I just read the babyboomers section on BodyBuilding.com and I think it's great! I thought I would share my story with you and your readers.
I am a 46-year-old businessman, 5-foot-7, 151 pounds. I am very happily married (17 years) and I have two beautiful teenage daughters. When I was 16, I weightlifted because of the inspiration my dad gave who was an extremely strong man. He had been a weightlifter and Golden Gloves Boxer in his younger days.
He worked as a water well driller lifting 300-500 solid steel drilling bits like they were nothing. He would always talk about us joining the YMCA (after he retired) to work out together but he died at the age of 64 when I was just 21. I put down the weights and haven't touched them until recently.
My 2002 New Years resolution was to start weightlifting. My neighbor moved last summer and left me a weight bench including the leg extension/curl machine attachment. I already had purchased a weight set but just flirted with it. Prior to that for about 4-5 years, I had been doing aerobics just to get into shape but I thought that it was the right time to start resistance training.
Since January, I have faithfully applied everything I have learned from books and mostly the internet. My current workout (45 min.) goes like this:
Mon: Thurs: Upper Body
Tues: Fri: Abs, Lower Body
Wed: Sat: Sun: Rest
Due to my schedule, I work out very early in the a.m. I work a 2-week cycle doing the same basic exercises each respective session but varying them like doing flat, incline, close grip benches etc. Every other Thursday I use dumbbells just for a change. I make sure, once in a while, that I vary the intensity, weight, reps and sets but I am mostly focusing on being consistent in order to assure strength gains.
For the first seven months, I did a 5-day in a row-split/week routine But now have changed to the routine I described above. I like what I am doing now since it allows me to do more exercises adding more variety. It also allows me a day of rest in the middle of the week.
Regarding my diet, which, by the way, is the hardest aspect of all of this, has changed too. I am getting around 2500-3000 calories/day, 3:1 carbs:protein, reduced fat intake since I started. I make sure I eat either a promax bar or protein shake post workout and 5-to-6 smaller meals/day. I drink tons of water. I am trying to get 1g protein per body weight through the shakes, tuna fish, peanut butter, skim milk etc. I am now eating whole grain cereals with 100% RDA vitamins, whole grain breads and really watching the sat. fat.
Overall I feel great and I could take on the world. I have lost about 14 pounds since January (165-to-151), mostly around my waist, as my pants are way too loose (Note that I was not drinking the shakes and doing the dieting that I am doing now). My biceps, triceps, abs, quads, calves etc. are nicely toned and have gotten much more defined and bigger. Needless to say, I am pleased with what I see in the mirror and I look forward to more results.
I wanted to look and feel better (I know, these goals are too general) and now I do. Alright, I confess! I wanted a 6-pack and everything else was icing on the cake! I am not sure what goals I can set at my age. I am not looking for a part in Terminator X, or care about prancing across the stage in Speedos. I have been extremely conservative in increasing my weights but I am slowly but surely lifting more.
Question 1: Any comments about my routine? (I can send you the Specific exercises if you need them)
Question 2: What about the diet? I lost weight since January but I just started with the shakes, upping the protein etc. I am eating just about every two hours now. I do want to gain some mass.
Question 3: Any ideas on goal setting? Can I expect ever to be able to Lift twice my weight?
Thanks for sharing your inspirational story. You seem to really be on the right track in your application of knowledge from the Internet and books. Your exercise ideas seem right on target (your split routine, rest days, length of workouts, but especially understanding the importance of variety).
Just keep working on the intensity factor. Dave Draper's book BROTHER IRON, SISTER STEEL is a marvelous book for this aspect of continuing progress. Dave is in his 60s now and still fired up like a teenager over his workouts.
If you want to get bigger, though, you have to eat more. If you are still only getting 1 gram of protein per day per pound of bodyweight, you MUST immediately up that to 1 1/2-2 grams per day. Just that difference (if you maintain training intensity) could increase your mass.
