As I mentioned previously, in the spring I joined a basement gym to start training again. I recently changed neighborhood, my new gym is unfortunately what crossfitters call ”globo gym”, lots of aerobics classes, machines, and young men doing dumbbell curls. However, given that the type 2 diabetes rate in the neighborhood is probably 30-40% I’ll give the folks there a lot of credit for doing “something.”
My plan is continue Starting Strength, but the gym had a small group class Tuesday/Thursday 6:30am- 7:15am, which at first glance appeared to be basically a knock-off of a crossfit WoD. Each day there were five stations, drawn from the following exercises:
- Dumbbell Sit-ups
- Med. Ball Slams
- Box Jumps
- Jump Rope
- Kettle Bell Sumo Deadlift High Pull
- Kettle Bell Goblet Squats
- Kettle Bell Swings
- Bosu Burpee (basically a burpee where you’re holding onto an upside down bosu ball)
Each day there were three rounds, with each station either being done for a specific number of reps or a specific time. These were very metcon heavy work outs as neither the kettle bell nor med. ball were heavy enough to constitute a ‘strength’ day. Regardless, the workouts kicked my ass and I was generally the only student there so it basically constituted cheap personal training. My main critique was the emphasis on burning as many calories in as short a time as possible, rather than trying to build strength. To help in that regard, for the four weeks of the class, Saturdays became my ‘strength’ day, basically doing the A/B structure of Starting Strength. Back Squat/Deadlift/Standing Press alternating with Back Squat, Bench Press, Deadlift. Chin-ups added as well.
The first take away was pretty straightforward… although my shoulders are both at about 99% in terms of range of motion and pain, my upper body strength is a fraction of what it was before the crash in ’09. I used to be able to bang out 20 push-ups, 15 chin-ups, and barbell standing press about 100 pounds. Needless to say, it’ll take a while before I can do any of those tasks.
Right now, my tentative plan is to continue to cut my body fat percentage while maintaining my overall strength through diet and a regular lifting schedule. When my belly fat is more or less as good as it’ll get, I plan to go back to eating and lifting heavy, to reach and hopefully exceed my peak strength by the summer of 2013.
On the technology side, I’ve started to use Fitocracy to track my workouts and I provided the nucleus of the idea for a smartphone app to help weightlifters. My friend with a mathematical finance degree created a prototype in Python that I’ve been using. Maybe we’ll clean it up and share it with the world when it’s ready.