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Monday, January 14, 2008

Resistance Training Update: My One-Month Weight Lifting Progress Report


In just a few short weeks, I'm already seeing muscle formation

It was one month ago that I began for the first time in my life to get serious about resistance training to try to build my upper body strength. When I was losing weight in 2004, my exercise routine was exclusively dedicated to cardiovascular workouts on the treadmill or elliptical machine. While I still love my cardio and built considerable muscles in my legs because of it, my arms, shoulders, chest and abs really needed some serious help.

That's why I hired a personal trainer back in December to guide me into unchartered territory for me--weight lifting and bodybuilding. I'll be the first to tell you how utterly clueless I am when it comes to this area of fitness. And I'm sure there are many of you who wouldn't know where to start or what to do to begin doing this, too. Yet it is something that can definitely enhance your body's ability to burn fat while giving you the added strength and energy you so desperately want.

One thing that got me to add this next chapter in my healthy lifestyle journey was watching The Biggest Loser during Season 4. Watching those obese contestants not just running on the treadmill, but also doing some pretty remarkable exercises with weights while they were STILL fat lit a fire inside of me that I needed to get going with a plan to get strong, too. It's been four years since I began livin' la vida low-carb and it's high time I get to building some muscles above my waistline.

That is the path I decided to travel down beginning in mid-December and it has been an experience like none other so far. Even when I lost 180 pounds in 2004, that wasn't nearly as difficult as this has been for me. My brother Kevin was the football player in high school and I played alto saxophone in the marching band. He was athletic and I was...not.

But here I am at the age of 36 years old lifting dumbbells and using exercise equipment that I've never even seen before to make my body even better. It has been exhilarating, exhausting, and exasperating all at the same time. But in a masochist kind of way, I'm lovin' every minute of the pain and agony because I can already see that I'm getting stronger and one step closer to my goal of feeling good about myself without a shirt on.

I was a bit concerned on day one of my training when I told the manager I lost triple-digits following the Atkins low-carb diet. He gave me that scrunched up face showing his disgust at my dietary choice and went on to lecture me about how your body needs carbs to fuel your workouts. I guess he didn't realize he was talking to someone who has studied this subject extensively for the past four years.

You should have seen his face when I explained that I ate a high-fat, low-carb diet and the dietary fat is what fuels my workouts. You would have thought I was an alien from outer space the way he looked at me and the bewilderment on his face was priceless. I offered to help educate him further about this subject by letting him borrow my copy of Gary Taubes' Good Calories, Bad Calories and surprisingly he read it!

After hemming and hawing about a few things he disagreed with during the first few days of reading Taubes' book, the manager finally got it when he got to the end of the book and said "well, you should find what works for you and do that." That's my motto, buddy, and welcome to the spirit of enlightenment! It was a beautiful moment to hear him say that because he changed his tune virtually overnight.

So what about my training?

My workouts have been a bit erratic during the first month because I've been so incredibly sore after each workout. I don't mean the slap-a-little-Icy-Hot-cream-on-it kinda sore, but rather the make-you-feel-paralyzed-til-you-can't-move-a-muscle kind. It's been pretty rough waking up in the morning and barely able to move my arms because my personal trainer worked them so hard on the previous day. The same thing goes for my shoulders and my chest. So far, my abs, calves, and legs have endured the wrath of resistance training.

I'm trying to get in the gym to lift weights on a regular (daily) basis rotating from muscle group to muscle group, but I'm not ready for that yet. It'll come soon enough and the progress I have made in such a short amount of time astounds me. I can't believe that is MY bicep at the top of this blog post. My wife Christine is already impressed by how much bigger my arms have gotten and I told her she ain't seen nothin' yet! By the end of 2008, those arms that still have the remnants of loose skin on them from when I weighed 410 pounds four years ago will be as solid as a rock! It's coming!

The only things I am doing different in my diet now that I am lifting weight is I have increased my protein intake and I added creatine supplements. The added protein is coming from some extra protein shakes and bars to aide my growing muscles. And the creatine gives me that extra boost in my muscles to continue growing and growing. I'm still eating a low-carb diet, taking my daily vitamins and fish oil, and keeping a positive attitude about this.

I'll admit this has been a difficult road, but I'm not planning on giving up by any stretch of the imagination. I'm in this for the long haul not just for 2008, but well beyond that as I transform my body into something it has never been--lean, strong, and looking absolutely amazing! It seems like this dream is so far away, but I'm encouraged by the progress to date that dream will indeed become a reality soon enough.

