I'm half way through my experiment. I've learned the word for it. It's called periodization. It's where you commit to a routine for a period of weeks or months, employing progressive resistance, then you switch to a different one. For example from heavy weight and low reps, then lower weight, higher reps, and shorter rest periods.
I have been lifting heavy and long (two-plus hours of lifting) with two days of recovery between.
Body Weight: 357 >> 352 (-5 lb)
Body Fat: 115 >> 114 (-1 lb )
Lean Body Mass: 242 >> 237 (-4 lb)
The body composition numbers are interesting. My body fat and lean body mass are both going down. I haven't changed my nutrition very much (look, it's never perfect) but my sleep was lousy this week. I had a hard time staying asleep and consequently didn't get up on time. The other thing I noticed about this routine was that only going to the gym three times turned my mood pretty dark. The anti-depressant effect of exercise is something I can't afford to play with. I think that getting the right rest, and being smarter about what and when I eat will make a difference.
My goals for the year are weight 270 and Body Fat 12.5%. That's going to put my lean body mass right about where it is now. I don't know how to manage that change. Obviously excess muscle mass isn't going to be a problem for a while.But I need to manage fat loss without losing lean. I think Cardio is going to be the answer. I want to run, but for now, I need to suck it up and do the boring work on the recumbant bike and the elliptical. It will be a while before I can ride my bike enough to make much difference to my heart. (though my quads are feeling it.)
Bench Press: 155 >> 165 (+ 6%)
Dead Lift: 145 >> 175 (+ 21%)
Squats: 105 >> 175 (+ 67%)
Pushups: 8 >> 10 (+ 25%)
These numbers each tell different stories. The bench press is an exercise I have been pushing on for a while, so I was working close to my max when the week started. The deadlift and squats are fairly new to me and my focus has been on learning proper form without hurting myself. Know I am testing myself more to find my max. I'm close, but not there quite yet. Pushups I just started. I was embarrassed to try because I knew I would suck at them. I just finally decided to start. (no sense waiting until I can bench my own body weight - besides, right now the bigger problem is core strength. My back gives out before my arms.)
I've already touched on one - I don't like the two days rest. the gym has become an important part of managing my depression. Even if it's just a short trim on the stair climber, I need to be there more often than this.
I am getting stronger in every muscle group. I feel harder and am seeing more muscle.
I miss cardio, emotionally and physically. The big power lifts, squats and deadlifts really test your cardio-pulmonary system. When I finish a set, I am breathless, sometimes dizzy, and yesterday I was slightly queasy for a minute. I recovered soon enough, but eventually cardio is going to be critical to improving those lifts.
The thing I feel good about is that I'm sticking with the plan. I will keep at this for another week before making adjustments. It feels good to stick with my commitment.
And finally my usual whine -- I really miss running.
All in good time.
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