Today, I began a new cycle of weight training…..I’ve noticed I’ve made gains in strength and now it’s on to phase 2!
Every time I go to the gym, I make a conscious effort to increase the weight on the third and fourth (heavy weight x’s 5 repetitions). Sure, with each set I do, I add a little on to the following sets; but, I increase the last 2 a little more. The reason for that is simple: I want to get stronger! Working harder makes stronger muscles, and the stronger the muscles, the more calories I’ll burn. If, on that last (4th) set, my muscles can’t get all five, I’ll stop. When the muscle being worked begins to twitch, you’re reaching muscle failure. Don’t worry! That’s supposed to happen! Don’t try to force the remaining repetitions on your own. If you have a workout partner, have them assist you. Their job is to assist you as minimally as possible. It’s intended for you to do the majority of the exercise. They are there mainly to keep you stable. Since this is a solo gig for me, I’ll stop when the muscle says, “Nope! Not going to get them last reps!” I don’t want to cause injury to myself. I know myself pretty well, but I also tend to push myself. I have to know where that line is, otherwise, I’ll injure myself, and then it’s back to square one.
Making progress (or gains, as most weight lifters like to call it) is rather simple: Each time you get to that specific muscle group you’re working on, add a little weight to each set. I like to keep a log in my notes. For example, when I work my chest, and I’m bench pressing, I’ll make a note of the amount of weight for one side (example: 30 pounds, which doubled-30 pounds on the other side-is 60 pounds). I tend to not add bar weight, even though I’m pushing the bar. The reason I don’t is because the weight bar is on a gliding rail, so you’re not fully lifting and balancing the entire weight. You’re strictly gliding the weight up and down, and the machine is stabilizing it for you. Sure, you are pushing 60 pounds, plus the weight of the bar, but I have to ask a trainer at the gym how much the bar is, but how much difference is taken off because of it being on a straight rail. Then, when chest day comes around again, I’ll add some weight to that 30, increasing my strength. I do this for each and every exercise. My notes serve two main purposes: To show me the gains I’ve made, and to remind me of what exercises I’m doing.
For me, it’s important to keep track of the exercises. Then, one day, I can reflect back on where I was (at the bottom). Everything we start in life begins at the number 1….the Alpha….Numero Uno. Weight lifting and weight loss is no different. Today, I Changed my routine up a little. Instead of planking and jumping jacks, I decided to jog around a section of the gym. Giving my heart rate a bump. Next week’s cardio exercise I’m going to mix in some jogging with walking. The goal from that point on out is to jog a little more each time, until I’m jogging a mile non-stop, then a mile and a half, and so on and so on. This week’s cardio workout will be me, attending a spin class with my daughter-in-law and sister-in-law. I’ll write about my experience soon after! Increasing the weight amount, or, if you’re walking for exercise, or whatever other form of exercise you’re doing, increasing distance and speed does wonders for our self-esteem. Think about when you first started. The thought of bench pressing 155 pounds, 5 times, in less than a month since you began lifting seems far-fetched. BUT! Guess who did that this morning????
Keep pushing yourself, with whatever form of exercise you’re doing! You’ll be amazed at the gains and how far you’ve come!