I’m into fitness, take 12: Changing the routine

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Aw, the gym. For some, it’s just a showoff palace. There’s one guy on bench presses grunting for an audience of three, two of whom are wearing headphones. There’s another guy with a Blue Streak outfit and iPod/shoulder contraption watching me rock some skull crushers and grabbing the barbell that’s 10 pounds heavier (good for you, dude. Never mind that you’re 50 pounds heavier). And there’s the guy squatting 500 pounds … once (I’m getting A LOT more out of my 15 reps of 300-plus on squats).

Point is, a lot of people just go to the gym to go to the gym, like it’s a bar. I’m there to get my work in. Thanks to our fitness expert on campus, I’m getting a lot more done these days, too.

As mentioned last week, I’d been doing a lot of things wrong. Now, being at the gym and working my ass off … good thing. Working the same parts of my body virtually every day … not a good thing. Running … good thing. The same running every day … not a good thing.

I still run daily, but mix in HIIT training.

I knew all of this, of course. After six weeks of weighing 215 pounds, I was sick of plateauing. So I finally went for help. Here’s a look at my routine before and after that assessment:

Mondays before assessment

Cardio: 3-mile run

Weights: Bench press – 4 sets, 10-12 reps; Butterfly – 4 sets, 10-12 reps; Single-arm row – 4 sets, 10-12 reps; Barbell curls – 4 sets, 10 reps; Triceps extension – 4 sets, 10 reps.

Abs: 300 situps

Mondays after assessment

Cardio: 30 minutes high intensity interval training (Two-minute warmup, one minute heart rate at 170-plus, 75 seconds heart rate at 140. Repeat for 30 minutes. Five-minute cooldown)

Weights (Add 10 pounds to each set): Bench press – 3 sets, reps of 18, 15, 12; Incline press – 3 sets, reps of 18, 15, 12; Decline press – 3 sets, reps of 18, 15, 12; Pectoral fly – 3 sets, reps of 18, 15, 12; Arnold Press (yes, after the Arnold) – 3 sets, reps of 18, 15, 12; Lateral raise – 3 sets, reps of 18, 15, 12; Skull crushers – 3 sets, reps of 18, 15, 12; Tricep kickback – 3 sets, reps of 18, 15, 12.

Abs: 100 situps

My crude design for a work sheet. I take it with me as a reminder for proper techniques during my workouts.

Tuesdays before assessment

Cardio: 3-mile run

Weights: Single-arm rows – 4 sets, 8-12 reps; Incline press – 4 sets, 10-12 reps; Military press – 4 sets, 8-10 reps; Lateral raise – 4 sets, 8-10 reps; Dumbbell curls – 4 sets, 10 reps.

Abs: 300 situps

Tuesdays after assessment

Cardio: 40 minutes on treadmill (Pace around 5 mph)

Weights (Add 10 pounds to each set): Lat pulldown – 3 sets, reps of 18, 15, 12; Wide row – 3 sets, reps of 18, 15, 12; Rear deltoid fly – 3 sets, reps of 18, 15, 12; Single arm row – 3 sets, reps of 18, 15, 12; Back extension – 3 sets, reps of 12; Bicep curls – 3 sets, reps of 18, 15, 12; Seated leg press – 3 sets, reps of 18, 15, 12; Plank – 2 sets of 12 reps; Plank circles – 2 sets of 12 reps; Prone knee-ins – 2 sets of 12 reps; Side lifts – 2 sets of 12 reps.

Workout sheet No. 2.

I’ve been on the new routine for a week and already notice a difference. I don’t miss running outside at all. Mainly because I can see how many calories I’m burning and control the pace. Today, I burned more than 500 calories on the treadmill and about 300 on weights. That’s right, about 800 calories in a 90-minute workout.

The high-intensity training is more than 400 calories in 30 minutes, and I’m drenched in sweat when I finish. I’m also lifting more weight than I ever have.

A couple of things you can take from this post: 1. Change up your routine every few months. It’s good for your body … and your mind. 2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I’m grateful for having access to an outstanding fitness expert. There are plenty of other folks out there who can help.

Happy running. And lifting.

I’m into fitness, take 11: Happy birthday, dad

I’m into fitness, take 10: My first fitness assessment

I’m into fitness, take nine: What keeps me going?

I’m into fitness, take eight: At the gym

I’m into fitness, take seven: I did it (a 5K)!

I’m into fitness, take six: Finally, a 5K

I’m into fitness, take five: The rewards

I’m into fitness, take four: Cheating vs. treating

I’m into fitness, take three

More on this whole fitness thing

I’m into fitness. No, really

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