Monday, December 6, 2010

#286: Workout With a Plan

I have two fitness goals for the next few months. I want to cut my Body Fat Percentage in half and I want to start running in organized races again. I think Body Fat percentage is a more useful number than just weight because it accounts for the changes in muscle mass that result from exercise. Increasing my percentage of lean mass and watching the way my clothes fit will tell me more than the scale can, as long as I keep working out. It may take quite a while to make that much of a change, but I can wait. As far as racing goes, I don't think I'll ever be a competative runner, but that's not why I run in the first place. I run cause I like running. Having a race on the calender gives me a goal to work toward AND gets me a cool tee shirt. I want to be ready to start in time for the Shamrock Shuffle 3K in March.

How To Get There

I'll be using Alwyn Cosgrove's New Rules of Lifting program to deal with the fat/muscle balance, and  I'm using the Couch to 5K plan to get running again. I have a pretty ambitions plan laid out for myself. The running plan is designed to get you ready to run in 9 weeks. I can start that tomorrow without any other preparation. Before I can start doing the Cosgrove workouts, I have to be able to execute some movements that are still difficult for me. I'm using December to improve my fundamentals on them so I can start lifting just in time for New Year's resolutions. Here's what today's workout looked like...

Dumbbell Squats352x30
Dumbbell Lunges351x20
Dumbbell Bent Over Row352x40
Pushups (bent knee)35Body Wt
Swiss Ball Crunches35Body Wt
Dumbbell Deadlift352x40
Step Up352x10
Shoulder Press352x20
Lat Pulldown3575
Reverse Crunch35Body Wt

(Isn't that a cool table? I found this web site called that has a tool that will generate the code for you so you don't have to type all the html tags required. I'm such a sloppy typist, it really is better if I don't try to type code. This makes things much easier.)

The workout took about 45 minutes, plus a brisk 6 minute walk to warm up and a very weary 6 minute walk to cool down. I didn't time how long I sat gasping in the locker room, watching the sweat drip down on the floor between my shoes, but it seemed like a pretty long time. I was in and out in about an hour, which is what the experts say is appropriate. I don't mind spending longer than that in the gym, but I'm trying to be more efficient with my time there. I have to remember that I'm training to live, not the other way around.

It Ain't Pretty, but It's a Start

I found a cheat that helped me to get through the lunges. I held only one weight, and used my free hand to hang on to a bench for support. In time, I'll have the strength to do them properly, but this is a way to start. I startled one of the other lifters when I lost my balance at the end of the last set and tumbled down into the dumbbell rack. It wasn't as dramatic as this famous guy, but it raised a few eyebrows. I smiled and got myself up quickly. I'm sure I'll have an exciting bruise where my shoulder hit. No other harm done.

I did some sissy pushups with my knees bent, like they used to let the girls do in elementary school gym. I didn't go down very deep, but I moved five times, so I counted them. They'll get better too. I hope so. I don't want to have to wear culottes and knee socks.

The last problem move for me is the step up. It requires the same kind of core and leg strength that lunges do. You're supposed to hold two dumbbells and step up onto a bench. Instead, I used one of those Jane Fonda looking step aerobic thingees. It was about 16 inches high. I'll graduate to the bench when I'm stronger. In the meantime, I may have to dig out my old leg warmers. I don't think I have any flesh colored tights in the basement, though.

Releasing Some Pressure

I saw my family doctor this morning. it seems as if I've seen every other doctor in Lexington besides her in the last six months, but she's the one who sent me to the surgeon in the first place, so I owed her a follow-up and a thank you. We talked about my adventure, and about my blood pressure issues. We're going to taper off on the pressure meds for a week and see if I get past these dizzy spells. Much as I hated passing out in the bathroom, I really don't want to do it with 40 lb dumbbells over my head in the gym. Of course, I do have to run over to Wal-Mart a couple times a day to check my BP on that insane little gizmo they have at the pharmacy. Every time I see someone sit down to use it, I have visions of this scene from Bevis and Butthead. Later tonight, that will be me, screaming for help while a gaggle of tattooed youths in blue smocks tries to figure out how to unplug the thing.

I'll let you know how it turns out.


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