Caution, semi-motivational rambling follows. If you don't like to read, skip to the next post for just the workout details.
I am freakin' STOKED after today's workout. I guess I have been stoked for most of the nearly 5 months that I have been in the gym. You see, I started lifting on 5/13/13. I had previous lifting experience, but never made much progress. It was pretty bad, too. I lifted for nearly two and a half solid years while I was in the Marine Corps and never broke a 200lb bench press. I was such a wus that I didn't even do squats regularly. Every now and then I would throw on some weight and do 1/4 or 1/2 squats thinking I was "killing it", lol. I finally gave up on ever being able to make progress in the gym. I believed I was a "hardgainer" (popular term at the time, don't know if it still is) even though I have never been "skinny". I quit training in 1998, thinking that it wasn't just in my genetics to be "gym" strong. I was always stronger than my friends at real world strength stuff, but just couldn't pick up strength in the gym.
I decided earlier this year, at a weight of 393lbs, that I would start back to the gym in order to try and improve my heart health. I would like to live long enough to at least see my three children graduate high school. I was determined, but not like you may think. I was determined to hit the gym every time I was supposed to and do the workout I was supposed to do. I had NO expectations of picking up any strength due to my pathetic history of no progress.
I just couldn't figure it out, though. Most of the "big guys" like me could easily gain strength in the gym. Not me! What was up with that. I did A LOT of research before hitting the gym this time to try and figure out what my problem(s) was/were. Considering my progress in only 5 months, I think something I changed has worked. (I did a lot of things different this time) To go over what I changed would take another book and this post is about my "motivational epiphany" today, so I won't cover that here. I have told the preceding "mini-novel" in order to give a history of where I was previously. On to what got me riled up today in the first place.
In the short time I have been back in the gym, I have made, compared to my previous foray into lifting, phenomenal progress(405lb "real" squat and a 305lb bench press). That progress has kept me motivated and actually excited to get to the gym. I have gone from an attitude along the lines of "I sure hope I can do this" to the old Nike saying of "Just do it". A couple of weeks ago I got a 405 squat (very unexpected). I had ended the previous week's leg workout with a "gingerly" set of 315x5. After making a 405 squat I now do 5 sets at 315 and just pop it, lock it, and drop it like it's hot, lol. I don't believe I am much, if any, stronger than I was a couple of weeks ago. I think it is all in the mind. Knowing that I could squat 405 just seemed to make my worries of being crushed by 315 kinda sissified.
Skip to today. I promise I'm getting down to it. Really. I have been sick as a dog all week. I skipped my back workout AND my shoulder workout. I wasn't going to skip my leg workout because well, you know. I wasn't motivated. I didn't want to go. I finally dragged my fat butt into the gym. I planned to do a real light day. You know, just enough to break a sweat and keep myself from being so sore when I came back healthy next week. I popped in my workout cd and, when the music started playing, I just started getting a little hyped. I decided that I would try to do the same workout I did last week (my heaviest so far), and just stop when I ran out of juice. I didn't expect to even make it to my work sets of 315.
I started my warmups. 135lbs for the first one. Looking back through my logs, this was my "heavy" set when I started. Then 185. Then 225 and 275. A few months ago I was tickled when I squatted 225 for 3 reps and, a little more recently, I had to go hunting for 2 or 3 spotters the first time I attempted 275 because I was afraid I was going to collapse like an accordion when I tried to squat it. Now these are my warmup sets. Freaking warmup sets! I can bring them up fast enough to rattle the plates, man! As I was sitting there, resting, thinking about this I just couldn't help myself. I got STOKED. I couldn't even sit still. I almost felt like running laps around the outside of the gym (notice I said ALMOST, I am not now, nor have I ever been, a runner). I decided that I was going to go for it. I was in a power rack so, if I dropped it, I would be alright. (I am usually in the gym alone on leg day, the "gym rats" can't seem to find the gym between Thursday and Sunday). So, after whining, feeling sorry for myself and really not wanting to go to the gym, I made it in there and matched my best leg workout to date. But the better take-away from today was the extra motivation I picked up from putting my "warmup sets" into perspective. Even though I am sick, I am still jacked just from the thought of where I was (way back when, and just a few short months ago) and where I am now. No, not just where I am now, but where I could be in another 5 months. Or another year. Or in... Just do it!
P.S.- I have added a link to my last set today. I know it is small weight to many here, but I am proud of this one considering how I thought the day was going to go. They were below parallel, but don't look like it on the video. I think this is because I put the camera on the floor. Who knows? I am still proud of this one. I ended up doing an extra rep because I lost count. Yay me! Thanks to anyone who read this far. I know it was kinda rambling, but I was excited and had to put it somewhere. I figured my own training log would be acceptable, lol.