Even great ideas are subject to the whims of chance and the vagaries daily life. For me it was weather, rain in fact, a daily, early morning rain that kept me off of my pre-dawn run for several days. Then I fell off of the better food wagon and finally all of my good intentions had consolidated into last place in my daily to-do list. Each new chore seemed to automatically get first consideration and there seemed to be less and less time in my day.
I was well motivated, but motivation is simply not enough. A brilliant idea, no matter how well concieved falls flat without a good deal of determination, determination beats motivation like a rug. I was letting small problems sabotage my plans and not doing anything to stop it. Allowing these tiny things to swell to ridiculous proportions without a plan B was preventing any future progress. So here I am.
Daily work was going well but there needed to be some sort of fallback if the daily walk was not going to happen. so job one was to clean up and reorganize the garage gym. First the floor space was reclaimed, no more catchall for every piece of junk I could find. Sweeping and vacuuming, by the way, if you are cleaning your garage and ‘find’ a vacuum cleaner, you are probably working a little behind. By the end of today, I will be able to state that the garage is finally mine again.
I am not perfect, I make mistakes, but I don’t quit. Failure is not falling behind or falling down, failure is falling down or falling behind and not getting back up and trying again. Failure is letting fear get the better of ambition. Be determined to achieve your small goals, make new goals and determine to achieve those as well.
First thing first: Changing the focus from cardio to strength. While the first will burn calories in a low impact way the second will burn calories in a different way. Weight training will force an adaptation. In a carefully planned program, new stresses will be introduced in targeted muscle groups that cause micro-tears in the muscles that grow new muscle mass as they heal. Once healed, the larger mass will require more stimulus to grow further. The increased stimulus required will burn more calories and change the distribution of adipose tissue(FAT). The larger the group of muscles you incorporate in your work the more efficient your workout becomes. The largest group of muscles in the body is what is known as the ‘Posterior chain’ which is composed of the legs, glutes, back and neck. To activate the posterior chain we do squats of one type or other.
Basically we start with feet a bit farther than shoulder width apart, toes pointed about 45 degrees. There are some super good explanations of exactly how to do the perfect squat on the internet, I will not try to remake the wheel, there will be some suggestions below but the easiest way to learn the squat is to let your body teach it to you. Find a piece of PVC pipe between 1/2″ to 1 1/2″ wide and cut it to 52″ long. You can use a wooden broom handle about the same length if that is a problem, 52″ is the inside width of a standard barbell and it also allows it to be used for some other exercises I will be talking about later.
So, feet a bit wider than shoulder width apart, feet pointed 45 degrees. Hold the pipe with a palms out grip at shoulder height and without changing grip put the pipe behind your neck resting on your shoulders. Keeping your back as straight as you can, tighten your abs without moving your back. Head up, shoulders back, abs tight, now push your butt back and begin to sit down, push your knees out on the way down so that your knees are going in the same direction as your feet. Go down as far as you can and on the way back up keep your abs tight and back straight. If you have trouble keeping your back straight at first concentrate on facing forward and go down only until you feel your back rounding. If you have balance issues once you are all the way down you can use 1/2″ of something, scrap wood, smaller barbell weights, old books, under your heels to help. If you have never done squats before of haven’t done them in a while, do 10 reps, no more. It won’t feel like you have done any work at all, mostly what you have done is stretching, something your body is not used to. If you feel good the next day, do ten more, and then stop. If you have overdone it at all, your body will let you know on the next morning. As long as you are not sore the next day, keep doing these for a week. Remember to write them down in your daily journal. If you get to a point where you experience pain, stop. Finish the week off with 2 mile walks daily and start over the following Monday.
Monday morning looks like this:
bar-only squats 10 reps
alternating single arm curls (use 1 gallon jugs of drinking/distilled water) 3 sets 10 reps each side
alternating single arm overhead press 3 sets 10 reps each side`
Remember that when you are forcing an adaptation through weight training your body will require protein. Bacon and eggs are the perfect answer for the first meal of the day. 2 eggs, 2 slices of bacon= about 266 calories, eat it, enjoy it, remember to write it down. Milk is OK, juice is the enemy. Whole fruits and veggies are always good. After a week or so you could incorporate some protein post workout but for now keep the calories a little under maintenance levels and remember to hydrate every single day. 1% dehydrated equals a ten percent loss of strength, so keep that in mind. Food quality is going to become more important now as we will be eating to recover rather than simply keeping a calorie count. For the first time in several years my weight is now below 300#.