My Workout Plan by the Numbers
My workouts have changed over time. When I was in College, it was all about lifting heavy weights and building as much muscle as I could. As we get older things like time, energy and recovering from injury become more and more of a factor. Sooner or later those nagging little pains add up, hey “No pain no gain?” Right!
OK, so my workout has to answer this question. How much can I get done while power walking to rebuild my knees? How much workout can I pack into those laps around my apartment building or my roughly 3 mile power walks or can I even sneak a workout into my daily work routine. The answer is yes, now let me dive into the numbers and compare the way I used to work out (The Gym Membership Workout) to the way I work out now (The Recovery Plan)
When I work out in a fully stocked gym, I usually do the standards, Bench Press, Lat-Pull Down, Military Press, Squats and Leg Curls, Bicep Curls and Tricep Pushdowns. Let’s look close at the Bench Press – This is one of the classic, go heavy or go home moves the younger me would chase. I would try to lift 225 Pounds – Ten Times. This would give you a total Lift of 2250 Pounds right? 225 Times 10. Now the funny thing about the bench Press, I could do 135 Pounds close to Thirty Times. This would be total lift of 4050 pounds, this is close to double the total weight. Now don’t kid yourself, lifting 135 pounds 30 times does not feel the same as 225 pounds 10 times. The heavier you go the stronger you will get and the more muscle you will build, and the more you increase your chance of getting hurt.
Now fast forward a few years, now a days I would much rather lift 135 Pounds 30 times, but I can’t do that while I am power walking. No, when I walk I carry 5 pound, 3 pound or 1 pound soft weights. I do not Bench Press, I Shadow Box in a similar motion. Now I may do 500 to 1000 reps of 5 pounds; or 2000 or 3000 reps of 3 pounds. This gives me total workouts of 2500, 5000, 6000 and 9000 pounds. I am not trying to tell you these workouts feel the same as working out in a gym with hundreds of pounds of weights. Not even close. But if you continue to push and push you can burn your muscle out and be very sore the next day. It is not the same pain, it is a different kind of pain; different pain, different gain.
When I used to work out in the fully blown gyms, people called higher repetition sets, getting cut. This is kind of true and kind of false. Muscle definition is a combination of working out and watching your diet. You can get muscle definition and muscle size by doing lots and lots of low weight high repetition sets. Still have to watch the diet though.
Now, I have posted that I use 5 Pound and 2.5 Pound Ankle Weights. I shoot for 5000 Steps while wearing the ankle weights. This would mean 25000 pounds of extra pounds lifting while power walking. That does not mean I can go in the gym and leg press 500 pounds, no I would probably lift 100 pounds as many times as I could. Again, Lighter Weights and Higher Reps is a safer workout. I used to have a workout called the century sets, 100 repetition sets of light weights, 10, 15, 20 pound dumbbells or 50 pound barbells. Chasing the heaviest weights possible is a young man’s game. Avoiding injury and recovering from nagging aches and pains is a not so young man’s game. Fitness for life!
So when you combine 5000 steps and 1000 lifts into a single power walk workout I may do a total lifting workout in the neighborhood of 30,000 to 50,000 pounds. Hundreds if not thousands of reps with light soft weights; maybe it is not impressive by the bodybuilder workout magazine standards, but I know how much it hurts the next day. Total Body Pain equals Total Fitness Gain. Life is a marathon in my case, and I want to be renewed like the eagles every day. That is the promise I am chasing. To be well kept into my golden years.
There is no shame in my game. I run through sets of 20 curls, overhead lifts and shadow box punches with 5 or 3 pounds weights while walking 5000 or more steps with 5 pound or 2.5 pound ankle weights; the less weight, the more reps. I go until I can’t go anymore. Do I lose count of how many times I lift? Yes, I just work through the progressions. Do I lose count of how many steps I take? No, that is what my iFit is for!