Christmas Eve and Killing It

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I used to blog after every lifting workout, but since I’ve had to start over again and my numbers are pretty pathetic, I figured I’d skip a few weeks here and there.

I have been lifting though, Sundays and Thursdays like clockwork and it’s working. Cardio’s getting better too, though I only go in for maybe a couple of days a week, occasionally supplementing with a walk over my lunch hour if it isn’t freezing outside.

That was the problem this morning. It was 14 degrees F (-10 C) when I got to the gym. Kept the car motor going so I’d have heat and I wouldn’t freeze to death. Bryce the Sunday morning guy got there right at eight but he’d grabbed the wrong keys so everyone had to wait until the person he called arrived with them at 8:25 a.m.

There were so many guys waiting, I thought I’d have plenty of competition for the squat rack, but nope. Only me and bicycle guy squat on Sundays and today he didn’t even squat.

It’s Christmas Eve. You knew that but I keep forgetting because my wife and I don’t celebrate (she’s Jewish). Still, it’ll be nice to have tomorrow off and the gym was open at least part of today, so all’s good.

I’m starting Cycle Three of my renewed 5/3/1 strength training program and I have to say I’m coming back pretty fast. I won’t post all of my numbers but I’ll give you a comparison using my max weight for joker sets.

Cycle One, Day One 5/5/5+ week.
Barbell Back Squats in Squat Rack (raw)
Max joker set: 2x 150lbs/68.0389kg

Cycle Three, Day One 5/5/5+ week
Barbell Back Squats in Squat Rack (raw)
Max joker set: 1x 210lbs/95.2544kg


Cycle One, Day One 5/5/5+ week.
Barbell Overhead Press in Squat Rack
Max joker set: 2x 80lbs/36.2874kg

Cycle Three, Day One 5/5/5+ week.
Barbell Overhead Press in Squat Rack
Max joker set: 105lbs/47.6272kg


Cycle One, Day Two 5/5/5+ week.
Barbell Bench Press
Max joker set: 1x 125lbs/56.669kg

Cycle Two, Day Two 5/3/1+ week
Barbell Bench Press
Max joker set: 1x 145lbs/65.7709kg


Cycle One, Day Two 5/5/5+ week.
Barbell Bent Leg Deadlift
Max joker set: 1x 245lbs/111.13kg

Cycle Two, Day Two, 5/3/1+ week
Barbell Bent Leg Deadlift
Max joker set: 1x 275lbs/124.738

These changes occurred over eight to nine weeks so I’m getting stronger. Of course, in the beginning/return to this sort of routine, you get stronger fast until you hit your limits and start to plateau out. Still, it’s nice to see this is working for now.

I’ve been doing more Assistance Lifts this time around than during 2016, mainly to deal with my lagging triceps, but also focusing on back, gut, and pecs as well. Today I added some concentration curls to hit my biceps. I spent nearly two hours at the gym and my body feels fried, but in a good way.

I’m still far away from my former PRs but I feel like they’re attainable again. My wife doesn’t want me to “push it” like “last time” (2016) but this may be just the beginning. Of course, the bottom could fall out at any time and I could hit some nasty plateau that takes the wind out of me, but I’ll worry about that when I get there.

Having coffee with a friend of mine in less than an hour as I write this. He’s an ALS sufferer and is about ready to transition into a wheelchair. In some ways, he’s been one of my greatest inspirations to go back to the gym and hit it hard. The young guys and gals I see working out all the time probably take their bodies for granted, figuring they’ll last forever.

buff santa
Photo: Santa Gym Banta twitter account

In reality, it’s both hard work and a privilege to be able to have a healthy enough body to do this sort of work. I’ve heard some older guys say “age is just a number,” but strictly speaking, that’s not true. Stuff changes as you get older. I only lift twice a week instead of four times because older bodies take longer to recover between sessions. I take at least two minutes and sometimes three or more between sets to recover because, especially after back squats and deadlifts, my body needs that much rest so I can put maximum effort into the upcoming set.

Fortunately, there’s a nice spread of ages working out in the weight room, everything from guys and gals in their twenties up to and including me at 63. Glad it’s not just me and a bunch of testosterone fueled twenty year olds lifting and grunting. There are people older than me who come to the gym, but I never see them lifting barbells or dumbbells. They tend to stick to the weight machines and the treadmills. That’s fine and dandy, but as long as I can get a barbell out of a rack or off of the floor, that’s what I’m going to do.

Like I said, after my main lifts, I did assistance lifts for my chest, triceps, and biceps, and then my back and gut, finishing up with the usual stretches. I looked back into the weight room before leaving. Poor lonely squat rack still totally neglected, even with all of that sweating muscle working out in there. I felt like yelling, “Doesn’t anybody squat anymore?” but I’d have probably sounded like a jackass.

On any given holiday when the gym is open, you get a total mix of folks you might not otherwise see. Christmas Eve morning was no exception. I walked out feeling good about myself and even the 18 degrees or so hitting my bare legs didn’t bother me much. I’m glad to be back and working. Even if other things sometimes get screwed up in my life, the gym is one place where I know what I’m going to do. Then I just have to put my back into it and do it.

Merry Christmas fellow gym rats. Have a good one.

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.

Dr. Seuss

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4 thoughts on “Christmas Eve and Killing It

  1. I.turned.68 last.week and still plan to keep on keeping on
    I’m trying what’s called a 3×3 metabolic workout.I’m using lower weights because the reps for lower body lifts are 20 to 8,upper body 12 to 8, with limited rest.Gets th heart pounding, lungs puffing and muscles.pumped.I am hoping it will help lower.my BP and along with watching my diet get my CHL a little more.to my.Drs liking.

    Like

  2. Well, James…I am glad to see you persisting in fighting the inevitable problems of an aging body. The main problem at our age is not to overdo it…because the way back after healing is such a long one.

    Keep up the struggle to stay well, and enjoy all there is to enjoy.

    Chag sameach.

    Q

    Liked by 1 person

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