Swole Mining: the Search for Muscles

Hidden deep below my personal insulation layer (which is in reduction mode currently), are muscles. These muscles seem to be of pretty good quality…Not too shabby, is a good description, but nothing to write home about either. Sure, I can do a few push-ups, without my knees down, but asking much more of these muscles requires some serious motivation.

The thing is: I want to like going to the gym, honestly, I do – And I DO like the “idea” of going to the gym. The mental image of a sweatyish me, in “workout” clothes, re-racking some dumbbells is actually pretty in-tune with what I’m going for at this point. However, there are some obstacles that I need to overcome first.

What the heck do I need to do at the gym? As I talked about in my first blog post, I have historically gone all out when attempting to get in shape. Knowing that weight lifting helps speed up a body’s metabolism, I have always tried to include these activities within any exercise program that I embark upon. I would break it down into specific muscle groups and divide these groups into different days of the week – in the end, I would have a 3 or 4 or 5 day, multiple muscle, multiple angle, multiple set weight lifting plan that I was surely going to follow religiously until I was slotted to be in the next Calvin Klein photo shoot. Guess what ended up happening? Despite my best intentions, I had created a plan that wasn’t sustainable for me. I had designed a plan that was destined to fail from the very beginning – and so it went…I went the gym for a few days/weeks, missed a workout or two and then scrapped the whole thing. I was sore, discouraged and still of ample proportions. Most of the time I would have also paired this Arnold worthy training plan with an equally unrealistic nutrition plan (and results expectation timeline) and then, I would fail that much quicker and more spectacularly!! BOOM – look at me now: Ben and Jerry and Will all chillin’ on the sofa, reunited all because of my silly plan and its aftermath.

This time, it’s different though…slow and steady. Realistic and positive. Loose and with intention. I have also welcomed other people to join me throughout my journey. I have been more willing to share my highs and lows, ask for help, listen to different perspectives and have been willing to adjust my plan along the way. But, for real though, how many times do you hear people talk about that perfect “dog walking” body? I mean, I can’t JUST walk Riley, log what I eat, and somehow end up BUFF – I gotta push some weight too. Pick it up and put it down…repeat.

So, I enlisted the help of my friend, Keith Hare. Keith works for Horry County Fire Rescue, and he has been involved in the fitness/personal training world for several years. He holds several different personal training certifications and has always lived a healthy lifestyle. When we stand together, we are like a living “before and after” split screen…needless to say, he’s a good person for me to ask. I gave him a very specific directive: please provide to me a two day, total body workout that isn’t too extreme. No large complicated Olympic movements and nothing that required too many technical skills to perform. Below is the plan:

Full body workout 1 (3 sets of 12 )

10 min cardio

-super set 1

  • Dumbbell bench
  • Bench Tricep dips
  • Crunches (15 reps)

-super set 2

  • Cable pulldown
  • Dumbbell curls
  • Leg raise (15 reps)

-super set 3

  • Leg press
  • Dumbbell overhead should press
  • Weighted side bend (15 reps)

10 min cardio

Full body workout 2 (3 sets of 12 )

10 minutes cardio

super set 1

  • Dumbbell incline press
  • Cable Tricep pushdown
  • Crunches (15 reps)

-super set 2

  • Dumbbell row
  • Cable curl
  • Knee raise (15 reps)

-super set 3

  • Leg extension
  • Leg curl
  • Dumbbell lateral raise
  • Weighted twist  (15 reps)

10 min cardio

I’ll report back after a few weeks of this to let you know my thoughts and to evaluate the plan’s effectiveness. In the end, this is a very approachable (and doable) workout plan. It hits all the main muscle groups and should allow for all the benefits of a well-rounded resistance training program. If my week only allows me to get to the gym twice a week, I’m good to go…likewise, if I bust out three sessions a week, I’m still good to go (just keep alternating workouts). After a little bit, we’ll need to freshen up the routine, but this is perfect for starting out. I did promise Keith that I would support his mustache campaign (money goes to Firefighter Cancer Support Network) if he wrote a plan for me, so I will donate. If you are so inclined to help, please do:

Bonus Tip #1: If you see something, say something.

So, this idea works to curb terrorism. It also works to encourage/empower/enhance all people. If you see something about a person that you appreciate, let them know. Too often we are self-contained within our personal bubble. Without making a big deal about it, over the past four months, I have really been working hard to lose weight…because of that weight-loss, my face looks a little less round. It’s amazing how people have commented that I look younger, they like my haircut or that I look well rested – these people didn’t know I looked different because of weight loss, but they noticed that I looked different -AND- they chose to say something to me. It took no extra time out of their day, and it really helped motivate me to keep on course with my program. Plus, it made me feel special.

Here’s a little secret: Everyone is going through something – no one has their stuff 100% together – all people are naturally self-conscious – everyone wants to be hip and cool and to be wearing the perfect accessories all the time – everyone looks at themselves in a group picture before they look at everyone else –  Regardless of how put together someone appears, they are still dealing with some insecurities. SO, REACH OUT, when inspired, and make a comment to another human, even if it’s just to say, “you look nice today” – You’ll be surprised how it not only brightens that person’s day, but it will brighten yours as well.

Bonus Tip #2: Don’t attend the after party.

One of the most powerful tools in your weight-loss/overall health-improving arsenal is SLEEP. Ain’t no’body getting enough sleep these days. While sleeping isn’t necessary fun or flashy or exciting, it is one of the easiest things you can adjust, for positive results, in your daily routine. Believe me, you aren’t missing anything by hitting the rack 30 minutes earlier every night. Start by dialing bedtime back in 15 minute increments while your body adjusts. Kill the phone, iPad, TV or any other electronic at least an hour before you want to go to bed. Shoot for 7 or 8 hours of sleep (adjust to personal preferences). Give it a few weeks and you’ll be surprised how much better you feel when you get a few more minutes of quality sleep.

About Will

Will sells wine. He walks his dog, Riley, and people laugh at his jokes. Read more Will’s Weigh posts.

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