Let me say a special THANK YOU to everyone who has e-mailed me encouragement in my new resistance training schedule. Because I am so new to this, it has been rewarding to hear from those of you who have gone through the pain and agony of weight lifting in the early days and now look fantastic. In fact, I've got a few interviews coming up with some truly remarkable fitness role models that I know you will enjoy hearing from about how they got the body they've always wanted. Stay tuned for that!

As for me, I'll keep truckin' along with my trainer building up my muscles even bigger and bigger to become that hunkie man I've always wanted to be. It's an unbelievable road I have started down and there's no turning back now. By the way, my weight has increased a few pounds during this, but I'm not worried about it. I KNOW it is muscle weight and I haven't cheated at all since beginning this.

I've been keeping a food journal since day one of my resistance training and am thinking about creating a blog specifically for sharing what I have been eating. Actually, I do think this would be an interesting blog since I started during the Christmas holidays when everyone says it is impossible to eat low-carb. WRONG! I did and you can, too. Lemme know what you think about the idea of posting my daily food and exercise journal online.

As always, I welcome your feedback and comments anytime at livinlowcarbman@charter.net or by leaving your remarks in the comments section below.

1-15-08 UPDATE: One observant reader was concerned about something he saw in the background of that picture of my bicep at the top of my blog post. I was wondering if anyone was gonna notice it.

Jimmy,

Better be careful of all the critics out there because the picture on your latest post shows your muscle formation on your arm--but it also shows a pack of opened WHITE CRACKERS in the background!!!!!!! OH NO!!!!!! LOL! Just thought I would be the first to bring this up.


Yep, you are the first, but I'm sure you're not the only one. Actually, I purposely put that there next to my cashews to see if anyone would notice. No, they're not mine, but they are Christine's. She sometimes gets an unsettled stomach and eats some whole wheat Saltine crackers. Plus, she can get away with more carbs than I can, so an occasional cracker or two ain't gonna hurt her.

GREAT EYE out there and I appreciate you keeping me accountable. ;)

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19 Comments:

Blogger Tara said...

Great job!
Good for you for trying something new.
Thanks for sharing about your exercise experiences.
I would love to see some examples of your foods and workouts.
Also, I just wanted to shout out to Christine - she's a great inspiration to us ladies, too.
Has she thought about doing any blogging or anything?

1/15/2008 1:13 AM  
Blogger cc1sillygoose said...

I would enjoy a blog about your daily eatings, and workouts...I think it would be inspiring

1/15/2008 1:21 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Christine doesn't blog, Tara! If you only knew how much prodding it takes for me to get her to do the YouTube videos with me...she's such an introvert. Of course, she lives with an extrovert (ME!), so she's coming out of her shell a bit. Maybe someday. :)

1/15/2008 8:29 AM  
Blogger mrfritznyc said...

I know the kind of pain you're talking about, I used to get that whenever I tried traditional weight training methods. It will probably go away after a few more workouts. that said, I never had that problem with slow burn, there is post workout pain, yes, you feel achey and sore, sure, but not that kind of super sore, stiff, can't move kind of soreness. Just sayin....

1/15/2008 10:08 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

Isn't it so exciting? I've been doing the same thing (weight training), starting late October, and have seen similar muscle growth.

I have not had the intense soreness that you have, but I do get pretty sore, and I see that as a sign that good changes are taking place. I do remember in the beginning thinking "there's NO WAY I can make it through this 12 week program", but it does get easier as you get stronger, more coordinated, and used to the higher workload.

I had to laugh about your trainer wrinkling his face about your eating plan. I have experienced the exact same thing, but in my case, I have not been able to convince mine that low-carb is the way to go. Not only do they insist that, "You need carbs for energy", but also they start a vain appeal to authority ("You came to us because we're the experts, and so, we're telling you what you need to be eating...") They want me to eat 300 g of carbs per day! Give me a break! More like 60-90 grams works best for me.

Thanks for your inspiring posts. It will be fun for me to follow along with you (and along with this year's Biggest Loser contestants) as we all put on some lean muscle!

1/15/2008 11:01 AM  
Blogger wackytobeme said...

Jimmy way to go, keep up the good work. I haven't been able to follow your blog much, but you mentioned your brother, how is he doing? The last think I read regarding him was he saw the light and was going to do something about his health and weight. Is that still the case? If you have already commented on this maybe you could give the links? Thanks

1/15/2008 11:42 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

I saw my brother Kevin at Christmas and will be updating his situation soon. THANKS for asking and welcome back to my blog. :D

1/15/2008 11:46 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

I agree about the pain meaning progress. That's why I'm LOVIN' it despite the intense pain and stiffness.

