I started a routine at the beginning of this week after a couple months of mostly messing around; ie, not regular visits to the gym and no concrete methodology or knowledge of certain lifts and their techniques. As such, I was mostly concentrating on developing the motor skill to perform the exercises with the agility and balance required to make progress.
And I have gained some strength and power. My cardiovascular and muscular endurance remain intact, and I don't think my speed has suffered. Yet my main goal has been a change in body composition (+muscle), and muscular strength. I've gained about 15 lbs, from 125 to about 140, most of it muscle. I'm about 5'9", I think.
Before I started going to the gym regularly it was mostly some bicep curls w/ 15lb dumbells I had at home.. I would do 20 reps or so, a couple pushups, maybe some situps - and poof, I was fit! But I've now learned that "fit" is not some box you check, or leave blank; rather it's an endless path towards your own personall best. So I am trying to establish and follow a regular routine.
I've been following a routine I found on here recommended by VeganEssentials that seemed like just what I should be doing. Here is the routine:
Day 1 - Legs and shoulders (two groups that do not interfere with each other)
1. Barbell or dumbbell clean (from floor to shoulders) and overhead press - 1-2 warmup sets, 3x6-8 reps work sets. The clean part is done to warm up the legs and lower back while working the shoulders, which will get you ready for the leg work.
2. Full squats - parallel or deeper, 1-3 warmup sets, 3x6-8 reps work sets
3. Stiff legged deadlifts, knees slightly bent to 15-25 degrees - 3x6-8 reps work sets (no warmup necessary unless you feel it is for the best)
This will take care of your legs and shoulders with no worries about added junk thrown in, all good compound exercises and you can be in and out in less than an hour easily.
Rest 1-2 days
Day 2 - Upper back and chest work
1. Barbell or dumbbell rows - 1-2 warmup sets, 3 work sets of 6-8 reps
2. Pull-ups (assisted if you can't do enough normally) or single-arm pulldowns - 3 work sets of 6-8 reps (no need to warm up here)
3. Incline bench press barbell or DB - 1-2 warmup sets, 3 work sets of 6-8 reps
4. Close-grip flat bench (hands 10-14" apart) - 3 work sets of 6-10 reps
You'll hit your upper back well from 2 angles, and you'll hit your chest and triceps well enough in there as well, again with no filler and a quick workout.
Rest 1-2 days
Day 3 - Lower back work / fun stuff 1. Deadlifts from floor - 1-3 warmup sets, 3 work sets of 6-8 reps
2. Deadlift lockouts in a power rack (from just above knees to a finished deadlift position) - 3 work sets of 6-8 reps with 20-30% more weight than was pulled from the floor
3. From here, pick 2 more exercises that don't conflict with the rest of the week's lifting and have fun with them. If you want to train arms a bit more, hit some dumbbell hammer curls (after the incline and close-grip benching you probably won't have much urge to do any tricep work!). If you feel you need more trapezius work, toss in some shrugs. If you want to do grip or forearm work, throw some in. If you want to try some olypic lifts, do them here. A lot of times I make one day per week the random day where I have one thing I MUST do, such as deadlifts, and the rest is whatever feels good. This keeps you looking forward to getting in there and you still get everything done, but now you get to pick a bit more instead of always following the same routine.
Rest 1-2 days and repeat!
The tough thing is that this routine is leaving me so sore that it's taking me more than the recommended 1-2 days to recover! ...even between doing exercises of a different muscle group. But I had had my stabilizer muscles get sore, mostly the outside of my shoulders from the clean and press, so that I didn't feel I could do proper all-out benches. But they're definitely growing and hard as a tree stump
So I did only 1/2 of the second workout, just bent-over barbell rows and lat pull-downs (I can't really do a good set of pull-ups; i've recently targeted my lats as the muscle that needs the most work, with chest close behind.). I do close-grip lat pull downs (mostly), since wide-grips make my shoulders feel weird.
Well, even that workout with only two exercises left me sore in a place I don't know if I've ever felt so intensely before. I think they're called the serratus anterior muscles, kind of upper lats but right where your ribs snake up to your shoulder. I think it's also this muscle that gives guys with big lats the wide look. It's also called "boxer's muscle" sometimes apparently. http://www.exrx.net/Muscles/SerratusAnterior.html
Next workout is gonna be incline bench and close-grip bench, as well as deadlifts, and maybe biceps curls since I haven't done those in a while. I don't know if I should go today, most of the soreness is gone but I think I could probably use just one more day of recovery. Listen to your body, right?
Anyway, I am gonna keep a log just to make sure I'm makin progress and stuff, probably do a food log too when I can. Hopefully I'll keep it up, sometimes I start these things, only to make a huge first entry but no followup.
As for the food.. well, the past few months have been mostly vegan, with occasional periods where I fumbled. There was even a week or two of raw eating (but I had a hard time getting in all the calories I needed), and I did a juice fast for two days.
But I am also real into fruits and veggies and nuts, especially here @ school where there aren't any good grains available at the cafeteria.. mostly just white rice.. they don't even have whole wheat buns for boca burgers anymore, and no more whole wheat pasta. I dunno what the world is coming to...
I also grow and eat some sprouts every couple of days. This week was brocolli sprouts
, which I mixed with some currants
... Was one of the best treats ever.
Next up are some Black-Eyed Pea sprouts.. never done it before.. just done mung beans (typical bean sprouts).
So, anyway, yesterday, since it's the closest in the past, and I thought it was a great food day, also took a 3 mile bike ride. If I can remember what I ate...:
1/27's tree offerings
Strawberry vanilla hemp granola w/ hemp seed and soy milk.
So begins the bungle in the jungle!
A bunch of dried currants
Minisweet Bell Peppers
Sandwich on Ezekiel bread w/ almond butter n blackberry jelly
Cilantro rice w/ peas, carrots, and tofu in achiote sauce
1/4 Ounce Chestnuts (fresh from farmer's market, whao )
A couple cherries