Six Months Of Lifting Weights And I'm Finally Getting The Hang Of It
The results of my weight lifting have been pretty awesome
Growing up with an older brother who played football in high school was pretty intimidating. I didn't care a bit in the world about growing muscles, participating in athletics, or doing anything physically active. It just wasn't my cup of tea at the time and I had no problem playing alto saxophone in the marching band, pushing myself academically in preparation for college, and anything else that would keep me from EVER lifting a single weight in my life.
Of course, this was incredibly stupid on my part because I had no idea that building up my muscles would aid in fat and calorie burning which might have kept me from becoming a 410-pound morbidly obese slob of a man as an adult. Thankfully I was able to find a diet plan that would enable me to shed that weight at the age of 32 and now I am in the midst of a journey to actively make my body stronger, leaner, and more powerful than it has ever been. BETTER LATE THAN NEVER!
It was in December 2007 when I started my resistance training program in earnest for the first time in my entire life and I was dead serious about it this time. I've dibble dabbled with lifting weights before but didn't know what the heck I was doing, so I hired a personal trainer at my local gym to help me with proper form, effective repetitions, and the weekly accountability and motivation I needed to do this right.
After just one month, I was seeing some incredible results already and in three months it was that much more pronounced. I had no doubt in my mind that the muscle growth and tone would take place, but it's nice to see it in real life on ME! What a feeling it is to actually be strong enough to carry in all the groceries at one time without straining at all. Or lifting the couch up for my wife Christine when she vacuums. Or even slamming the ball down with force during my Tuesday night volleyball games. I'm a different man now than I was before--and I like it!
In my previous update after three months, I was complaining about the consistent pain I was experiencing after every single workout. It was rather excruciating in the first few months and I really did want to stop doing it (especially with the double whammy of seeing my weight go up by 30 pounds and STAY up since I began lifting weights). But I'm not a quitter and I didn't want to pay the penalty to get out of my contract with my personal trainer who I have enjoyed working with.
And so I pressed on.
It's a great feeling when you see muscle development
Now it's been a half-year for me lifting weights and I wanted to update you on how it's going. The delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) I was having is still there, but not nearly as severe as it was. My trainer especially likes working my abdominal muscles each time and I feel those for 2-3 days after working out. My shoulders, biceps, and quadriceps get a little sore as well, but I can handle it now very well. To me, it's a sign that the muscle was adequately exhausted which will result in quality muscle growth. After six months, I think I'm finally getting the hang of it.
I certainly have a lot more to learn about lifting weights, but I have just enough knowledge now to make me dangerous. The muscles that have started to appear on my body are bigger and more defined than I ever thought possible. No, I'm no Arnold Schwarzenegger or Mr. Olympia, but I'd say the changes are pretty remarkable for someone in his mid-30s who has NEVER ever lifted weights in his entire life. It may sound a little egotistical to say this, but I'm pretty proud of myself for doing something like this for myself.
Let's take a look at my progress since I started in December 2007. Here are some before and after photos in the six months I have been training about twice a week (one 30-minute session with my trainer and one self-guided 30-minute workout):
My neck has DEFINITELY gotten bigger because my collared button-up shirts are getting tight around the top button when I put on a tie. The muscle growth in my upper body has been pretty extraordinary. The same thing about the tightness in my clothes is happening in my shoulders and upper arms as the muscle growth continues to progress well in those specific areas.
Here you can see where I've put on the extra weight in my stomach, but you can also see the muscles in the neck, shoulders, and arms that weren't there before. When we figure out what's happening with my weight and get it back down again, then I can't wait for even more definition to start showing up in my upper body, including my chest and abs.
The back side view again shows the muscles I have grown in the neck, shoulders, triceps and forearm that weren't there before. My trainer works my arms, shoulders and back regularly, so it's no wonder those are the areas I'm seeing results.
As of right now, I weigh 264 pounds--up 29 pounds since I started my resistance training six months ago. Sure, some of that weight is muscle, but my personal trainer estimates the actual muscle weight I have put on is around 5-7 pounds. The rest is fat and that is so not cool. Again, I'm working on that with a low-carb doctor and will be going back for more tests next week to see if we can see why this is happening. It could be totally unrelated to my diet or I may need to tweak a few things with my possible reactive hypoglycemia strategy to make it work for me.
For those of you who are wondering, no I'm not taking the creatine anymore. I did it for six weeks at the beginning of my resistance training regimen and have been completely off of it since the beginning of February. Any remnants of that stuff should be out of my system by now, so it's still a mystery why I have been unable to take the weight off that has come on me. If we figure it out, then you'll be the first to know about it.
If you are thinking about adding some resistance training to your healthy lifestyle, then DO IT! I cannot say enough positive things about what lifting weights can and will do for your health. And don't worry about "bulking up" as it takes a lot of aggressive heavy lifting to make that happen. Hire a personal trainer, read a book like Slow Burn by Fred Hahn or The New Rules of Lifting for Women by Cassandra Forsythe, and even join a gym if you'd like. Of course, you don't really NEED any of those things to grow your muscles if you just lift your own body weight at home. But I've found the accountability that comes from getting dead serious about doing this is worth every penny you spend to get there. NEVER GIVE UP!!!