This video from Edgy Conversations sums up what we all need to do to experience success.
Walking and water aerobics won’t help preserve your bone health, but lifting heavy will.
Losing weight is a difficult enough challenge, that it can lead to stressful thoughts, sad and depressing moments, even embarrassment. Because you may not be happy with the current shape you are in you may get frustrated and unhappy at times. A positive attitude helps so much in conquering the demons and obstacles in life, that anything one can do to foster that attitude is a blessing.
Looking to find nuggets of information to help win the war on my waist leads to constants searching. I read lots of blogs, online news sites and wherever else that information is available. Yesterday, while perusing the “alltheweigh” blog I came across something that may help you keep a positive attitude in a battle full of ups and downs.
Personally, I use a gratitude book. You can call it whatever you want but its just a composition book that I write in everything I am thankful for at the moment. It may be something as simple as the cup of coffee I am having when writing. But its purpose, like Kenlie’s Pumpkin dish from the link above is the same. To remind us of all the wonderful things we have in life.
Its easy for us to forget the good things because we expect them. But for the majority of us, we really are fortunate. Way more than we are willing to admit. But journaling, writing down or tracking the good things reminds us of how well off we are.
Right now I am sitting on the back porch, in shorts typing and watching a squirrel eating acorns 15 feet from me, while I type. It is sunny, 70 degrees, I’m in shorts. For that I am grateful.
What are you grateful for?
In part 1 of this series we covered the frustration of training at the local global gym. Part 2 covered my requirements’ for a new place to train and the success of finding Fivex3 Training in Baltimore.
The basics of Starting Strength are simple. A series of four to five basic exercises that work large areas of the body, Think efficiency of effort. More muscle groups exercised in less time. With a measurable increase of progress every workout, in Starting Strength terminology, linear progress. A better explanation can be found here.
Having trained in a similar fashion years ago, I made great progress and changed my body over the course of about one year. I realize that some people, specially women, worry about getting muscle bound or looking like a man. But since the fairer sex produces less testosterone than men that is normally not an issue. To see what Starting Strength has done for women click here , here and here.
We all know that strength training builds muscle. Muscle burns more calories at rest than fat. Strength makes every day tasks easier to perform. Plus things stop jiggling around, you look and feel better. Internally and externally.
So my plan is to get stronger and at least keep my bodyweight the same the first couple of months (maybe lose a few pounds), then as I run up to the end of linear progression start focusing on losing weight.
By now you are thinking, hell….I can do that at my local gym. Maybe you can. Plenty of people follow the system on their own. You may even have a home gym with the basic equipment needed. (list of needed equipment here) You can purchase the books and even DVD’s to show you what to do and there is a website that has a ton of free resources.
I wanted to start off with correct form so I went to Fivex3 Training to learn proper form. Something that none of the other gyms I trained at offered. In fact, they always wanted to steer you to the machines. It’s easy to show you how to use them and to be honest, most of the trainers in the chain gyms aren’t qualified to teach you the lifts correctly and I wanted to get it right from the start.
Even as a guy, I thought I’d be intimidated by the people there but it was totally different than what I expected. People were warm and friendly. From the first day you could see people cheering each other on. Coaches were always there to give encouragement and correct form. Even though the idea is to constantly add weight to the bar every workout, safety and good form are not sacrificed.
Training at Fivex3 is unlike any other gym I’ve ever been to. Even one that was owned by a Mr. Olympia contender. I’ve never been to a gym where everyone trained hard. Women and men both. Never been to a gym where people were so friendly. It’s inspiring to be surrounded by a room of people all committed to achieving similar goals. Nobody putting anyone down but instead lifting them up.
The results speak for themselves. Started on 3/2/2016:
Squats: 155 lbs. Press: 95 lbs. Deadlifts: 190 lbs. Bench Press: 155 lbs. Power Snatch 65 lbs.
Six weeks later 4/13/2016:
Squats: 245 lbs. Press: 125 lbs. Deadlifts: 250 lbs. Bench Press: 215 lbs. Power Snatch: 95 lbs.
I would highly recommend the Starting Strength method for everyone. If you are lucky enough to have a Starting Strength gym in your area, go. If you don’t, get the books or attend one of their seminars teaching the lifts. You will not be disappointed.
Kenlie over at the “All The Weigh” blog has friend making Monday, where you answer some questions on your blog and post a link on hers. Well since its Monday, here we go.
- What city do you currently live in? Pasadena, MD
- What’s the weather like where you are? We get a little of everything. All four seasons, heat, humidity, rain, snow, cold.
- When you eat at a restaurant do you prefer to eat inside or outside? Inside most of the time.
- What is your favorite season? Spring. Cool mornings, bugs aren’t yet out and everything is becoming new again.
- When you go on vacation do you prefer the beach or the mountains? What’s a vacation?
- What do you like most about Spring? The newness (if that is even a word) life starting again, the chance to enjoy the outdoors.
