Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ego Over Matter: Back In The Mass Building Saddle Again

It’s been awhile since I’ve gone into Ego Over Matter territory, and thus I decided it was time to do so once again.

Back in September, I made the decision to join a gym... again. This was prompted by a group of my co-workers that all decided that now was a good time to go and work out on a daily basis. I bowed to the inevitable peer pressure and decided, yes, I’d like to get back into the swing of things. There is a 24 Hour Fitness just a couple of blocks down the street near the BART station. This means I walk by it every single day, and therefore have no excuse whatsoever not to take advantage of the opportunity. Add to that the fact that my company offers a $20 per month reimbursement on club dues, and I figured that it would also be a very economical option compared to other activities vs. time invested.

I started going to this 24 hour fitness on September 1st. I’m now about ten weeks into training there, and I’ve definitely gotten back into the groove of weight training and trying to use the bodybuilding skills I once had down cold but couldn’t do much with (that’s the beauty of being over 40; I can actually put muscle on my frame now... of course, it now comes with a fair marbling of extra fat, but hey, most blessings usually have their down elements, too (LOL!) ). Thus I think it’s only fair to put into perspective what I’m doing right now and where I’m physically at (because this blog is my ultimate accountability partner… sick and twisted, I know, but hey, it works :) ).

Today is November 13th, and I currently weigh 220 pounds. Yes, that’s a disappointment based on my shedding all that weight last year, I'll say it right now. That puts me now just 22 pounds shy of my all time heaviest. However, at that time, I hadn’t been working out much at all, so I’m willing to chalk up a bit of that weight to muscle gains (OK, really muscle memory returns rather than any fresh gains). Down side is that I have expanded the waist I tried so hard to keep trim (SIGH!). Why is it that I can be rail thin and have a trim waist, or I can be muscular with a bulky waist, but I just cannot for the life of manage to pull off a muscular build and a trim waist?! I mean really, is that *too* much to ask?! I’m already getting Mother Nature’s input with regard to my hair (and lack thereof). PLEASE, I’m begging whoever will listen; help me overcome my Scandinavian genetics!!!

My general workout routine goes like this:

Monday: Chest & triceps, abs
Tuesday: Back & Biceps, abs
Wednesday: Legs, abs
Thursday: Shoulders, abs
Friday: extended cardio and, of course, more abs :)

Each day is constructed with three 3 set groupings, ranging in rep volume from 8 to 15, except for abs which get hit for 25 reps, worked from compound to isolation movements, in a full range, stretch and contraction spread (why yes, I *am* a Peary Rader fan, why do you ask (LOL!)?). Here’s an example of my current chest and triceps day:

1. Dumbbell Flat Bench Press (full range, 3 x 8-15)
2. Incline Dumbbell Flyes (stretch, 3 x 8-15)
3. Cable Crossovers (contraction, 3 x 8-15)

1. Cable Crunches (full range, 3 x 25)
2. Reverse Leg raises on Ball (stretch, 3 x 25)
3. Concentric Crunches (contraction, 3 x 25)

1. Close Grip Bench Presses (full range, 3 x 8-15)
2. Overhead Single Dumbbell Triceps Extensions (stretch, 3 x 8-15)
3. Triceps Pushdowns w/ rope and pulley (contraction, 3 x 8-15)

The goal with the above routine is to train in a circuit format, with minimal rest between sets, and the weight being increased when all three sets for each movement can be done for 15 reps. This helps me keep a long gaining momentum while still being both efficient and challenging overall. If I keep everything on pace, all of the above can be performed in about 45 minutes, and I leave the gym feeling pretty darned hammered (LOL!).

Now that I’ve had a chance to let ten weeks pass, I can now take out any oddities associated with “muscle memory” or changing up a workout schedule. Now I know that I’m back to a somewhat trained state, i.e. an intermediate level again, so training from here on out will be on more of a realistic continuum rather than a big jump each week just from getting back into the groove of training regularly after an extensive layoff. Let’s see what tomorrow, and the next few twelve week cycles, start to bring. You are all, of course, welcome to play along, as I’ll be posting here weekly with excruciating details (LOL!).


24 Hour said...


First let me commend you on taking the positive steps to get back in shape. I believe you are setting a great example for your family and all who read your blog.

You are on the right track with regards to your weightlifting routine, keeping your workouts unaccustomed, following a progressive workout model will definitely put you on the road to increasing muscle. However, in you blog there seems to be missing the most important component of any workout program, nutrition.

It is possible to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time. Your progressive workout model has set you in the right direction, now it is time to focus on your nutrition. In order to increase muscle and lose fat you need to supply the muscle with the proper amounts of the necessary nutrients. This is done by eating the proper foods (in their proper amounts) and by utilizing supplementation to supply nutrients without adding unwanted calories. This will allow the muscle to receive the necessary nutrients to continue to grow (stimulated by your workouts) while allowing for fat loss to take place due to the restricted calorie intake.

A website that can help you with nutrition and diet is Please take a look under fitness resources and click on free weight management plan.

Please feel free to reach out to the certified trainers at your 24 Hour Fitness Club with any questions you may have. They will be happy to help.

I look forward to hearing about your results!


Marc Fox
Manager - Team Sports
T - 925-543-3120
C - 925-577-4804
F - 925-543-3272

Michael Larsen said...

Hey Marc.

Thanks very much for the comments. Yo uare absolutely right and I do indeed focus on diet and nutrition as well. My plan was to get into that for next week's entry (hey, ya gotta' give me a chance to write something fresh from week to week (LOL!) ). I'ma fan of an inverted zone diet, where 40% of calories comes from good quality protein sources, 30% comes from unprocessed carbs, and 30% comes from monounsaturated fats. That's the ideal, of course, and life is rarely ideal.

Anyway, yes, I will be going into excruciating detail in upcoming weeks on all aspects of what I do, specifically because I want a place that will hold me accountable... and this is a good a place as any :).