Have you let yourself go? Have you gone a little "soft"?
I guess you can say that I've been pretty lucky throughout my weight training years. I've never once had any serious injuries that kept me out of the gym for any significant length of time.
Throughout the years, my motivation has remained pretty positive and I've kept on training throughout my 20's and 30's (I'm now 37 years old). All of my training buddies from the early days have stopped training and it seems like I'm the only one who still trains on a regular basis. However, I can't say that I haven't taken any breaks from training because I have.
There have been times when I would take 4 maybe 5 months off from training. However, during these times off, my situations were never due to an injury. Most times, it was because of circumstances such as work, school or personal.
About 9 months ago, I injured my rotator right rotator cuff. Prior to that time, I've been very lucky that my shoulders have always kept up and have never felt any serious pain. However, this time, my luck ran out and my right shoulder simply gave out. The diagnosis was some serious shoulder tendinitis. I'll tell you right now that this injury is no fun at all.
You really don't know the importance of a body part until you loose it's mobility. My shoulder hurts just walking and sleeping so weight training was simply out of the question. At first, I didn't want to stop training but the injury forced me to stay at home and out of the weight room. I did, and for the first month it was hard to do because I didn't want to see my hard work go down the tubes but what choice did I have?
Anyways, one month turned into two months which turned into three months and before you knew it, I didn't even think about weight training. At this time, I started to go to physiotherapy for my shoulder and to get it back on track to rehabilitation.
It has taken about 3 months of physiotherapy for my shoulder to feel somewhat normal but it still aches. It's amazing how easy it is to fall out of training due to unseen circumstances. After awhile, I stopped watching what I was eating, and simply ate whatever was in sight. Junk food slowly crept in and began to be a staple of my diet!
Alright, it has been about 7 months since I touched a weight. That is, up until about 8 weeks ago. I think my turning point to start weight training and exercise again was about 9 weeks ago when I looked into the mirror. What I saw was a fat, soft stranger looking back at me from the mirror. I thought to myself, who is that guy? Where is the muscle that once used to hang from my arms and chest? My waist started to look as though it was larger than my chest!
I know there are some of you reading this page now that have been in this same situation, or maybe you're in this rut right now. Anyways, that was the turning point. My jeans didn't fit me anymore because of my expanding waist and gut and the muscle was starting to disappear. That was my wake up call and simply said to myself, enough!
So, without any planning I simply went out and bought a bench, some weights, and a skipping rope. I set up the equipment and had a workout. I tell you, that workout was like a huge release for me. In all my years of working out, that was probably one of my most satisfying. It wasn't my best workout, but one of the most satisfying.
Although I was only using 5 pound dumbbells for most of my movements, they felt like 80 pounds. You want to know something? I didn't care. During my early days of weight training I would have gotten discouraged because I was using such light weights for my pressing movements but this time, it was different. I was so out of shape that I had a hard time doing 20 jump ropes!
That workout gave me the kick in the ass that I needed. The following two days later, I had another workout. Again, it felt great! Although my shoulder isn't 100%, it's well enough to allow me to do some weight training. After that workout, I started to adjust my eating habits.
Mind you, it wasn't a huge meal plan but it was simple. I immediately got rid of all junk food and started to eat small meals throughout the day. I started to eat breakfast again and started adding small meals of fruit and veggies to my daily routine.
After two weeks, my body started to respond and it started to tighten up a bit. As soon as that happened, I really buckled down with my diet and started to add more and more nutrients to my daily menus. After about a month of steady training, I added some creatine and protein drinks to my diet and that, in combination with the right foods, have now added some hardness to my muscles.
The weights have really gone up, and I'm now satisfied with the results. I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you're really tired about the way your body looks or you've allowed your self to get out of shape, there's hope. Believe me, I know how easy it is to get off track and before you know it, all of your hard earned gains are out the door.
I think the most important thing you can do if you find yourself in this rut is to immediately shake it off and ACT IMMEDIATELY.
By that, I mean you have to simply do it, and do it right now. If you're at work right now, make a promise to yourself that tonight you are going to go downstairs and do a workout. That workout may be a simple jump rope workout or a light dumbbell session but the most important thing you can do is take action. Once you take that first step, you'll see how good it feels and soon you'll be back on track.
Don't worry about not having the right equipment or the right diet or anything like that. If you have a jump rope or some dumbbells, use those. Remember, your equipment doesn't need to be fancy. The only thing you should be concerned about is actually doing it. That exercise can be 2 minutes of jump rope or 15 minutes of dumbbell curls or a set of push ups. It doesn't matter, as long as you take action and do the first exercise session. Once you've completed one session, do another session the following day or the next.
The point is to make sure you start doing something physical. Get your body working again and everything else will start to fall into place. Once you get active, your body will start to crave better foods and once you start seeing improvement, you'll want to start eating better.
I’ve added a simple home workout that I’ve been doing for a little over two months now and it works great - click here for the workout. The only things you’re going to need are some dumbbells, barbells, a bench and a skipping rope. I’ve also decided to add a workout with no weights that you can do every second day, you can click here to see the “workout without weights” routine.
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