In my youth I was in a hurry to get big and strong. In my middle age I’m struggling to stay strong and get smaller (not smaller really, but lean; I’m not interested in huge muscles as much as strong ones too)!
I recently saw a video of a guy bench pressing over 400 pounds at a body weight of 154. The guy looked fit but if I’m honest, I would not have guessed that he was THAT strong. Once upon a time I not only wanted to be strong but to look it too.
Today I would love to be lean (or just a lot less fat actually), strong as an ox, and capable of running steadily for miles and miles. Big muscles are no longer important so long as they are really strong.
In my adult life my weight has been up and down. When I turned 40 I hit my lowest point by hitting my highest weight of 260 pounds (I started college at 175 and finish at 200; 190 pounds was my best weight in my mid-20s), and I was the weakest I’ve been in my adult life as well.
I took up running and dropped down to 200 pounds. I still had fat around the belly but I was a lot healthier. With running and an Atkins-type diet I kept the weight off for about 4 years. Then I injured a knee, stopped running for over one and a half and packed on about 30 pounds.
For about 18 months now I’ve been lifting and running. I know I’ve replaced some fat with muscle as I’ve been able to fit into some of my smaller sized clothes (yes it’s sad but true – I have a range of clothing to accommodate my size fluctuations), but it’s not nearly enough. I am, however, a lot stronger than I’ve been in a long time (since my early 20s).
It feels so awesome to go to the gym, lift hard for 60 to 90 minutes along with 20-30 minutes of light cardio, and then eat lots of food (most of it good some of it real bad). But at 48 years of age this isn’t a healthy way to live (the latter part – eating lots of food that is).
So I’m about to make a public challenge to myself – weeks before the new year and to be started immediately (and therefore less likely to be targeted for a “new year’s resolution” ridicule), and this is it:
12 MONTH GOALS (deadline 12/21/18):
- Bodyweight: 185 lbs
- Run 7 miles on a treadmill at 6 MPH on a 2.0 incline
- Bench Press 310 lbs x 5 reps
- Squat 250 lbs x 5 reps (butt to calf full squats)
- Deadlift 350 lbs x 5 reps
- Clean 225 lbs x 5 reps
- Standing Military Press 225 lbs x 5 reps
For reference purposes here’s where I’m at right now (12/21/17):
- Bodyweight: 227 lbs
- Run 2.5 miles on a treadmill at 4.5 MPH on a 2.0 incline
- Bench Press 250 lbs x 7 reps
- Squat 145 lbs x 5 reps (butt to calf full squats)
- Deadlift 205 lbs x 5 reps
- Clean 135 lbs x 5 reps
- Standing Military Press 145 lbs x 5 reps
Some of my goals seem more ambitious than others. My lower body is much weaker than my upper body (yes, I was like so many others who focused on the upper torso and severely neglected the legs and core) so my squats, deadlifts, and cleans are pretty weak. Add a bad knee lower back issues over the years, and you can get a sense of why I’m a bit more tentative with these lifts.
The weight loss plan is going to be based on some basic principles:
- Calorie reduction (slight)
- Low carbs
- Lots of green vegetables
- Protein shakes using casein protein
- Front load the carbs in the mornings and very low carbs after 3pm
I’ll revisit this in four to five weeks.