In the Before Time
Before everybody had to stay home all the time, I would be at the local gym 3 days a week working out with barbells. I would squat, either bench or overhead press, deadlift and then do chin ups. Simple, effective, full body and as heavy as I could make it.
My goal for 2020 was to deadlift 555 pounds for a set of 5 reps. I was deadlifting 380 pounds for 5 reps before the gym closed, so I am not likely to hit my goal this year.
This is fine - things happen. 555 pounds was a stretch to begin with.
I had calculated in early January that I needed to add about 4 pounds to my deadlift a week for 40 weeks to hit this goal. But I re-aggivated a shoulder injury and that set me back a bit in February. So with the gym closed - and not having a home gym - I’ve got to come up with something else.
I started doing a circuit of 9 movements, each movement for 5 reps - except the last, which was planks, which I would hold for 30 seconds. I would try one or two rounds in the morning and then think about doing another 2 rounds at lunch (which I don’t think ever happened) and then maybe do 2 or 3 rounds after work.
I’ve got a 45 pound kettlebell and a pair of 20 pound kettlebells and the second or third round in a row would start to get my heart up and get me sweaty.
But this isn’t working for me. Each movement is too little to do much and the total work of 3 rounds isn’t much either. So this plan has been discarded.
My new plan, which like all plans is only good until you get punched in the face (to twist up a Mike Tyson quote), is to do a 3 movement circuit, each movement will be done for 20 seconds - with a 20 second break between movements, then rest for 2 minutes before repeating the circuit. Ideally pushing myself for 3 rounds to start.
Unlike the previous plan I’m doing this first thing in the morning - then going about my day.
At lunch I’m going to skip rope for a few minutes - just skip easy for a for a bit, no set time goal.
I haven’t skipped rope for a while, so this is going to suck. My timing will be off and it’s really boring to skip easy.
Switching to a time based, instead of rep based plan should allow me to accumulate more work in the specific movements. Alternating working and rest should provide more of a cardio stimulus and then a cardio recovery period. The weights I’m moving are small for me - so I don’t expect to get completely gassed, but it is certainly possible - especially in the 3rd round.
In the first plan I didn’t take a break between circuits, so the only rest was changing positions/changing kettlebells/planks. (Yeah, planks were a rest - they weren’t easy, but compared to squatting 340 for 5 reps, well, yeah, they were easy compare to that.)
Skipping at lunch is partially to break up the day and force myself to do something active.
Thoughts on Calorie Intake
Lifting 3 days a week at near max for every set burns a lot of calories* - my body still craves that level of intake and I’m having to actively steer myself into eating for my current calorie needs. Being in the house all day, ‘ery day means fewer calories burned. My understanding of caloric requirements suggest that my Basal Metabolic Rate would account for a large part of my calorie burn - I’m a computer guy, not a dietitian - and my basal rate will not have changed much in the last few weeks - so I shouldn’t have to actually cut my calories drasticly. However, since I’m not lifting and therefore don’t need all those extra calories for tissue repair - I should not need to eat as much. But, habits are hard to break and I’ve been eating for lifting for a while now, adding the skipping and doing HIIT style exercises should add some additional calorie expenditure. So, in the wash between trying to eat less and doing some exercise I should end up with a minor calorie deficit or minor calorie surplus.
*a lot is relative - I believe it burns “a lot” compared to running for 30 minutes. I’m also factoring in increased muscle mass raising BMR, pushing the caloric burn of lifting higher still. It’s a virtuos cycle - I eat to lift, I lift to eat. ;)
What are you doing to stay active and fit?