Sunday, July 4, 2010

Gym regimen - July 2010

4 July 2010
87kg, BMI 25
"A2" workout: Chest and Calves: 100-120 mins (?)

Warmup: Jumping jacks 60x, Jump rope 80x, calisthenics/stretching

Abs: Incline situps 40x, Russian twists 50x, Russian twists 40x (?), Crossover crunches (elbow to contralateral knee) 40x

Incline bench press: 12x @ 50kg, 10x @ 50kg, 8x @ 60kg, 6x @ 62.5kg

Cable crossover fly: 12x @ 18.5kg, 10x @ 18.5kg, 10x @ 22kg, 8x @ 22kg

Supine bench press: 12x @ 70kg, 10x @ 70kg, 8x @ 75kg (?), 6x @ 75kg (?)

Supine barbell fly: 12x @ 10kg, 10x @ 10kg, 8x @ 12.5kg (?), 6x @ 12.5kg (?)

Weighted calf raise (barbell Smith machine): 15x @ 70kg, 30x (?), 15x @ 70kg, 15x @ 70kg

Single leg calf raise (each leg): 15x @ 10kg, 15x, 15x, 15x

Jump rope: 100x, 100x, 100x, 100x

Cooldown: Underhand wrist curls (15-20x @ 25kg, 15x @ 25kg, 15x @ 45kg), jump rope, ski machine


As you might notice, I used lower weight this workout and didn't pyramid (add weight) very dramatically. For my chest, this is because I could feel the strain from my first workout as soon as I hit the incline bench press and I had to navigate between the Scylla of a serious injury (due to weekendwarrioritis impatiens!) and the Charybdis of "wussing out." As it feels right now, I sense that the strain in my upper pectoralis major is just a standard, grade 1 strain which comes with the territory. As I worked on my tight hamstring last night while going to bed, I realized, with a grin, it's true: No Pain, No Gain. The pain is a sign of growth. Something about "break you down to build you up."

I'm not alarmed by the pec strain since, first, it has gotten stronger since it first happened, which is why I was able to finish my workout and, second, it didn't really get any worse during today's workout. I'm glad I played it safe, though, and kept the weight pretty low. But, boy, how the mighty have fallen. Here I am, tiptoeing through four sets at 110-138 pounds on the bench, but about eight years ago I managed a 2-rep max at 200 pounds (or maybe a tad more). Humility. Humility. And more humility. At least I've got a clear goal to shoot for: conquer my college self!

Speaking of goals, I think I should [he said, speaking into the yawning pit of apathy which deepened with every word] address just what my goals are with all this bodybuilding. Aren't I the Codgitator, a precarious scholar-writer, not an amateur beefcake? Of course I am! But recall that FCA stands for Faith, Thought, and Action. As they say in the blog-world: It's my blog. This just happens to be a part of how I roll while thinking and believing. I don't feel terribly self-conscious about "going on about" my weightlifting regimen, since it may inspire some hapless reader to pursue his or her own rejuvenation by means of exercise; or my philosophical musings on weightlifting may have enough 'intellectual' weight in their own right to interest some readers (and I have many more things I would like to excogitate from weights--finality and form, organs and formal unity, "He's gone" and somatic reference, etc.); or, again, some of you might actually just be curious to keep up with me.

In any case, what are my beefcakeling goals?

First, I want to shed the fat in my abdominal area. As men age, fat gravitates around the belly (and as women age it clumps in the thighs). Now and then, over the past several years, I've been mildly annoyed at my persistent rim of waistline fat. So now it's time to bomb my gut and tighten up. I also have every intention to keep any larger forms of that hip-slung adipose enemy at bay as long as I am able, so getting a leg up on intransigent belly fat now will only help as the hypothetical years progress.

Second, my goal is to bench more than 200 pounds.

Third, my goal is simply to stick to my 4-day regimen--while also making adjustments along the way, of course--for the next six months at the absolute minimum. It's a discipline goal per se. I have no desire to compete in bodybuilding competitions, but if I had to pick a visual model for my visualization, I wouldn't mind looking like Gregg Valentino in his younger years, pre-steroid-freakishness.

Basically, I am reconnecting with my youthful love for and commitment to a real "fitness life," and, as I've put it to a few inquirers, I just want to "see what my muscles do under the iron." I'm genuinely curious to see how my body will respond to a fairly rigorous weight program. I have a very good athletic foundation and my frame is by now very suitable for adding bulk. Even so, flexibility is very important to me, so at all costs I will preempt being "musclebound". Flexibility was also very important to Arnold, once he learned the value of stretching and keeping the muscles "supple" in his teens. That loose finesse is what made him such a giant in the bodybuilding world: he really did have the best developed body on all fronts, not just the most massive or most "cut".

Today I met a large Taiwanese guy who grew up in Texas and who played football. It shows! Big ol' boy! But I was disappointed to see him do his, admittedly strenuous sets, with such stunted form, with such a confined range of motion. He complimented me on how "agile" and "flexible" I am, admitting he's as stiff as a board. I told him I have done martial arts and that dynamic strength is important to me. He said that's the best way. I was pleased to meet him, since his size and commitment are good sources of inspiration for me, but at the same time I am a bit skittish about getting sucked into chit-chat with him. When I workout, I leave my cellphone outside and I try to keep time between sets to a minimum. I'm not there to shoot the shit. You'll notice the time for this workout is "110-120 mins (?)," an indication of how meeting this guy, and then having my bodybuilding friend/mentor stop by, made me lose my bearings on time, precious time.

Anyway, I think I'm now pretty much "all geared up" for my bodybuilding adventure. I've completed one week of my routine and can't wait to get back into the gym after two days of upcoming rest. I've also got a tub of high-quality whey protein, a jar of L-glutamine, multivitamins ("for men"!), and two months of tocopherol nicotinate pills (until I get pure niacin!) to rebuild my microtorn muscles, add mass, and increase oxygen perfusion during workouts and beyond.

Incidentally, I didn't see any trainers smoke today, but I did see what can only be described as a Taiwanese Laurel and Hardy smoking in the parking lot before entering to deploy their aimless twitches on the equipment.

Today was a beautiful day. I woke up feeling less groggy than usual. I made it in time for confession and enjoyed Mass, and loved partaking of the Eucharist. Then I all but finished reading The Education of a Bodybuilder while waiting for the midday break at Central to pass (culture shock, even after all this time!). It was hilarious to read Arnold say, at least three times, how "stubborn" and "difficult" the calf muscle is, which is why you have to "bomb" it. It's a part of BBing lore that Arnold's calves were his only real weak point, so to hear him read how he did normally 150-pound calf raises until he saw his idol, Reg Park, doing 1000-pound calf raises, it was a case of "Well, no wonder, Sherlockenegger!" I also read a funny anecdote last week about a former weightlifter who met Arnold in a bathroom at a banquet a couple years ago and had Arnold fawning over his legendary calves. "How did you do it?" Arnold pried, even decades after the fact. The calf-god said he was a boxer, so all the bagwork and jump rope gave him his legendary calves... and didn't give Arnold his legendarily disproportionate calves. Hence, my jump rope regimen, which I might make a part of every workout!

Anyway, after the workout, I showered and went with my buddy to a BBQ at the church that hosted me to Taiwan nealy seven years ago, caught up with old friends, met new missionaries for this year, and just... feel thankful. I feel young again. For this week, at least. :fitting smiley emoticon: Stay tuned.

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