As far as goal setting, shoot for that 1/16 of an inch. When I am trying to gain in a body part, I measure the part before and after I train it, just to see the difference between the cold and pumped measurement. Then I begin to aim for a greater pump every time I work it. If the arm measures 16 pumped now, pump it to 16 1/16 - 16 1/4 during the next workout. Whatever you achieve, let that be the least you let it pump to the next time.
Soon, it will be larger in the cold stage and pump even larger. If after a couple of weeks go by and the measurement hasn't changed an iota, determine to pump that sucker up as long as it takes to move that tape! Determination + faith + persistence = success! You can do it! 80-year-old guys are making progress with weight training! You're still a kid!
I also do believe you could some day lift twice your weight if that's what you want. You said yourself that you are making progress slowly BUT SURELY. Just adopt the attitude that you will do it and I think you will! It all depends on how much of a priority you are going to make it.
A Caveat: sometimes with this goal setting, you have to make a choice. It is VERY difficult to cut up and grow muscle at the same time. It is VERY difficult to gain pure strength (be able to life twice bodyweight) and concentrate on building big biceps or a 6-pack set of abs. You have to set your sights on one goal and stick to it.
Proof: Do you know of any men today who are champion lifters and champion bodybuilders? I don't.
Hope this helped somewhat. Let me know.
Mark, thanks for being truthful and confessing to the desire for 6-pack abs! They ARE very much within reach. Set that 6-pack as a goal and let nothing stand in your way. Nutrition will be a key element in achieving this specific goal. Many lifters have a 6-pack, but it is often covered by a layer of fat. And abdominal fat is one of those areas that will put your goal to the test. Do you have it within you to achieve the goal of the 6-pack?
It's all about desire, Mark. You are a lucky one, as your athletic father probably handed you a fairly good set of genes. You are at an age where you've realized the importance of resistance training, even after your long 25-year layoff. After the age of 40, the body begins to lose muscle mass, as much as 30% over the next few decades.
Also, while often thought of as a woman's disease, osteoporosis effects men at the same rate as women once they enter their sixties. For health, mental well being and the ability to see your beautiful teenage daughters grow up, get married and make you a grandfather, NOW IS THE TIME!
Dave Draper And I
As Richard mentioned, your training split seems to be on target. I had the good fortune to see Dave Draper on his book tour last weekend. At 60-years old, Draper's physique is one to be envied by men forty years his junior. Dave's current training split is like yours, training four times per week, working each body part twice each week. This workout split allows you to hit each workout with intensity because you've built in the necessary recovery time. Adequate rest and recovery is critical when training in your forties and beyond.
Your nutrition plan will be a critical element in obtaining that 6-pack you desire. I agree with Richard, you need to up your intake of protein to build the mass you desire. In addition, you need to lower your carbohydrate intake. Be sure to eat complex carbohydrates. Take a careful look at the labels on whole grain cereals and breads, as many still contain large amounts of simple carbohydrates. Try replacing a breakfast cereal with steel cut oats.
Yes, it will take 30-to-40 minutes to cook up a batch, but you can make several servings at a time, refrigerate the leftovers and then zap in the microwave for an instant breakfast of complex carbohydrates. Also, watch the protein bars. Many are high in carbohydrates, or the label reads, "low-carb," but the bar contains glycerine not included in the total carbohydrate count.
Use the bars sparingly, to supplement when real food is impossible. But, remember, today "real" food is easy. All bodybuilders and weightlifters should travel with a cooler in their car. Fill it with a protein shake, bottled water, one or two chicken breasts, bagged salad and balsamic vinegar. No need to cheat when you are prepared!
It all begins with desire. Then transform your dreams into legendary results!
Copyright 2002. Diane Fields, Member Legendary Fitness, LLC. All rights reserved. The advice given in this column should not be viewed as a substitute for professional medical services. Before undertaking any exercise or nutrition program, Legendary Fitness, LLC advises all to undergo a thorough medical examination and get permission from their personal physician.