Whupped again.

My second training session at the gym was last Friday, when my introductory trainer took some more measurements and prescribed a weight lifting regimen. Though my BMI is just fine (22), my body fat measurement is a bad situation (I’m at 25%), with the bulk of that in my midsection. The trainer stepped through the weight equipment, setting me up with the right weights and repetitions to start on.

I returned on Sunday afternoon, spending twenty minutes on an exercise bike and, for the first time since 2003, lifting weights. I did pretty well on the lower body work, but it was my upper body strength (or lack thereof) that was just pathetic. Pessimistically, I’d planned to start with lifting just twenty pounds for a couple of upper-body exercises, and for one of them I actually had to bring that down to fifteen pounds to struggle through two sets of twelve. My lats, deltoids, and trapezia are apparently as withered as month-old grapes. (But, on the other hand, now I know their names. Who knew there were muscles in the back?) A day and a half later and I still ache. I intended to go to the gym Tuesday night, but I think I should put that off until Wednesday and take some time to heal.

All of this leaves me with a few measurable goals so far:

  1. Reduce my waist-to-hip ratio to 1.0 from my current 1.1.
  2. Lower my resting heart rate from 72 bpm to perhaps 65 bpm.
  3. Bring my body fat rate down to 15-16%.
  4. Increase my VO2max level above 50 (from 47).
  5. Be able to consistently do 24 pushups.
  6. Run a mile in under eight minutes.

Few of these are especially ambitious goals, but I want to stick within the realm of the plausible. I intend to end up with some more goals, too, hopefully some specific to strength training, but those will wait until I get in the swing of things and develop a sense of the possibilities.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

4 replies on “Whupped again.”

  1. Best of luck. When I started back up, I had the same problems — my lower body/legs was actually very strong due to playing goalie for 10 years, but my upper body/arms were basically atrophied.

    The eight minute mile is one of my more immediate goals.. starting slow though, as I’m not much of a runner.

    Simply reducing the amount of soda I drink has helped incredibly. My wife pretty much does all the cooking, and she’s a health nut, so that doesn’t hurt either.

  2. I *knew* we were going to get some metrics out of this, despite Mrs. Jaquith’s best intentions. ;-)

    Twenty pounds isn’t a horrible starting point for upper body, depending on the exercise in question, and a lot of how much weight you should be working up to depends on what your goal is for working out. When I was doing a lot of martial arts and fighting competitively, I would do a lot more lower body weight and do more reps with less weight on the upper body so I stayed toned and lean without building too much extra muscle mass that might push me out of my weight class and make my cardio work harder. I’d only add up to my maximum weight range a couple of days before a fight right before stepping in to spar–it was like swinging a weighted bat before stepping up to the plate, it didn’t make me stronger, but it did make my hands faster.

    I’m guessing your overarching goal isn’t beating down another fighter (if it is, two words: wind sprints) but I’m guessing it’s not being a body-builder, either. So chin up! :-)

  3. I intended to go to the gym Tuesday night, but I think I should put that off until Wednesday and take some time to heal.

    I wouldn’t, if I were you — from what I understand (and in my experience), a better way to avoid soreness is to work the same muscles three days in a row. Unless you have an actual injury to heal up, waiting until the soreness goes away just means you spend more time being sore (which, in addition to being no fun, is not good for motivation.)

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