The manager also gave me the line about being the "expert" until I told him how much weight I lost eating a high-fat, low-carb diet. That and reading Taubes' book silenced him. :)

By the way, since you're a fan of The Biggest Loser, you'll be pleased to know I have about a dozen interviews set up with the contestants from Season 4. Coming soon! :)

1/15/2008 11:54 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Congrats on lifting weights, Jimmy! I've lifted weights now and again for over 15 years, and have a nice bench, free weights, and plenty of videos, books, and DVDs to help me out. I KNOW weight lifting is important to my health and strength, and I enjoy doing it, but I have been neglecting it. I would enjoy hearing about your daily lifting and eating. Even though we need to choose for ourselves what works for us, it helps me to see detailed information about the progress of others. I enjoy good muscle soreness, too!

1/15/2008 1:11 PM  
Blogger The Bunnell Farm said...

I think your trainer is moving you to fast and your driving yourself to hard and to fast. You could easily do the same exact thing and get to the same exact place your heading with a lot less detriment to your overall and long lasting health by doing exactly half of what you are now doing. -- So in two months you will be this far and in six months you will be this far... you will easily be able to shift to full power once you get your body tuning in to it's re-found self that has been lost for so long. -- Just like your trainer was so adamantly mistaken about carbohydrates he is equally mistaken about pacing and transformation after years of misusing ourselves. Treadmills should all be thrown away. Had you walked and ran and did somersaults getting this far instead of the treadmill you could easily have moved into the pace you are now setting. Yours is the 'classic' advertisement of the skinny kid getting sand kicked in his face and the girls laughing and snickering before becoming strong and healthy and handsome and muscular and sought after. -- Keep up the great work. -- If you will be able to rein your ego in after all this that will be something in itself!!!

1/15/2008 1:45 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Ummm, thanks Tom...I think? :O

1/15/2008 2:35 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Yes, please leave us your food entries! I'd love to see them.

Also, I am a diehard athlete...and the hardest part about low-carbing is giving up those carbs for my daily workouts. It just isn't happening too well. I still feel like I need things like bananas, peanut butter, and low-carb tortillas. If I eat all three of those things, my carb count is pretty high. And yet that gives me fuel for my workouts.

Are you hungrier now that you're lifting weights?

1/16/2008 3:44 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

THANKS for sharing Rachel! In preparation for my new workout routine, I have been upping my protein consumption to about 30-35% of my caloric intake and I'm NOT hungrier now. I feel great and am getting stronger by the moment. I LOVE IT!!!

1/16/2008 10:04 AM  
Blogger Anthabeth said...

Hi Jimmy,

L-Glutamine powder works wonders to help relieve and prevent muscle soreness after workouts. Get the powder and not the pills. One teaspoon of powder is 5 grams of L-Glutamine. You can dissolve it in water or a protein shake after your workout. I found it really useful when I did Body For Life some years ago.

Good luck!

1/16/2008 3:13 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

THANKS for the tip, Anthabeth!

1/16/2008 3:17 PM  
Blogger Sparky's Girl said...

Whoo Hoo! Look at them there Popeye muscles! :-D I envy you Jimmy. I can't drag myself to a gym for nothing right now. I'll get there soon enough I guess.

I think your sharing your daily menus and routines would be excellent! And I think Christine SHOULD blog. She's too much fun to keep to herself! :-D

1/16/2008 5:29 PM  
Blogger Dana said...

I can see where increasing your protein would make up for the lack of carbs. First off you need it to build muscle. Second off, if you eat just a little more than you need to build muscle, you get a little glucose out of that, which is not always a bad thing.

Body for Life/Bill Phillips says the same thing about carbs and bodybuilding. The really hilarious part is that if you read the BfL book, it says too many people are getting fat from carb overload, but then Bill goes into the whole low-fat dogma, so BfL folks have to get their energy from somewhere. If I could figure out the gym thing I might try BfL this year, but I would not follow the dietary plan, that's for sure.

1/18/2008 10:56 AM  
Blogger Anthabeth said...

Yes, when I did BFL I didn't follow the nutritional advice in the book. I was at moderate carb Atkins around 50 grams or so a day with yogurt, blueberries, and the like. There is a whole thread with useful links and advice from Natrushka at forum.lowcarber.org in the specific exercises forum.

1/18/2008 1:05 PM  
Blogger Mr. LowBodyFat said...

Jimmy, congrats and enjoy all the growth that you are going to experience in the coming months. It's going to be fast and furious, so hold on . . .

1/18/2008 4:15 PM  

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