Mad Muscle Redux

It’s so true. Photo credit

Like millions of Americans lamenting the holiday pile-on, I’ve found myself spending quality time at the gym as of late. Well, I’ve found myself spending time there anyway, chained to the elliptical, reading books, ignoring undergrad meat-heads-in-training, slowly grinding away but hitting the proverbial plateau. Why oh why after a holiday season of gorging on turkey, mashed potatoes, chocolate, pie, cookies, cinnamon rolls, more turkey, more pie, more, more, more, aren’t I back in shape? Seriously body, I’ve been working out again for three whole weeks!

Ah hem.

Thinking back to my training days of yore (and the jeans that use to fit comfortably), I decided to kick the workout regimen up a notch. Or two. Or seven. After a few days of weights, stretching, box jumps, kettle bells and circuits, I’m limping around the apartment, feeling the screams of minute muscles, and wondering how I used to keep up with my cute trainer dude, Jared. Lord only knows!

A few things I do know:

1. History repeats itself. My “Dialogue of Mad Muscles” from precisely one year ago is just as true now as it was then. Sadly.

2. Start slowly. For having not picked up a weight in six months, you’d think I would cautiously test the waters, but no, I jumped in the deep end and now I can barely walk. If you’re starting a new regimen, for heaven’s sake, start of slow and build your strength. Your muscles will thank you. “Good sore” is what we’re after here people.

3. Realize there is no shame is going slowly. Preaching to myself here. Just because I could swing 40 pounds of iron over my head or do a zillion circuits or hop through the ladder like lightning at the peak of my training does not mean that I should be able to do so now, without having done anything besides lame cardio for the last half a year. If you decide to kick up a work out routine, assess your current strengths and limitations, realizing that your mind may try to write checks your body can’t cash. Just because you think you “should” be able to do something doesn’t mean, like me, that you actually can.

4. Ask for help. I highly recommend finding a competent trainer, emphasis on competent, bonus if they’re cute. Although spendy, good trainers have knowledge about all aspects of fitness–exercise, nutrition, lifestyle adjustments, etc. (Plus I find the guilt of having someone monitoring my progress an extra motivator to get my arse to the gym.) If you’re a good student, long-term training may not be necessary. Sign up for a few sessions to get the lay of the land and learn how to work equipment, and you can probably do a decent job on your lonesome.

Any other hot tips to jump start or maintain a fitness plan?


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