“I used to be a track star in high school.”
“I played D-1/2/3 football in college.”
“I was very athletic before I had kids.”
“I used to be varsity captain in basketball since Freshman year.”
Does this sound like you?
I think this sounds like most people. When people start to take their health and fitness seriously later in life (after the career is in gear. After the kids have come), there is certainly good intentions. That said, good intentions don’t get the job done. People want to feel better, feel more youthful, look better naked and in their clothes, and not huff and puff whenever they walk up the stairs (because let’s be honest…you’re climbing a flight of stairs, not Mt. Everest). People want to enjoy intimacy with there spouse/partner while “Bump & Grind” plays through the speaker.
People just want to be what they used to be; pain-free, energetic, and feel more youthful.
Let’s call a spade a spade and say this; the moment you are ready to do something about your current situation, there is no “start” or “easing in” to things. No, you rather just go back in to the glory days and start pounding iron 6 days a week, running 30 miles weekly, and then bask in the glory of complete soreness and debilitation for 2 weeks as you pop ibuprofen like tic-tacs.
THIS…is ruining you and it’s ruining your body. It’s ruining your ability to work on training longevity so you can do this for as long as you live. It’s ruining your ability to actually achieve your goals in a sane and safe yet efficient manner.
And let’s not even talk about nutrition right now. That’s a whole other issue.
The goal of training is to essentially make you stronger. It’s to make you move pain-free. It’s to make you feel good. It’s to give you that muscle tone you want. And while all of these are great products of smart training, you have to do it…smart.
When you’ve been working at a desk job all day, living pretty sedentary, and the only lifts you get are the beers and bottles of wine on the weekend, you need to make wiser decisions when it comes to your training.
The goal of training isn’t to “annihilate” yourself. Vomiting is not a badge of honor. Not walking for a week is not bad-assery. These are all signs that you’ve done too much and were not smart.
While being sore is a product of a new stimulus in training, it’s not THE thing to chase when training and it certainly isn’t the mark of a “good training session”.
Keep it simple (as hard as it may seem…but trust me, you’ll thank me).
When you are easing back in to the gym, start simple. Pick 1 exercise per movement and train 2-3 times/week. That’s all you need…really; especially at the start.
EGO…Take it out!
“What are the movements?” – I know, that was your next question. When training smart, picking movements (or muscles [however you want to look at it]) then choose an exercise for it. Again, do it 2-3 times/week and that’s it.
These movements are:
Horizontal Push (Chest) – Chest Press
Horizontal Pull (Back [rows]) – Dumbbell Rows
Vertical Push (Shoulders) – Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Vertical Pull (Back) – Lat Pulldowns
Squat (Quads/Glutes) – Goblet Squats
Lunge (Quads/Glutes/Hamstrings) – Reverse Lunges
Hinge (Glutes/Hamstrings) – Deadlifts
When you start getting better at training overall, the stronger you get and your ability to move better will THEN start pushing you in to the glory days of the past and even better.
The thing is to, again, be smart, and stop living in the “used to be” days. You used to be a willfully ignorant child oblivious to the world and all the responsibilities that have now overtaken your life. I think we can ALL agree on that :'( .
That said, start small and walk one step at a time.
In the end, you will much more grateful you did.