- Share one of the greatest moments of Spring from your childhood. Growing up by the water, on a street of summer homes with 20+ acres of wood behind you, every spring was magical. As kids we were Kings of the neighborhood. Running, exploring, fishing to our hearts content with nobody else around. All the springs were good.
- Do you prefer to wear shorts, capris or dresses at this time of year? Shorts.
- What do you miss about Winter? …………? Trying really hard here…..but I am drawing a blank.
- What do you look forward to about Summer? Long sunny days. Sitting on the porch in the evening.
If you want to join in, stop over at the all the weigh blog.
Wasting time in the global gym and barbell exercises in Part 1 of this article (rant) were only part of what the recent journey. Like most people, I have no room or desire to have a gym at the house and already have a gym membership. If this battle against the bulge were to succeed, I needed access to my preferred method of exercise, barbell training. And not only access, but the ability to get the work done without endless waiting for the few pieces of equipment that my current gym used.
After leaving the gym in frustration, I went home and surfed the net looking for a gym that would meet the parameters mentioned in Part 1. Having just started using the highly regarded Starting Strength method of training, it would be nice to find a place that had the proper equipment and lots of it. Surfed around the net and found a couple of places worth checking out and made plans to visit them during the times I could train.
Having already decided to check out a few gyms, I went back to surfing the Starting Strength website to find out when and where they had seminars for coaching in proper exercise form. Lo and behold out of the eleven Starting Strength gyms in the world two happen to be in Maryland! Now that changed everything. They were farther than I wanted to travel, 40 minutes to one hour, but the goal is more important. At least I could check one of them out because there were other options closer.
Several evenings later I made the trek to Baltimore and visited Fivex3 Training and was immediately greeted by Diego who asked if he could be of any help. As I looked around I could tell this was the kind of place where people came to better themselves. There were no endless rows of machines , and people were actually training, not pumping and primping. Told Diego that I was interested in training and I was introduced to the owner Emily Socolinsky. She was very kind and gracious with her time, answered a TON of questions and a half hour later I was out the door.
It was a struggle for over a week. I had goals that I wanted to attain but I am also currently debt free. Did I want to spend the money? Did I want to drive 40 minutes just to get there? I had the time, I had the money. My current gym membership was useless since one could not count on being able to use the equipment. The coaching would help insure that one could lift in proper form and progress through the system in the best possible manner. So on my birthday last month I made the call and signed up.
Part 3 will go into the basics of Starting Strength method and what its like training at Fivex3 in Baltimore.
Here’s a link to a 78 year old Grandmother easily deadlifting 225 pounds. If she can, you can!
It was all the fault of the “Globolgym”. You know, the large chain that I have a lifetime membership to. When I joined back in 1984 it was Holiday Spa, then it was Bally’s now it is something that will remain un-named. Each iteration removed more of my beloved free weight equipment, replacing it with soulless machines. From a business standpoint this is great. Your instructors don’t really have to know physiology or spend time teaching people to do a barbell lift correctly, don’t have a ton of weights lying around and you can move people in and out fast.
But, I still believed in the magic of free weights and the benefits of using them in ways that mimic real life. Movements that move weight and utilize balance. Efficient movements that train whole muscle groups at one time. Not some artificial axis, groove or plane determined by a machine to isolate a particular muscle.
So, I waited…..again for a chance to get in the power rack and move some iron. Again, wasting time because the equipment that would do most gym members the most good have been replaced with a machine. Time I could be building strength and muscle instead of watching people flail away on a machine with the same weights they used last week, last month and probably last year. Then I got angry with the waiting and left.
Having belonged to a gym for years, I learned a long time ago that lifting free weights was the best way to improve your body, it’s strength and its look. Progressive weight training with a barbell stresses your body in way that can’t be duplicated by a machine. Let’s use the king of exercises the squat and compare it to a leg press.
The pictures show that you work both your quadriceps and your gluteus muscle groups in the leg press. A decent exercise as far as machine exercises go. But compare it to a squat.
Look at how many more muscles are worked in the squat. You hit the same quads and glutes but also back, shoulders and abdominals are called in to assist. This is a picture of a front squat but the preferred back squat works a few more muscles. (couldn’t find a picture.) Don’t know about you, but if I am busting my butt in the gym, I want to get more work done in less time. Exercises that work more muscle groups at one time are more efficient than doing multiple exercises that work one or two muscles at a time. Compared to the leg press, the squat is an exercise bargain.
Back to the gym, or actually leaving the gym in disgust. Went right home and got on the computer to find a gym that offered more real weight training equipment. I knew from past experience that a person could train on three to five exercises and make more progress in a shorter amount of time with the right system and equipment. My must haves were;
- Must have enough free weights so waiting was a thing of the past’
- Must be newbie friendly. Even though I trained years ago, I am 55 and have lapsed back to “beginner”.
- Must be reasonably close.
In the next installment we will cover what I found in my area.