlifts.

I probably could have gone heavier in my squat and overhead presses (so called) joker sets, but as I said above, I didn’t want to push it. I’m just trying to get my bones used to lifting again. This is a start. Hopefully I can keep it up, but so far in 2017, every time I’ve tried, I’ve failed.

However as the quote at the bottom says, you only fail if you stop trying. I haven’t stopped trying yet.

Giving up is the only sure way to fail.

Gena Showalter

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6 thoughts on “Re-Entry to Gym

  1. You made a step in the right direction,that’s what counts. Sorry to hear about your Dad. I guess as we get older there are many situations that cause us to put things like working out on the back burner. Looking forward to reading your blog again.

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  2. Sorry to hear about your dad. And your other unfortunate circumstances. Life can be a real bitch. The important thing is that you made it back to the gym. The numbers will rise again and you’ll feel like yourself again, albeit a bit broken, battered, and scarred.

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  3. Glad to see you back in the rack. I suspected life experiences were putting the gym on hold. We’re at that age when our folks pass on, and we are now the thin gray line four our families.

    I pulled a hamstring and have had to rehab it. This means basically starting over and working back up.

    You are doing what needs to be done for the long haul. We are now working to maintain muscle mass.
    I approach every day in the gym as a battle with Father Time. So far, so good.

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    1. Thanks, Scuba Dog. Speaking of time, the real challenge will be getting out of bed tomorrow at 4 a.m. so I can hit the gym at five. I’ve gotten used to sleeping in anywhere between 5 and 5:30 on the weekdays.

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