Enjoying the Burn

1 04 2012

After a 15+ year break from lifting weights, I’m finally  back.  Adjustable dumbbells in hand and an adjustable  weight bench being shipped as I type this.  Over the years, I have really missed lifting.  But lets face it, when you’re hauling over 400 pounds around each day, the last thing you want to do is pick up anything else heavy.  Now that I’ve begun to start losing weight, I definitely feel an increase of energy and my body wants to be more active.  It’s true what they say, a body in motion tends to stay in motion.  For a long time my body wanted to rest and without changing my diet and my mindset I could never have sustained any type of serious changes when it came to increasing my physical activity.

There are definitely times I falter.   My treadmill has become “the dreadmill”.  Even with built in cable TV, I detest the thing.  So you can imagine how happy I was after weeks of waiting when the dummbells finally arrived.  I then did a very, very stupid thing.  I began lifting with them like I had never taken all of those years off.  I essentially attempted to pick up where I left off.  And for the next 4-5 days, I could not straighten either of my arms.  Before lifting, I had a romantic notion of what muscle burn felt like but it ended up being something much different afterwards.  This was a painful reminder that it takes dedication AND PATIENCE to get where you want to be.

I’ve since dialed the workouts back a little.  Maybe not even back but rather i’ve dialed them “in”.  I’ve learned that lifting can be just as intense if we focus on isolating the muscles we are working on.  Squeezing the muscle before and at the end of the rep and keeping that tension throughout the rep can be as effective as doing multiple sets of less controlled lifting.  In fact, from my experience it is more effective.

Frequency of reps is not more important than quality of reps. I still get an awesome burn.  I’m just not spending the better part of a week recovering.

I’ve also relearned something that I must have forgotten – that when reaching the point of muscle failure, simple tasks like drinking a glass of water can be challenging.  When you cannot bring a glass of water fully to your lips without it pouring out all over you = it is a sign of an intense workout.

 


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